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The 1866 Chicago Sextuplets Hidden From the World

America’s first living sextuplets were born in Chicago 150 years ago today. On September 8, 1866, Jennie Bushnell gave birth to three boys and three girls. Both Jennie and her husband James had family backgrounds that contained plenty of twins and triplets, but Jenny was embarrassed to give birth to a litter of children, like an animal. She was also wary of her children’s future, afraid they would be treated like circus freaks if word got out. Jennie begged the physician and the midwife who were present at the birth to keep the sextuplets a secret. And they did, as much as they were able to. Subsequently, the sextuplets were never the public sensation that the Dionne Quintuplets became almost 70 years later. Read the strange story of the Bushnell Sextuplets at mental_floss.


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