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PhallaciesHistorical Intersections of Disability and Masculinity$
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Kathleen M. Brian and James W. Trent, Jr.

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190458997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190458997.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 September 2020

Death on a Silver Platter

Death on a Silver Platter

Masculinity, Disabilities, and the Noxon Murder Trials of 1944

(p.218) 10 Death on a Silver Platter

Ivy George

James W. Trent

Oxford University Press

Around six o’clock on the evening of September 22, 1943, John F. Noxon Jr., a prominent attorney in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and a “crippled” polio survivor, telephoned his family’s pediatrician to come at once. His six-month-old son, Lawrence, who had Down syndrome, had apparently entangled himself in wires and had received a terrible electrical shock. When the doctor arrived, he found the dead “mongoloid” baby dressed in a wet diaper, lying on a silver platter. A few days later authorities arrested “crippled” Noxon for the murder of “mongoloid” Lawrence. For the next five years, the citizens of Massachusetts and the nation followed in their newspapers the trials, verdict, death sentence, appeals, pardon, and parole of this “mercy killing.” The Noxon murder trials of 1944 highlighted the interconnections of disabilities, masculinity, and “mercy killing” in World War II North America.

Keywords:   mercy killing, Noxon trials, polio, crippled, mongoloid, idiot, Down syndrome

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