Jan. 11, 1907: USC Medical School Cadavers Found in Garbage Dump


Note: This is an encore post from 2007.

Jan. 11, 1907
Los Angeles

A woman living on a hog ranch near the Santa Fe railroad crossing over the Los Angeles River contacted police after seeing dismembered human bodies in the old dumping ground near George Street.

Investigators dug through the dump, retrieving the body of a child that was nearly intact, along with bits and pieces of a man and a woman, including their skulls. In addition to the remains, police found books and papers traced to the University of Southern California Medical School.


“Whoever is responsible for the depositing of the remains on the garbage heap should be severely censured,” Coroner Roy S. Lanterman told The Times.

“It seems quite heartless enough to give up the human body to further science but when the students have finished dissecting the remains they should see that they are interred with the proper respect. I cannot understand the action of those responsible for sending the bodies to the garbage heap.”

For further reading on the sorry state of medical schools at the turn of the 20th century, read Abraham Flexner’s “Medical Education in the U.S. and Canada.” Note that in this era, doctors didn’t even need to be high school graduates.

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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1907, Black Dahlia, Books and Authors, Education, LAPD, Streetcars. Bookmark the permalink.

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