Robert Pershing Wadlow was born in 1918 and was the oldest of 5 children. 

At 8' 11", he was the tallest person ever recorded in human history

When he started walking at the age of 11 months he was already 3' 5 and weighed 40 pounds - roughly the same height and weight as most 4 year olds.
Robert standing next to a classmate at the age of 10. At 6' 6 he towered over all the kids and 99% of adults.

Robert was already taller than his father at the age of 6 when he measured 6 feet. Dad was 5' 11. This is Robert at 10.

Robert with Boxing legend, Primo Carnera, at age 12. Primo was 6' 9 and Robert was 7' 2.

Robert with his family in 1935. At 17, he was 8' 1 and weighed 315lbs.

At the age of 18 he traveled around the country in the family car when he took a job as goodwill ambassador for the international shoe company. His father modified the car by removing the front passenger seat so that Robert could stretch his legs and sit in relative comfort.

At 18, he wore a size 37 shoe that was custom-made and cost  $100 - roughly $1,650 in today's dollars. When he became ambassador they were provided free of charge.

Robert's size 37AAA shoes. 

For comparison, next to a size 12 shoe.


Robert Wadlow at the Texas Centennial in 1936 posing with the "Sons of the Pioneers"

Some admiring fans.

Robert with his family.

Robert with his mom and younger sister. (1938)

Robert aboard the Queen Mary after accepting an offer to be the star attraction at the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus. 

He stipulated that he would only appear in engagements at Madison Square Garden and at the Boston Garden and that he would appear only two times a day for three minutes at a time. 

He demanded to be in the center ring, not the sideshow. He would wear only a plain business suit.

Movie star, Mary Pickford, being greeted at the St. Louis airport by Robert. At the age of 20, he got a cane because he had difficulty walking.

Robert Wadlow, 4th from left.


On July 4, 1940, during a professional appearance at the Manistee National Forest Festival, a faulty brace irritated his ankle, causing a blister and subsequent parasitic infection. 

Doctors treated him with a blood transfusion and emergency surgery, but his condition worsened due to an auto-immune disorder, and on July 15, 1940, he died in his sleep at age 22

Robert was entombed in a coffin 10 feet long and weighing 1,000 pounds, requiring a dozen pallbearers and eight other assistants. 

Robert's funeral was attended by 27,000 people. Robert’s parents buried their son’s body under a vault of concrete because of fears for the sanctity of his body. 

Upon the death of Robert Wadlow, his family had almost all of his belongings destroyed. (Except his shoes apparently) 

They didn’t want collectors to purchase his clothing and other items to be displayed as any kind of  "freak" memorabilia. He led a tough and short life but his legacy as a kind-hearted gentle giant will never go away.

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