Giant of the World 


Bernard A. Coyne (July 27, 1897 May 20, 1921) Anthon, Iowa, USA. Is one of a few individuals in medical history to have stood 8 feet tall or more. Coyne may have reached a height of 8 feet 4 inches (2.49m) tall at the time of his death in 1921. His World War I draft registration card, dated 29 August 1918, lists his height as 8 feet. The Guinness Book of World Records stated that he was refused induction into the Army (1918) when he stood at a height of 7 feet 9 inches.

Coyne was the tallest ever eunuchoidal infantile giant, also known as Daddy Long-Legs Syndrome. He was the tallest person in the world at the time of his death when, like Robert Wadlow, he was still growing. He reportedly wore size 25 (American) shoes.

Bernard Coyne died of hardening of the liver and of a glandular disorder in 1921. He is buried in Anthon, Iowa, in a specially-made, extra-large coffin.


Excerpt from Worlds Tallest Man




Jul. 27, 1897
Woodbury County
Iowa, USA


May 20, 1921
Woodbury County
Iowa, USA

2nd child born to:
Sylvester Coyne & Catherine O'Connell

Bernard Coyne, an Eunuchoidal Giant [daddy long legs syndrome], was one of the tallest men in the world and mention was made of him in the Guinness Book of World Records.

He lived with his family in the tiny town of Oto, Woodbury Co., Iowa. At this time - 2006 - the quaint town still maintains a population of only about 100 residents.

In 1918, Bernard was rejected for military service in the U.S. Army, undoubtedly because of his extreme height and other contributing problems stemming from the medical syndrome with which he was born. Information garnered from his World War I draft registration forms indicates he had black hair and blue eyes.

His siblings were:

Mary Loretto, known as "Loretto" - married John Kvidera

Thomas John - married Emma Dixon
Hugh - married Anna Lancaster

Joseph Cornelius, known as "Neil" - married Frances Hoag

Maurice Sylvester - married Rita Carr



Correctionville, Woodbury Co., Iowa
May 26, 1921
Page 1

Youth Was Known as Tallest (sic) Man in America

Bernard Coyne, twenty four year old son of Mr. and Mrs. Sylvester Coyne of the Anthon community, died Friday, May 20, after an illness of several months. He was known as the tallest man in America, was eight feet eight inches tall and weighed 300 lbs. He was well known in this community as most persons who have lived here for any length of time have seen him.

He was in Sioux City last fall at the time of the fair and at the same time ordered a pair of shoes which were on display, size 24. One of the sideshow attractions at the fair was a Holland giant who claimed to be the tallest man in the world, but when the boy's father challenged him he didn't back his claims. A special casket had to be ordered for the funeral.

The young giant was born on his father's farm six miles southeast of Oto, Iowa, July 27, 1897, and has resided in that locality since birth. He had been failing in health since last September.

Mr. Coyne has four brothers and one sister who are considerably smaller than their brother. Physicians who examined the giant could give no reason for his unusual growth. He had refused several offers to exhibit himself, but at one time did appear on a fair circuit.

The giant, besides his parents, is survived by four brothers, Thomas Coyne, Hugh Coyne, Neil Coyne, and Morris Coyne, and one sister, Loretta (sic) Coyne, all living near Anthon.

Funeral services were held in the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Anthon Monday morning with interment made in St. Joseph Cemetery.



Anthon Herald
Anthon, Woodbury Co., Iowa
Oct. 10, 1918

S. Coyne and son, Bernard, spent last week at the Guthrie County fair and left today for Omaha to attend the Ak-Sar-Ben. Bernard, who is doubtless the tallest man in the world, is attracting much attention. He has had various offers from proprietors of the big shows, but prefers to remain at his home five miles southwest of Anthon. He was 21 years of age the 27th of July, stands eight feet and one inch tall, weighs 275 pounds, and is as healthy as any person. His height has increased two inches in the past year and he hasn't stopped growing either. Many have wondered if his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sylvester Coyne, are large people. For their information we might say that they are not. Mrs. Coyne is five feet two inches tall, and weighs about 150 pounds, while Mr. Coyne is only five feet eight inches tall and weighs about 200. Just where Bernard gets his abnormal height is not known. He has four brothers and one sister, one of the brothers being only 18 years of age, but six feet two inches tall and a splendid specimen of manhood.


Information from Find a Grave


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