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June 24, 2024

Midget Czech Showman Baron Richard Nowak, Blowing on a Trumpet, 1940

Czech showman Baron Richard Nowak, 19, stands 21 inches high and weighs 17 lbs., blowing on a trumpet as he nestles inside tuba player of the Hamid-Morton Circus in Trenton, NJ, 1940. The photographs were taken by John Phillips.

“Last week when the Hamid-Morton Circus was in town I took some pictures of the circus midget inside an ‘oompah tuba,’” Phillips told LIFE. “This diminutive showman is introduced to the public as Baron Richard Nowak.”

“His sister Emma, who is normal size, came with him from Prague, Czechoslovakia,” he added. “She told me that the ‘Baron’ is 19, stands 21 in. high and weighs 17 Ib. When I held him in my hand he gazed apprehensively at the ground and warned, ‘If I fall I'll probably break into little pieces.’”

Baron Richard Nowak, billed as the “World’s Tiniest Man” in circus acts for the Barnett Brothers Circus from 1939-1946. One of his acts included jumping out of the trunk that belonged to his mother Emma Nowak Rogers.

Once Nowak retired from circus performing, he became a Presbyterian minister. Baron Nowak passed away on July 17, 1997 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in York.


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