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Dolletta, World’s Smallest Mother

Dolletta, World’s Smallest Mother

Dolletta, World’s Smallest Mother, inscription on back

Dolletta, World’s Smallest Mother
Real photograph postcard, 3.5 x 5.5 inches, circa 1920
stamped with text on reverse, and with additional text in pencil

photographer: unknown

The tiny lady known as Dolletta was extremely proud of her two normal-sized children. In the photo she stands with her son and daughter next to the diminutive carriage of another famous little person, Tom Thumb. Dolletta also seems to have been a model of efficiency, for the back of this postcard has a message stamped on it which allowed her to pencil in certain details such as the ages of her children as circumstances changed.

The reverse of this card says:

World’s Smallest Mother
Dolletta and my two Caesarian Babies:
Luecia E. Boykin 13 yrs
Charles J. Boykin 7 yrs

And then, further inscribed in pencil:

“I am 38 years 28 ins 37 lbs.”

Dolletta's greatgrandaughter, Dolletta Larie Adams Blalock, generously provided me with the following information:

Dolletta was born in Quincy, Illinois, October 14th, 1881. [On] November 2nd, 1905, she was seen by a Dr. T. T. Earle. She was suffering from severe abdominal pains and was having strong uterine contractions. She was moved to the Greenville Sanitarium where she was put to bed and kept until the subsidence of the uterine pains. She remained under Dr. T. T. Earle's care for four weeks after the birth of Luceia Boykin [on] January 16th, 1906.

Both [of] Dolletta's parents were living and were in good health. Both parents were 5 feet 5 1/2 inches tall and stoutly built. [Her] grandparents were [of] average size. [Dolletta] had four brothers and five sisters, all about the average size and all were in good health[;] one sister died in infancy of whooping cough and her mother miscarried twice.

Dolletta was 23 years old[. She] was small at birth, but does not know [her] weight. At fifth week[, her] weight [was] five pounds[,] and at eighteen months [she] was smaller than an infant brother recently born. She had diseases of childhood, [none] serious. At one time she was employed as a school teacher, but for the last few years had been with different theatrical companies. Since last April (1906) [she] has been with a street carnival company. She was married last April.

The father of the child is also an interesting man. He is... 42 inches tall. His body is well formed above the waist and very muscular. Below the waist [he] is small. His parents are also living and in good heath. His name is Major Boykin.

[Dolletta] left for her home in Nebraska on the 29th day of January, 1906.

[from an account by C. B. Earle, M. D., of Greenville, South Carolina, entitled “Interesting Case of Contracted Pelvis Relieved by Caesarian Section,” which he presented before the Tri State Medical Association on February 27th and 28th, 1906.]

I, Dolletta, was born in Quincy, Illinois, October 14, 1881. My husband, C. H. Buck, was born November 3, 1872. I am the proud mother of three living normal children, born by the hazardous last resort, the Caesarian operation. Our eldest daughter, Mrs. Luecia E. Adams, was born at Greenville, S.C., January 16, 1906. Our son, Charles T. Buck, was born at Greenville, S.C. Feb. 12, 1912. Our baby daughter, Dottella Mayo Buck, was born at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, August 8, 1924. Each of our three babies were nine inches tall and weighed four pounds when born, and all received their nutriment naturally.

[from another postcard printed at a somewhat later date than the example above.]

Ms. Blalock further informs me that Dolletta considered herself not only the smallest mother in the world, but also the smallest grandmother — to daughter Luecia's three boys (Robert E., Harry E., and Charles T. Adams), of which the middle boy would become Ms. Blalock's father.

One point of interest is Dolletta's marital history: she first married Major Boykin, who was also a little person. Dolletta's eldest children Luecia and Charles were a result of this pairing, but Dottella (whose first name is a version of her mother's, and whose middle name was apparently derived from the clinic where she was born) was fathered by C. H. Buck, Dolletta's second husband. It is not known what became of Major Boykin, but I assume he died sometime in the early 1920's. Buck was an interesting character. Variously described as either part Osage or Cherokee Indian, he was a trick roper who was previously married to bearded lady Baroness Sidonia de Barcsy shortly after the death of her first husband in 1912. Buck (whose real name seems to have been Frederick Valentine Tischu) abandoned Sidonia for Dolletta in 1923 when illness forced the baroness to retire and she was no longer able to bring in a paycheck. Clearly, Buck was rather mercenary in his affections. One can only hope he treated Dolletta more kindly than he had Sidonia.

In her declining years, Dolletta was living in a nursing home in Joplin, Missouri. By this time she had lost her sight. The cause of her death is not known, but a mortician's report indicates Dolletta passed away in her 66th year on 11 January 1948, after having been ill for the preceding month.

Ms. Blalock is at this time attempting further genealogical research on her greatgrandmother and would like to find information on any of Dolletta's nine siblings and their families, as well as any information relating to Dolletta's other children. If you can provide any more information, please contact me so that I may pass it along.

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All Images and Text © James G. Mundie 2003 - 2010