In October of 1926, 34-year-old Sophie Peterson underwent an illegal abortion in the Chicago office of Dr. Frederick Springe. She was taken to Mercy Hospital, where she died at the end of November.
Mercy Hospital was Chicago’s first chartered hospital, established by the same Sisters of Mercy in 1852 in an old rooming house. In 1859, Mercy Hospital affiliated with Lind Medical School, becoming the first US Catholic hospital to affiliate with a medical school and require a graded curriculum. The decision in 1863 to move to what was then the outskirts of Chicago and build what seemed like an absurdly large building turned out to be providential when the Great Chicago Fire swept through the city. The remote location and extra size provided desperately needed care for those injured in the fire.