Anna Haining Bates

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Anna Haining Bates
Anna Swan with her parents.jpg
Anna Haining Bates with her parents
Anna Haining Swan

(1846-08-06)August 6, 1846
Mill Brook, New Annan, Nova Scotia
DiedAugust 5, 1888(1888-08-05) (aged 41)
OccupationCircus attraction
Known forRecord stature
Parent(s)Alexander Swan
Ann Graham
Anna Haining Bates
Anna Haining Bates

Anna Haining Bates (née Swan; August 6, 1846 – August 5, 1888), was a Canadian woman famed for her great stature of 7 feet 11 inches (2.41 m).[1][2] Her parents were of average height and were Scottish immigrants.


Anna Swan, was born at Mill Brook, New Annan, Nova Scotia.[citation needed] At birth she weighed 16 pounds (7.26 kg). She was the third[3] 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 (89.36 kg). [4] 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 Bates to Anna Swan, 1871

Anna 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, she 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 (149.69 kg) and her highest weight was 371 pounds (168.28 kg). When visiting a circus in Halifax with which Martin Van Buren Bates — another enormously tall person — was travelling, Anna was spotted by the promoter and hired on the spot. The giant couple became a touring sensation and eventually fell in love and, on June 17, 1871 in St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, they married.

In 1872, Anna Swan (now Anna Bates) and her husband purchased 130 acres (53 ha) of land and had furniture made to their specifications. Martin supervised the construction of the house. The main part of the house had fourteen-foot (4.3 m) ceilings, while the doors were extra wide and were eight feet (2.4 m) tall. The back part of the house was built an average size for servants and guests.

Anna conceived two children with Martin. The first was a girl born on May 19, 1872; she weighed 18 pounds (8.16 kg) and died at birth.[5] While touring in the summer of 1878, Anna was pregnant for the second time. The baby was born on January 18, 1879, and survived only 11 hours.[6] He was the largest newborn ever recorded, at 23 pounds 9 ounces (10.7 kg) and nearly 30 inches tall (ca. 75 cm); each of his feet was six inches (152 mm) long.[7] For this he was posthumously awarded a Guinness World Record.[8]

The Bateses 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 September 27, 2015.
  2. ^ "Anna Swan: Nova Scotia's Remarkable Giantess". Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  3. ^ "The Anna Swan Story". Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  4. ^ A biographical Sketch – Anna H Swan – 1871
  5. ^ "The Giants' Wedding - Paul Slade - Journalist". Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  6. ^ "Biography – SWAN, ANNA HAINING – Volume XI (1881-1890) – Dictionary of Canadian Biography". Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  7. ^ "Woman gives birth to 'giant baby'". BBC news. January 21, 2005.
  8. ^ 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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