Is Big Louie in the record book?

To the Editor:

Big Louie Moilanen was said to be the tallest man in the world in his time. But is he in the Guiness Book of Records?

The first edition of the Guiness Book of Records was published in 1955, forty-two years after Big Louie passed away. Annual editions have been published since then.

The first edition has a page about “Tallest Giants.” Big Louie is not there. The book says that claims of early giants are difficult to verify. An authority on giants was a French doctor who reported that the giant Finn, Daniel Cajanus, who died in 1749 at age 46, was the tallest man who ever lived, and was said to be 9 ft 3 in tall. His bones were put in a museum in France. However, in 1872 his bones were measured at just 7 ft 3 in – a full two feet shorter. Incidentally, the giant Cajanus came from the same Puolanka area in Finland as Big Louie!

Undertaker John Daniel Crawford in Hancock measured Big Louie at 8 ft 1 in when he died, and Big Louie’s gravestone says 8 ft 3 in. He traveled with the circus, so his stature was widely known. At 8 ft 3 in tall, he could have been included in the first edition of the Guiness Book of Records, as he was a foot taller than the bones of Cajanus.

However, the first edition of the Guiness book (1955) goes on to say, “the tallest man of all-time of whom there is irrefutable evidence, was Robert Wadlow, born in 1918 in Alton, Illinois, and died in 1940 at Manistee, Michigan, standing 8 ft 9? in tall.” This is 6 1/2 inches taller than Big Louie!

It may be that Big Louie is mentioned in a later edition of the Guiness Book of Records. The only other edition checked in this brief inquiry was1997. Big Louie was not in that edition either, although Robert Wadlow was.

If anyone knows for certain that Big Louie appears in any edition of the Guiness book, please let me know, even if it is simply a mention in a list of tallest people of all time. A copy of the page would be most appreciated! Thank you.

Dana Richter