The fascinating and tragic story of Mary Ann Bevan


Crushed, heartbroken, and poor, this woman saw an ad one day which read, “Wanted: Ugliest woman. Nothing repulsive, maimed or disfigured. Good pay guaranteed, and long engagement for successful applicant. Send recent photograph.”

No matter how awful she felt about this ‘job,’ she saw no way out of her situation. She simply needed to do anything in order to feed her children. Above all, she was a mother.

Mary answered the ad and she was soon contacted by the circus’ agent, a man named Claude Bartram, who later shared Mary’s story.

“She was not repulsive at all. She had the kind of face one usually finds in a giant, a powerful, masculine jaw, prominent cheek-bones, nose and forehead, but she was unblemished, healthy and strong. She told me she did not like the idea of placing herself on exhibition, she was shy and did not want to be separated from her children,” Bartram said, according to Daily Star.

“I told her she would earn £10 per week for a year, travelling expenses and all the money from the sale of picture postcards of herself, so she could provide for the education of her children.”


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In no time, magazines were filled with Mary Ann’s photos and everyone recognized her as ‘the ugliest woman on Earth.’
Her popularity brought her to the Dreamland Circus in Coney Island, New York, one of the most famous circuses there were. Mary Ann became an attraction, but then a doctor named Harvey Cushing, a leading neurosurgeon, spotted her and knew there was more behind ger huge face that he wanted to explore thoroughly.

“This unfortunate woman who sits in the sideshow of Ringling Brothers ‘between Fat Lady and Armless Wonder’ and ‘affects white lace hats, woollen mittens and high laced shoes’ has a story which is far from mirth-provoking.

“She, previously a vigorous and good-looking young woman, has become the victim of a disease known as acromegaly,” he wrote in a letter to Time magazine.


Mary Ann spent her life working at the circus and she was reported to have earned a small fortune which enabled her to send her children back to England where they attended boarding schools.

She endured a lot, but she did it all for her children.

Mary Ann died at the age of 59 of natural causes. Her final wish was to be buried in her homeland, England, and her children fulfilled her wish. She is resting at the Ladywell and Brockley Cemetery in South London.

This woman’s sad, yet fascinating life story speaks of the mother’s love for her children more than anything else.

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Bored Daddy

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