The First "Women's Pharmacy"
32 Nevsky Prospekt (photo: Bulla, 1914)
It appears that the notoriety of the "Ladies' Pharmacy" was in its entirely female staff, although we must assume that women exclusively, or almost exclusively, made up the clientele as well. Gynecology and women's medicine were relatively new disciplines in an age when women's sexual health was characterized as an issue of proper hygiene. Semyon Marmeladov, of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, remarks that his daughter Sonya must spend a great deal in her profession to maintain cleanliness. Beyond the spiritual import of the remark, there is a legitimate note of alarm for the physical health of women working as prostitutes at a time when syphilis afflicted many.
Outer View of 32 Nevsky Prospekt
Note the Singer Building, just under construction at far left