Excerpts from 1,200-word article

SARASOTA'S RINGLING MUSEUM IS MORE THAN BIG TOP

I must confess I didn't know there was ever a real Tom Thumb. I thought he was like Snow White and Rupert Bear, and similar characters from my childhood storybooks. But now, at the Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota, I learn that he was Charles Stratton from Connecticut, a perfectly formed man just 25 inches in his stockinged feet. What's more he had a wife, 24 inches Lavinia Warren. The couple was married in 1863, and their diminutive wedding outfits are displayed here......

Circuses were immensely popular at the time. The brothers started in a small way, travelling from one little country town to the next. Soon their only serious rival in America was Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth. When P.T. Barnum died, John Ringling bought that circus, operating it separately at first and later merging it with his own. In the early 1920s, claimed as one of the world's richest men, he proceeded to pour much of his wealth into a museum of art and a private mansion at Sarasota.....