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The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets

When they were born on May 28, 1934, weighing a grand total of just over 13 pounds, no  one expected them to live so much as an hour. Overnight, Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie Dionne captivated the world, defying medical history with every breath they took.

Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie Dionne

In an effort to protect them from hucksters and showmen, the Ontario government took custody of the Dionnes’ baby girls, sequestering the five identical sisters in a private, custom-built hospital across the road from their family — and then in a stunning act of hypocrisy, proceeded to exploit the children for the next nine years. Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie became a more popular attraction than Niagara Falls, oogled through one-way screens by sight-seers as they dug in their sandbox and splashed in their wading pool at the center of a tourist hotspot called Quintland.

While their parents fought to reunite the family, the five identical sisters soared to stratospheric fame, their faces adorning everything from Musterole chest rub to Baby Ruth candy bars.

By age four they had starred in three Hollywood feature films. Even Shirley Temple had her own set of Dionne quintuplet dolls.

How Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie Dionne managed to survive and eventually thrive amidst a whirlwind of controversy is a testament to their strength, resilience, and the indelible bond of their unique sisterhood.

Dionne Quintuplet Biographies and Memoirs
902

Miles Traveled (three times!)

1897

Pages of Microfilm Scanned

5

Archives & Museums Visited

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Newspaper & Magazine Articles Accumulated