YVONNE, Today’s Birthday: NETTE, CÉCILE, ÉMILIE, AND MARIE: THE DIONNE QUINTUPLETS (1934)

Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie: The Dionne Quintuplets (1934)

As the first set of quintuplets known to have survived infancy, the Dionne sisters of Ontario, Canada, garnered international attention. Sadly, they were exploited almost from birth. As infants, the quintuplets were removed from their parents’ care and made wards of the state. However, rather than protect them from parents it had deemed unfit, the government instead used the girls as a tourist attraction. How many people visited “Quintland” to see the girls over the next nine years? More… Discuss

Tribute to Yvonne, Cecile, Annette, Marie and Emilie Dionne. The Dionne Quintuplets were born in 1934 and were the only surviving set of quintuplets to date at that time. They are the only known identical set of female quints in history. 
The girls were taken by the Canadian government and made wards of the Crown because their parents were poor and it was deemed they were “unfit”. Dr Roy Defoe, who delivered the girls, was offered position of guardian by the Canadian government. He became “Papa” to the five girls. 
The Quintland Hospital was built across the street from the Dionne’s farm house and the girls were exhibited there several times a day in a zoo-like setting for the public. They were housed in the hospital and parental visits were strongly discouraged and often downright forbidden. 

When the girls were nine, their parents succeeded in getting their girls back, but their story did not end happily. In later years, the girls accused their mother of being harsh with them and their father of sexual abuse. They were often treated as one unit – one child in five bodies, rather than individuals. They would struggle with psychological issues all their lives because of their childhood experiences.

Film footage used is from Million Dollar Babies as well as some 1930’s archival footage and footage from The Making of Million Dollar Babies.

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