The Beehive: the official blog of the Massachusetts Historical Society

"Extraordinary Living Wonders!"

Our June Object of the Month is an 1862 advertising broadside for a return visit to Boston by the "Aztec Children," Maximo and Bartola. The pair had made an initial appearance in Boston in 1850, and toured the world for at least four decades, sometimes under the management of P.T. Barnum. They were billed as "descendants and specimens of the Sacerdotal Caste (now nearly extinct) of the Ancient Aztec Founders of the Ruined Temples of that Country," but were in reality microcephalic siblings from San Salvador whose mother thought she was sending them to America to be cured, not exhibited.

See the broadside, and read the whole story as told by our Senior Cataloger, Mary Fabiszewski, here.

permalink | Published: Friday, 11 June, 2010, 10:00 AM