The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: Dawn Raffel and Laurie Gwen Shapiro

The mysterious man behind a carnival sideshow that revolutionized neonatal care. 

Drawing on historical documents, original reportage, and interviews with surviving patients, The Strange Case of Dr. Couney tells the marvelously bizarre story of a carnival man with a larger-than-life personality. Using incubators and careful nursing to keep premature infants alive, he displayed them alongside sword swallowers, bearded ladies, and burlesque shows at Coney Island, Atlantic City, and fairs across the country. Ignoring the scorn of the medical establishment and the rising popularity of eugenics, Couney saved some seven thousand babies. The story is a kaleidoscopic ride through ebullient entrepreneurship, enlightened pediatric care, and carnival culture at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Author Dawn Raffel will be joined in conversation by Laurie Gwen Shapiro, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist and the author of The Stowaway.











When: Wed., Oct. 17, 2018 at 6:30 pm
Where: New York Public Library—Mid-Manhattan Library
476 Fifth Ave. (42nd St. Entrance)
212-340-0863
Price: Free
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The mysterious man behind a carnival sideshow that revolutionized neonatal care. 

Drawing on historical documents, original reportage, and interviews with surviving patients, The Strange Case of Dr. Couney tells the marvelously bizarre story of a carnival man with a larger-than-life personality. Using incubators and careful nursing to keep premature infants alive, he displayed them alongside sword swallowers, bearded ladies, and burlesque shows at Coney Island, Atlantic City, and fairs across the country. Ignoring the scorn of the medical establishment and the rising popularity of eugenics, Couney saved some seven thousand babies. The story is a kaleidoscopic ride through ebullient entrepreneurship, enlightened pediatric care, and carnival culture at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Author Dawn Raffel will be joined in conversation by Laurie Gwen Shapiro, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, journalist and the author of The Stowaway.

Buy tickets/get more info now