Martha Ann Honeywell (1786–1856) was born without hands or forearms.  However, she produced quality silhouettes and embroidery using only her mouth and her toes. One of her advertisements claimed she stood only three feet tall.

Martha Ann became a public performer around the United States. During one suchdisplay, she threaded a needle and embroidered with her toes and mouth; balanced scissors with her mouth and arm stump to make paper cutouts; and wrote a letter with her toes. In addition, another of her specialties was a cutout with a handwritten version of the Lord’s Prayer at its center.

There are several surviving newspaper advertisements documenting her public appearance. One broadside indicates silhouettes would be cut in a few seconds for twenty-five cents, half-price for children.  Martha Ann signed her silhouettes “Cut without hands by M.A. Honeywell.”




Cities where Honeywell is known to have appeared include:

Salem, Massachusetts in 1806 and again in 1809
Boston Massachusetts in 1806
Charleston, South Carolina in 1808 and again in 1834–5
New York City in 1829
Richmond, Virginia in 1832
& Louisville, Kentucky in 1839.



Another advertisement indicates that she traveled to Europe, where her work was well received.Today Honeywell’s work is highly collectable.  A paper cutout by Honeywell featuring the Lord’s Prayer, dating to around 1830, is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.   The New-York Historical Society also has a Lord’s Prayer cutout by Honeywell.   A silhouette of E. Tupper is in the possession of the American Antiquarian Society.  The historical society of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania also owns an example of her work.

Booker T. Washington once said that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.   Martha Ann Honeywell overcame much.



Welcome to “Sharing the Stories of History with Tim Mann”!


Meet Timothy A. Mann, a passionate historian born and raised in the heart of Shelby County, Ohio where Tim’s roots run deep in the rich soil of American history. As the author of articles and books, including “Frontier Miscellany Concerning the Miami County Ohio Militia,” “Colonel John Mann, His Kith and Kin,” and “Frontier Militia – The War of 1812,” Tim’s literary contributions have enlightened and inspired countless history enthusiasts.

Join Tim Mann on a journey through time as he shares fascinating tales, untold stories, and hidden gems from the annals of history. Let’s delve into the past together and uncover the wonders that await in “Sharing the Stories of History with Tim Mann.”

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