"By Aeroplane to Pygmyland" Accounts of the 1926 Smithsonian-Dutch Expedition to New Guinea

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June 9, 1926 “Wild Men From Borneo”

The “Wild Men From Borneo” were made famous by the American showman P.T. Barnum (1810-1891) and other circus and sideshow managers during the mid to late 19th century. They were two brothers of very small stature (approximately 40 inches tall and weighing 40 pounds each) under the stage names, “Plutano and Waino.” Their real names were Hiram and Barney Davis and they were not from Borneo, nor did they at all physically resemble the Dayaks. Hiram was born in England (1825) and Barney was born in Long Island, N.Y. (1827). See Robert Bogdan’s Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988; pp. 121-127).


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