In 1898, a group of schoolboys in Bridgeport, Connecticut discovered gruesome packages under a bridge holding the dismembered remains of a young woman.
Finding that the dead woman had just undergone an abortion, prosecutors raced to establish her identity and fix blame for her death. Suspicion fell on Nancy Guilford, half of a married pair of “doctors” well known to police throughout New England.
A fascinated public followed the suspect’s flight from justice, as many rooted for the fugitive. The Disquieting Death of Emma Gill takes a close look not only at the Guilfords, but also at the cultural shifts and societal compacts that allowed their practice to flourish while abortion was both illegal and unregulated.
Focusing on the women at the heart of the story—both victim and perpetrator—Biederman reexamines this slice of history through a feminist lens and reminds us of the very real lives at stake when a woman's body and choices are controlled by others.
About the Author
Marcia Biederman is the author of A Mighty Force, Scan Artist, and Popovers and Candlelight. As a journalist she was on the staff of Crain’s New York Business and contributed more than 150 pieces to the New York Times. Her work has appeared in the International Herald Tribune, New York Magazine, the New York Observer, Newsday, and the Christian Science Monitor. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.