Great Stork Derby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Great Stork Derby was a contest held during the period from 1926 to 1936, in which women residing Toronto, Canada, competed to produce the most babies in order to qualify for an unusual bequest in a will.[1]

The race was the product of a scheme by Charles Vance Millar (1853-1926), a Toronto lawyer, financier, and practical joker, who bequeathed the residue of his significant estate to the woman in Toronto who could produce the most children in the decade following his death.[2] Litigation over the validity of the will was resolved when the Supreme Court of Canada held that the clause was valid.[3] The Court further held that the clause did not include illegitimate children.[3]

Eleven families completed in the "baby race."[4] Seven of them were disqualified,[4] but eventually Judge William Edward Middleton ruled in favor of four mothers[4][5] (Annie Katherine Smith, Kathleen Ellen Nagle, Lucy Alice Timleck[6] and Isabel Mary Maclean) who each received $125,000 for their nine children. Two others each received $12,500 out of court in exchange for abandoning pending appeals:[5] Lillian Kenny and Pauline Mae Clarke.

In popular culture[edit]

The Canadian 2002 TV movie The Stork Derby, depicted the stories of Lillian Kenny, Pauline Mae Clarke and Grace Bagnato. The film was based upon Elizabeth Wilton’s book Bearing The Burden: The Great Toronto Stork Derby 1926–1938.


  1. ^ Goldenberg, David (11 December 2015). "How A Dead Millionaire Convinced Dozens Of Women To Have As Many Babies As Possible". FiveThirtyEight Science. Retrieved 12 January 2016. 
  2. ^ Orkin, Mark M. Millar, Charles Vance, The Canadian Encyclopedia online. Retrieved 2009-04-17;
  3. ^ a b In Re Estate of Charles Millar (1937),  [1938] 1 D.L.R.  65 (Supreme Court of Canada)
  4. ^ a b c Schwartz, Susan (December 9, 1981). "Prim Toronto was site of baby race". The Montreal Gazette. 
  5. ^ a b "Last of "Stork Derby"?". Ottawa Citizen. May 31, 1938. 
  6. ^ "BIG FAMILY, BIG PRIZE". Reuters. January 17, 2002 – via Philippine Daily Inquirer. 

External links[edit]