Doctor or Doctress?

Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians

An editorial from an undated newspaper clipping which gives an opinion about female doctors, dating to the early 1850s.

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"Will you accept or reject them?" The First Female Medical College

Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, founded in 1850, was the first degree-granting medical school exclusively for women. It attracted national attention, both in support of and against women formally training and practicing of medicine. Supporters felt that women were, by their caring natures, more suited to treating women and children than men were, and believed that it was more appropriate for women to be treated by female doctors. Those against women doctors felt that it was inappropriate for women to study anatomy alongside men and have a career other than being a housewife and mother. Newspapers all over the country printed news of the Female Medical College and the women doctors it produced, and continued doing so for years after the founding in 1850.

Because the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania was the first degree-granting medical school exclusively for women, it attracted national attention. Many newspapers all over the country printed news about the women medical students and doctors because they were so rare. Even four years after the founding of Female Medical College, the opinions of female physicians published in newspapers varied greatly between pro- and con, and even women authors were not necessarily supportive of the idea of women doctors.

Creator: Bodley, Rachel L., 1831-1888

Contributor: Fern, Fanny

Language: english

Item Number: a133_065_038

Pages: 83

Size: 14x22.5

Physical Collection: Clipping scrapbook no. 1, ACC-133

Finding Aid:

Cite this source: Title of document, date. The First Female Medical College: Will you accept or reject them?. Doctor or Doctress?: Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians. The Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine Archives & Special Collections. Philadelphia, PA. Date of access.

Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania

Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania--History

Women medical students

Women physicians

Sex discrimination in medicine

Philadelphia (Pa.)

Boston (Mass.)