DOLLETTA MIDGET MOTHER
BINGO FAIR 1914
DOLLETTA and FAMILY
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  yrs., Charles J.
Boykin  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