Although normal for most of his childhood, Sprague began losing weight at age 12. In 1865, he joined a circus sideshow, becoming "the Living Skeleton" or "the Original Thin Man". The next year P. T. Barnum hired Sprague to work at his American Museum until it burned down in 1865, continuing off and on to tour him throughout the country. By the age of 44, he was 5 feet and 6 inches tall with a weight of only 43 pounds. He died, in poverty, of asphyxia.
- Human Skeletons
- "Death of 'Living Skeleton'", New York Times, January 7, 1887.
- I. W. Sprague: Steven Bolin's Vintage Sideshow Photographs
- The Human Marvels: Isaac W. Sprague[unreliable source?]
- "The Living Skeleton; He Agrees to Give His Body to Harvard Medical College", New York Times, December 23, 1883.
- Isaac Sprague Pitch Flyer
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