Doctor or Doctress?

Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians

Pioneers in the Face of Adversity: “The Mob of ‘69”

Teaching Guide

This guide accompanies the primary source set for Pioneers in the Face of Adversity: “The Mob of ‘69” »

"The Mob of '69" features different perspectives on one single event in 1869.  This story is ideal for extra practice with primary source analysis. All of the story's sources are valuable, but the essence of the arguments presented in them can be distilled into a 5-10 minute examination of the language in Blackguardism and The Other Side.

Suggested classroom activities

  1. Potential opening activity: Have students brainstorm a list of physical characteristics, personality traits, and behaviors of "Ladies" and "Gentleman," encouraging them to lean into the stereotypical understanding of these two groups.  Later in the lesson, draw comparisons from their list to what the sources reveal about the gendered expectations for men and women in 1850.
  2. Assign each student or partner pair a specific document to read.  Based on its contents, have them come up with a profile of each article's author: what this person was probably like, what background they might have had, what could have affected their views.
  3. Have students single underline all of the words used to describe the male students and double underline all of the words that describe the women.  Using these notes, create a chart comparing the language of two or more sources.  What does their language tell us about each author’s expectations of men and women?  Where do the two authors disagree?  What do their arguments/perspectives have in common?
  4. With minimal background information provided beforehand, have students work in groups to evaluate the available evidence and generate an authoritative version of what happened during this event.

Lesson plans

      Coming soon

Discussion questions

  1. Did this event help or hurt the cause of women physicians?  Explain your reasoning.
  2. Which document seems like the most reliable account of what happened?  Least reliable?  Why?
  3. Do you think this incident would have affected the enrollment rates at Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania? 
  4. Are there any benefits to separating genders to teach them?  What arguments did these authors present for women attending separate clinical lectures?
  5. How has your gender affected your educational experience?  What about other aspects of your identity?

Additional resources

      Coming soon