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The strange case of Dr. Couney : how a mysterious European showman saved thousands of American babies / Dawn Raffel

Catalog Data

Raffel, Dawn  Search this
Couney, Martin 1870-1950  Search this
Physical description:
284 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
Popular works
United States
New York (State)
New York
20th century
Prologue : Breath -- Part one. Masters of invention. "All the world loves a baby" ; The obit that wouldn't die ; A showman is born ; Et voilà! The artificial hen ; William Silverman and the Couney buffs convene ; Michal Cohn sees an elephant, and the light of a new world ; The Couney buffs encounter the mysterious M. Lion ; "The greatest novelty of the age!" -- Part two. Survival of the fittest. The march of science and industry ; The arrival of the eminent Dr. Martin Arthur Counéy ; Nailing jelly to the wall: the Couney buffs gain a follower ; "The President has been shot!" ; Welcome to the city of the dead ; Two elephants, a wedding, and a bunch of crying babies ; Kiss the baby ; "The crime of the decade" ; Little Miss Couney arrives ; "What took you so long?" ; All the pretty preemies ; Magnetic tape ; A dream in flames ; The forgotten woman ; Building better babies ; The day of Couney finally arrives ; Let's pretend I wasn't there ; Keep the incubators, please ; One very short lady -- Part three. The black stork. No-man's-land ; A charmed life ; The rise and rise of Julius Hess ; A legend is born ; Alone in a crowd ; Send the ambulance ; The Century of Progress ; Not for public viewing ; All aboard the twentieth century ; "My little brother" ; Sorrow in Sea Gate ; "Leave as soon as you get this" ; The ones who got away ; Playing with matches ; Vision and hindsight ; Who will save you now? ; Winter ; Epilogue
"This is the spellbinding tale of a mysterious doctor who revolutionized neonatal care more than one hundred years ago and saved some seven thousand babies. Dr. Martin Couney's story is a kaleidoscopic ride through the intersection of ebullient entrepreneurship, enlightened pediatric care, and the wild culture of world's fairs at the beginning of the American Century. As Dawn Raffel recounts, Dr. Couney used incubators and careful nursing to keep previously doomed infants alive, while displaying these babies alongside sword swallowers, bearded ladies, and burlesque shows at Coney Island, Atlantic City and venues across the nation. How this turn-of-the-twentieth-century émigré became the savior to families with premature infants--known then as 'weaklings'--as he ignored the scorn of the medical establishment and fought the rising popularity of eugenics is one of the most astounding stories of modern medicine. Dr. Couney, for all his opportunistic entrepreneurial gusto, is a surprisingly appealing character, someone who genuinely cared for the well-being of his tiny patients. But he had something to hide ... Drawing on historical documents, original reportage, and interviews with surviving patients, Dawn Raffel tells the marvelously eccentric story of Couney's mysterious carnival career, his larger-than-life personality, and his unprecedented success as the savior of the fragile wonders that are tiny, tiny babies."--Jacket.
Respiratory therapy for newborn infants--History  Search this
Incubators (Pediatrics)--History  Search this
Premature infants  Search this
Exhibitions  Search this
Carnivals  Search this
Neonatal intensive care  Search this
Impostors and imposture  Search this
Sideshows--History  Search this
Data Source:
Smithsonian Libraries