MARY ANN BEVANS – The Homeliest Woman

MARY ANN BEVANS - The Homeliest Woman

Mary Ann Bevans, commonly referred to as ‘The Homeliest Woman in the World’, likely suffered from acromegaly. She was born Mary Ann Webster in London, England in 1874 as one of eight children. She was employed as a nurse and began to display characteristics of acromegaly shortly after her marriage in 1903.

Following the passing of her husband in 1914, found herself solely financially responsible for her four children. In an attempt to make some money, she entered and subsequently won an ‘Ugly Woman’ contest.

She was quickly hired by Coney Island’s Dreamland Circus in 1920 and there she remained, excluding a few short appearances for Ringling Bros and a 1926 World’s Fair spot, until her death at the age of 59 on December 26, 1933.

More recently, a Hallmark Birthday card featuring the image of Mary Ann Bevans launched a feeling of outrage in UK shops. A Dutch doctor complained that the card was inappropriate. Hallmark realized their error and promptly removed the offensive cards.

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.

16 Comments

  • Reply June 3, 2008

    Anonymous

    -she entered and subsequently won an ‘Ugly Woman’ contest.

    That is so terrible. To exploit people in that way.

  • Reply June 3, 2008

    J. Tithonus Pednaud

    Exploitation, by definition, involves using another person or group for selfish purposes. Mary Ann entered herself in the contest, so no one was exploited in this situation.

  • Reply August 9, 2008

    Anonymous

    I want to win an ugly woman contest…I mean…be the best possible of what ever you choose to be, right?

  • Reply December 15, 2008

    Will

    Don’t want to be exploited? Don’t enter the contest.

  • Reply April 16, 2009

    Joel

    Ah yes… the ‘Frankenstein disease.’ The giantism disease. Noted that she ‘was married.’ This disease usually progresses around mid-life and goes undiagnosed until the face begins to disfigure. I suppose it ‘developed’ sometime after she was married. Poor woman. :-( and to be driven to humble one’s self to circus-freakdom that way (she’d have never done this save for husband dying no doubt.)

    -I wonder if actor Richard Kiel has ‘acromegaly.’ Mr. Kiel is like 7-feet 1-inch tall and has a lot of the facial features usually attributable to acromegaly.
    I remember that he was vied with Arnold Swartzenaggar for the role of “The Incredible Hulk” but Kiel’s trouble with the green makeup and his vision made him a bad choice, and he was released from contract and Lou Ferrigno was slated to be ‘the Hulk’ as Swartzenaggar was either too tall or unavailable for the role or some reason.

    I knew someone with acromegaly, she died many years ago.

    -Joel

  • Reply May 26, 2009

    Angel

    It is a tragedy,the tragedy of the whole mankind .It changes a man thoroughly,causing great physical and mental suffering ,Life becomes more tougher then ever ,the men are tortured by anxiety and depression inevitably.

  • Reply May 26, 2009

    Angel

    One close friend of my is unfortunately attacked by this illness.Several years ago ,she was a beautiful girl ,very kind and clever ,had a goog figure. But now …… The god is cruel .Or,There is no god at all.

  • Reply June 9, 2009

    unRheal

    Angel: Apparently changes a man *or* a woman…

    As for putting it so naively as to say “Don’t want to be exploited? Don’t enter the contest.” Do you think she did it because she *wanted* to be displayed as an ugly woman?

    As someone else already re-iterated – she did it to support her 4 children she was left financially responsible for when her husband died.

    Don’t you think she should have rather done almost ANYTHING else to make money? It says more of her desperation, her love for her children, and her spirit, than anything.

    It’s a shame people can be so thoughtless and “inhuman” to say such things, but I guess it’s inevitable, with so many people with such attitudes out there.

  • Reply June 25, 2009

    Lola

    I’ve seen uglier that that.

  • Reply July 7, 2009

    Sam

    I don’t think she’s ugly. She’s just plain looking to me; not a gorgeous bombshell, but definitely not *ugly*.

  • Reply July 15, 2009

    Mamimi

    She’d definitely won the “plainest woman” contest. She’s not ugly at all. Not a milf, but nowhere near “eyesore”.

  • Reply August 4, 2009

    golde

    she’s not ugly at all…. :]
    i’ve seen many many uglier ppl
    for example the actress stockard channing….for me she’s the UGLIEST WOMAN EVER EVER EVER

  • Reply August 6, 2009

    PKN

    @ Joel, schwarzenegger was deemed not tall enough for the role, which was the sole reason Ferigno got the part in the first Hulk movie.

  • Reply February 25, 2010

    Nancy Smith

    Thank goodness for modern medicine and my faith in God, I have Acromegaly. I am 48, and I plan to live a very long life.

  • Reply February 6, 2011

    Annie

    Mary Bevans entered a nontraditional lifestyle out of love, which I think should distinguish her as a beautifully supportive and industrious mother, rather more than the homeliness of her face. I should think that if she were even featured on this site, she would have had to been a fascinating woman. Why else would we be reading about her so long after she’s died? I doubt none of us would be so interesting.

  • Reply March 17, 2011

    John Julius

    Well, I agree when men say: ‘beauty is on the inside’ haha…

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