Doctor or Doctress?

Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians

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Photograph of children showing their hands outside the dispensary in France. Verso of photograph reads: Calisthenics and breathing exercises are part of the health program at the dispensaries. Before they are allowed to join the play and calisthenics groups, the children are required to be clean.

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“Across Battlefields and into Villages”: The American Women’s Hospitals in World War I France

The armistice that ended the war in Western Europe on November 11, 1918, did not change conditions in the areas devastated by the war. The doctors of AWH believed that the end of war did not mean the end of their services. People who had experienced the deprivations and devastation of war continued to suffer from its effects long after the fighting had ended: local violence, hunger, injuries, communicable diseases, forced migration, and inadequate housing.  As towns and villages were restored with a healthy population, the AWH moved on to assist in newly devastated areas.  In June of 1919, the hospital was moved to Blérancourt, a town about 75 miles north of Luzancy, as French doctors returned to Luzancy and its surrounding areas and living conditions improved greatly.  At Blerancourt, the doctors attended to preventive health care, particularly vaccinations for small pox and typhoid.  The AWH initiated dispensaries over a wide area.

The AWH also provided preventive care and sought to improve the health of those it helped through improved sanitation and exercise.  Calisthenics and breathing exercises were part of the health program at the dispensaries.  Before the children were allowed to join in the play groups and exercises, they were required to be clean.

Language: english

Item Number: a144_120

Pages: 2

Size: 17.6 x 12.1cm

Physical Collection: Records of American Women`s Hospitals 1917-1982, ACC-144

Finding Aid:

Link to OPAC Record:

Cite this source: Title of document, date. The American Women’s Hospitals in World War I France: Across Battlefields and into Villages. 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.

American Women's Hospitals

Women physicians--France

World War, 1914-1918--War work

World War, 1914-1918--Hospitals


Luzancy (France)