Library Collections: Document: Full Text

Dr. Haiselden Praised By Bent And Crippled

From: Dr. Haiselden And The Bollinger Baby
Creator: n/a
Date: November 22, 1915
Publication: The Chicago Daily Tribune
Source: Available at selected libraries

Next Page   All Pages 

Page 1:


If the Bollinger baby had lived would he have agreed with his parents, Dr. H.J. Haiselden, and scores of other physicians and eugenists who decreed that death was better in his case than life?


This question never will be answered, but other cripples have answered it for him in dozens of letters which Dr. Haiselden has received.


One, written in a childish pencil scrawl on a piece of yellow paper, follows:


"Dear Dr. Haiselden. Just a line from a little cripple girl thanking you for not letting that baby live and I know God will be good to you to because I know how it is from my own experience and other little cripple children our hearts all ways aches -- we cant play or walk or dance like other children we are in every ones road but mothers -- and her poor heart aches with ours - we are just a curiosity for people to gaze at. Why didn't that lady adopted the little boy pick out a cripple she is blowing so much. Oh -- no no body wants a fony child -- but mother. I am tired of life at 15. What will become of me when mother dies. Poor mother is so kind I don't want her know I wrote this. My sisters or father don't care for me -- tell Mrs. Bollinger she is a grand good mother and her baby is an angel in a beautiful place -- heaven -- that is what they tell me heaven is lovely and I will be like other children there -- if it is why does people want to keep me and that little baby out of heaven. I remain you little invalid ready to go to heaven anytime."

Life is Struggle

Another letter reads in part:


"It takes experience to realize what a life this means and, therefore, I can say truthfully what pangs I have felt on account of my misfortune. I am afflicted with one arm off from birth, but wear an artificial arm, and though I am by no means handicapped, yet I find life nothing but a struggle. What pleasure is life if you can't enjoy it? I am, therefore, glad of this opportunity to tell you you have the right idea, and if more people of power and knowledge would see this matter as you do it would be a great help to the coming generations in the event of similar cases. I am old enough to realize what bitter sorrow my dear parents felt on account of my misfortune and what relief it would have been to me and them if I had died in my infancy."

Many Send Letters

Excerpts from other letters received by the physician from eugenists, physicians, and parents of crippled children, follow:


Harry McCormack, secretary of the department of outdoor relief of Cook county from 1898 to 1906 -- I wish to congratulate you on the position you took in the case of the Bollinger child. In January, 1893. Cook county had 2,331 insane persons or defectives, held as public charges either in county or state institutions, which would be one to each 702 of our total population at that period. In 1904, the number of insane or defectives in our public institutions charged to Cook county was 4,441, or one to each 450 of the total population then, about 2,100,000. Mark the increase in ten years. We all know that children being born every day, deformed, diseased, idiotic, and feeble minded. Who is responsible? This question must be met squarely. There must be no false modesty to interfere with its practical solution.

Health Officer Writes

Dr. Frank H. Edsall, superintendent of the department of the health bureau of Jersey City, N. J. -- While one infant eliminated from the ever growing numbers of the feebleminded is of little practical importance, by forcing the consideration of feeblemindedness to the front I am hopeful you will have rendered an important public service. Feeblemindedness is so certain to reproduce itself where opportunity offers and is becoming so much of a menace, I am sure public health authorities will soon have to ake active measures to prevent its victims from propagating.


Lionel Tompkins, 5625 Blackstone avenue -- Allow me to extend to you my appreciation of the courageous stand you have taken in the matter of ending a life of no value to the world. Two years ago I captured a demented murderer in the Wisconsin woods, and I have often since wondered if I did right in refusing to return his revolver to him that he might destroy his miserable self.

Asks Way of Death

Mrs. James F. Darcy, St. Louis, Mo. -- I have a little boy 6 years old who, the doctors say, is defective. He is now in the city sanitarium where there are fourteen others like him. I worry so over him. I would tonight be so glad if he were to die, or do you think there is any cure for such children?


Mrs. R. E., Hoboken, N. J. -- Seventeen years ago a little daughter came me bady -sic- deformed. She lived five days. I begged the doctor to let her die. His reply was: "I must do all I can to prolong life." An animal similary -sic- afflicted would have been put out of its misery soon after birth. Perhaps some of the sentimentalists who are so horrified at your action would be equally so with me if they know I prayed for my child to die.

Next Page

Pages:  1  2    All Pages