View Full Version : Tuesday Trivia: Big Baby

Star lover
January 9th, 2018, 08:33 AM
Giantess Anna Bates (née Swan). Anna was born in Canada on 6 August 1846, she died 5 August 1888. Anna was 241.3 cm (7 ft 11 in), she gave birth to a boy weighing 23 pounds, 12 ounces and measuring 30 incbes in height at her home in Seville, Ohio, USA, on 19 January 1879. The baby, who was not officially named but just referred to as "Babe", died 11 hours later.

At birth Anna weighed approximately 18 pounds. Anna was the third of 13 children, all also of around average height. From birth she grew very fast. On her 4th birthday she was 4 feet 6 inches (137 cm) tall. On her 6th birthday she was measured again, and she stood 5 foot 2 inches (157 cm) tall, an inch or two (2.5–5 cm) shorter than her mother. On her 10th birthday she measured at 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall. By her 15th birthday Anna Swan was measured at just over seven feet (213 cm) tall. She would reach her full height two years later, which was 7 feet 11 inches tall.

In 1862, when the great American showman P. T. Barnum heard about the Nova Scotian giantess, he sent an agent to New Annan, where she was then living, to bring the 16-year-old girl and her mother to New York. Besides the opportunity to earn $1,000 a month being exhibited at the American Museum on Broadway, Anna, who wanted more education, was pleased by Barnum’s offer to provide her with a private tutor for three hours daily for three years. She also studied voice and piano. Barnum advertised Anna Swan as the tallest girl in the world, 8 feet 1 inch, dressed her in a costume made from 100 yards of satin and 50 yards of lace, and contrasted her with Commodore George Washington Morrison Nutt, who was 29 inches tall and weighed 24 pounds.

Anna was the only giantess in the world at that time, and she attracted large crowds to whom she enjoyed talking. Barnum wrote that she was “an intelligent and by no means ill-looking girl, and during the long period while she was in my employ she was visited by thousands of persons.”

In 1871, when Anna Swan was crossing the Atlantic for a tour of Europe, she met Martin Van Buren Bates, the Kentucky giant who was advertised as 7 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 470 pounds, although he was actually 7 feet 2½ inches. A shipboard romance blossomed and they announced their engagement. They were married on 17 June at the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. After a short honeymoon they returned to London where they gave command performances before Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales. Martin and Anna were advertised as “the largest married couple in the world” and travelled together in Europe for 14 months. They brought home many valuable gifts including a gold watch presented to Anna by Queen Victoria.

Bates bought a farm near Seville, Ohio, which he stocked with percheron horses and shorthorn cattle. He built a house with 14-foot ceilings, and doors 8½ feet high, and had furniture made to suit the two giants’ size. They travelled during the summer with the W. W. Cole Circus. (Side note: the house was later reconstructed to normal measurements when it was sold, folllowing the death of Martin Bates.)

“The tallest couple on the globe” had two children. On 19 May 1872, in London, Anna Swan Bates had a daughter, who died at birth, said to have been 27 inches long and to have weighed about 18 pounds. On 18 Jan. 1879 she gave birth at her home in Seville to a son. He was 30 inches long and weighed 23 pounds 12 ounces; his chest measured 16 inches and his head 19 inches around, and each foot was 5½ inches long. Although two doctors were in attendance, the baby died after 11 hours.

Anna with her parents:


Anna and Martin Bates:


My grandsons LOVE Guinness records and have a book. They were showing me some things and I saw the above. My granddaughter was nearby.....she just turned 1. I asked how much she weighed.......18 pounds. I can't image giving birth to an almost 24 pound baby!

January 9th, 2018, 09:14 AM
A 19" head?? So sad that they lost both babies...

Sandy Navas
January 9th, 2018, 10:12 AM
Years ago my boss proclaimed weighing over 18 pounds at birth. He was a normal sized grown man. I had the pleasure of meeting his mother and she was barely 5 foot tall. He used to tell everyone if you measured from the floor out over her girth that she was actually closer to 6 foot. She was as round as she was tall. Lovely lady though.

January 9th, 2018, 10:16 AM
Soooo I interesting . But kind of sad too. I just can't imagine a 24 # baby.

January 9th, 2018, 11:05 AM
My son was 9.5 pounds, I can't imagine a 23 pound baby. Very interesting.
Medical knowledge today would have stopped her growth early on.

January 9th, 2018, 11:42 AM
Interesting information. I can't imagine delivering a baby that big! Then having more babies! Ouch!

January 9th, 2018, 11:57 AM
Sad they didn't have a child to love but imagine being almost 8 feet tall. And as a child she must have felt so Odd. Imagine how kids today would react to a giantess is their midst