During a time when swing music filled the air, classic Hollywood stars like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean graced the silver screens, and families gathered around their newly purchased television sets, a unique figure stood out for very different reasons.
Henry Behrens: The World’s Smallest Man of the ’50s
Henry Behrens, born around 1895 in Brazil, was known as the smallest man in the world during the late 1940s and mid-1950s. Although Guinness World Records did not exist then, Behrens’ unique stature garnered significant attention. Standing at a mere 30 inches (0.81 meters) tall and weighing just 32 pounds (14.5 kg), he defied societal norms and expectations.
Spotlight on Burton Lester’s Midget Troupe
Despite his small stature, Behrens, a.k.a “Colonel Peewee,” made a living confidently by traveling and performing as a key member of the Burton Lester’s Midget Troupe. This group of talented performers showcased their skills in various parts of the world.
Their acts often included dancing, singing, acrobatics, and other forms of live entertainment. Each member of the troupe brought their own unique talent, contributing to the overall success and popularity of the group.
The Dual Identity Enigma: Jack Fullford versus Henry Behrens
In 1951, a different man named Jack Fullford of Worthing was celebrated as the world’s smallest man, standing at 30 inches and weighing 32lbs. Gaining fame, he bought a house in Worthing from his earnings with that same Burton Lester’s circus troupe Henry Behrens was touring with.
It was later revealed that Jack Fullford of Worthing was Henry Behrens! The reason for his dual identity remains a mystery, with Behrens keeping silent.
Love Beyond Size: Henry’s Life with Emmie
Despite his small stature, Henry found love in his wife, Emmie. She, too, experienced challenges due to her height, as she was only 10 inches taller than Henry, standing at 40 inches.
As a couple, Henry and Emmie often claimed to be the world’s smallest couple. Their unique physical appearance made them popular public figures, leading to career opportunities at Bertram Mill Circus Ltd.
However, their work in the circus was not without challenges, as they once sought damages in court against their employers for shock and injuries sustained in a work-related accident. Henry and Emmie stood side-by-side throughout their lives, literally and figuratively.
Their shared experiences amid a world of giants forged a special bond and a love that persisted through the many obstacles they faced.
A Glimpse into the Behrens’ Life in Scenic Worthing
Henry and Emmie chose to settle down in Worthing, England. Worthing is a charming seaside town, and the couple’s decision to live there was likely influenced by its welcoming atmosphere and scenic beauty. Henry and Emmie tried to adapt to everyday living in a normal-sized house.
To overcome daily challenges, Henry adopted unique strategies for tasks like washing dishes at the sink by standing on a table.
One noteworthy moment from Behrens’ life was when he was photographed dancing with his cat in the doorway of his home, highlighting his talent and his love for animals.
The townspeople of Worthing were fascinated by the presence of Henry Behrens, often marveling at the contrast between their unusual neighbor and average-sized individuals.
Despite the occasional onlooker who would condescendingly offer to ‘help’ Henry Behrens with simple tasks, the couple’s life in Worthing allowed them to enjoy normalcy that may have been unachievable in other locales.
The Behrens chose a peaceful and idyllic town as their home, integrating themselves into the community and sharing in the joys of daily life, which is a testament to their resilience and love for one another.
Worthing’s Tiny Treasures: Recollections from Neighbors
Margaret Shaw, a neighbor of Henry and Emmie in Worthing, shared her memories of the couple. She remembered seeing small pieces of furniture and Henry’s tiny shoes inside their house. While walking past their home on Graham Road, Margaret would often glimpse these unique items custom-made for Henry’s size.
Henry and Emmie were known for their friendly nature and warm smiles, which made them well-liked by their community in Worthing. People would stop and chat with the couple when they strolled around the neighborhood, and they always seemed up for a conversation with passersby.
Their story still lingers within the community and serves as a reminder that one’s physical size does not determine one’s ability to lead a fulfilling life.
Captured Moments: Iconic Photographs of Henry Behrens
During his lifetime, various photographs were taken of Henry Behrens in Worthing, a seaside town in England. Several photos emphasized Henry’s small size by contrasting him with everyday objects.
For example, one iconic image showed Henry standing next to a London officer, highlighting the significant difference in their heights. Other images of him climbing on a table to wash the dishes and weighing himself on a street scale have been captured.
These photographs of Henry Behrens showcased his unique size and gave a glimpse into his daily life. They portrayed a person who transcended physical limitations and lived life to the fullest.
These snapshots of his life remain a fascinating reminder that greatness comes in all shapes and sizes.
Was Henry Behrens the smallest man who ever lived?
Standing at a notable 30 inches, Henry’s stature in the 1950s was a subject of fascination. But how does he compare to other individuals recognized for their exceptionally small stature throughout history? While his height was undeniably unique, there have been several individuals who defied societal norms with their diminutive sizes.
Let’s delve into the records of some of the shortest people ever known to see how Henry’s height stacks up:
|Chandra Bahadur Dangi
|21.5 inches (54.6cm)
|Nepalese man recognized as the shortest man in recorded history.
|1939 – 2015
|22.4 inches (57cm)
|From New Delhi, India, he was known as the shortest adult human from 1990-2011.
|1957 – 1997
|23.6 inches (59.9 cm)
|Filipino man who received the title of “shortest man alive” on his 18th birthday.
|24 inches (61cm)
|Recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the shortest woman to have ever lived.
|1876 – 1895
|24 inches (61cm)
|Mexican entertainer and the first person identified with Majewski osteodyplastic primordial dwarfism type II.
|1864 – 1890
|Jyoti Kisange Amge
|24.7 inches (62.8 cm)
|Indian woman holding the record for the “world’s smallest living woman” according to the Guinness World Records.
|26 inches (65 cm)
|South African disability rights activist who also suffered from osteogenesis imperfecta.
|1963 – 2018
|26 inches (65 cm)
|Hungarian man who claimed to be the shortest man in the world.
|Lived until 2011
|Khagendra Thapa Magar
|26 inches (67cm)
|Nepalese actor known as “little Buddha”.
|26.6 inches (67.5 cm)
|Former world’s shortest man according to the Guinness world records from Taipei, Taiwan.