Henrietta Ullman

SUMMARY: Henrietta Ullman died on June 12, 1870 from an abortion perpetrated in New York by Dr. Michael Wolff.

On Sunday, June 12, 1870, New York Coroner Rollins was summoned to 517 East Twelfth Street to take a deathbed statement from Henrietta Ullman, an immigrant from Germany. Rollins arrived at the residence to find Henrietta already dead. She had passed away at 10:00 a.m.

An investigation found that Henrietta had been working as a servant at the home of the Strauss on B Street. On May 25, she went to the residence of Dr. Michael A. A. Wolff on Seventh Street, where Wolff used instruments to perform an abortion.

Henrietta then went to the home of her sister, Rachel Hermann on East Twelfth Street to recover. Henrietta didn’t tell Rachel why she was sick. On June 2, Henrietta sent Rachel to fetch Wolff.

Wolff immediately went to the dark bedroom where his ailing patient lay. Rachel offered to get a light but Wolff told her he didn’t need one and instructed her to leave the room. After about ten minutes, he left Henrietta in severe pain which abated somewhat after two or three hours.

The next morning Wolf returned to Henrietta’s bedside, speaking quietly to her for about five minutes before leaving. Rachel asked him what was wrong with her sister, and Wolf told her that she had an accumulation of blood but would recover soon.

On Thursday night, June 8, Henrietta again experienced severe pain. The following morning Rachel questioned her more intensely about her ailment, to which, she said, Henrietta told her, “Nothing. I am only playing sick.”

Rachel repeatdly begged Henrietta to tell her what was really wrong with her, but coudn’t get an answer. That evening, Friday, Rachel went to fetch Wolff again, demanding to tell him what was wrong with Henrietta.

Wolff told her that about a month earlier Henrietta had come to him saying that she was pregnant by her employer’s brother, asking for abortifacients. He gave her the drugs, Wolff told Rachel, and would recover if Rachel would keep tending to her.

Wolff attended her there. However, before Henrietta could recover, Wolff was arrested for the abortion death of Matilda Henningsen.

Not knowing about the abortion, Rachel mmoned another doctor but was unable to tell him what ailed her sister. This physician cared for Henrietta until her death from peritonitis.

A few hours before her death, Henrietta admitted to the abortion.


  • “Another Quack Murder,” New York Herald, June 14, 1870