Anna Swan Museum

Honouring the life of the famed giantess Anna Swan (1846-1888) who was born and raised in the Tatamagouche area on the North Shore of Nova Scotia.

At age 4 she was four feet in height, and by age 6 stood as tall as her average-sized mother. Anna reached a height of 7 feet 11 inches and weighed almost 400 pounds.

The “Nova Scotia Giantess” was employed at P.T. Barnum’s American Museum in New York City for several years before touring Europe with a troupe of entertainers.

In London Anna married her Prince Charming, Martin van Buren Bates, the 7 foot 9 inch ‘Kentucky Giant’, who had been an officer in the Confederate Army. Her wedding dress was a gift from Queen Victoria. The couple settled in Seville, Medina County, Ohio, where they built a giant house tailored to their needs. The marriage produced two giant babies; sadly, neither lived.

Anna’s intriguing life story, marked by fame, fortune, happiness and sadness, is used in schools in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand to promote literacy and to foster respect for and understanding and acceptance of those who are considered ‘different’. Anna learned to cope with her great height by heeding the advice of her maternal grandmother to “stand tall and be proud of your Highland ancestry”. She was well educated, enjoyed a lucrative career, travelled extensively and married a man who genuinely loved and revered her.

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