Doctor or Doctress?

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Tracy writes to Hatfield of the Philadelphia Health Council about the difficulty of finding internships for African American graduates, and seeks any help or cooperation he can provide.

Why It Matters

In the early 20th century as in the present, once medical students graduated from medical school with their degree, they were then expected to train by practicing medicine at a hospital for several years to gain clinical experience and complete their medical education. If African American woman doctors could not gain clinical experience through internships, they would not be considered fully trained on an equal footing with male doctors.

Analyze this evidence

  • Why did Martha Tracy have trouble finding internships for some of her students?
  • What is she doing to make the task of finding appointments for African American students less challenging?

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Dear Dr. Hatfield: You will recall that following the last luncheon meeting of the Council, I duscussed with you, informally, the problem which confronts from time to time in relation to finding satisfactory interneships for the colored women graduating from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. You were cordial in your interest and suggested that I place in your hands copies of the letters received from the superintendents of the several hospitals in which negro internes are appointed, in order that you might be better acquainted with the problem, and in a better position, perhaps, to assist me in securing greater cooperation. I am, therefore, enclosing copies of a series of letters received about a year ago when I was making an effort to secure an opportunity for Dr. Lillian Atkins Moore. Dr. Moore finally secured an appointment at Douglas Hospital in this city. Three young colored women will graduate from this College in 1925 and I shall face the problem again. I am enclosing, also, a letter just received from the Secretary of the Interior, Hon. Hubert Work, to whom I wrote after reading a statement made by him regarding this general subject of the need for preparation of colored doctors. Anything which you are able to do in creating an attitude of cooperation along these lines will be very greatly appreciated. Cordially yours, Martha Tracy, M.D., Dean.