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Dope House: 1915

Dope House: 1915

Washington, D.C., 1915. "Dr. Thomas J. Kemp residence, 15th Street and Massachusetts Avenue N.W." The doctor had been in the news by virtue of his acquittal on charges of violating the District's pharmacy laws after he prescribed and sold morphine to an alleged drug addict. View full size.


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Dr. Kemp's notoriety came only in part from the charge of giving morphine to an addict. A postal inspector enticed him to respond favorably to a letter seeking information about how to solve a problem pregnancy, leading to a conviction that was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. However, President Wilson commuted his two-year sentence, upon the payment of a fine. Kemp's father-in-law (Duncan Upshaw Fletcher) just happened to be a U.S. Senator from Florida. By the time Senator Fletcher died in 1936 (during his fifth six-year term), his obituary named St. Louis as the hometown of Dr. and Mrs. Kemp.

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