Weird History

All About Schlitzie, The "Pinhead" You've Definitely Seen Before

Schlitzie was one of America's greatest circus and sideshow performers. He worked in various circuses for decades during the twentieth century and left a definitive mark on the performance scene. 

Many people still don't know the story of this legendary trouper, though. Because he was abandoned by his family at a very young age, many details about his origins are based on speculation. Schlitzie was born with microcephaly, a disease that made his head much smaller than normal (hence the "pinhead" moniker) and gave him the mental capacity of a 3-year-old. He was also quite small, only ever growing to a height of 4 feet.  

Schlitzie's disabilities rarely stopped him - he loved performing and took on the world with a smile. His exuberance and love of life set him apart from other sideshow performers and landed him a spot in the hearts of many Americans at a time when acceptance of those with differences wasn't all that common.