Doctor or Doctress?

Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians

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Interview with Dr. Anna Broomall, an 1871 graduate of Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP) who was one of the small number of female medical students who attended a lecture attended by hundreds of male medical students at Pennsylvania Hospital on November 6, 1869. This event came to be known among students, faculty, and alumnae of WMCP as the "The Jeering Episode." The Jeering Episode and 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 the College. The scrapbook was made by pasting clippings into an existing, bound, printed volume.

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Pioneers in the Face of Adversity: The Mob of '69

In the 19th century, medical students would attend classes called clinical lectures to learn about how to treat sick people. At a clinical lecture, a doctor and patient would appear onstage in an auditorium, and the doctor would show the student audience the patient's illness or injury, and demonstrate how to heal or fix it. The doctors would present patients with a range of illnesses from broken legs to pneumonia and everything in between. In 1869 Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP) was started in 1850 because most medical schools around the country would not accept female 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 female medical students and female doctors was still very small compared the number of male medical student and doctors. On November 6, 1869, a group of about 20-30 female students from 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, including jeering, and created a controversial debate about women's presence in the clinical lectures. The Jeering 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."

In the 1926 article, Anna Broomall, an 1871 graduate of WMCP, recalls the events of November 6, 1869 when she was one of a group of female medical students who attended a clinical lecture at Pennsylvania Hospital and were met with harassment and "jeering" by the hundreds of male medical students in attendance. Broomall recounts this event as an illustration of the obstacles that the women of her generation faced in pursuit of their medical education and careers, and expresses pride that they persevered.

Creator: Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania

Language: english

Item Number: a266_183

Pages: 83

Size: 14x22.5

Physical Collection: Records of Administrative Departments: Public relations 1854-1984 (ACC-133), ACC-266

Finding Aid: http://archives.drexelmed.edu/collect/inventories/a266_inventory.pdf

Link to OPAC Record: http://innopac.library.drexel.edu/search/c?SEARCH=ACC-135

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

Women physicians

Medical colleges --- Pennsylvania.Philadelphia . History

Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania - Students

Anna Broomall

Pennsylvania Hospital (Philadelphia, Pa)

Women's Medical College of Penn., Phila, PA