MME. ABOMAH: “THE AFRICAN GIANTESS” WHO WAS ONCE THE TALLEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD

By Duchess Magazine

Ella Williams, also known by her stage name Mme Abomah, was a giantess known for being the world’s tallest woman in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Williams was reportedly 7 feet 6 inches tall. Although she was born in South Carolina in the United States in 1865, her show manager claimed that she was actually from Dahomey, now known as the Republic of Benin. Williams took the surname of her parents’ slaveholders, the Grigsbys, as her own.

Despite being approached by various vaudeville and circus promoters to tour as a giantess, Williams refused. However, while working as a cook in South Carolina, she agreed to join a tour of the British Isles organized by Frank C. Bostock in 1896.

Bostock, who understood that Williams’ act would not be well received in the United States due to racism, gave her the stage name Abomah, claiming that she was a member of the legendary Dahomey Amazons, an all-female fighting force that existed at the time.

Over the course of her 30-year career, Abomah toured not only Britain but also much of continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America, and Cuba. She was known for her expensive and elegant clothing, which gave her a regal appearance.

When World War I began in 1914, Abomah canceled her tours and returned to the United States in March 1915. She worked for Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey, and at Coney Island, and continued performing until the 1920s before retiring from the scene.

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