You’ve come a long way baby…. . The History of Women in Medicine Amy Jost, class of 2004. Overview of the Talk. Women pioneers and their stories – from the middle ages to present day Changing Perspectives in recent decades The Current Situation – where do we go from here?.
The History of Women in Medicine
Amy Jost, class of 2004
Florence was recruited to serve in Scutari during the Crimean War. Here, she collected data on mortality rates and systematized record-keeping practices.
Designed to dramatize the needless deaths caused by unsanitary conditions
what she says is:
"At Florence Nightingale's house, London. July the 30th. Eighteen hundred and ninety. When I am no longer even a memory, just a name, I hope my voice may perpetuate the great work of my life. God bless my dear old Comrades at Balaclava and bring them safe to shore."
Excerpt from "The Manchester Guardian" in 1865:
“An incident is just now being discussed in military circles so extraordinary that, were not the truth capable of being vouched for by official authority, the narration would certainly be deemed incredible. Our officers quartered at the Cape between 15 and 20 years ago may remember a certain Dr Barry attached to the medical staff there, and enjoying a reputation for considerable skill in his profession, especially for firmness, decision and rapidity in difficult operations… upon his death was discovered to be a woman. The motives that occasioned and the time when commenced this singular deception are both shrouded in mystery.
“But thus it stands as an indisputable fact, that a woman was for 40 years an officer in the British service, and fought one duel and had sought many more, had pursued a legitimate medical education, and received a regular diploma, and had acquired almost a celebrity for skill as a surgical operator.“
Elizabeth Blackwell, aged 38
Home of Samuel Dickson, M.D.
Elizabeth Blackwell’s letter of admission
“A lady, on his invitation, entered, whom he formally introduced as Miss Elizabeth Blackwell…A hush fell upon the class as if each member had been stricken with paralysis. A death-like stillness prevailed during the lecture, and only the newly arrived student took notes. She retired with the professor, and thereafter came in with him and sat on the platform during the lecture.”
(classmate’s memory of Blackwell’s first day)
Geneva Medical College – one of many small, short-lived medical schools that flourished in 19th century America.
“I had not the slightest idea of the commotion created by my appearance as a medical student in the little town. Very slowly I perceived that a doctor’s wife at the table avoided any communication with me, and that as I walked backwards and forwards to college the ladies stopped to stare at me, as at a curious animal. I afterwards found that I had so shocked Geneva propriety that the theory was fully established either that I was a bad woman, whose designs would gradually become evident, or that, being insane, an outbreak of insanity would soon be apparent.”
La maternite de Paris
Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania
Anatomy lecture room at the Women’s Medical College of New York Infirmary
Elizabeth B. Scott (1866-1958), Student at the Woman's Medical College, Kingston, ca. 1888
Mary Putnam Jacobi and her peers
“There’s a woman doctor in the house” –cover of German gazette, late 1800s
State Hospital of Missouri Nurses, 1914
Source: American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) Statistics 2001-2002