Dr. Gregory on Medical Instruction for Women (1860)

(Godey’s Lady’s Book, May, 1860) At a public meeting lately held in this College, Dr. S. Gregory, the indefatigable friend and promoter of the movement to give medical instruction to women, made some statements that show the steady progress of this good cause.

“He remarked that one of the results of the discussion and prosecution of the cause of female medical education during the past twelve years had been, as was intended and expected, a gradual transfer of the practice of midwifery from the hands of men to those of women.”::godey::He stated that Mrs. Goodwin, a female physician, in Worcester, Mass., during the last eleven years, had presided at sixteen hundred and twenty-six births, and never lost but one patient. Can male physicians show such a record? This is the great point. The safety of woman and relief from unnecessary suffering in childbirth demand the education and employment of women as physicians for their own sex.

“It would be interesting,” continued Dr. G., “to know what proportion of the five or six thousand annual births in Boston were attended by females. One woman, Mrs. Edee Eaton, had attended over a thousand within the past eleven years, and many others had had a good amount of practice. If two women had attended twenty-six hundred cases in the past eleven years, what must be the number attended by all of the women in practice in the cities and towns of New England during that period? Probably a hundred thousand would be a moderate estimate.”

We are glad to find that two of the professors in this College are women, viz.: Marie B. Zakrzewska, M.D., Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children, and Frances S. Cooke, M.D., Professor of Physiology and Hygiene.

About the New England Woman’s Medical College

The 12 students who entered the classroom at Boston’s newest medical school on November 9, 1848 were unlike any others in the history of Western medicine—they were all women.

In the mid-1800s, educational opportunities for women were beginning to open up, albeit slowly. There were a handful of new women’s colleges. And women could train as midwives or nurses. But medical school? Forget it. That all changed on the heels of the historic 1848 women’s rights convention at Seneca Falls. And ground zero for that change was right here in Boston.

Launched as the Boston Female Medical College, and later called the New England Female Medical College, it was the first female medical school in the United States—and in the world.

Learn more at The Doctresses Of Medicine: The World’s 1st Female Medical School Was Established In Boston

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