This postcard pictures "The Smallest Man in the World" at the 1934 Chicago World's Fair. He is standing next to an unidentified man who appears to be of average size.
This postcard has a pencil signature "Capt. Werner" on the back. I have another postcard of him dressed in a "Captain" uniform. That card also is signed "Capt. Werner" (the signature looks a bit different).
It is unclear what his real name or exact size is. The 1934 Official Guide Book of the World's Fair has this entry:
MIDGET VILLAGE, populated by Lilliputians, is a reproduction — reduced to midget scale, of the ancient Bavarian city of Dinkelspuhl, one of the few remaining walled towns in Europe.In the Guide Book, the name and size of the smallest man are given as Werner Krueger, 24 inches tall and weighing 18 pounds. Elsewhere, in an article about the smallest man visiting the smallest distillery bottling line, he is described as Capt. Werner Ritter (age 21, height 18 inches, weight 19-3/4 pounds). It may be that the "Ritter" name came from the Ritter Midgets troupe. That article also mentions that Capt. Werner developed a miniature rage when one of the women on the bottling line tried to cuddle him like a baby, and that he spoke only German.
Said to be the smallest man in the world, Werner Krueger, 24 inches tall and weighing 18 pounds, is one of the 115 midget inhabitants of the Lilliputian city. It has 45 buildings, its own municipal building, police, fire department, church, school, shops exhibiting midget handicrafts, miniature taxicab, filling station and newspaper.
Mayor of Midget City is Major Doyle, 33 inches tall. Free entertainment is given on the outdoor stage in Midget City park, or indoors in case of rain, by three groups of midget professional artists — the Ritter, Rose and Singer troupes. There are 1,500 free seats for the outdoor show.
Size variations often appear in various descriptions of midgets. The smallest woman who appeared at the fair, Margaret Ann Robinson, had a long career of exhibitions. She also appears in various sources with name and size variations--some size differences attributable to age and some not.
In contrast, there is almost no information about the smallest man. I can think of several reasons for this: he was not American; he did not like being exhibited; his real name was totally different.
Here are a few Midget Village postcards from the Chicago World's Fair.
Visit Sepia Saturday
for More Vintage Images