At around 4:00 p.m. on February 14, 1942, socialite Florence Nimick Schnoor, age 24, died at St. Joseph's Hospital in New York of what the coroner called a "brutal and inept" illegal abortion.

FlorenceNimickSchnoor.jpg
Florence, grand-niece of Andrew Carnegie and heiress to a Pittsburgh steel fortune, had eloped with Richard H. Schnoor, sergeant-at-arms of the New York State Assembly, one week earlier. The couple had met the previous September at "a fashionable Greenwich tavern." After their elopement, they'd moved into Florence's rooms at The Maples.

Florence, described as "attractive blond-haired and popular member of the Greenwich, Conn., younger social set," was the daughter of Alexander Kennedy Nimick Jr. Florences's mother, Beatrice Arnold Nimick, was Alex's second wife, and died when Florence was seven years old. She had a sister, Beatrice, and a half-brother, Coleman, from her father's first marriage.

Her husband reported that he had taken her to White Plains so she could catch a train to New York for a day's shopping. Later that morning, she called and asked him to pick her up at the station. He found her obviously ill and asking for a doctor. He took her straight to the hospital, where she died three hours later.

Doctors reported that Florence refused to discuss her case at all, much less implicate the abortionist, despite pleas from her husband.

SchnoorClipping.jpg
New York Times headlines

Investigators contacted all 200 people whose names were in Florence's address book, but were unable to gain any clues as to who performed the fatal abortion. All they were able to piece together is that Florence evidently paid $40 for the abortion, since her husband reported that she had left for New York with $50 in her purse and there had been $3 in her purse when she was hospitalized..

Florence's husband was not implicated in her death; police believed that he had not even known Florence was pregnant.

During the 1940s, while abortion was still illegal, there was a massive drop in maternal mortality from abortion. The death toll fell from 1,407 in 1940, to 744 in 1945, to 263 in 1950. Most researches attribute this plunge to the development of blood transfusion techniques and the introduction of antibiotics. Learn more here.
external image Abortion+Deaths+Since+1940.jpg

For more on pre-legalization abortion, see The Bad Old Days of Abortion


FlorenceSchnoor.pngSources:
  • "Police Inquiry on in Heiress Death," New York Times, Feb. 14, 1942
  • "Probe Death of Bride," Oswego Palladium-Times, Feb. 14, 1942
  • "Police Probing Bride's Death in Yonkers Hospital," Troy NY Times Record, Feb. 14, 1942
  • "Death of Bride, Grand-Niece of Carnegie, Probed," Cleveland Plain Dealer, Feb. 15, 1942
  • "Steel Heiress, Bride of Week, Abortion Victim," Chicago Tribune, Feb. 15, 1942
  • "Schnoor Case Addresses Fail," Mount Vernon, NY Daily Argus, Feb. 17, 1942


FlorenceSchnoorPoliceProbingTroyNY.png

FlorenceSchnoorAddressBook.png
FlorenceSchnoorProbeDeathOfBride.png

FlorenceSchnoorChiTribFeb15 1942.png


  1. 1900s
  2. 1910-1919
  3. 1920s
  4. 1930s
  5. 1940s
  6. 1950s
  7. 1960s
  8. 1970s
  9. 1980s
  10. 1990s
  11. 19th century
  12. 2000-2009
  13. 20s
  14. 30s
  15. 40s
  16. NAF
  17. abortifacient
  18. abortion
  19. abortion mill
  20. abortion mortality
  21. abortionists
  22. abortionists -- female
  23. abortionists -- male
  24. alabama
  25. anesthesia
  26. arizona
  27. black women
  28. born alive
  29. botched abortion
  30. california
  31. chicago
  32. colorado
  33. connecticut
  34. cover-up
  35. death
  36. deaths
  37. deception
  38. delay in transport
  39. delay in treatment
  40. district of columbia
  41. dumped body
  42. ectopic
  43. embolism
  44. falsifying forms
  45. fetal indications
  46. florida
  47. former criminal abortionist
  48. george tiller
  49. georgia
  50. hemorrhage death
  51. hospitals
  52. illegal - doctor
  53. illegal - midwife
  54. illegal - nurse
  55. illegal - paramedical
  56. illegal - post roe
  57. illegal - unknown
  58. illegal - untrained
  59. illegal abortion
  60. illinois
  61. inadequate documents
  62. inadequate equipment
  63. inadequate resuscitation
  64. incomplete abortion
  65. indiana
  66. infection
  67. kansas
  68. llinois
  69. louisiana
  70. maryland
  71. massachusetts
  72. maternal indications
  73. maternal mortality
  74. michigan
  75. mills
  76. missouri
  77. mortality
  78. national abortion federation
  79. new jersey
  80. new mexico
  81. new york
  82. north carolina
  83. ohio
  84. oklahoma
  85. pennsylvania
  86. planned parenthood
  87. pre-roe legal
  88. previous misconduct
  89. prostaglandin
  90. quackery
  91. questionable stories
  92. ru-486
  93. rupture
  94. saline
  95. secret abortion
  96. self-induced
  97. suicide
  98. teens
  99. texas
  100. wisconsin