Newspaper clipping of a letter to the editor originally published in the New Republic in November 1869. Describes the events of November 6, 1869 when a group of about 30 women students from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP) went to the Pennsylvania Hospital amphitheater to attend a clinical lecture also attended by several hundred male medical students. Their attendance drew a strong response from the male students, which included heckling and spitballs. This event came to be known among students, faculty, and alumnae of WMCP as the “The Jeering Episode.” The Jeering Episode and the ensuing debate about women medical students were widely covered in regional newspapers, and this is one of the numerous articles about the incident collected by Woman's Med. The scrapbook was made by pasting clippings into an existing, bound, printed volume.
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In the 19th century, medical students attended classes called clinical lectures to learn how to treat sick people. At a clinical lecture, a doctor and patient appeared onstage in an amphitheater (auditorium), and the doctor showed the student audience the patient’s illness or injury, and demonstrated how to heal or repair it. The doctors would present patients with a range of illnesses, from broken legs to pneumonia and everything in between. The Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP) was founded in 1850 because most medical schools around the country would not accept women students. WMCP was the only medical school for women in Philadelphia, and for many years one of the only medical schools for women in the nation. Almost 20 years later, in 1869, the number of women medical students and doctors was still very small compared to the number of male medical students and doctors. On November 6, 1869, a group of about 30 women students from WMCP, went to the Pennsylvania Hospital amphitheater to attend a clinical lecture that was also attended by several hundred male medical students. Their attendance drew a strong response from the male students, which included heckling and spitballs, and created a controversial debate about women's presence in the clinical lectures. The incident and ensuing debate were widely covered in regional newspapers. This event came to be known among students, faculty, and alumnae of WMPC as the “The Jeering Episode.”
Though the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania had been training women to be doctors since 1850, in 1869 many male medical students were still opposed to women students attending clinical lectures with them. The author of this newspaper article claims he was present at the clinic that took place at Pennsylvania Hospital on November 6, 1869. He asserts that, despite other press reports describing the male students jeering at the women students, the male medical students did not harass the women students at the lecture, even though the male students did in fact object to the presence of the women. The specific language the author used to describe the women students reflects his strong opinion of women medical students and his anger at their presence at the lecture. His language questions the very female-ness of the women.
Creator: Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania
Item Number: a133_054_034 - a133_054_035
Physical Collection: Records of Administrative Departments: Public relations 1854-1984 (ACC-133), ACC-133
Link to OPAC Record: http://innopac.library.drexel.edu/search/c?SEARCH=ACC-134
Cite this source: Title of document, date. Pioneers in the Face of Adversity: The Mob of ‘69. 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. http://lcdc.library.drexel.edu/islandora/object/islandora:1347
Women medical students
Sex discrimination in medical education
Medical colleges --- Pennsylvania—Philadelphia – History
Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania - Students