MADEMOISELLE GABRIELLE – The Half-Woman

MADEMOISELLE GABRIELLE - The Half-Woman

Mademoiselle Gabrielle was a legless marvel from the early 1900’s. She was born in Basel, Switzerland in 1884 and began her freak show and exhibition career at the Paris Universal Exposition in 1900 as The Half-Woman.

Her first foray into show business proved quite successful as she soon traveled to America to work with the Dreamland Circus Side Show, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. Furthermore, in 1912, Mademoiselle Gabrielle embarked on a short-lived vaudevillian career with New York’s Hammerstein Theater. She eventually broke her contract with the theater agent and was subsequently sued for breach. A four year court battle resulted in a $2000 fine paid to the theater agent. Few human marvels appeared on the vaudeville stage, the Hilton sisters did so several years later, but Mademoiselle Gabrielle was a special case. She was beautiful, charming, graceful and demure enough for the general public to accept her deformity objectively.

Mademoiselle Gabrielle possessed no legs and, according to a 1929 London Life article, she possessed no stumps whatsoever. Her torso finished just below the hip gracefully. Her figure was impressive and she accentuated her physical qualities and natural beauty with opulent Victorian garb and striking jewelry. Mademoiselle Gabrielle was independent and never complained of her condition. She firmly believed that she was ‘no less a woman’, despite being physically half of a woman.

Mademoiselle Gabrielle attracted men in droves and married at least three times during her lifetime. First she was married to a man with the surname of Hunter and lastly to a German gentleman. Due to these surname changes, her later history is difficult to trace and her eventual date of demise is currently unknown.

Author, researcher and an expert of the odd, J. Tithonus Pednaud has been chronicling bizarre history and highlighting the lives of those born exceeding different for over a decade.

21 Comments

  • Reply June 17, 2007

    V

    great blog!

    i stumbled upon it :) definitely bookmarking this!

  • Reply June 19, 2007

    M

    I love her outfit. Would that I were a beautiful half lady, and could have all of my clothes made especially for me and my fine figure.

    I love that she thought of herself as no less of a woman. I imagine that thinking is a bit ahead of her time.

  • Reply June 20, 2008

    Celia Pleete

    I love this site! Thanks for compiling such a great sideshow encyclopedia. I’m definitely linking it to my blog.
    cheers!

  • Reply August 11, 2008

    porcelana-x

  • Reply August 15, 2008

    Rhenn

    I agree with M. I love that outfit. I want it. :P

    And porcelana-x: I want to see your photo, but it says I have to log into your account. If you see this, hit me up at myspace.com/schlieffenska. Just send me a note. I really want to see that doll. :P

  • Reply September 30, 2008

    Emma

    This may sounds stupid, but how does she go to the bathroom?

  • Reply September 30, 2008

    J Tithonus Pednaud

    Sitting down, one would assume.

  • Reply February 15, 2009

    Leal

    I can’t get over how pretty she is to see any fault in the “half woman” situation. : D

  • Reply June 15, 2009

    Julieann

    She is seriously beautiful. :D Even though she’s only half, she possess great beauty!

  • Reply July 7, 2009

    Mayla

    She was so beautiful….
    and that was her charm…8->

  • Reply January 9, 2010

    Melusinia

    She’s so beautiful.

  • Reply May 29, 2010

    C

    She’s gorgeous! I don’t consider her no less a woman either. :)

  • Reply July 22, 2010

    Eleanor

    Wow she was pretty!

  • Reply February 18, 2011

    M.

    I don’t mean to sound idiotic but, much like another individual before me, I’d love to understand how she actually used the restroom. I know that as of right now, there are gastric sacs that waste can be deposited into but, was medicine advanced enough during her time for her to have had these as well? Thanks, in advance!

  • Reply June 1, 2011

    D.

    Since there’s no information to suggest otherwise, I guess it’s safe to assume she had normal gastrointestinal anatomy and was able to use regular toilets…

  • Reply July 3, 2011

    James A.K.A. "The Half-Man"

    Thanks for your interesting site, J.T. I think that it’s absolutely terrific & amazing- a fusion of education, entertainment & enlightenment. I rarely ever get to see others like me. It’s sure nice to get a chance to see a few ‘others’ like me that I can relate to. I thank you much for that! I’ve only seen of maybe 2 others of a similar condition to mine at the most. I enjoy it. Good work. :)

    And like Mademoiselle Gabrielle, I’m also (semi) independent and never have complained about my condition, and firmly believed that I’m “no less a man”, despite being physically half of a man if you will. I’ve a wicked sense of humor & I don’t take myself too seriously. ;)

    Now, I’m of a very similar condition & and around the same age as Mademoiselle in the picture. I’m a 42 years old & was born legless. I’m a congenital double-above-the-knee amputee with & no stumps. Now Yes, I’m a normally functioning “in every way” as was Moiselle.I’m a normally proportioned, my trunk finishing neatly and smoothly a little below the waist with nothing in the way of stumps being present. I’m also able to walk-on my hands. But unlike Moiselle, my right hand is malformed-deformed similar to another famous “half-lady” Jeanie Tomaini.

    Kind Regards,
    Jim.

  • Reply July 3, 2011

    Half-Man

    My physical limitations are not that really that limited. I can do most things for myself: write, dress, drive a car, play sport (tennis) etc. I basically can do everything & tend for myself. Making friends has always been pretty easy for me. Once people get to know me, they forget I have no legs. To me, that’s quite a complement! I learned to get past & through with support from family & friends.

    It’s not what happens to you in life…it’s your attitude towards it!

    I’m proud & embrace of who & what I am. I’m a free-speech advocate when it comes to the ‘disabled community.’ And I think within or without the ‘disabled’ community should have that right to use whatever terms they like. :) Even crip, gimp and other ‘words.’ lol. =D I see nothing wrong with trying to reclaim them, to assert there’s not a damn thing wrong with having a disability. I’ve always had a wicked sense of humor & glorified in barbecuing sacred cows. I just can’t stand the political correctness crap & garbage! Such euphemistic garbage as “differently-abled” and “special-needs” and “handicapped” and “physically-challenged.” Just too impossible construction to maintain ..too many goddamed syllables! lol. =D

    Please feel free to inquire & ask me any personal questions. I mean absolutely anything you’re curious about or would like to know. I really don’t mind at all. It’s only human nature to be is curious.

    • Reply September 19, 2012

      Mia

      Jim thanks for sharing your story, it’s really fantastic to hear from people who are born with different forms talk about themselves in such an open manner, I know it’s a while since you made your original comment but I wanted to say thanks for chiming out! I love this blog because of how humanely it’s written, I don’t see these people as “freaks” to be horrified by, I see them as people who have taken what could easily be seen as great adversity and turned it into opportunity and success.

      Hope you’re well Jim!

      Best,
      Mia.

  • Reply December 18, 2011

    Molly

    James (“Half Man”) – You sound like an amazing man! I hope life gives its best for you, you seem to working to get the best out of the life you’ve been given.

  • Reply May 19, 2012

    amanda

    I was going through a box of old pictures, and I found a picture of mlle Gabriele. She is older in this picture, but still very beautiful. So happy to be able to find out who she is. :)

  • Reply June 24, 2012

    Meanie

    I like how you quoted “eventual date of demise.”

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