Otilia Winkler

Otilia Mary Winkler, age 23, was an unusual woman in 1906 Chicago. Unmarried, she worked as an electrician.

At some point in early 1906, Otilia made a connection with one of Chicago’s many midwife-abortionists, Wilhelmina Benn. This licensed midwife had been born in Germany around 1847, making her around 60 years old at the time. She had immigrated to the United States around 1886.

Benn was charged in Otilia’s death, but was never prosecuted.

Benn was later charged in the June, 1916 abortion death of Rosie Kawera and the December 31, 1917 abortion death of 40-year-old homemaker Victoria Chmileuski.

(Note: Variations I have found on Otilia’s name include Otilla Mary Winkler and Mary Ottilie Winkler.)


  • “Midwife is Held; Murder Charged,” Chicago Tribune, Apr. 6, 1906
  • Cook County death records