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Iowa History Daily: July 27 - The Tallest Iowan Ever

Iowa History Daily: On July 27, 1897, Bernard Coyne was born on a farm between Oto and Anthon, Iowa, in Woodbury County. Over the course of his 23 year life, Coyne grew to a (then) world record height of at least 8’2” tall.

Coyne stood as the tallest ever eunuchoidal infantile giant, a condition also known as gigantism. Due to a 1929 flood, the records listing his length at birth no longer exist. However, by the time he reached his teens Coyne grew to more than seven feet tall. When Coyne struggled to find suitable clothing he learned to knit his own sweaters and often cut the toes out of custom mail-order shoes to accommodate his toes.

Coyne registered for the draft during World War I, and the Guiness Book of World Records reported his draft card listed his height as 8’ on August 29, 1918. Rejected from military service due to his size, Coyne toured the state of Iowa and appeared at many county fairs during 1919.

Over the final years of his life, Coyne continued to grow. At the time of Coyne’s death in May of 1921, a Woodbury County newspaper reported his height at 8’8” tall. Although The Guinness Book of World Records lists 8’11” Robert Wadlow of Alton, Ill., as the tallest man in medical history for whom there is irrefutable evidence, Coyne towers as the tallest Iowan ever. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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