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Museum of DisABILITY History


There was "such a funny man..." who lived on the island "...with such a very small little head and big mustache, who ran out at the children and roared." A likeness of him was sketched while he was "continually engaged, monkey-fashion, rubbing his cheek with his hands and arms." Despite his "very inoffensive patronage," and an "evanescent grin," Johnny was a source of terror for some of the staff. He was feared because of the way he looked. One of the staff described it as; "When I first came here I was afeared for my life of him. I wouldn't stay in the room alone with him for worlds. He seemed something so supernatural."

— W.H. Davenport, The Nurseries on Randall's Island,

Harper's New Monthly Magazine, December 1867.