Anna Haining Bates

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Anna Haining Bates
Anna Swan with her parents.jpg
Anna Haining Bates with her parents
Born Anna Haining Swan
(1846-08-06)August 6, 1846
Mill Brook, New Annan, Nova Scotia
Died August 5, 1888(1888-08-05) (aged 41)
Seville, Ohio
Nationality Canadian
Spouse(s) Martin Van Buren Bates (m. 1871–88)

Anna Haining Bates (née Swan) (August 6, 1846 – August 5, 1888), was a Canadian giantess famed for her great height, at 2.43 m (7'11") as her stature.[1][2] Her parents were of normal height and were Scottish immigrants.


At birth Bates weighed sixteen pounds (7.2 kg). Bates was the third of 13 children, all of the others being around average height. From birth she grew very quickly. On her fourth birthday she was 4 feet 6 inches (137 centimetres) tall. On her 6th birthday she was measured again, and she stood 5 feet 2 inches (157.48 centimetres) tall, an inch or two (2.5–5 cm) shorter than her mother. On her 11th birthday she stood 6 feet 2 inches (188 cm) tall and weighed 197 pounds (89 kg). [3] By her 15th birthday Bates was 7 feet (210 cm) tall. She reached her full height three years later. Her feet measured 14.2 inches (36 cm) long.

The marriage of Martin van Buren to Anna Swan, 1871

Bates excelled at literature and music and was considered to be very intelligent. She also excelled at her studies of acting, piano and voice. She played Lady Macbeth in one play. At one time, Bates nearly burned to death when Barnum's museum was destroyed by fire. The stairs were in flames and she was too large to escape through a window. She did get help and escaped safely. She normally weighed 330 pounds and her highest weight was 371 pounds. When visiting a circus in Halifax with which Martin Van Buren Bates — another enormously tall person — was travelling, Bates was spotted by the promoter and hired on the spot. The giant couple became a touring sensation and eventually fell in love and, on 17 June 1871 in St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, they married.

In 1872, Bates and her husband purchased 130 acres (0.53 km2) of land and had furniture made to their specifications. Martin supervised the construction of the house. The main part of the house had 14-foot (4.3 m) high ceilings, while the doors were extra wide and were 8 and a 1/2 feet tall. The back part of the house was built an average size for servants and guests. Bates conceived two children with Martin. The first was a girl born on May 19, 1872; She weighed 18 pounds and died at birth.[4]

While touring in the summer of 1878, Bates was pregnant for the second time. The baby was born on 18 January 1879, and survived only 11 hours.[5] He was the largest newborn ever recorded, at 23 pounds 9 ounces and nearly 30 inches tall and each of his feet were six inches (152 mm) long.[6] For this she was awarded a Guinness World Record.[7] The Bates' resumed touring with the W.W. Cole Circus in the summer of 1879, and again in the spring of 1880. Bates spent her remaining years quietly on the farm that she and her husband owned. She had joined the local Baptist Church in 1877 and attended services with her husband.

Anna Bates died suddenly and unexpectedly in her sleep at her home on August 5, 1888, one day before her 42nd birthday.


  1. ^ "Anna Swan: The Giantess of Nova Scotia". The Human Marvels. Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  2. ^ "Anna Swan: Nova Scotia's Remarkable Giantess". Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  3. ^ A biographical Sketch - Anna H Swan - 1871
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Woman gives birth to 'giant baby'". BBC news. January 21, 2005. 
  7. ^ Heaviest birth. Guinness World Records. "Anna Bates... gave birth to a boy weighing 9.98 kg (22 lb) and measuring 71.12 cm (28 in) at her home in Seville, Ohio, USA, on 19 January 1879."

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