Sharon DeBartolo Carmacck, author
At 8 a.m. on the first of April 1878, the chamber maid found Madame Restell’s nude body in the bathtub, her throat cut. The coroner ruled it a suicide. But is that what really happened? Madame Restell was New York City’s most notorious abortionist of the nineteenth century. She capitalized on her career as a “female physician” and “professor of midwifery,” helping hundreds of women and men with family limitation needs. But she flaunted her wealth from catering to New York City’s elite by constructing a mansion on Fifth Avenue, driving around in elaborate carriages, and wearing diamond jewelry and stylish silk dresses. She was worth millions and her notoriety made her a stain on the city. Despite her many arrests and trials, Madame Restell persevered for nearly forty years until 1878 when Anthony Comstock and his Society for the Suppression on Vice made her a primary target, which resulted in her demise. So who was the real woman behind the persona of Madame Restell? Much of what’s been written, past and present, has spun mistruths about her. There is another side to the story of her death and much more to the story of her life. Based on decades of meticulous research and never-before-published primary source materials, Madame Restell: The True Story of New York City’s Most Notorious Abortionist, Her Early Life, Family, and Murder offers an investigative study of American’s most infamous abortionist. In this riveting hybrid monograph of biography, family history, and true crime, Sharon DeBartolo Carmack chose to sacrifice the details of Madame Restell’s career and trials to concentrate on unravelling the true story of English-born Ann (Trow) (Summers) Lohman (1811–1878), the woman who would become this notorious nineteenth-century figure. Taking segments of Ann’s life, Carmack corrects misinformation and adds new material about Restell that has never been published, as well as presenting a compelling argument that Ann’s “suicide” was, in reality, a far more tragic end.