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April 1, 1968

Body Snatching in Connecticut

JAMA. 1968;204(1):79. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140140081026

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To the Editor:—  I appreciate Dr. Hamlin's comments and the interesting additions regarding the statute passed by the Connecticut legislature, which did indeed antedate the Massachusetts statute as he says. In fact, there was an even earlier statute passed by the New York legislature in 1789. The reason why I cited the Massachusetts statute and not the two preceding ones as "the first law in the English-speaking world which deliberately set out to provide a satisfactory supply of cadavers for dissection" was because the previous laws had provided only that the bodies of criminals could be made available for the study of anatomy. The New York law provided for the bodies of executed criminals. The Connecticut law provided in addition for the bodies of criminals who died in the penitentiary from illness, but even this was not sufficient to fill the needs. The Massachusetts law was more extensive and more