Out of the Dead House
Nineteenth-Century Women Physicians and the Writing of Medicine
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
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1. Out of the Dead House
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In 1840, the ten-year-old Marie Zakrzewska was living at La Charité , the Berlin midwifery school. Her mother had obtained special permission to enter the school, usually closed to married women, and Marie was permitted to join her when the girl’s weak eyes needed treatment. (Marie’s father, a man of “liberal opinions,” “impetuous temperament,” and “revolutionary...
2. Medical Conversations and Medical Histories
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The medical practice that the first women physicians entered was one which valued talk. The body’s story was not read from diagnostic images or test results but composed from information provided by the patient and confirmed, if need be, in direct examination by the physician. Medicine was therefore a heavily discursive practice, worked out patient by patient in a...
3. Invisible Writing I: Ann Preston Invents an Institution
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Nothing from the first thirty-seven years of Ann Preston’s life suggests that she was interested in medicine, let alone that she would become dean of a medical school. In a letter to her teacher and lifelong friend, Hannah Monaghan Darlington, the twenty-year-old Preston reported some casual botanizing,1 but most of her letters concerned political issues and recent literature...
4. Learning to Write Medicine
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Nineteenth-century medical students saw the thesis and its associated examination as a demanding rite of passage.1 Even though the thesis required nothing more than a workmanly review of current medical knowledge, it was still a major task for a student. While Joseph Longshore waited to be examined on his thesis by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in...
5. Invisible Writing II: Hannah Longshore and the Borders of Regularity
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Hannah Longshore (1819–1901) is at once more obscure and more available to us than Ann Preston. She maintained a careful distance from the Woman’s Medical College and its alumnae association and never identified herself exclusively with any institution. But unlike Martha Sawin and Phebe Way, she did not vanish from the public record. Although Hannah Longshore’s career...
6. Mary Putnam Jacobi: Medicine as Will and Idea
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“Description of Early Symptoms of the Meningeal Tumor” was a self-report of Mary Putnam Jacobi’s final illness, circulated to her physician friends to confirm that her case was not treatable.1 Nothing less than a brain tumor brought Mary Putnam Jacobi (1842–1906) to the limits of her will; to her, only a terminal illness could have explained an unwillingness to plan and...
7. Forbidden Sights: Women and the Visual Economy of Medicine
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On November 6, 1869, a small group of students from the Woman’s Medical College quietly entered the new amphitheater of the Pennsylvania Hospital and took seats together.1 Their entry into these clinical lectures was a welcome turning point in the college’s struggle for acceptance. The Philadelphia...
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Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2012