H.R.H. Princess Wee Wee
Princess Wee Wee
postcard, 5.5 x 3.5 inches, circa 1916
Princess Wee Wee, a native of Baltimore whose real name was Harriet Elizabeth Thompson, was a
popular attraction at the start of the twentieth century. Among the most famous little people
of her day, Wee Wee appeared with various shows including Coney Island's Dreamland. Why she or
her promoter should have chosen a stage name that is synonymous with ‘urine’ is a
mystery that may never be fully revealed. However unfortunate the appellation, it didn't seem to
to lessen her appeal. Wee Wee was a sideshow celebrity of national prominence, and in June 1926 even
performed at the White House for President Coolidge.
Starting about 1925, Wee Wee toured as a featured dancer with The Whitman Sisters, who for forty
years were known as "the Royalty of Negro Vaudeville" and through their annual touring shows nurtured
such talents as Count Basie, Pine Top Smith and Moms Mabley. Princess Wee Wee was a star attraction
of the revue, where she was billed as "The World's Smallest Perfect Woman". In her routine, Wee Wee
was often paired with a six-foot tall male dancer.
In 1933, Wee Wee moved to California with Essie Whitman, one of the four Whitman Sisters. This move was apparently
the result of Wee Wee's desire to find work in the movies. The Princess had her own booth at
the 1934 meeting of the Screen Actors Guild, and appeared — uncredited — as a dancer
in at least one film, The Music Goes 'Round (1936).
My tribute to Her Royal Highness, Princess Wee Wee Riding a Hound, may be found
[Many thanks to author Marc L. Bankert for providing me with information about Princess
Wee Wee's background that he uncovered while researching the career of Lillian "The Sepia Queen" Goodner.]
All Images and Text © James G. Mundie 2004 - 2010