Doctor or Doctress?

Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians

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Photograph of the graves behind the AWH Hospital in Luzancy, France, on Easter Sunday. The verso reads: All over France, this Easter, there are new graves, graves far away from the homeland. Some of the graves are marked, some are just lonely little mounds beside some road that any army once marched along. But, whether they are marked or unmarked, they are graves that our hearts turn to on this Easter day. The graves in this picture are in a little quiet space behind the American Women's Hospital in Luzancy.

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“Across Battlefields and into Villages”: The American Women’s Hospitals in World War I France

World War I produced conflict and carnage, the likes of which had never been seen before.  France suffered devastating effects of the war being fought on its soil, including a severe humanitarian crisis resulting from the bombardment of villages near the constantly-moving front lines. The conditions of poor, rural villages already suffering from malnutrition and disease were exacerbated by the war.  When they arrived in France, the doctors of AWH found a devastated countryside and villagers suffering from longstanding health problems made worse by wartime conditions.  The doctors of AWH did their medical work under extremely difficult circumstances: scarcity of equipment, improvised spaces, poor transportation, and constant uncertainty and insecurity because the front line of battle was always moving back and forth throughout the countryside.

The AWH kept a small graveyard behind their hospital at Luzancy.  While the villagers that could not be saved may have been buried by their families, the unfortunate soldiers – French, British, and American –  often had no one but the doctors and nurses to bury them.

Creator: American Women's Hospitals

Language: english

Item Number: a144_123

Pages: 2

Size: 25.5 x 19cm

Physical Collection: Records of American Women`s Hospitals 1917-1982, ACC-144

Finding Aid:

Link to OPAC Record:

Cite this source: Title of document, date. The American Women’s Hospitals in World War I France: Across Battlefields and into Villages. 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.

American Women's Hospitals

Women physicians--France

World War, 1914-1918--War work

World War, 1914-1918--Hospitals



Luzancy (France)