Science and History

Dublin Core


Science and History


Pastrana's importance in scientific discussions and as a historical figure


Pastrana was often marketed as being an important link between human and animal. Doctors conducted intrusive examinations of her body, writing letters that proclaimed her importance as a figure of scientific study. Pastrana also reflects some of the anxieties of her historical moment--a time when the Industrial Revolution and the Mexican American War created instability in the U.S. This collection will feature documents that suggest her importance in scientific and historical conversations.


Kathleen Godfrey


Various online resources


Julia Pastrana Online




Kathleen Godfrey



Collection Items

The "Bear Woman" a "Perfect Woman"
Kneeland presents Pastrana and his examination of her to the Boston Society of Natural History. Quotes from Kneeland's report but also states that "the girl was present at this meeting of the Society, was freely and carefully examined. She was found…

Lyrics from The Singular History of Julia Pastrana
At the end of a 30 page promotional pamphlet, lyrics are given for different songs Pastrana sang when she performed. The songs include: "The Last Rose of Summer, " "Napolitaine," "Who'll Have Me," and "Miss Julia's Own"

Pastrana to appear in Cleveland, Ohio. Excerpts from promotional materials include description of Opate Indians and Pastrana's past in Mexico. Claim that Pastrana was mistreated. Beach started as her manager in February 1855 in New Orleans.

Julia Pastrana and Her Child
Autopsy and embalming of Pastrana and child by J. Sokolov

Editorial and Miscellaneous
Quotes from pamphlet, Dr. Mott, and Dr. Brainerd, Questions term "hybrid," description of physical appearance. Concludes: "there is nothing uncommon in her person nor in her gait."

A Second Joice Heth
Brief discussion of P.T. Barnum and Mr. Boon (showman associated with Pastrana's performance in Massachusetts). Inclusion of Dr. Mott's letter--but specifies that it was written by the son of the more esteemed Dr. Mott.

Wonderful Phenomenon: Wooly Horse Surpassed
Pastrana's arrival in Missouri on Flying Cloud, ship from New Orleans.

The Hybrid, or Semi-Human Indian, from Mexico
Pastrana's performance extended one more day by popular demand. Pastrana not named but this description included: "her natural vivacity, sweet voice, urbanity and bashfulness charm the fair sex while hosts of scientific and medical men arrive daily…

Extraordinary Phenomenon--The Bear Woman
Long account of Pastrana's origins in Mexico. Woman disappears and is found two years later with a child. Held captive by bear who dies dramatically when the woman is rescued.

A Bear Woman
Response to Pastrana's performance in Chicago by editor of the Tribune. Describes performance in positive terms and includes details about gendered elements
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