[Autographed Cabinet Card Photograph of Carnival Entertainer Chiquita, The Doll Queen].
An autographed photo of a dwarf carnival entertainer
Chiquita, The Doll Queen was a dwarf. Born in Cuba, some sources say Mexico, she was a very successful entertainer with the traveling Bostock-Ferari Carnival.
This publicity photograph was likely sold as a souvenir. It shows the 26-inch, perfectly proportioned Chiquita wearing an elegant gown, part of her performance routine. For one of her fans, Chiquita autographed the back of photograph.
A caption appearing below the photograph identifies her by her “stage” name as well as by her married name, “Mrs. Anthony C. Woeckener of Erie, Pa.” Some suspect her 1901 marriage at age 31 to the then 17-year-old Woeckener was itself done for publicity.
Chiquita was a hit at the Pan-American Exposition in 1901. She was noted for wearing beautiful clothing and jewelry during her singing and dancing routines. For 15¢, one could even meet and engage with her. She was intelligent and spoke several languages.
Her cabinet card portrait emphasizes her short stature by showing her holding a standard piece of sheet music. It is about half her height. A large cabinet in the background looms over her.
Such an elegant portrait hardly evokes the image of a carnival. It remains, however, a staged image of a dwarf. It shows that carnival entertainments included high culture (beautiful singing) and low culture (prurient interest in what were then called “midgets).
Description: [Autographed Cabinet Card Photograph of Carnival Entertainer Chiquita, The Doll Queen].
Phila[delphia]: C.E. Ridenour Studio, 914 Arch St. . Cabinet Card Photograph. 6½ x 4¼ inches. Silver process photograph mounted on gray card stock with gilt edges; imprint on recto at bottom. Autographed in violet pencil on verso: “Chiquita.”
Ref. Sideshow World, Sideshow Performers from around the world, Freak, Central, accessed online.