Skip to Main Content

Father of Gynecology.

Monument to the Father of Gynecology and Experimenter on Enslaved Women (Gone)

Field review by the editors.

New York, New York

According to his monument, James Marion Sims (known as "Father of Gynecology") was a great guy -- even though most people today regard him as an inhuman monster. He's evil because all of his early practical experience on female diseases -- the techniques he developed and the instruments he devised -- came from crude experiments on enslaved women in Alabama. Some of his patients underwent as many as thirty operations, and Sims, who believed that African-Americans could tolerate pain better than whites, never used anesthesia. When he moved from the Deep South to New York City, he continued his experiments on poor Irish immigrant women, whom he regarded as similarly expendable. The wealthy, white, non-Irish upper class benefited from his experience and knowledge, and while the gynecological perks did eventually trickle down to almost everyone, they didn't until long after he was dead.

There's no mention of gynecology on Sims' Victorian-era monument, because at the time the subject was considered taboo. The inscription reads:

"J. Marion Sims M.D. 1813-1883. Surgeon and philanthropist, founder of the Women's Hospital, State of New York. His brilliant achievement carried the fame of American surgery throughout the entire world. In recognition of his services in the cause of science and mankind. Awarded highest honors by his countrymen and decorations from the governments of Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal."

Monument to the Father of Gynecology and Experimenter on Enslaved Women

Proposed future home: Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
Monument was removed April 17, 2018.

More Quirky Attractions in New York

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in New York.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Create and Save Your Own Crazy Road Trip! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

New York Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum, Gibsland, Louisiana (May 20-26, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Favorite Quirky City Sights