Helen Walker McAndrew

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Helen Walker McAndrew
Dr. Helen Walker McAndrew.jpg
Born
Helen Walker

(1825-02-06)February 6, 1825
DiedOctober 26, 1906(1906-10-26) (aged 81)
NationalityAmerican
Alma materTrall Institute
Occupationphysician
Spouse(s)William McAndrew
Children2 (including William)

Helen Walker McAndrew (6 February 1825, in Kirkintilloch, Scotland – 26 October 1906, in Ypsilanti, Michigan)[1] was Washtenaw County's first documented female physician, and by many accounts, Michigan's first female physician.

Life[edit]

Helen Walker was born in Kirkintilloch, Scotland to Thomas Walker and Margaret Boyd. In 1849 she married William McAndrew in Glasgow. The couple emigrated shortly after and arrived in Ypsilanti, Michigan, by way of New York.[2] On June 24, 1852, she gave birth to their first born son Thomas.[2] On August 20, 1863, she gave birth to another son, William Jr..[2] William Jr. would go on to become a noted educator.[3]

Medical career[edit]

In Ypsilanti, Helen practiced as a self-trained nurse. When her son was still an infant, she decided to pursue medicine. No medical school west of New York would admit McAndrew, so she traveled back east to attend the Trall Institute (New York Hydropathic and Physiological School), where she received her M.D. in 1855.[4] When she returned to Ypsilanti she was ostracized by the public she had previously nursed. She turned to practicing medicine for the marginalized poor and African Americans in her community. She was not accepted as a doctor until after she saved the life of local State Senator Samuel Post's long-suffering wife; after distinguished physicians from Ann Arbor could not help her. As a proponent of the water cure, she subsequently established a private practice with a sanatorium in her home and mineral baths in the nearby Huron River.

By numerous accounts, she was the first female physician in all of Michigan.[5][6]

Activism[edit]

McAndrew was a leader of the push to admit women into the department of medicine at the University of Michigan, in which she succeeded in 1870. She, along with her husband, participated in the Underground Railroad,[7] temperance societies and the suffrage movement in Washtenaw County. She worked with several prominent leaders on the suffrage movement including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.

Legacy[edit]

In 1931, McAndrew was posthumously named Ypsilanti's "Most Distinguished Business and Professional Woman".[8][9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dr Helen Walker McAndrew at findagrave.com
  2. ^ a b c William McAndrew Jr., Helen Walker McAndrew, 1826-1906, Ypsilanti, Michigan, 1931
  3. ^ "WM. M'ANDREW, 73, EDUCATOR, IS DEAD; When School Superintendent in Chicago, He Had Clash With Mayor Thompson A SCHOOL PRINCIPAL HERE Also Served as an Associate Superintendent in New YorkSpent 40 Years in Work Fight Against Politics Vindicated by Court Taught in Chicago in 1889 Backed by the Board (Published 1937)". The New York Times. 29 June 1937. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  4. ^ McAndrew, William (1931). "The Remarkable McAndrews". Ypsi Gleanings. Summer 2004: 8–14.
  5. ^ Smead, Kevin J. (February 2000). "McAndrew, William (1863-1937), educator and editor". 1. doi:10.1093/anb/9780198606697.article.0900482. Retrieved 30 December 2020. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "WM. M'ANDREW, 73, EDUCATOR, IS DEAD; When School Superintendent in Chicago, He Had Clash With Mayor Thompson A SCHOOL PRINCIPAL HERE Also Served as an Associate Superintendent in New YorkSpent 40 Years in Work Fight Against Politics Vindicated by Court Taught in Chicago in 1889 Backed by the Board (Published 1937)". The New York Times. 29 June 1937. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  7. ^ "Helen Walker McAndrew | Ann Arbor District Library". Ann Arbor District Library. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  8. ^ "Helen Walker McAndrew" (PDF). Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.
  9. ^ "Helen Walker McAndrew". Michigan Women Forward. Retrieved 2020-10-15.