The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

 
 
 
Admiral Dot

Admiral Dot


A carte-de-visite portrait of the diminutive performer Admiral Dot.

Born Leopold S. Kahn in San Francisco, Leopold was discovered by P.T. Barnum in 1869, who gave him the stage name ‘Admiral Dot.'

Barnum later wrote: ‘During the week we spent in seeing San Francisco and its suburbs, I discovered a dwarf more diminutive than General Tom Thumb was when first I found him, and so handsome, well-formed and captivating, that I could not resist the temptation to engage him. I gave him the soubriquet of Admiral Dot, dressed him in complete Admiral's uniform, and invited the editors of the San Francisco journals to visit him in the parlours of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Immediately there was an immense furore, and Woodward's Gardens, where "Dot" was exhibited for three weeks before going east, was daily thronged with crowds of his curious fellow citizens, under whose very eyes he had lived so long undiscovered.’

Admiral Dot later performed with the American Lilliputian Company. During the 1890s he toured with Adam Forepaugh’s circus.

He married dwarf Lottie Naomi Swartwood on 14 August 1892 and they had two children, Hazel and Gabriel. Admiral Dot died, aged 59, during the influenza pandemic of 1918 at his home in White Plains, New York.

Major Atom (real name Samuel Kahn), another 'diminutive performer,' was Admiral Dot's nephew.

Photographed by Abraham Bogardus of New York.

 

Code: 124610
 
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© Paul Frecker 2018