Count Nicol passed away on May 26, 1940. Rather than print a new booklet, the printers simply inserted a memorial page (right).
Count Philippe Nicol was born at St. Henri de Levis, P.Q., on September 27th, 1881, he is the seventh son of Alexander Nicol, who himself was also a seventh son. As all seventh sons, he is gifted with a good sense of humor, pleasantness and is a very keen business man.
The Count has six brothers and six sisters varying in height from five feet and a half to six feet. His father measures six feet three inches tall, and his mother was five feet nine inches. From his earliest childhood, the count was remarkably small, which did not hinder him, when he reached the age of six, from attending school for three months a year.
At twelve years of age, the count left the parish school to enter college which he also frequented for three months out of twelve. In summer time, the Count was travelling with the most famous shows, such as: Barnum & Bailey, Sells Bros., Forepaugh & Sells. In winter, he filled engagements with the greatest vaudeville circuits.
At the early age of three, his parents consented to let him travel with the greatest circus in the world. He was then accompanied by a member of his family and received a very large salary. Every year, his salary doubled and the midget had the privelege of selling his photo to his personal benefit, which brought him a larger sum than the salary itself.
Count Philippe Nicol gay and full of natural will was fond of travelling, highly esteemed by his employeers and cheerished by the crowds which he entertained daily. He was admired everywhere on account of his small stature and also for his bright conversation, enlivened with wit and shew with prompt and sharp rejoinders.
When he reached the age of fifteen, the count had enough experience to travel alone, and took on himself the management of his own affairs, in fact, he is remarkably qualified. Endowed with an alert mind and a prompt intellect, he marters very quickly the details of any questions, and experience has proved that success has always favored him.
With such natural gifts it is no wonder that he though himself fit for a business career and felt the ambition of making his fortune in a commercial enterprise; so later, we find him at the head of a firm which he directed during fourteen years, at Manchester, N.H., the firm "Philippe Nicol" which enjoyed a world wife reputation under his management.
During this successful business period, Count Nichol, through the medium of Mr. Champagne, manager of our canadian champion of all strong men Louis Cyr, made the acquaintance with Miss Rose Dufresne, of Lowell, Mass., herself of Lilliputian size, daughter of Carolus Dufresne, and grand daughter of P. Gagon, of Yamachiche, P.Q., Miss Dufresne was born at Lowell, June 17th 1887; she has three sisters and one brother, all of normal height.
With such aptitude, fitness for business and optimism, after a short courtship, he sued for the hand of Mlle Dufresne, from her tutor, Mr. P. Gagnon, who agreed with our Midget's desire without the slightest hesitation, knowing that the record of his past life was the best guarantee of his future behavior.
The wedding ceremony was performed with great pomp on November 21st, 1906, at the church of St. Joseph, Lowell, and the happy midgest were united in marriage by Reverend Father Amyot O.M.I. It was a memorable day for the town's annals and never in men's memory had such a big crowd gathered as was seen on this occasion. Many business houses as well as numerous factories closed their doors while the ceremony lasted.
After a few weeks honeymoon trip, the happy spouses returned to Manchester, to live in a very fine house build especially according to the Count's specifications and plans, for himself and his beloved wife.
Nevertheless, after a few years work in his store the Count was again seized with the passion for travelling, he, the man who had already circled the globe seven times. So he started again with his wife and travelled successfully in the Southern States and even in Europe with the biggest circusses.
In 1913, the Count decided to settle in Montreal. He started again in business very modestly at first but his progress was so rapid that he now owns a very prosperous establishment. The attraction of his "Midgets' Palace", envied by the largest cities of the world, is for a good deal the secret of his success.
The Count had been in Montreal only thirteen years when he decided to build his actual palace which stands on Rachel Street East only a few steps from the west end corner of Lafontaine Park.
A visit to the present palace leaves a deep and pleasant impression on the visitor's mind; but it is not exactly what the Count had dreamed of; his greatest wish would have been to erect right in the centre of Lafontaine Park, in the midst of beautiful green lawns, fresh water pools, shady driveways, colorful flowers, one of the most costly buildings in the Canadian metropolis, for the Count has always been a lover of beautiful surroundings and activity.
In spite of his reiterated negotiations with the Executive Committee of the City it has been impossible to come to an agreement.
However, in their new palace, happiness was not complete, somebody was missing to this couple, to whom fortune has otherwise been constantly smiling: that was an heir. The heir, object of their most ardent wishes for twenty years, was born to them on the 19th of September 1926. Bearing the names of his father, C.P. Nicol, Junior, weighed but three pounds and a half at birth. He is perfectly constituted, very lively and normal in every respect but his size, just as his parents themselves.
If to-day, Count Nicol is somewhat lame, this is due to rhumatism contracted in his prime youth, during the period of his nomad life, with the circusses, when he had often to suffer from the inclemencies of the weather.
The five physicians who have assured Countess Nicol at the birth of her baby by cesarian operation, at the Mercy Hospital, corner Dorchester and St. Hubert streets, are of the opinion that he will be of still smaller size than his father, and that he will never be over thirty-five inches high.
Count and Comtess Nicol are the only dwarves in the world who have given birth to a viable child. This child will be proud to say that he has the smallest parents in the world.
The Count is very firm in his desire to save his son from the hardships encountered by himself. He wishes to make of him, a serious, honest and charitable citizen, which is not common nowadays.
His education training will be that of a real business man; he will endeavour rather to make of him a man like his father, always inclined to teach others the way of progress.
The Count's ideal for his son is nothing less than to see him attain the high intellectual qualities of our great and regretted Canadian statesman: Sir Wilfrid Laurier, the man with the unrivalled genius. He firmly expects for the next twenty years to put forth all his efforts to attain his object and nothing will be spared in time, efforts and money to make Nicol Jr. a real he man.
In the meantime, the Count is now perfectly happy with his wife and baby, and the days pass by very blessfully in a sweet matrimonial contentment.
Count Nicol is the richest dwarf in the world, charitable and obliging. He knows that richness are not only the consequence of skilful work, but also a gift from Him, who has bestowed upon us our natural qualities.
Above, left: The pamphlet's centerfold, with various scenes of Philippe, Jr., going about his daily activities in the Midgets' Palace. Right: Printed pitch card of Philippe, Jr., signed in ink on the right-hand side.
The palace was later purchased by Huguette Riou-Bastien, a 3'9" dwarf, and her average-sized husband. The Bastiens ran a doll hospital in in their miniature palace and were featured in the 1981 documentary Being Different. However, it seems the doll hospital closed in 1991, and I do not know if the building is still standing.