The fascinating and tragic story of Mary Ann Bevan

Mary Ann Bevan’s story begins in the 19th century when ‘freak shows’ were popular in American culture. These shows exhibited people with deformities, which is now considered highly disrespectful.

Mary Ann Bevan, born on December 20, 1874, in Plaistow, East London, was a nurse and a respected member of society. She married Thomas Bevan in 1902, and they had four children. However, Thomas passed away after 14 years, leaving Mary to care for their children alone.

Around the age of 32, Mary began experiencing symptoms of acromegaly, a hormonal disorder causing excessive growth of bones in her face, hands, and feet. This condition led to significant physical changes, and she eventually lost her job.

Desperate to provide for her children, Mary responded to a cruel advertisement seeking the “Ugliest woman.” Although she was reluctant, she saw no other option. Claude Bartram, the circus agent, described her: “She was not repulsive at all… She was unblemished, healthy, and strong.”

Mary’s decision allowed her to support her children, showing her enduring strength and love as a mother.