Mary S. Sherman

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Mary S. Sherman
Born Mary Stults
(1913-04-21)April 21, 1913
Evanston, Illinois, USA
Died July 21, 1964(1964-07-21) (aged 51)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Alma mater

Evanston Township High School
Northwestern University

University of Chicago
Occupation Orthopedic surgeon; Cancer researcher
Spouse(s) Thomas Sherman

Mary Stults Sherman (April 21, 1913 – July 21, 1964) was an orthopedic surgeon and cancer researcher in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Her murder has been included in several conspiracy theories.


Sherman was born in Evanston, Illinois, to Walter Allen Stults (a founder of Pi Kappa Lambda) and the former Edith Monica Graham. She graduated from Evanston Township High School and attended the Institute de Mme Collnot in Paris, France. In 1934, she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University. The following year, she received a Master of Arts degree from the University of Chicago. From 1935 to 1936, Sherman was an instructor at the University of Illinois French Institute in Paris.[1]

In 1941, she obtained a medical degree from the University of Chicago.[1] She interned at Bob Roberts Hospital at the University of Chicago.[1] In 1947, she was appointed assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Billings Hospital, also affiliated with the university. In 1952, she relocated to New Orleans to become director of the bone pathology laboratory at The Ochsner Clinic Medical Foundation, a creation of surgeon Alton Ochsner.[1][2] The next year she became an associate professor at New Orleans' Tulane Medical School.[2] A cancer researcher, she was also a senior visiting surgeon in orthopedics at the Charity Hospital in New Orleans.[1]

She was a member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.[1] She was also a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi and Alpha Omega Alpha.[3]


On July 21, 1964, Sherman was found dead in her apartment on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans.[4] The body had burn and stab wounds.[4] The police report classified the death as a murder. An autopsy was performed by Monroe S. Samuels, M.D., on July 21, 1964. The autopsy report classified Sherman's death as a homicide.[5] Dr. Samuels determined that Sherman died of a stab wound in her heart.[6] Her murder is listed as unsolved.

Conspiracy theories[edit]

According to Joan Mellen, author of A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK's Assassination, and the Case that Should Have Changed History, Sherman may have been involved in secret cancer-related research on behalf of US intelligence. Mellen contends that Alton Ochsner, at whose clinic she worked for a time, was linked to the Central Intelligence Agency and a contributor to the anti-communist Information Council of the Americas (INCA). Mellen wrote that Sherman also made financial contributions and provided medical care to exile Cubans training to overthrow Fidel Castro, and was a close friend of David Ferrie's.[7] Mellen alleges that the police investigation was shut down after a month "by a higher authority"[who?]; several months later, one of the investigating detectives concluded "they[who?] didn't want this thing solved".[8] Mellen argues that the evidence suggests Sherman died in an accident involving a particle accelerator used in secret night-time cancer-related research on behalf of US intelligence, with Sherman being moved to her apartment and stabbed to cover up the incident.[8] Mellen argues that Sherman's extraordinary burn injuries must have been produced by such highly unusual means, as an apartment fire or even a crematorium could not have approximated them.[8] Edward T. Haslam (who in a 1995 book had claimed that Sherman was murdered because she knew too much about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy[9] ), agreed with this scenario in a 2007 book.[2] Jim Garrison questioned the manner of Sherman's death, claiming that the autopsy report said her right arm and rib cage had been burned away, whilst the hair on her head remained unburned. According to Garrison, the body had been stabbed in the heart, liver, arm, leg, and stomach, and the wound to the heart hemorrhaged but the wound to the liver did not, indicating that she was alive at the time of the heart wound but already dead by the time the wound to the liver was inflicted.[10] Garrison also claimed that the massive burns inflicted upon her could not have occurred in her apartment and the details of her missing arm were not released to the public.[10]


Sherman was the author or coauthor of numerous articles about bone and joint diseases. As examples, her works included:

She was also the author of an article titled "The Natural Course of Poliomyelitis: A report of 70 cases".[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Glenn R. Conrad (1988). "Sherman, Mary S." in A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 1, p. 741. University of Louisiana. ISBN 0940984377, ISBN 978-0940984370.
  2. ^ a b c Michael Newton (2010). The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes. Facts on File, Incorporated, p. 342. ISBN 9780816078189.
  3. ^ "Mary Stults Sherman, 1913–1964". The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Vol. 46-A, No. 8 (December 1964), pp. 1824–1826.
  4. ^ a b United Press International (UPI). "Woman Expert in Cancer Slain In Burned Louisiana Apartment". The New York Times, July 21, 1964.
  5. ^ Monroe S. Samuels. Autopsy Protocol, Orleans Parish Coroner's Office, July 21, 1964, p. 1.
  6. ^ Bronson Lutz. A review of Dr. Mary's Monkey. New Orleans Magazine, July 2007.
  7. ^ Mellen (2005:52-4)
  8. ^ a b c Joan Mellen (2005), A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK's Assassination, and the Case that Should Have Changed History, Potomac Books, p50-1
  9. ^ Edward T. Haslam (2007). Dr. Mary's Monkey. TrineDay, page 134. ISBN 0977795306, ISBN 978-0977795307. Journalist Don Lee Keith "observed that Warren Commission investigators started taking their testimony in new Orleans on the morning of July 21, 1964, several hours after Mary Sherman's murder".
  10. ^ a b Eric Norden. "Playboy interview: Jim Garrison". Playboy Magazine, vol. 14, no. 10 (October 1967).
  11. ^ MS Sherman and DB Phemister (1947). "The pathology of ununited fractures of the neck of the femur". The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 29(1):19–40. PMID 20284683.
  12. ^ MS Sherman and DT Hellyer (1950). "Infantile cortical hyperostosis; review of the literature and report of five cases". The American Journal of Roentgenology, 63(2):212–222. PMID 15402767.
  13. ^ MS Sherman (1951). "The non-specificity of synovial reactions". Bulletin of the Hospital for Joint Diseases, 12(2):110–125. PMID 14905101.
  14. ^ MS Sherman and GB McFarland Jr (1965). "Mechanism of pain in osteoid osteomas". Southern Medical Journal, 58(2):163–166. PMID 14246937.
  15. ^ MS Sherman (1944). "The Natural Course of Poliomyelitis: A report of 70 cases". Journal of the American Medical Association, 125(2):99. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850200007003.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]