Lola Maddison

Lola Maddison1900s, 20s, chicago, illinois, illegaldoctorSUMMARY: Lola Maddison, age 28, died on March 2, 1906 after an abortion perpetrated in Chicago by the notorious Dr. Lucy Hagenow.

LolaMaddisonSaltLakeTrib4Mar1906.pngOn March 2, 1906, 28-year-old Miss Lola Montez Maddison, a recent Merrill Academy graduate from Salt Lake City, Utah, died from an abortion at in Chicago. She went to Chicago on the advice of a friend and made straight for Lucy Hagenow’s practice, where she remained for several days.

Somehow her sister, Kathryn, who was a nurse in Chicago, learned where Lola was. On February 20 she went to check on her. She found Lola seriously ill, and had her brought to her home on Cass Street before notifying the police.

The police, upon seeing Lola’s grave condition, had her brought immediately to Passavant Hospital.

The coroner, facing ongoing stonewalling in his investigation into the abortion death of Mercedes Berriozabal, worked hard to get as much information as possible from Lola before her lips were sealed by death. She made a deathbed statement detailing the events leading to her demise, though she adamantly refused to divulge the name of the baby’s father, who she said had provided her with $100 to cover travel expenses and the cost of the abortion.

Lola told Coroner Hoffman that she had told her parents only that she was going to Chicago to visit friends. She had, however, gone directly to Hagenow, not even informing her sister, Kathryn, that she was in the city.

Police Sargent George W. Pearsall took Hagenow to Lola’s room at Passavant Hospital about five o’clock on the afternoon of February 20. He asked Lola, “Do you know this woman?” To which Lola replied, “Oh, yes, that is the doctor.” The police captain asked for clarification and Lola identified Hagenow as the doctor who had performed the abortion at her office on Clark Street. Hagenow stepped up to the side of the bed rubbed the Lola’s face with her hand and said, “Don’t talk too much, my girl, it won’t do you any good” Hagenow then bent over and whispered something to Lola that the police were unable to hear.

Hagenow.jpgAbortionist Lucy “Louise” HagenowHagenow was well known to Chicago police. She had been implicated the death of Minnie Deering in 1891 and Sophia Kuhn in 1892. Later that same year she was implicated in the abortion death of Emily Anderson.

Her first Cook County trial was in 1895, when Mary Putnam had died under her care. Hagenow had been acquitted in the case and promptly went on to be implicated in the July, 1896 abortion death of Hannah Carlson. Though Hannah’s brother identified Hagenow as the abortionist, the jury was unable to dismiss Hagenow’s claims that she had only been caring for Hannah after a self-induced abortion, and she was again acquitted.

The August, 1899 abortion death of Marie Hecht brought a change in Hagenow’s fortunes. Marie’s deathbed statement, and corroborating testimony by one of Marie’s friends, secured a conviction. In February of 1900, Hagenow was sent to Joliet Penitentiary to serve a sentence of one year to life.

She was arrested and held by the coroner’s jury March 3. Emma L. Anderson, identified as Hagenow’s niece, was unable to get the charges dismisses, but was able to argue in favor of her aunt’s release on $10,000 bail.

Because of technical issues with the indictment, the case was dropped on July 22, 1907. Salt Lake City papers make much of the fact that the victim was the sister of Mrs. Annie Bradley, who at the time of Lola’s death was facing charges in Washington regarding the murder of Senator Brown.

Hagenow, who had already been implicated of the abortion deaths of Louise Derchow, Annie Dorris, Abbia Richards, and Emma Dep in San Francisco, would go on to be linked to over a dozen Chicago abortion deaths:

Hagenow was typical of criminal abortionists in that she was a physician.

Note, please, that with general public health issues such as doctors not using proper aseptic techniques, lack of access to blood transfusions and antibiotics, and overall poor health to begin with, there was likely little difference between the performance of a legal abortion and illegal practice, and the aftercare for either type of abortion was probably equally unlikely to do the woman much, if any, good. For more about abortion and abortion deaths in the first years of the 20th century, see Abortion Deaths 1900-1909.

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion


  • “Dies Accusing a Woman,” Chicago Daily Tribune, Mar. 3, 1906
  • “Lola Maddison Dies,” Salt Lake Tribune, Mar. 4, 1906
  • “Mrs. Hagenow Out on Bail,” Chicago Daily Tribune, Mar. 11, 1906
  • Hagenow Case on Trial,” Salt Lake Herald, Nov. 27, 1907
  • Homicide in Chicago Interactive
  • death certificate




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