Michigan quadruplets: Edna, Wilma, Sarah, Helen

The Morlok quadruplets -- Helen (left), Wilma, Sarah, and Edna (right) -- at the piano.
Helen, Wilma, Sarah, and Edna Morlok

On May 19, 1930, Carl and Sarah “Sadie” Morlok of Lansing welcomed Michigan’s first documented identical quadruplets. (The odds of having identical quads is about one in 15 million.)

The quads’ names, in order, were: Edna A, Wilma B, Sarah C, and Helen D.

To help decide on names, both the Lansing Journal and the Lansing Capital News announced contests two days after the babies were born. Each offered a $10 prize.

The winner was 10-year-old Nancy Haynes, the daughter of the physician who delivered the quads. The first letter of each name she selected, Edna, Wilma, Sarah and Helen, was a tribute to E. W. Sparrow Hospital.


Sadie decided to keep the initials A, B, C and D, which recorded the order of their birth, as their middle initials.

Sarah, the longest-surviving quad, published a memoir several years ago entitled The Morlok Quadruplets: The Alphabet Sisters.


  • Dozier, Vickki. “For identical quadruplets, fame came with constraints.” Lansing State Journal 21 Sept. 2016.
  • “Helen Morlok, 73; One of the World’s Oldest Identical Quadruplets.” Los Angeles Times 7 Nov. 2003.
  • “Morlok Quadruplets Ready to Make Debuts on Stage.” Reading Eagle 5 Aug. 1936: 5.

Image: from the Associated Press

P.S. Two other sets of multiples with alphabetical names: quints in Nebraska, quads in Alberta.

3 thoughts on “Michigan quadruplets: Edna, Wilma, Sarah, Helen

  1. the dionne quintuplets were also born in the 30’s and were a tourist attraction in canada- i read a very sad book about their loves when i was a teenager. their names were: yvonne, annette, cecile marie, emilie marie and marie rene alma

  2. The Morlok Quads are my second cousins, my Mom, Florence Katherine Morlok was a first cousin to them. My Daughter works @ E.W. Sparrow Hospital as a nurse. And my Grand son’s wife also works in the OB department @ Sparrow Hospital. I am also a nurse @ the age of 76, retired, but still work on occasion @ flu clinics in the fall. My grandfather, William Morlok was a brother to the quads father, he was from Germany, a hard worker on a farm, a quiet man who did not say much.

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