The 500-pound Ada Briggs hailed from Pulaski, NY. Both beautiful and bountiful, she spent the late 1800s bouncing from Barnum’s museum to various other dime museums. Her corpulence reportedly earned her $60 a week.
In 1885, at 536 pounds, Briggs served as president of a convention of fat women held in Baltimore. According to A. W. Stencil’s Seeing is Believing, fat lady conventions became a dime museum craze featuring obese women competing in outlandish spectacles, such as a 50-yard dash. The show must have been a crowd pleaser – provided the crowd wasn’t trampled. Briggs’ career last through the turn of the century, at which time she was a star attraction at Huber’s 14th Street Museum in New York.