The Life of Joice Heth, the Nurse of Gen. George Washington, (The Father of our Country) Now Living at the Astonishing Age of 161 Years
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The Life of Joice Heth, the Nurse of Gen. George Washington, (The Father of our Country) Now Living at the Astonishing Age of 161 Years, and Weighs Only 46 Pounds. New York: Printed for the Publisher, 1835.
Octavo pamphlet, six leaves, disbound, some foxing and toning, 6 1/2 x 4 1/4 in.
P.T. Barnum had just purchased Joice Heth for display in August of 1835. This pamphlet was likely issued in conjunction with Barnum's show. In a rather ghastly display of 19th century exploitation, Barnum, in response to great public misgivings regarding Heth's actual age, held a public autopsy after her death which attracted 1,500 spectators. The surgeon declared Heth's actual age to have been about eighty years. Additionally, there seems to be no evidence that she ever served as Washington's nurse.
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