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

Raffel, Dawn [Browse]
  • New York : Blue Rider Press, [2018]
  • ©2018
284 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


Summary note
"The extraordinary tale of how a mysterious immigrant "doctor" became the revolutionary innovator of saving premature babies-by placing them in incubators in World's Fair side shows and on Coney Island and Atlantic City. What kind of doctor puts his patients on display? As Dawn Raffel artfully recounts, Dr. Couney figured out he could use incubators and careful nursing to keep previously doomed infants alive, and at the same time make good money displaying these babies alongside sword swallowers, bearded ladies, and burlesque shows. How this turn-of-the-twentieth-century émigré became the savior to families with premature infants, known then as "weaklings"--While ignoring the scorn of the medical establishment and fighting the climate of eugenics--is one of the most astounding stories of modern medicine. And as readers will find, 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 Drawing on historical documents, original reportage, and interviews with surviving patients, acclaimed journalist and magazine editor Dawn Raffel tells the marvelously eccentric story of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 tiny babies"--Provided by publisher.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references (pages 231-272) and index.
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 thee. 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.
  • 9780399175749 ((hardback))
  • 0399175741 ((hardback))
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