There have been many "World's Smallest Mothers", but perhaps the smallest of all was little Dolletta Dodd, a 28"-tall dwarf from Quincy, Illinois. Dolletta was born October 14, 1881, to the wife of B.F. Dodd, a civil engineer. The third of ten children, Dolletta was said to be so small at birth that she fit in the palm of her 5'9"-tall father's hand and could be completely covered with the other hand. She was precocious, however, and could walk and talk by the age of 11 months. By the time she was 18 months old, she weighed but four pounds and was nine inches tall, less than half the weight and length of her newborn baby brother.


Dolletta's parents insisted that she receive a normal college education despite her diminutive size. She attended school in Fremont, Nebraska, and taught school there for three years after her graduation. Around 1900 she left her teaching job to become a lecturer with a circus sideshow. As a performer, she was quite successful. She rode a miniature chariot drawn by Shetland ponies, trained dogs, and played the harmonica and piano. In her spare time she wrote and recited poetry. Her sideshow resume included Greater Alamo Shows, H.W. Campbell's Shows and Frank Taylor Circus.

Dolletta married Major James A. Boykin, a 42"-tall dwarf, around 1904. Their first daughter, Luecia, was born January 16, 1906 by Caesarian section. A son, Charles, followed on February 12, 1912. Dolletta and her "two Caesarian babies" travelled together as an enormously popular sideshow attraction and were featured in Robert Ripley’s Believe it or Not?! comic strip.


After Major Boykin died, Dolletta remarried to 6'-tall circus trick roper C.H. Buck, who carried his wife in his arms like a small child. Buck, it seemed, liked unusual women, for he had previously been married to Hungarian bearded lady Sidonia de Barcsy. Dolletta underwent a third and final Caesarian section at Rochester, Minnesota's, prestigious Mayo Clinic on August 8, 1924. Her baby daughter was named Dottella Mayo Buck in honor of the clinic. All three of Dolletta’s children later married and chose to remain in showbusiness.


Dolletta retired in 1939 to Joplin, Missouri, after her vision began to fail. She was active in the Joplin Service Club for the Blind and a member of the South Joplin Christian Church, and she got around using a custom-built wheelchair. Although she strove to "remain active" in her declining years, a stroke in December 1947 left her bedridden. After living for seven years in a nursing-home room custom furnished to her size, she died in her miniature bed on January 10, 1948. She is buried in the Ozark Memorial Park Cemetary. A beloved mother, wife and entertainer, Dolletta claimed she could do anything an everage-sized person could do – her only regret was that she couldn't drive a car.

Photo: Real photo postcard by Alorice (sp?), Tacoma, Washington, ca. 1918. Stamped on reverse in blue ink "World's Smallest Mother Dolletta and my two Caesarian Babies: Luecia E. Boykin [13] yrs., Charles J. Boykin [7] yrs." Handwritten in black ink, "I am 37 yrs., 28 ins., 37 lbs." and the ages of the children.


Text and last image courtesy of Elizabeth Anderson Phreeque Show


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