Freak Shows in the United States (1840-1940)

How'd You Like to be a Giant?

For one hundred years (1840 - 1940) the freak show was one of America's most popular forms of entertainment. Today the same shows would be considered unacceptable and cruel, or as one disability rights activist put it, "the pornography of disability." In the mid 19th century, however, Americans were beginning to move from the farms and a family-based society to one which relied more on organizations, including institutionalized entertainment. It was at this time that P.T. Barnum brought the freak show to prominence through the American Museum in New York City.
Barkers outside a side show
Bibliography Freak Shows - NEXT