Episode 89: Dionne Quintuplets Are Born

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The Dionne Quintuplets with Ontario prime minister Mitchell Hepburn in 1934. (Photo from Library and Archive of Canada via Wikimedia)

Today marks the anniversary of the 1934 birth of the Dionne Quintuplets in Ontario, Canada.

Here are a few things you may not have known about the first quintuplets known to have survived infancy.

First: The five sisters were identical quintuplets. In order of birth, their names were Yvonne, Anette, Cecile, Emilie and Marie. Their parents had five older children and went on to have three sons after the quintuplets.

Second: Their father planned to put the children on display at the Chicago Worlds Fair, but didn’t follow through after accusations of child exploitation. That didn’t stop the Ontario government, however, who took the quints from their parents and raised them in a facility designed to allow spectators to watch the children. The quintuplets attracted 51 million tourist dollars to the province.

Third: Annette and Cecile are the only two of the quintuplets alive today. Emilie died in 1954 after an epileptic seizure, Marie died in 1970 of a blood clot, and Yvonne died in 2001 of cancer.

Our question: What is the largest number of babies born at one time known to have survived infancy?

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