Madame Restell — birth control and abortion provider

Madame Restell’s Mansion on Fifth Avenue [stereoview]
Madame Restell’s Mansion on Fifth Avenue [stereoview]
Boston: Miller & Best, [ca. 1865–1876]
English immigrant Anna Trow Lohman, known as Madame Restell, became notorious and financially successful by performing abortions. New York had outlawed abortion unless necessary to save the mother’s life, but abortion practitioners continued to work in the state. Restell was entrepreneurial. She sold patent medicines for birth control and abortion, provided housing for pregnant women, and facilitated adoptions. In 1847, her husband, the radical printer Charles M. Lohman, published a medical companion under the name A. M. Mauriceau. It went through at least nine editions. The book advertised Restell’s patent medicines, as well as condoms. Their business flourished, with branches opening in Philadelphia and Boston, they and were able to purchase a mansion on Fifth Avenue. In 1873, the Comstock Law to suppress the circulation of obscene materials was enacted, and in 1878 Restell was personally arrested by Anthony Comstock. Anna Restell committed suicide the morning she was to face charges in court.
Madame Restell’s Mansion on Fifth Avenue [stereoview], Boston: Miller & Best, [ca. 1865–1876], Lisa Unger Baskin Collection, Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. Accessed May 19, 2024,