Henry Dyer Grindle

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Henry Dyer Grindle
BornNovember 19, 1826
DiedSeptember 14, 1902
Julia A. Lockwood (1837–1900) (m. 1848⁠–⁠1900)
ChildrenMinnie Grindle Grey (1862–1938)
John Wesley Grindle

Henry Dyer Grindle (November 19, 1826 – September 14, 1902) was a Manhattan physician and abortion provider in the 1870s who worked under the name H.D. Grindle.[1][2][3][4]


He was born on November 19, 1826 in Maine.[5][6][7] He married Mary Babbage in Maine on 20 May 1848, in Penobscot, and they had two children: Flora E. Grindle (c1849–1866); and Priscilla Herrick Grindle (1851–1924).[8] He graduated from University Medical College in 1867.[9] He married Julia A. Lockwood (1837–1900) of Connecticut. She also worked as a physician and was known as "Madame Grindle" and they had a child, Minnie Grindle (1862–1938) who would later marry Alonzo Grey, a physician; and John Wesley Grindle.[1][10]

First indictment[edit]

On August 27, 1868, Susannah Lattin died post-partum at his illegal abortion and adoption clinic at 6 Amity Place (now West Third Street) in New York City.[2] Her death led to an investigation which resulted in regulation of abortion clinics and adoptions in New York City.[11][12] Grindle was indicted for "performing an abortion" on Lattin. The trial ended in his acquittal with only a censure from the judge because the prosecution proved only that the woman died at his institute during childbirth and not during, or because of, an abortion.[1]

The Evil of the Age[edit]

On August 23, 1871, The New York Times ran the following investigative report by Augustus St. Clair:

  • Ladies' Physician. – Dr. H.D. Grindle, professor of midwifery, twenty-five years successful practice in this City, guarantees certain relief to ladies in trouble, with or without medicine; sure relief to the most anxious patient at one interview; elegant rooms for ladies requiring nursing.
  • Madame Grindle, Female Physician, guarantees relief to all female complaints; pleasant rooms for nursing.[13]

The forgoing advertisement has for a long time appeared in the columns of the New York Herald and other papers. The history of these two worthies is peculiar. The male member of the firm, if report is correct, knows much more of shoe-making than of medicine. His verbose circular ostentatiously announces him as a "member of the New-York University," with twenty-five years experience. His diploma is said to have been obtained but four years ago from a New York Medical college at considerable expense. The nature of this occupation is sufficiently well indicated in the advertisement without the necessity of further description. He and his "Madame" transact an immense amount of business, in which they are reputed to have amassed a handsome fortune. Formerly their premises were in Amity-place, but the house becoming notorious they removed to their present locality in Twenty-sixth street, midway between Sixth and Seventh avenues. The house is of the three-story and basement style, with rear extension, and has a capacity for about twenty patients. It is appropriately surrounded by fashionable markets of infamy. A huge silver plate upon the outer door bears "Dr. Grindle's name; a sign of similar pattern, gearing the "Madame's" name, glares upon the inner door. The interior is furnished with taste and elegance. The parlors are spacious, and contain all the decorations, upholstery, cabinet-ware, piano, book-case, &c., that is [stet] found in a respectable home. A lady and gentleman who recently called there relate the following: A neat-looking lad ushered us into a parlor, and went after the "Madame." A profusion of circulars were scattered over the centre-tables, some of them being folded as if intended to be mailed. Suddenly the door opened, and the Madame entered. She is fair, fat, forty, and evidently vigorous, and keen in all her actions. She addressed us with primping care, and in a voice as smooth as the flutter of a humming-bird. "My dear friend," she said, "we can do what you hint at. I understand the case. We have had hundreds of them. Poor unfortunate women! How little the world knows how to appreciate their trials. We think it our mission to take them and save them – a noble work it is, too. But for some friendly hand like ours, how many, many blasted homes, scandalized churches and disorganized social circles there would be. Why, my dear friends, you have no idea of the class of people that come to us. We have had Senators, Congressmen and all sorts of politicians bring some of the first women in the land here. Many--very many aristocratic married women come here – or we attend them in private houses." "What are your charges, Madame?" "Three hundred dollars cover all expenses, and we see the patient through -- unless it occupies more than a week. Then we charge an extra medical fee and board money." "What about the child?" "Well, we adopt it out in good hands. One hundred dollars extra, is our fee for that." "But – if – not – a – child – what then?" A quick rolling and flash of her glittering black eyes, a sprightly nod of the head, a finger placed on the lips, a knowing look and "Sh--h!" was the pantomime [stet] reply. "We understand every branch of our business!" she exclaimed, with peculiar emphasis. She stated that a more aristocratic but expensive nursing place could be furnished in West Twenty-third-street. This place is sumptuously furnished and well kept. The best of nurses are employed. Chapters of thrilling interest could be written upon the scenes within those elegant rooms. The pale – ghastly pale and remorseful-looking countenances of the sufferers are indexes to romances in real life more startling in their stern reality than any web of fiction. How many bitter pangs, scalding tears and moans of agony were there. The most pitiful sight was that of the babes, sleeping sweetly – evidently under the influence of mild opiates. Fresh and fragrant flowers, and choice fruit were occasionally observed. How many broken hearts and shattered lives there stray points eloquently speak of. But more than that are the parting scenes between mother and child when the latter, taken away for adoption. Twenty five dollars per week is charged for board at this place.[14][15]

Second indictment[edit]

In 1872 Henry and Madame Grindle were indicted in New York City for abortion, but they were again found not guilty. The woman who charged them with selling her a twenty-dollar bottle of medicine to induce abortion, admitted under oath, that she had not told the couple that she was pregnant.[1]


By 1880 he was living in Ramapo, New York.[16] In 1884 he was elected president of the Blaine and Logan campaign club in Rockland County, New York. [17] He died on September 14, 1902, possibly in Rockland County, New York or Stamford, Connecticut and he was buried in Long Ridge Union Cemetery, in Stamford, Connecticut.[18][19]


  • An important treatise on the pathology and treatment of tuberculosis and pulmonary consumption: Also remarks upon the most effectual treatment of other obstinate chronic diseases (1885)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Hoolihan, Christopher (2001). An Annotated Catalogue of the Edward C. Atwater Collection of American Popular Medicine and Health Reform. Boydell & Brewer. ISBN 1-58046-098-4. ... In 1868, Grindle was indicted for performing an abortion on a woman who subsequently died. The trial ended in his acquittal with only a censure from the judge because the prosecution proved only that the woman died at his institute during childbirth and not during or because of an abortion. In 1872 both Grindles were indicted in New York for abortion, but they were found not guilty because the young woman who charged them with selling her a twenty-dollar bottle of medicine to procure abortion, admitted that she had not told the couple that she was pregnant. ... Several members of the Grindle family practiced medicine in New York City between 1857 and 1912, including Henry Dyer Grindle, his wife Julia, and their son John Wesley Grindle. ...
  2. ^ a b Beisel, Nicola Kay (1997). Imperiled Innocents: Anthony Comstock and family reproduction in Victorian America. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-02778-1. Mrs. Grindle, whom the New York Times had accused of both abortion and "baby farming" — that is, taking illegitimate infants for a fee and letting them die of ... in a splendid farm near Jamaica, Long Island, while Madame Grindle and her husband, Dr. H. D. Grindle, were reputed to have amassed a handsome fortune. ...
  3. ^ Brodie, Janet Farrell (1994). Contraception and Abortion in Nineteenth-Century America. Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-8433-2. ... in 1856 birth control adviser Asa Soule mentioned only a "vaginal syringe." This was vague advice. H. D. Grindle was more precise; he advised his patients to ... the Lying-in Institute at 6 Amity Place in New York City was operated by H. D. and Julia Grindle, ... In 1868, Grindle was indicted for performing an abortion on a woman who subsequently died. The trial ended in his acquittal with only a censure from the ...
  4. ^ Gordon, Linda (2002). The Moral Property of Women: A History of Birth Control Politics in America. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-02764-7. ... in the New York Herald: "Madame Grindle. Female Physician, guaranteeing relief to all female complaints" and "Ladies' Physician — Dr. H. D. Grindle, professor of midwifery ...
  5. ^ "Ferris Family Tree". Retrieved 2007-05-24. Julia A. Lockwood, M.D., born December 2, 1837 and died November 17, 1900; buried Long Ridge Cemetery, Stamford; Married c1858 [sic] Henry D. Grindle, born November 19, 1826 and died September 14, 1902; buried with Julia; and born to them was Minnie Grindle (1862–?) who would later marry Alonzo Grey, a physician.
  6. ^ possibly Grindle in the 1850 US Census for Penobscot, Maine
  7. ^ Grindle in the 1870 US Census for Manhattan
  8. ^ "Henry Dyer Grindle". Retrieved 2007-08-26. 20 May 1848, Penobscot, Hancock County, Maine
  9. ^ "The University Medical College". New York Times. September 11, 1868. To the Editor of the New York Times: I have observed with regret your strictures on the University Medical College, in your comments in "Minor Topics" on the Coroner's inquest, head at the house of Dr. Grindle, A graduate of the University. Suspected on being concerned in producing abortions. It is true that H.D. Grindle graduated at the University, but in 1867, ...
  10. ^ Albany Law Journal. p. 265. A Mrs. Grindle was recently accused, in New York, of administering drugs with intent to procure abortion. The female apothecary appears to have acted under ...
  11. ^ "The Long Island Mystery". Brooklyn Eagle. August 31, 1868. Investigation by coroner Rollins of [New] York, The Father, Mother, and Brother of the Deceased Girl on the Stand. Inside View of the Private Lying-in Hospital by a Medical Student. The [Brooklyn] Eagle of Saturday last contained an account of the death of the daughter of Mr. Lattin, of Farmingdale, Long Island, who died a few days previously at the alleged lying-in asylum of Dr. Grindle, No. 6 Amity Street, New York, under alleged suspicious circumstances. An inquiry into the cause, which resulted in the death of Susannah Lattin, was commenced in New York on Saturday afternoon by Coroner Rollins, when the father, mother and brother of the deceased girl were examined and testified in substance that after the disappearance of Susannah, they learned by letter in the early part of June, that she was keeping out of way in consequence of being in a delicate position, that the landlady of the boarding house in New York, where she was stopping, had threatened to turn her out into the street unless she paid two weeks board then owing. They were unable to say by whom her ruin had been effected, but supposed it had been done by a young man employed in a Brooklyn boot and shoe store, with whom she had been keeping company. His name, her brother thought, was George Hotten, clerk in Whitehouse's shoe store in Fulton Street, Brooklyn. The same person had also stated that his sister had refused to return home on account of the condition in which she was in, and also that the author of her ruin had endeavored to persuade her to take unnatural and illegal means to do away with the proofs of their misconduct. Edward Danne, the medical student who had informed Mr. Lattin of his daughter's whereabouts and the precarious condition of her health, after staying ...
  12. ^ "The Amity Place mystery". New York Times. August 30, 1868. Inquest over the remains of Susannah Lattin. How a private lying-in hospital is conducted. Coroner Rollins proceeded yesterday to hold an inquest, at the Mercer Street police station, over the remains of Susannah Lattin, the young woman who died at the private lying-in hospital of Dr. H.D. Grindle, at No. 6 Amity Place, under circumstances of considerable mystery, yet suggestive of malpractice.
  13. ^ The ads ran from 1869 to 1872 in the New York Herald
  14. ^ "The Evil of the Age" (PDF). New York Times. August 23, 1871. Retrieved 2007-05-24. The enormous amount of medical malpractice that exists and flourishes, almost unchecked in the City of NY is a theme for most serious consideration. Thousands of human beings are thus murdered before they have seen the light of this world, and thousands more ruined in constitution, health, and happiness. So secretly are these crimes committed and so craftily do the perpetrators in inveigle [stet] their victims, that is it next to impossible to obtain evidence and witnesses. Facts are so artfully concealed from the public mind, and appearances so carefully guarded, that very meager outlines of the horrible truths have thus far been disclosed. But could even a portion of the facts that have been detected in frightful profusion by the agents of the TIMES, be revealed in print, in their hideous truth, the reader would shrink from the appalling picture.
  15. ^ "The Evil of the Age". World Magazine. Retrieved 2007-05-24.
  16. ^ Grindle in the 1880 US Census for Manhattan
  17. ^ "Blaine and Logan club". New York Times. June 20, 1884. Spring Valley, New York, June 19, 1884. The first Blaine and Logan campaign club in Rockland County was formed in this place last night, with the following officers: President – Dr. H.D. Grindle; Vice-Presidents – Stephen H. Burr, Clarence Forshay; Secretaries – Willia...
  18. ^ "Long Ridge Union Cemetery". Archived from the original on 2007-01-10. Retrieved 2007-05-14. Plot 0883: Grindle, Henry D., M.D., born Nov. 19, 1826, died Sept. 14, 1902. Grindle, Julia A. Lockwood M.D., [his wife] born Dec. 2, 1837, died Nov. 17, 1900. Erected by their daughter Minnie. Grindle, Julia Emeline, daughter of Henry D. & Julia A., died Apr. 8, 1863, age 21 days.
  19. ^ Henry, Julia, and Minnie do not appear in the New York City Death Index