Nellie Ryan 1898

SUMMARY: Nellie Ryan, age 24, died on March 9, 1898 after an abortion perpetrated by New York midwife Lena Schott.

Near midnight on March 8, 1898, 15-year-old Max Schott ran out of the family home at 233 East 77th Street in New York, flagging down a policeman and asking him to call an ambulance.

LenaSchottSketch.pngThe ambulance surgeon arrived to find a young woman near death. She gave her name as Nellie Monahan and provided an address on East 16th Street. She said that she had come to the Schott house the previous Thursday at around 9:00 p.m. The abortion, Nellie said, had been perpetrated on Friday morning. She had paid Schott $30.

As Nellie lay dying at Presbyterian Hospital, police brought Max’s mother, midiwife Lena Schott (pictured) to the hospital. Nellie pointed at her and said, “Yes, that’s her. You killed me. I’m going to die, and I am going to tell the truth.”

Schott was arrested. Two hours later, in the early morning hours of March 9, Nellie died, resulting in a homicide charge being filed against Schott.. Police also arrested Dr. Jesse Lee Morrill, who admitted that Schott had called him to provide treatment to Nellie but insisted that he had only prescribed a medication for her nausea.

Upon going to the address Nellie had given, police learned that there was no Nellie Monahan, and they identified the abortion victim as 24-year-old Nellie Ryan.

Schott had been arrested on three occasions in 1894 “for running a disorderly house” and for being an abortionist. She managed to remain free to perpetrate the fatal abortion on Nellie. Schott would also be implicated in the death of Henrietta Appel in 1902.


  • “Miss Monahan’s Death, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 9, 1895
  • “Said Mrs. Schott Killed Her,” New York Times, March 10, 1898
  • Held for Awful Crimes,” New York World, March 25, 1894