The Hatbox Baby Author:Carrie Brown On a sweltering summer morning in 1933, a baby is delivered in a hatbox to the Century of Progress Exposition - the World's Fair - in Chicago. — This very tiny baby, born three months early, is brought by his desperate young father to the fair's famous baby doctor, Leo Hoffman, to be saved. Dr. Hoffman - part showman, part scientist - fin... more »ances his neonatal research by exhibiting a collection of live premature babies in their incubators. His "Infantorium," with its giant test-tube fountain spouting pink-and-blue water and its pair of wading storks, attracts huge, gawking crowds every sultry day.
At the fair, a place of freaks and marvels, mysteries, miracles - and even murders - the notion of what is "normal" and what is not comes into questions daily. And before the summers ends and the fair closes, a number of remarkable persons will invest heavily in this fragile baby's life: Dr. Hoffman; his registered nurses; his wet nurses; the baby's spinster aunt; Caroline Day, the beautiful fan dancer and another of the fair's biggest attractions; and a dwarflike sideshow barker named St. Louis Percy, the fan dancer's cousin, manager, and bodyguard, whose stake in the hatbox baby's future becomes the most serious of all.« less
This is a delightful story and a quick read - perfect for an afternoon, airline flight or waiting in the doctor's office. Lots of juicy details and history about the World Fair in Chicago during the depression. More importantly, it covers the medical origins of treating premature babies. Feel free to email with any questions. ~LeAnn
I thought this book started a bit slowly, but well worth the effort to give it time for the story to build. the "hatbox baby" is only a part of the story. It follows various people tied to the Chicago fair and in reading about it, I would like to do my own research.