Mary Sturge

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Mary "Maida" Darby Sturge
Mary Sturge Wellcome L0004400.jpg
Born 16 October 1862
Yardley, Birmingham
Died 14 March 1925(1925-03-14) (aged 62)
Edgbaston, Birmingham
Nationality British
Education London School of Medicine for Women
Occupation Physician

Mary Darby Sturge (16 October 1865 – 14 March 1925) was a British doctor, known for her pioneering work with alcoholism and championing the importance of preventative medical care. She is credited as being the second woman doctor in Birmingham and was President of the Medical Women's Federation from 1920 to 1922.


Sturge was born in Yardley, Birmingham, on 16 October 1862. She was known as Maida in her family where she was the eldest of ten children in prominent Quaker family in the city – her grandfather Charles Sturge was mayor of Birmingham when she was born.[1]

In 1877, Sturge was in the opening class at Edgbaston High School for Girls, the first secondary school for girls in Birmingham. She was educated at the new Mason Science College, the forerunner of Birmingham University, when it opened in 1880, where she was one of the first four women students.[2] She left to study medicine in 1886 at London University, which had opened to women in 1878.[1] She qualified as a doctor at the London School of Medicine for Women in 1891.

Sturge returned to Birmingham in 1895 to take up general practice. In 1896, she began work in anaesthetics at the Birmingham and Midland Hospital for Women. Established in 1871, the hospital was unusual in that constitutionally 50 per cent its committee of management was female. In 1905 Sturge became acting honorary surgeon in 1905 and worked at the hospital until retiring in 1924.

In 1908, Sturge published with Sir Victor Horsley and Sir Arthur Newsholme Alcohol and the Human Body.[3] The book became a popular reference book on alcoholism, selling 85,000 copies in Britain and the USA.[1][4]

Sturge was an active member of the Birmingham Society for Women's Suffrage.[5]

While president of the Medical Women's Federation from 1920 to 1922 she campaigned for equal pay and the removal of the marriage bar for women in medicine.[6]

She died in Birmingham on 14 March 1925, having been suffering from Bell's palsy.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Ruth Watts. "Sturge, Mary Darby [Maida] (1865–1925)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2017-04-13. 
  2. ^ "The history behind the names of Aston's accommodation". The Tab Aston. 2015-03-05. Retrieved 2017-04-13. 
  3. ^ Sir Victor Horsley; Mary Darby Sturge; Sir Arthur Newsholme (1908). Alcohol and the Human Body: An Introduction to the Study of the Subject, and a Contribution to National Health. London: Macmillan. 
  4. ^ Stigler, Stephen M. (2002). Statistics on the Table: The History of Statistical Concepts and Methods. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674009790. 
  5. ^ Crawford, Elizabeth (2017). "Sturge, Eliza Mary (1843 - 1905)". The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866-1928. Psychology Press. ISBN 9780415239264. 
  6. ^ "#UoBwomen 2015". University of Birmingham. 2015-03-06. Retrieved 2017-04-13. 

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