Louise Achtenberg

Louise Achtenbergabortionists, abortionistsfemaleLouise Achtenberg was born in Germany in 1849 or 1850. She came to the United States around 1880.

Achtenberg self-identified as a midwife, and was identified in newspaper articles as such, but was twice listed as a doctor in the Homicide in Chicago Database. It’s possible that she was a physician, since at that time female doctors who practiced obstetrics were typically identified as midwives, though it is more likely that her self-identification as a midwife was the correct one. Either way, as a physician or as a midwife, she would have been typical of Chicago abortionists of the era.

She was implicated in five fatal abortions The following is the best chronology I can create of Achtenberg’s victims, how she was identified at the time, and where she was living.

  • 1900, per city directory, midwife, 4358 Dearborn St.

  • 1904, per city directory, 4346 Dearborn St.

  • 1907, death of Dora Swan
    • per news, midwife, 4346 Dearborn St.

  • 1909, death of Stella Kelly
    • per Database, midwife

  • 1910, per census, age 61, 6620 Peoria St.

  • 1918, death of Florence Wright
    • per Database, midwife

  • 1918, non-fatal abortion on Ruth G. Pickling*
    • per news, age 69

  • 1920, death of Violet McCormick
    • per Database, doctor, 8046 Green St.
    • per census, age 70, no occupation, 8046 Green St.

  • 1924, death of Madelyn Anderson
    • per Database, doctor

  • 1930, per census, age 80, 7559 Langley Ave.

I can find no record that she was ever incarcerated.

*”Aged Woman is Acquitted on Murder Charge,” Chicago Tribune, March 8, 1918