Mariedl, The Tyrolean Giantess


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Old Victorian Picture Postcard of Mariedl, The Tyrolean Giantess. She was born in 1879 in Austria and from the age of three she grew at an incredible rate and by 15 had reached a height of 7 feet 10. She left school early and worked on the family farm until she came to the attention of circus side-show operators who wanted her as an exhibit in the very popular ‘freak shows’ of the time. They offered to pay her parents well for permission to put the young girl on display and although at first they refused, money troubles inevitably saw Maria begin a seven-year tour across Europe, accompanied by her ‘normal’ sized sister. She was the star attraction at fairs & festivals and was described as the “tallest woman who ever lived”. In all her appearances she wore a traditional peasant costume and Tyrolean hat, designed to make her appear even taller and more grotesque. Despite being in the limelight Maria led a very isolated life. The side-show operators did not allow her to show herself in public outside of her performances as that would lessen the mystery and reduce their profits. Her weight and height meant that it was hard for her to stand for any length of time and she suffered from ulcerated legs, but as no-one wanted to see a sitting giant, she was made to keep moving whilst on view. By 1913 she returned home emotionally and physically damaged, she spent her last years on her parents farm where she died in December 1917 aged just 38. Postcard measures 14 x 9cms, some wear and creasing as expected.


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