Mary Ann Bevan, also known as the “Ugliest Woman in the World,” was a British woman who lived in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She was born with a rare genetic disorder known as neurofibromatosis, which caused benign tumors to grow on her face and body. As a result of her condition, Bevan’s face was severely disfigured, and she earned the nickname “Ugliest Woman in the World.”
Bevan was born in London, England, in 1874, and her condition was present from birth. Despite her physical differences, she was educated and able to read and write. She began her career as a sideshow performer in the late 19th century, traveling with different circuses and fairs throughout Europe and the United States. Her condition made it difficult for her to lead a normal life. She was often bullied and ridiculed by others and struggled to find work. Despite this, Bevan was determined to make a living and support herself. She eventually turned to the circus as a way to earn money, and she became a popular attraction in sideshows.
Mary Ann Bevan was born with a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis, also known as von Recklinghausen’s disease. This condition causes the growth of benign tumors, or neurofibromas, on the nerves throughout the body. These tumors can occur anywhere on the body but are most commonly found on the skin, nerves, and bones. The tumors can cause disfigurement and other physical abnormalities, such as large, discolored patches on the skin and vision and hearing loss.
There are two types of neurofibromatosis: Type 1 and Type 2. Mary Ann Bevan had Type 1 neurofibromatosis, which is also known as von Recklinghausen’s disease. This type of neurofibromatosis is caused by a gene mutation controlling the growth of cells in the nervous system. It is a genetic disorder inherited in an autosomal dominant manner, meaning that an affected person has a 50% chance of passing on the disorder to their children.
During her career, Bevan was often billed as the “Ugliest Woman in the World” or “The Elephant Man’s Daughter.” She was a popular attraction at sideshows and was known for her good nature and friendly demeanor. Bevan was also known for her wit and intelligence, and she often engaged in conversations with the audiences who came to see her. Bevan retired from performing in the 1920s and lived in obscurity for the rest of her life. She died in London in 1927 at the age of 53.
Bevan’s story is a reminder of the societal attitude toward people with physical and mental disabilities in the past. Sideshow performers with physical differences were often referred to as “freaks” and were exploited for the entertainment and curiosity of the public. They were usually paid very little and were not treated with the same dignity and respect as other performers.