Doctor or Doctress?

Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians

A photograph of Dr. Mary Riggs Noble and her assistants performing an operation in Memorial Hospital in Ludhiana, North India.

Get the story...

“Why I Want to Go to Arabia”: Early Medical Missionaries in the Middle East

Mary Riggs Noble graduated from Woman’s Medical College in 1901. She arrived in 1903 as a medical missionary in India, but unlike Swain, Degenring, and Allison – who were in South India – she worked in the Christian Women’s Medical College in Punjab, Ludhiana (which was in North India).  Dr. Noble was also a professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the North India Medical Training School for Christian Girls.  She came back to the United States in 1913, lecturing on social hygiene during World War I and later serving as the Chief of the Division of Child Hygiene in the Department of Health of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Noble worked as medical missionary in North India, and though there were some cultural differences between North India and South India, a medical missionary’s work remained much the same.

Language: english

Item Number: p0755e

Pages: 9

Size: 12.7X10.2

Physical Collection: Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania: Photograph Collection. 1850-present. (ACC-AHC1), ACC-AHC1

Finding Aid:

Link to OPAC Record:

Cite this source: Title of document, date. Early Medical Missionaries in the Middle East: Why I Want to Go to Arabia. 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.

Noble, Mary Riggs, 1872-1965

Missionaries, Medical--India


Operating rooms

Ludhiana (India)