Category: AWM Exhibits and Events

Event Recap: From Farmer’s Daughter to Physician

By , May 23, 2017
Dr. Gesa Kirsch at Countway Library, 25 April 2017

Dr. Gesa Kirsch at Countway Library, 25 April 2017

On April 25th, Dr. Gesa E. Kirsch, Professor of English at Bentley University, presented on her research about Dr. Mary Bennett Ritter, an early 20th century California physician, civic leader, and women’s rights’ activist, and read from her recently published edition of Dr. Ritter’s memoir More than Gold in California: The Life and Work of Dr. Mary Bennett Ritter.

During her talk, Dr. Kirsch detailed Dr. Ritter’s life as a physician. Born in 1860, Dr. Ritter earned her MD at Cooper Medical College in San Francisco in 1886, now the Stanford University School of Medicine. In addition to practicing medicine, Dr. Ritter taught at UC Berkeley and worked as an advocate for women students. In particular, Dr. Kirsch highlighted the story of how Dr. Ritter worked with women students to get around inequalities in facilities on campus:

For example, the men had had a gymnasium and instruction in gymnastics for years. It was assumed to be beneficial to their health and therefore a necessity. But this argument did not apply to the girls. The idea seemed rather to be that regular gymnastic exercise would be detrimental to their well-being. I sometimes felt as if the masculine powers-that-be thought that women were made of glass and might break to pieces if they fell down. But the girls did not think that way.

In the passing years old Harmon Gymnasium had been enlarged to nearly treble the original size, with offices appended in the rear. This made the girls ambitious, until finally a group visited the instructor of gymnastics beseeching the privilege of using the “gym” part of the time. Reluctantly the instructor said, “Of course you have a right to part time in the gymnasium and I would be willing to give you instruction, but the boys use the gym for dressing for track practice – and – and – the only time possible for your use would be after they go home at five o’clock. I would be willing to give you one hour a week at that time.” After the girls had expressed their gratitude for that crumb, he added, “But I could not possibly admit anyone to the class without a medical examination and there is no money for that.”

Alas for his foxy loop-hole! He had not counted on feminine determination. When a woman wants a thing, she wants it. The girls talked matters over and a day or two later the same group called on me and told me their story, asking if I would be willing to make the medical examinations without pay. I readily consented. This was in 1891. The instructor gallantly allowed me to use the gymnasium examining room with its apparatus for the medical tests. Thus the entering wedge was made for the vast amount of fine training of many sorts which the women students have enjoyed these later years in the beautiful Hearst Gymnasium. Until this present year I have never passed the palatial women’s building and then old Harmon Gymnasium without a broad and somewhat sardonic grin.

Mary Bennett Ritter, More Than Gold in California, 201-203.

Dr. Ritter is known as the first unofficial dean for women at UC Berkeley, and was awarded an honorary PhD by UC Berkeley for her work. She published her autobiography More than Gold in California in 1933 and died in 1949. Dr. Kirsch’s current research explores the rhetorical strategies, professional networks, and social activism of a group of late nineteenth-century women physicians through the Women’s Medical Journal. She was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend to continue this research.

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June 15: Gender and Risk Perception in the Development of Oral Contraceptives, 1940-1968

By , May 12, 2017

The Archives for Women in Medicine and the The Women in Medicine Legacy Foundation present:

Gender and Risk Perception in the Development of Oral Contraceptives, 1940-1968

2016-2017 Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine Fellowship Lecture

Kate Grauvogel:  2016-2017 Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine Fellow, Doctoral student in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine Department at Indiana University-Bloomington

Kate Grauvogel is an advanced doctoral student in the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine Department at Indiana University-Bloomington. Broadly, her research interests include the history of women’s health, especially pathology and psychiatry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her current research focuses on women and experimentation in medicine, particularly the history of blood clotting disorders in reproductive-age women, and how physicians perceived the whole constellation of gender, reproduction, secretions, clots, and associated diseases.

0002376_drefGrauvogel’s dissertation is entitled “A gendered history of pathology: blood clots, women, and hormones in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.” It argues that the bodies of women—whether as obstetric patients, cadavers, or sufferers of side-effects from birth-control pills—shaped pathological theory as well as understandings of the role of secretions (later identifiable as estrogens) in health and disease. It also explores the medical and cultural functions of the Pill in the twentieth century and its impact on women and their lives. In it, she hopes to show how nineteenth-century pathologists and twentieth-century physicians observed pregnant women and women on the birth control pill and gleaned important information from them, such as the idea that fluctuations in estrogens could lead to the formation of dangerous blood clots.

The project as a whole uses primary sources from France, England, and Germany. At the Countway, Grauvogel will add an American perspective from the Boston Hospital for Women Records, 1926–1983, The Free Hospital for Women Records, 1875–1975, the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, The Leona Baumgartner Papers, 1830-1979, the Janet Ward McArthur Papers, 1939-2005, and other collections. She will be looking for cases of lying-in illnesses, including blood clotting, which will shed light on how pathologists thought about dangerous blood clots in women as the result of either pregnancy or the Pill. She hopes to emerge with a better grasp of the ailments doctors observed in women, as well as and how they described and thought about such ailments.

 

Thursday, June 15, 2017
5:30pm
Reception at 5:00pm

Waterhouse Room
Gordon Hall
Harvard Medical School
25 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

Registration is required. Register online now through Eventbrite or email us at ContactChom@hms.harvard.edu.

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April 25: From Farmer’s Daughter to Physician

By , March 28, 2017

The Archives for Women in Medicine presents:

From Farmer’s Daughter to Physician:

The Advocacy, Activism, and Legacy of Dr. Mary Bennett Ritter and her Contemporaries

Dr. Gesa Kirsch: Professor of English at Bentley University

ritter_mb

Dr. Gesa Kirsch will discuss Dr. Mary Bennett Ritter, an early 20th-century woman physician, her cohort of Western women physicians, and the role of the Woman’s Medical Journal in creating and sustaining a large professional network of early women physicians. This lecture will speak directly to Dr. Ritter’s life and leadership and why this story is worthy of restoring to medical and women’s history.

Gesa E. Kirsch is Professor of English at Bentley University. Her work in women’s studies and rhetorical studies is extensive; she has authored and coauthored three books and edited five others. In March 2017, she published a new edition of More Than Gold in California, the memoir of Dr. Mary Bennett Ritter, an early California physician, civic leader, and women’s rights’ activist (Globe Pequot Press 2017). Her current research explores the rhetorical strategies, professional networks, and social activism of a group of late nineteenth-century women physicians.

 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017
5:30pm
Reception at 5:00pm

Minot Room, fifth floor
Countway Library of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
10 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

Registration is required. Register online now through Eventbrite or email us at ContactChom@hms.harvard.edu.

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Announcing a new exhibit on the history of women at Harvard Medical School

By , March 7, 2017

A Brief History of Women at Harvard Medical School

“A Brief History of Women at Harvard Medical School” is now on display on Countway Library’s 2nd floor next to the Joint Committee on the Status of Women library collection.

The exhibit, curated by Joan Ilacqua, Project Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine, explores the history of women in medicine at Harvard Medical School. It begins with the story of Harriot Kezia Hunt, Harvard’s first woman applicant, and follows the struggles and triumphs of Harvard Medical School’s first women instructors, researchers, professors, and students, as well as the creation of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women and the Archives for Women in Medicine.

An extended digital version of the exhibit is available via OnView.


The Archives for Women in Medicine is a program of the Countway Library’s Center for the History of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. The Archives for Women in Medicine actively acquires, processes, preserves, provides access to, and publicizes the papers of women physicians, researchers, and medical administrators. Interested in learning more? Visit countway.harvard.edu/awm or contact Project Archivist Joan Ilacqua.

 

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HMS LXX: 70 Years of Women at Harvard Medical School

By , November 15, 2016

 

Excerpts from an oral history interview with Raquel E. Cohen, member of HMS’ first coeducational class compiled for HMS LXX

On October 21, 2016, Harvard Medical School celebrated over 70 years of women at Harvard Medical School. The event highlighted several milestones, including the 70th anniversary of Harvard Medical School’s first coeducational class, the appointment of the 250th woman as a full professor, the 20th anniversary of the Eleanor and Miles Shore 50th Anniversary Fellowship Program for Scholars in Medicine, which supports junior faculty, the funding of the Elizabeth D. Hay Professorship in Cell Biology, the 10th anniversary of the Archives for Women in Medicine, and over 40 years of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women.

The event featured a series of curated conversations with women in medicine, from medical students to international leaders in health, addressing issues of women’s leadership, challenges faced by women in medicine, and work done by women at the forefront of women’s health. The event was punctuated by a keynote conversation with Shirley Tilghman, President Emerita of Princeton University and member of The Harvard Corporation.

First class of women accepted to Harvard Medical School, 1945. (HMS, Classes and Reunions, 00100.057)

First class of women accepted to Harvard Medical School, 1945. (HMS, Classes and Reunions, 00100.057). Cohen is pictured in the top row, second to right.

The “Women’s View at HMS: Then and Now” panel featured a video excerpting highlights from Raquel Cohen’s 2006 oral history interview. Cohen, an internationally recognized expert in the field of intervention and assistance to survivors of disasters, earned her Master of Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1942, and was a student in Harvard Medical School’s first coeducational class, graduating in 1949.

Although Dr. Cohen could not attend HMS LXX in person, highlights of her oral history, curated by Project Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine Joan Ilacqua, detail just a few moments of her fascinating life story. Dr. Cohen’s full oral history is available via Onview, and additional oral histories with women leaders in medicine and the medical sciences are available at: tiny.cc/womeninmedicine.

To learn more about the Archives for Women in Medicine, visit: countway.harvard.edu/awm.

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October 21: HMS LXX: 70 Years of Women at HMS

By , September 21, 2016

HMS LXX

70 Years of Women at HMS

Sponsored by The Archives for Women in Medicine, Harvard Medical Alumni Association, Joint Committee on the Status of Women, Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, The Center for the History of Medicine, Office for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Partnership, and the Office of Faculty Affairs

 

HMSLXX_Banner

 

Join us for this celebration recognizing important milestones for women at HMS over the past 70 years, including the admittance of women students, creation of The Archives for Women in Medicine, appointment of the 250th woman as a full professor, and more.

 

October 21, 2016

Tosteson Medical Education Center
Harvard Medical School
260 Longwood Avenue, Boston MA 02115

 

Seating is limited. Registration is first come, first served.
Tickets are $75 per person and include symposia, reception, and seated dinner.

For more information and for registration, visit the official event page.

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March 8, 2016 – Ill Composed: Sickness, Gender, and Belief in Early Modern England

By , March 7, 2016

The Archives for Women in Medicine, a program of the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine’s Center for the History of Medicine, presents:

Ill Composed: Sickness, Gender, and Belief in Early Modern England

IllComposedOlivia Weisser, Ph.D.: Assistant Professor of History, University of Massachusetts Boston

Olivia Weisser is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She earned a PhD in the History of Medicine from Johns Hopkins University and specializes in the history of the body, gender, and sexuality in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Her talk is based on her first book, Ill Composed (Yale Press, 2015), which explores health and healing in early modern England from the patient’s point of view.

 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016
6:00pm

Reception begins at 5:30pm.

Minot Room, fifth floor
Countway Library of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
10 Shattuck Street, Boston MA 02115

Free and open to the public.

Registration is required. To register, use our online registration form or email us at ContactChom@hms.harvard.edu.

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Celebrating 10 Years of the Archives for Women in Medicine

By , December 14, 2015

On November 3, 2015, over 70 people gathered in the Waterhouse Room in Gordon Hall to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Archives for Women in Medicine and the 2015-2016 Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine Fellowship Lecture.

The event opened with remarks from Center for the History of Medicine Director Scott Podolsky and a brief history by Archives for Women in Medicine Project Archivist Joan Ilacqua.

The celebration continued with a talk by Amalie Kass and Eleanor Shore on the life of Anne Pappenheimer Forbes, a pioneer in endocrinology, a Harvard Medical School Professor at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and a mother of five. Kass and Shore’s recent Harvard Medicine article A Woman’s Work is available online. Several members of the Forbes family were also in attendance to expound on the many talents and achievements of “Nan.”

Eleanor Shore and Amalie Kass speaking at "Celebrating 10 Years of the Archives for Women in Medicine"

Eleanor Shore and Amalie Kass speaking at “Celebrating 10 Years of the Archives for Women in Medicine”

Anne "Nan" Pappenheimer Forbes (front row, third from left) in a 1954 photo of the Fuller Albright endocrine lab.

Anne “Nan” Pappenheimer Forbes (front row, third from left) in a 1954 photo of the Fuller Albright endocrine lab.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The celebration was also the occasion of the Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine’s yearly fellowship lecture. 2015-2016 Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine fellow Louella McCarthy’s talk Born International. Women, Medicine, and Modernity explored Australian women’s role in professional societies nationally and internationally. McCarthy was in residence at the Center researching the roles played by medical societies in women’s changing place in the medical profession, with a focus on the influence of American medical women on growing international networks of professional societies in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Louella McCarthy presenting “Born International. Women, Medicine, and Modernity”

The Center for the History of Medicine is so pleased to celebrate the many achievements of the past ten years of the Archives for Women in Medicine, a program created not only to address the gaps in documentary evidence of women leaders in medicine, but also to continue as an inspiration for future women in medicine.

A video of the 10th Anniversary Celebration is available here, and a portion of Ilacqua’s remarks are posted below.
Continue reading 'Celebrating 10 Years of the Archives for Women in Medicine'»

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Simmons Class Visits Center for the History of Medicine

By , December 2, 2015
A teaching model designed and used by Elizabeth D. Hay and photographs of brains studied by Myrtelle Canavan.

A teaching model designed and used by Elizabeth D. Hay and photographs of brains studied by Myrtelle Canavan.

On October 23rd, Simmons College’s freshman seminar, “What the Health is Going on in Boston?” led by Professor John Lowe, came to visit the Center for the History of Medicine. Focusing on Boston and Harvard Medical School, the class was treated to lectures on the history of women in medicine and a pop-up exhibit featuring materials from the Archives for Women in Medicine and Warren Anatomical Museum. The class read Eleanor Shore’s The Invisible Faculty and Jeffrey Flier’s Harvard Medical School Dean on the Gains—and Obstacles—to Women in Medicine to prepare for the trip.

Joan Ilacqua, Project Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine, highlighted Harvard Medical School’s long history regarding women students and faculty, as well as current efforts to close the wide gap between men and women full professors at Harvard Medical School. Ilacqua also explained the history of the Archives for Women in Medicine and the importance of documenting and celebrating the achievements of women in medicine.

This poster, an example of the criminal brain, is part of Myrtelle Canavan`s collection. Other examples of Canavan`s work are available via OnView.

This poster, an example of the criminal brain, is part of Myrtelle Canavan’s collection. Examples of Canavan’s work are available via OnView.

Louella McCarthy, 2015-2016 Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine fellow, talked about her research on the history of Australian women in medicine and the international history of women in medical professional societies. McCarthy was in residence at the Center researching the roles played by medical societies in women’s changing place in the medical profession, with a focus on the influence of American medical women on growing international networks of professional societies.

Jessica Murphy, Center for the History of Medicine Reference Archivist, displayed a variety of Archives for Women in Medicine collections and Warren Anatomical Museum objects. Murphy’s pop-up exhibit included materials from the collections of Miriam F. Menkin, Elizabeth D. Hay, Myrtelle Canavan, and Kathryn Lyle Stephenson. Objects included images of Menkin’s first successful human in vitro fertilization, Hay’s teaching models, Canavan’s criminal brain photographs, and Stephenson’s facial reconstruction technique cards.

Teaching model of human embryo designed and used by Elizabeth D. Hay.

Teaching model of human embryo designed and used by Elizabeth D. Hay.

The students engaged the historian and archivists with questions about the history of women in medicine and how to succeed as a woman in medicine and science.

The Center for the History of Medicine is always pleased to host classes and other student groups. For more information, please email ContactChom@hms.harvard.edu.

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