Extraordinary People From The 1900s
Medicine and surgical techniques have progressed so much in the past hundred years that it is rare to see conditions like these, and virtually unheard of in industrialized nations. But in the early 1900s, there were few options available for someone who was considered deformed.
These five people took their conditions, but still lived impressive lives. If you find them as extraordinary as we did at SF Globe, let us know by commenting below.
1. Ella Harper, "Camel Girl" (c. 1870–1921?)
Ella was born with genu recurvatum. It is a rare orthopedic condition that caused her knees to bend backwards.
She preferred walking on all fours and was a featured star in a traveling circus. She earned $200 a week in show business, but announced, "this is 1886 and I intend to quit the show business and go to school and fit myself for another occupation."
2. Misses Fannie Mills, "The Ohio Big Foot Girl" (August 30, 1860 or 1859 - 1899)
A genetic condition called Milroy Disease caused her feet and legs to swell to gigantic proportions. She had two sisters who did not inherit the disease. She married and had a child, but the baby died. She was only 39 when she also passed.
3. Jean Libbera, "The Double-Bodied Man" (1884 - 1936)
Jean's twin brother, Jacques Libbera, was connected to his from his chest-stomach area. Alive and able to move, an X-ray of the twin brother revealed that his head was embedded within Jean. He did not let this detract from having a normal life. Jean married and had four children.
4. Maurice Tillet, "The French Angel" (October 23, 1903 – September 4, 1954)
Maurice noticed swelling in his feet, hands, and head at the age of 17. A doctor diagnosed him with acromegaly, a condition in which the pituitary causes the bones to become overgrown and thicken.
He made his living as a professional wrestle, and became a headliner in the box office. He was considered "unstoppable" until his health began to fail in 1945.
5. Francesco A. Lentini, "The Great Lentini" (May 18, 1881 – September 22, 1966)
Lentini's condition is due to a partially absorbed twin. Starting at the base of his spine, Lentini has an extra pelvis bone, rudimentary male genitalia, full-sized leg, and a small foot attached to the extra knee. He has such dexterity with his third leg; he could even play soccer with it.
His family immigrated to the United States, where he joined the side show business. As he grew into adulthood, he began having difficulty, as none of his three legs were the same length. Nonetheless, he was so well respected by peers, he was referred to simply as "The King." Over the course of 40 years, he worked with many major circuses, and eventually married and had four children. He died at age 85.