Doctor or Doctress?

Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians

The first building to house the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania (later known as Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania), founded in 1850.

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"Will you accept or reject them?" The First Female Medical College

Prior ­to 1850, women practiced medicine in their communities and worked as nurses and midwives, but had no opportunities to formally train, and be recognized, as physicians. Many thought that it was improper for women to study medical subjects and anatomy alongside men, if at all, and were opposed to women entering medicine as professionals. Others thought it was more appropriate for a female physician, instead of a male physician, to treat female patients. It was in this time that a small group of Philadelphia Quakers began to imagine a future where women were professional physicians, appropriately educated with a medical degree, and serving their communities equally with their male counterparts.  In 1850, they founded the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, the first medical school in the nation and the world to train women as physicians.

Female Medical College was the first medical school in the United States to train women as physicians and grant them medical degrees. The College allowed women to be recognized, as men were, for the study and practice of medicine and gave women the opportunity to follow a professional career path.

Language: english

Item Number: p0265

Pages: 1

Size: 22.2 x 17.3cm

Physical Collection: ACC-AHC1

Finding Aid:

Link to OPAC Record:

Cite this source: Title of document, date. The First Female Medical College: Will you accept or reject them?. 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.

Female Medical College of Pennsylvania--Buildings

Philadelphia (Pa.)