Henry Dyer Grindle (1826-1902) was a Manhattan physician and abortionist in the 1860's through the 1870's. (b. November 19, 1826; Maine – d. September 14, 1902)
He was born on November 19, 1826 in Maine. He graduated from University Medical College in 1867.
He married Julia A. Lockwood (1837-1900) of Connecticut. She also worked as a physician and was known as "Madame Grindle".
- Minnie Grindle (1862-1938) who would later marry Alonzo Grey, a physician from Ohio
- Julia Emeline Grindle (1863-1863) who lived for 21 days
On August 27, 1868, Susannah Lattin (1848-1868) died post-partum at his illegal abortion and adoption clinic at 6 Amity Place in New York City. Her death led to an investigation which resulted in regulation of abortion clinics and adoptions in New York City.
The Evil of the AgeEdit
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.
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," &c., with twenty-five years experience, &c. 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 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.
By 1880 he was living in Ramapo, New York. In 1884 he was elected president of the Blaine and Logan campaign club in Rockland County, New York. 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.
- 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)
- New York Times, August 29, 1868, page 08; "A rather singular case of death occurred yesterday morning, in the private Lying-in Hospital of Dr. H.D. Grindle, at No. 6 Amity-Place, which is surrounded with considerable mystery and suspicion."
- Brooklyn Eagle, August 29, 1868; "Daughter of a resident of Farmingdale dies under suspicious circumstances. The body found in a lying-in hospital. Last Wednesday Mr. Henry Lattin, a resident of Farmingdale, Long Island received a letter of which the following is a copy: From: 6 Amity Place, Manhattan. To: Mr. Henry Lattin. Dear Sir: You daughter is at No. 6 Amity Place, very sick with typhoid fever, and I do not expect her to live twenty-four hours. She inquires about her mother frequently, and wants her to come immediately. Yours truly, E. Daun. P.S. take the Fulton Street cars at the ferry and they will take you to the house. E. Daun. Mr. and Mrs Lattin started at once for New York ..."
- New York Times, August 30, 1868, page 08; "The Amity Place mystery. 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."
- Brooklyn Eagle, August 31, 1868; "The Long Island Mystery. 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 ..."
- Brooklyn Eagle, September 1, 1868; "Long Island Mystery: arrest of a butcher on suspicion of murder. At eight o'clock last night Officer O.H. Smith, of the Forty-fourth Precinct, arrested George H. Powell, a butcher doing business in Washington Market and residing in Marcy, near Myrtle Avenue, who is charged with being an accomplice in the death of Susannah Lattin, of Farmingdale, Long Island, who decease[d] at the alleged private lying-in asylum of Dr. Grindle, No. 6 Amity Street, New York, has already been noticed in the [Brooklyn] Eagle. It is alleged that a few months since Powell hired some furnished rooms on Myrtle Avenue, near Ryerson Street, to which place it is stated he took Miss Lattin and introduced her as his wife. It is also alleged that after living with her there as his wife, he afterwards took her to No. 6 Amity Street for treatment, and introduced her there also as his wife. It will be remembered that Daune, Dr. Grindle's student, who testified at the inquest commenced by Coroner Rollins on Saturday, recognized Powell as the man who had called on the deceased several times before her death, and from whom at her desire, he obtained the necessary instructions for forwarding a letter to her parents, when Dr. Finell of West Houston Street informed her of the precarious state she was placed in. Powell is 38 years of age a butcher by trade, and is married. He was sent last night to the Fifteenth Precinct Station House in New York to await the action of Coroner Rollins, who will resume the investigation relative to the cause of Miss Lattin's death on Thursday next."
- Brooklyn Eagle, September 2, 1868; "Long Island Mystery: another arrest. Yesterday Detective William H. Folk, of the Central Office, in this city, arrested in Philadelphia a young man twenty-three years of age, named George C. Houghton, on a charge of having been in some manner instrumental in taking Susannah Lattin to the alleged lying-in asylum, No. 6 Amity Street. The accused was formerly employed as a clerk in a boot and shoe store in this city, and during the Coroner's investigation last Saturday, the brother of the deceased girl testified that his sister had been keeping company with a young man formerly employed in Whitehouse's boot and shoe store, on Fulton Street. The accused denies his guilt, but was taken to the Fifteenth Precinct station-house, in New York, where he will await the action of Coroner Rollins."
- Brooklyn Eagle, September 4, 1868, page 02; "The Long Island Mystery. Continuation of Coroner's Inquest. The Friends of the Deceased Girl on the Stand. "The investigation into the circumstances attending the death of Susannah Lattin, the daughter of a citizen of Farmingdale, Long Island, who died on the 28th ultima at the alleged private lying-in asylum. No. 6 Amity Street, New York, was continued by Coroner Rollins yesterday. George A. Lockwood, a student employed by Dr. Grindle, corroborated the testimony given by Edward Daun, a fellow student, at the last investigation; in his opinion, death was the result of typhoid fever; he denied that the woman went to the asylum for the purpose of procuring an abortion; a return of the births were regularly made to the Board of Health; the children were usually adopted out. William Tate of 560 Myrtle Avenue testified that about the middle of last July a man and a woman lived in apartments over his store, they gave their names as Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and appeared to live together as man and wife. They lived there about three weeks, and on the 28th of August the man went to Mr. Tate and told him thet Mrs. Smith had died the previous day, he did not say where or how. Mr. Tate recognized George Powell, who was present in the room, as the man who gave the name of Smith. ..."
- New York Times, September 4, 1868, page 02; "The Amity Place mystery: Continuation of the inquest by coroner Rollins. Letter of the deceased. Extraordinary developments. Rollins yesterday resumed his investigation into the case of Miss Susannah Lattin, who died on the 28th at Dr. D.H. Grindle's private lying-in hospital, No. 6 Amity-Place."
- Brooklyn Eagle, September 9, 1868, page 3; "Long Island Mystery: Dr. Harrison and Grindle testify."
- New York Times, September 11, 1868; "The University Medical College. 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, held at the house of Dr. Grindle, a graduate of the University. Suspected of being concerned in producing abortions. It is true that H.D. Grindle graduated at the University, but in 1867, and not some twelve years since, ..."
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