I have a very
faint memory that dates back to over 50 years ago when I was a
little girl growing up in Ville Lasalle, and my parents
brought me downtown to visit what we called “The Dollhouse”. I
remember that I was enchanted with the visit but that my
mother felt vaguely uncomfortable and warned me before going
in that I should “be polite”. I’ve since found out that what I
was visiting was “The New Midgets Palace”
which was an independant business founded by Montrealers
Count and Countess Nicol. It
was later bought by another person of short stature –
Mme Huguette Riou-Bastien
– and I’m actually not yet sure who I saw when I visited!
The Nicols were
living in a time when there was very little respect for
differences and very few opportunities for people who were
considered “different”. In that context the Nichols were
unusually successful in that they ran their own independant
business, as opposed to many others who were exploited in the
Of course, fast
forward to today and you will find that “freak shows” have
disappeared and Little People
(as most prefer to be called) have joined mainstream society.
So, I offer this postcard as an artefact of bygone days –
Was born in
Montreal, at the Mercy Hospital corner Saint Hubert and
Dorechester streets, on September 19th, 1926.
He is the son of
Count Philippe Nicol and Rose Dufresne; Count and Countess
Nicol are the smallest maried couple on earth, without
After 20 years of
married life, this child, the Rare Baby, was sent to them with
a mission to perform: look after his tiny Papa and Mamma in
their old days. He was weighing on his birth three and one
half pounds, and he is full of life. The five physicians who
attended at his birth are of the opinion that he will never be
taller than his father (he is now 25 inches high); but he will
have a real man’s head, his father promises, and he shall be
charitable and conrageous.
If dad’s parents
had taken care of him as he does of me, he would have been
what he wants me to become: a successor to our regretted Sir
Wilfrid Laurier – the man.
Papa says the
height counts for nothing in the making of a man.
Count Nicol was
born Philippe Adelard Nicole
in Levis, Quebec in 1881. His Countess was
Rose Semilida Dufresne
and the two had been married in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1906.
parents were Alexandre Nicole
and Josephine Philomene
Brousseau (daughter of Andre Brousseau and
Eleonore Garon). The couple were married on March
4th, 1867 in St-Bernard (Dorchester County) Quebec.
parents – Olivier Nicole
and Apolline Morissette
were married in St-Henri (Levis, Quebec) on January 24th,
1826. Her parents were Michel Morisset and
Olivier was the
son of another Olivier Nicole and
his wife Francoise.
According to the BMS index Francoise’s surname was
Henry but I have not
found that marriage and I have found a possible couple –
Olivier Nicol and and Marie-Francoise Fleury. The
parents of that couple (whom
I have not confirmed
as being in this line) were Olivier Nicol &
Marie-Louise Brochu and Francois Fleury &
Marie-Francoise Dubeau, and they were married in St-Vallier
(Bellchasse, Quebec) on July 7th, 1797.