Wednesday, December 9, 2009
The Wild Men of Borneo Pamphlet
This is a really rare pamphlet from the Barnum era featuring Waino and Plutano, the Wild Men of Borneo. Very few of these survived probably, because they were pamphlets which often get thrown away. Also, the paper quality was pretty low. So, finding this item was pretty exciting, to say the least.
Waino and Plutano would have sold this pamphlet at the sideshow as a way to supplement their income. Like other performers, they also sold cabinet cards and cdv's of themselves to make some extra cash. Waino and Plutano were actually physically strong dwarf brothers, who suffered from mental disabilities.
Although they were born in the Connecticut, Barnum had a flair for telling tall tales to spice up the show, and as such, they were said to have been captured in Borneo. The brothers were a very popular act in their day. I guess the public was amazed that such small people-- they were 40 inches tall and weighed 45 pounds-- could lift heavy weights (including audience members themselves) and wrestle "full-sized" people. During their 25 years with Barnum, the brothers earned $250,000. Not bad, eh?