Charles Sherwood Stratton was the four year old son of a Bridgeport, Connecticut, carpenter in 1842 when P.T. Barnum "discovered" him and transformed him into General Tom Thumb, an eleven-year old European marvel. Barnum trained the child to sing, dance, and imitate famous persons. Under the guidance of Barnum, Tom Thumb performed at the American Museum and toured the world as one of the best-known midgets, until his death in 1883 at the age of 46. Barnum reaped enormous profits from exhibiting a number of "human curiosities" (like Tom Thumb), whom he presented ostensibly for their educational and scientific value. While offensive to today’s sensibilities, exhibitions of people with disabilities or who otherwise deviated from what the majority considered normal were not uncommon in mid and late nineteenth-century popular culture.