Count Philippe Nicole and the Midget Palace of Montreal

Philippe Nicole (1881-1940) was a small-statured native of Montreal who worked for the sideshow of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus between the ages of 12 and 15. In 1906 he met fellow little person Rose Dufesne, whom he married seven years later. Having saved up large sums of money from performing, they now billed themselves as “The Count and Countess Nicol, the King and Queen of All Midgets”, and opened an attraction in Montreal called The Midget Palace. Everything in the house was on a miniature scale; it was one of Montreal’s top tourist attractions and it made Nicole a fortune. Apparently, the wealth didn’t make its way to his son Philippe Nicole, Jr. (1926-1992), also a little person. Junior made the newspapers just once – for robbing a tobacco store in 1951. The Midget Palace was later purchased by a former employee, who kept it going until 1990.

For more on performing little people please check out Rose’s Royal Midgets and Other Little People in Vaudeville.