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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Did Baby Get Sex Change?

From The New York Times of Aug. 23, 1922:

The question as to whether the baby born to Mrs. Bertha Rich of 22 Dwight Street, Jersey City, on Aug. 12, was a boy or a girl has stirred up a hornets' nest.

Mrs. Rich says it was a boy. Her husband, Edward Rich, statistician for the Underwood Typewriter Company, says his wife told him the baby was a boy. The officials of the Bergen Sanitarium, Clinton and Madison Avenues, Jersey City, say the baby was a girl.

Rich declares that the sanitarium did not give Mrs. Rich her own baby, and he has retained Charles E. S. Simpson, as attorney, to take appropriate legal action. According to Rich, his wife told him that Dr. David Russell said to her: "It's a boy." Rich told his office associates that he was the father of a boy, and mailed announcements to his friends.

On Aug. 18, says Rich, Dr. Russell asked him what name he desired to give the child. Rich selected "Edward Jr.," whereupon, Rich declares, the physician wrote "Edwina" on the birth record. On the same day, according to the puzzled father, Mrs. Rich told the new nurse to "give the boy a bath," whereupon the nurse exclaimed, "It's a girl."

Dr. Russell's explanation is that Mrs. Rich's desire to have a boy was so strong that she thought the child born to her was a boy. When the baby was born, he said, he told Mrs. Rich it was a girl, and so did the nurses. Dr. Peter Maras, Vice President of the sanitarium, said that Mrs. Rich's baby was born prematurely and weighed between three and four pounds, and that if there had been a thousand babies in the sanitarium at the time it would have been impossible to have made a substitution. [Link]

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