Letter from Clara Marshall to O.W. Whitaker regarding Eliza Anna Grier. Marshall was the dean of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP). Whitaker was Bishop of the Philadelphia Archdiocese of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and had written to WMCP seeking a recommendation for Grier, an African American woman who graduated from Woman's Med in 1897. In this letter Marshall replies to Whitaker’s inquiry about Eliza’s abilities and her standing as a medical student.
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Clara Marshall graduated from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1875, and became its fourth woman dean, serving from 1888 to 1917. Eliza Grier was born into the last years of slavery in North Carolina in 1864. She went on to work her way through Fisk University in Tennessee and then attended the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP) on a scholarship, graduating with her medical degree in 1897. She was one of two African-American students in that class; the other was Matilda A. Evans. In 1898, shortly after graduating from WMCP, Grier became the first black woman licensed to practice medicine in the state of Georgia. She eventually set up a practice in Greenville, South Carolina, serving a poor community. Grier became a physician at a time when women physicians were relatively rare; African-American female physicians were rarer still. African American women who wanted to study medicine and become licensed, practicing physicians faced double discrimination: gender and race. Additionally, the funds to obtain a medical education were often out of reach.
Eliza Grier became a physician at a time when women physicians were relatively rare, and black women physicians were rarer still. Black women seeking admission to medical schools and licensure to practice medicine faced double discrimination: gender and race. Additionally, the funds to obtain a medical education were often out of reach for these women. Grier worked her way through Fisk University, and in an 1890 letter to the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP), she expressed her desire to be a physician and her fear that she would not be able to afford medical school. She eventually did attend Woman’s Med with some financial assistance and graduated in “respectable standing,” but as Clara Marshall notes in this letter to Bishop Whitaker, Grier may have been capable of much more had she not had to constantly worry about money -- an issue that college students still face today.
Creator: Marshall, Clara
Contributor: Whitaker, O. W.
Item Number: a266_004
Size: 20X13 cm
Physical Collection: Records of W/MCP: Registrar 1921-1975, ACC-266
Finding Aid: archives.drexelmed.edu/collect/inventories/a266_inventory.pdf
Link to OPAC Record: http://innopac.library.drexel.edu/search/c?SEARCH=ACC-266
Cite this source: Title of document, date. Eliza Grier and Matilda Evans: Two Women, Two Paths. 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:971
African American women physicians
African American women--Education
Grier, Eliza Anna
Â·Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania--Alumni and alumnae
Womens Medical College, North College Avenue, Philadelphia