Unlike many of her bearded-lady contemporaries – the Baroness Sidonia de Barcsy was a genuine member of a royal family. Sidonia was born whisker-free on May 1, 1866 in Hungary. She remained sans mane until shortly after she gave birth to her son at the age of 19. Her son, Nicu, was a dwarf and was destined to stand less than three feet in height. The Baroness, meanwhile, began to sprout facial hair and in a few short months Sidonia possessed a full beard measuring nearly 9 inches in length.
Sidonia’s husband, Baron Antonio de Barcsy, was quite fond of the bushy beard. He took great pride in the unique appearance of his beloved wife and he relished the celebrity she drew to the family. The Baron knew there was a fortune to be had and actively cultivated a career for Sidonia and his son in exhibition and sideshow. In the pursuit of fortune and fame the Baron moved his family to Western Europe in the the 1890′s and the “De Barcsy Troupe’ began to actively tour to great success. The Troupe was certainly unique as it completely consisted of royal family members and was self-contained. With a blue-blood Bearded Lady as well as a dwarf on display, the Baron himself ’rounded’ out the troupe. At a weight of nearly 400 pounds the Baron made for a rather respectable Fat Man and he displayed himself as such. In 1903, the troupe travelled to America and found even greater fame with the Ringling Bros. and Campbell Bros circuses. In 1912, while wintering in Oklahoma, the Baron became stricken with illness and passed away. Sidonia continued touring America until she died on October 19, 1925 due to complications associated with Diabetes. Despite having remarried, Sidonia asked that her ashes be laid to rest next to the Baron.
The last member of the family, Nicu, continued to exhibit himself and perform in America. Adopting the title of ‘Baron’ following the death of his father. Baron Nicu was perhaps best known for performing at Coney Island as a magician and escape artist. Ironically, having lost the title to his family estate in a fire, Nicu was never able to return Hungary to claim his royal title officially.
Nicu eventually retired to Enid, Oklahoma in 1932. There he was well known and liked by the locals for his card tricks, his doves and his faithful dog. Nicu passed away in August of 1976 at the age of 91, that last member of a most remarkable family
Stay tuned for Wednesday sideshow…
Casey S. Hibbert© – Guest Blogger