Mary M. Crawford

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Mary Merritt Crawford
Mary Crawford.png
Born(1884-02-18)February 18, 1884
DiedNovember 25, 1972(1972-11-25) (aged 88)
Alma materCornell University
Known forCo-founder of the American Women's Hospitals Service

Mary "Mollie" Crawford (February 18, 1884 – November 25, 1972) was an American surgeon. She was Brooklyn's first female ambulance surgeon, worked as a surgeon in France during the First World War, and co-created the American Women's Hospitals Service.

Personal life[edit]

Early life[edit]

Mary Merritt Crawford was born February 18, 1884, in Manhattan, one of eight siblings.[1][2] She attended Cornell University, graduating in 1904, and received her medical degree in 1907.[3]

Later life[edit]

Shortly after returning from the First World War, Crawford married Edward Schuster.[4][5] They had one daughter, born in January 1917.[3][5]

Crawford retired in 1949, and died at New York City's Midtown Hospital on November 25, 1972.[3]


Mary M. Crawford standing next to one of her patients during the First World War
Mary M. Crawford alongside one of her patients during the First World War.

After obtaining her medical degree, Crawford earned an internship position at the Williamsburg Hospital.[3] Internship advertisements at the time typically asked only for male students, but an oversight led to the Williamsburg Hospital not including that stipulation in their ad. Crawford applied, and gained the highest grade – out of 35 applicants, the others all male – at the entrance exam.[4] Crawford's position made her Brooklyn's first female ambulance surgeon.[4][6] Her first ambulance call was on January 15, 1908, to a man who had fallen from a window.[7] Being the first woman on this ambulance service, Crawford created her own uniform for her work.[2]

In 1910 she started her own medical practice in Brooklyn alongside her work at the hospital. She travelled to France – as one of 6 American surgeons funded by Anna Gould – during the First World War,[8][5] serving as an anesthesiologist and house surgeon at the American Ambulance Hospital at Neuilly-sur-Seine for a period of one year.[3][9]

After her return, Crawford gave lectures to raise money for hospitals in France,[3] and – alongside Rosalie Slaughter Morton – led the American Women's Hospitals Service from 1917 after it was founded by the Medical Women's National Association with the aim of establishing American hospitals in Europe.[10]

Crawford was appointed as chairman of the Medical Women's National Association in June 1918.[11] In 1919 she led the creation of a medical department at the Federal Reserve Bank as its medical director,[3][4] and in 1929 became the head of the health service for the American Woman's Association at their clubhouse.[12]


  1. ^ "Woman Ambulance Surgeon". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 15, 1908. p. 2. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "Boro's First Woman Surgeon Faces Busy Retirement in May". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 13, 1949. p. 2. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Mary Crawford, Surgeon, 88, Dies". New York Times. November 27, 1972. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d "Slip in Ad Paved Way For Woman Interne in Brooklyn Hospital". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. March 12, 1933. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "Boro's First Woman Surgeon Faces Busy Retirement in May". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 13, 1949. p. 36. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  6. ^ "Girl Surgeon". Fort Wayne Daily News. August 31, 1908. p. 8. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  7. ^ "Dr Mary Crawford on an Ambulance Trip". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 16, 1908. p. 5. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  8. ^ "Woman to be Field Surgeon". The Washington Post. October 15, 1914. p. 8. Retrieved May 8, 2017.
  9. ^ "Woman Surgeon's Experiences in War Hospital". The New York Times. October 10, 1915. p. 48. Retrieved May 9, 2017.
  10. ^ Kathryn Cullen-DuPont (2014). Encyclopedia of Women's History in America. Infobase Publishing. p. 14. ISBN 1438110332. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  11. ^ Gavin, Lettie (2011). American Women In World War I. University Press of Colorado. ISBN 1457109409.
  12. ^ "Former Brooklyn Woman Doctor Head Of Health Service". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. April 8, 1929. p. 26. Retrieved May 9, 2017.