The Wickedest Woman in New York: Madame Restell, the Abortionist

Clifford Browder, Author Archon Books $0 (217p) ISBN 978-0-208-02183-0
Finding that patent medicines were a lucrative business, working-class English immigrant Ann Lohman and her husband opened an office in New York City in 1839 under the name of Madame Restell, offering advice, preventive powders and pills for female afflictions as well as instrument-induced abortions, preferably for the carriage trade. This colorful account by Browder (The Money Game in Old New York, etc.) of Lohman's reputed four-decade career as the country's most notorious and prosperous abortionist reveals the legal, medical and moral attitudes of the mid-19th century. Flaunting her wealth, Lohman defied press, public opinion and the law itself despite frequent trials and several jailings. When entrapped by puritan crusader Anthony Comstock, she eluded justice by committing suicide in 1878. Illustrations not seen by PW. (March)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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