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JAMA 100 Years Ago
June 3, 1998


Author Affiliations

Edited by Brian P. Pace, MA, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 1998;279(21):1678W. doi:10.1001/jama.279.21.1678

Dr. Neesen of Brooklyn, who has been taking a post-graduate course at Vienna, writes of a visit to Professor S. L. Schenk: "When I called at Dr. Schenk's house I found the street blocked with carriages of all descriptions. A group of well-dressed people stood on the stoop of the house, waiting to be admitted. The anterooms were crowded to suffocation with visitors, most of them women, richly attired and genteel looking, all waiting to consult the professor.

"Dr. Schenk told me: ‘I have been making experiments for the last twenty years, but the profession must decide whether or not I have discovered anything new. The wife of a Parisian journalist was sent to me by her physician. She was despondent because of her lonely home. I assured her that I could help her, and then with my experiments in mind, I asked her if she desired a boy or girl. She replied that both she and her husband wanted a boy. The woman underwent treatment, and in due course of time she had born to her a bouncing boy of twelve pounds weight. The husband was so overjoyed that he told the experience to his friends, and so it got into the newspapers. I am persuaded that the quality and quantity of the food digested has largely to do with the production of male or female offspring. Drugs are used to some extent, but they have no specific action on the determination of the sex. I use them simply as a means of raising or lowering the state of the general health.