Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania

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The first building to house the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania.

The Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania (founded in 1850), later renamed as The Medical College of Pennsylvania (MCP) after opening its doors to men in 1970, was the second medical institution in the world established to train women in medicine and offer them the M.D. degree. (New England Female Medical College had been established two years earlier.)[1] Originally called The Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, the college changed its name to Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1867. The associated Woman's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1861.

The college built a new campus in East Falls in the 1920s, which combined teaching and the clinical care of a hospital in one overall facility. It was the first purpose-built hospital in the nation. In 1993, the college and hospital merged with Hahnemann Medical School. In 2003, the two colleges were absorbed by the Drexel University College of Medicine.

Founding[edit]

Smedley's History of the Underground Railroad cites Dr. Bartholomew Fussell with proposing, in 1846, the idea for a college that would train female doctors. It was a tribute to his departed sister, who Bartholomew felt could have been a doctor if women had been given the opportunity at that time. Her daughter, Graceanna Lewis, was to become one of the first women scientists in the USA. At his house. The Pines, in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, he invited five doctors to carry out his idea. The doctors invited were: Edwin Fussell (Bartholomew's nephew) M.D., Franklin Taylor, M.D., Ellwood Harvey, M.D., Sylvester Birdsall, M.D., and Dr. Ezra Michener. Graceallen was also in attendance. Dr. Fussell would support the college, but had little to do with it after it started in 1850 in Philadelphia.[2]

One doctor, Ellwood Harvey (who attended the 1846 meeting, but would not start teaching at the college until 1852), helped keep the school alive along with Edwin Fussell. Dr. Harvey not only taught a full course load, but took on a second load when another professor backed out. Dr. Harvey also took on patients for his practice, which included Philadelphia abolitionist and UGRR historian, William Still, and his family. It was most likely Still who told him about a slave hiding in Washington DC named Anne Maria Weems. Harvey took her, disguised as male buggy driver, from in front of the White House to Philadelphia and eventually New York City. She eventually made it to Canada. With the $300 reward, from Lewis Tappan, for rescuing Weems, Dr. Harvey bought a papier-mâché dissection manniquin for the college. Ann Preston was one of the first students to graduate from the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania.

Harvey was later sued for libel after a former instructor at the college, Dr. Longshore, was forced out. Longshore then started a rival women's medical college at the Penn Medical University. Longshore, using his previous connections at the Female Medical College, began to raise money for his own college.

Clara Marshall (1847–1931), graduate of the Medical College of Pennsylvania and Dean from 1888 to 1917, considered the founder of the school to have been Fussell.[3] Other students considered Joseph S. Longshore and William J. Mullen to be the primary founders.[3] Most considered these three men, whether official founder or not, to be instrumental in the creation of the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania.[3]

The Feminist Movement during the early to mid 19th century contributed support for the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania. The Society of Friends in Philadelphia, a large group of Quakers, were supportive of the women’s rights movements and the development of the Female MCP.[4]

MCP was initially located in the rear of 229 Arch Street, Philadelphia (the address was later changed to 627 Arch Street when Philadelphia renumbered streets in 1858).[5] In July 1861, the board of corporators of the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania chose to rent rooms for the College from the Woman's Hospital of Philadelphia on North College Avenue.[6]

Deans of the College[edit]

The first dean of what was then known as the Female Medical College was a man: Nathaniel R. Mosely, appointed 1850-1856.[7] The second dean was also a man, Edwin B. Fussell, who held the position from 1856 to 1866.[8]

From then on, the Woman's College had a long history of female deans, lasting almost 100 years. The first woman to be a dean of this (or any) medical school was Ann Preston.[9] The follow women were deans of the college in the years stated:

No woman was found to replace Marion Fay. After her, the position of dean was held by Glen R. Leymaster from 1964-1970,[16] at which time the institution became known as the Medical College of Pennsylvania.[17]

Woman's Hospital of Philadelphia[edit]

In part to provide clinical experience for WMC students, a group of Quaker women, particularly Ann Preston, founded the Woman’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 1861.[18]

Issues in clinical training[edit]

The Female Medical College of Pennsylvania faced difficulties in providing clinical training for its students.[19] Almost all medical institutions were confronted with the demand for more clinical practice due to the rise of surgery, physical diagnosis, and clinical specialties.[20] During the 1880s, clinical instruction at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania relied mainly on the demonstration clinics.[19]

In 1887, Anna Broomall, professor of obstetrics for the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, established a maternity outpatient service in a poor area of South Philadelphia for the purpose of student education.[19] By 1895, many students cared for three or four women who were giving birth.[21]

East Falls campus and Drexel University[edit]

In the late 1920s the college raised money to build a new campus. Designed by Ritter & Shay, the most successful of the Philadelphia urban architecture firms in the 1920s, the East Falls Campus was the first purpose-built hospital in the nation. The design allowed both teaching and hospital care to take place in one facility, helping provide for more clinical care. Post-WWII housing shortages in the city were a catalyst for development of additions to the East Falls Campus, the first of which was the Ann Preston Building (designed by Thaddeus Longstreth), which provided housing and classrooms for student nurses.

Falls Center
Front of the Falls Center

Today, the building is known as the Falls Center. It is operated by Iron Stone Strategic Capital Partners as student housing, commercial space, and medical offices.[22]

In 1993 the Medical College of Pennsylvania merged with Hahnemann Medical College, retaining its Queen Lane campus. In 2003, the two medical colleges were absorbed as a part of Drexel University College of Medicine, creating new opportunities for the large student body for clinical practice in settings ranging from urban hospitals to small rural practices.

Notable alumnae[edit]

Fictional alumnae[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peitzman, Steven J. (2000). A new and untried course : Woman's Medical College and Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1850 - 1998. New Brunswick, N.J [u.a.]: Rutgers University Press. p. 1. ISBN 0-8135-2815-1. 
  2. ^ Smedley, Dr. Robert C. (1883). History of the Underground Railroad. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books. p. 268. OCLC 186383647. 
  3. ^ a b c Peitzman, Steven J. (2000). A new and untried course : Woman's Medical College and Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1850 - 1998. New Brunswick, N.J [u.a.]: Rutgers University Press. p. 10. ISBN 0-8135-2815-1. 
  4. ^ Peitzman, Steven J. (2000). A new and untried course : Woman's Medical College and Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1850 - 1998. New Brunswick, N.J [u.a.]: Rutgers University Press. p. 6. ISBN 0-8135-2815-1. 
  5. ^ Peitzman, Steven J. (2000). A new and untried course : Woman's Medical College and Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1850 - 1998. New Brunswick, N.J [u.a.]: Rutgers University Press. p. 13. ISBN 0-8135-2815-1. 
  6. ^ Peitzman, Steven J. (2000). A new and untried course : Woman's Medical College and Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1850 - 1998. New Brunswick, N.J [u.a.]: Rutgers University Press. p. 22. ISBN 0-8135-2815-1. 
  7. ^ "Female physicians and female medical college". Ohio Cultivator (VIII). 1852. p. 28. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  8. ^ Kelly, Howard Atwood (1920). American Medical Biographies. Baltimore, M.D.: The Norman, Remington Company. pp. 418–419. ISBN 9781235663499. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  9. ^ Mandell, Melissa M. "Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania". The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  10. ^ Fay, MS (July 1965). "Ann Preston: Dean of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1866-1872". Transactions & studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. 33: 43–8. PMID 14344617. 
  11. ^ "Dr. Emeline Horton Cleveland". Changing the face of medicine. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  12. ^ "Rachel L. Bodley papers 291". PACSCL Finding Aids. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  13. ^ "Dr. Clara Marshall". Changing the face of medicine. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  14. ^ Rogers, Fred B. (December 1964). "Martha Tracy (1876–1942): Exceptional Woman of Public Health". Archives of Environmental Health: An International Journal. 9 (6): 819–821. doi:10.1080/00039896.1964.10663931. PMID 14203108. Retrieved 20 December 2016. 
  15. ^ "Marion Spencer Fay Award". Institute for Women's Health and Leadership. Retrieved 21 December 2016. 
  16. ^ "News and Comment". Archives of Environmental Health: An International Journal. 8 (4): 625–628. April 1964. doi:10.1080/00039896.1964.10663727. 
  17. ^ Dixon, Mark (2011). The hidden history of Chester County : lost tales from the Delaware and Brandywine Valleys. Charleston, SC: History Press. ISBN 978-1609490737. 
  18. ^ Peitzman, Steven J. (2000). A new and untried course : Woman's Medical College and Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1850 - 1998. New Brunswick, N.J [u.a.]: Rutgers University Press. p. 24. ISBN 0-8135-2815-1. 
  19. ^ a b c Peitzman (2000), A New and Untried Course, p. 78
  20. ^ Edward Atwater, "'Making Fewer Mistakes': A History of Students and Patients," pp. 165-187, Bulletin of the History of Medicine 57, 1983
  21. ^ Peitzman (2000), A New and Untried Course, p. 79
  22. ^ Mastrull, Diane. "Falls Center is still evolving/ The historic location of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania is now becoming a medical and educational complex. The center continues to attract new tenants.". Philly.com. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  23. ^ "Drexel University School of Medicine". Our Diverse History. 
  24. ^ "Susan Hayhurst". American Journal of Pharmacy. Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science. 83: 32–39. 1911. Retrieved November 29, 2016 – via Google Books. 
  25. ^ a b c Rao, Mallika (September 16, 2014). "Meet The Three Female Medical Students Who Destroyed Gender Norms A Century Ago". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 22 December 2016. 
  26. ^ Ohles, Frederik; Ohles, Shirley M.; Ramsay, John G. (1997). "Marshall, Clara". Biographical Dictionary of Modern American Educators. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 216. ISBN 9780313291333. Retrieved December 1, 2016 – via Google Books. 

Further research[edit]

Coordinates: 40°00′43″N 75°11′03″W / 40.01190°N 75.18420°W / 40.01190; -75.18420