Science, Suffrage, and Experimentation:
Mary Putnam Jacobi and the Controversy over Vivisection in Late Nineteenth-Century America
This article examines the medical activism of the New York physician Mary Putnam Jacobi (1842–1906), to illustrate the problems of gender and science at the center of the vivisection debate in late nineteenth-century America. In the post–Civil War era, individuals both inside and outside the medical community considered vivisection to be a controversial practice. Physicians divided over the value of live animal experimentation, while reformers and activists campaigned against it. Jacobi stepped into the center of the controversy and tried to use her public defense of experimentation to the advantage of women in the medical profession. Her advocacy of vivisection was part of her broader effort to reform medical education, especially at women's institutions. It was also a political strategy aimed at associating women with scientific practices to advance a women's rights agenda. Her work demonstrates how debates over women in medicine and science in medicine, suffrage, and experimentation overlapped at a critical moment of historical transition.
Women physicians; vivisection; scientific medicine; women's rights movements; suffrage; Jacobi, Mary Putnam [End Page 664]
In 1889 the Massachusetts Medical Society invited Mary Putnam Jacobi, a well-known physician from New York, to deliver an address at its annual dinner. The Society, filled with Boston's most respected practitioners, asked her to speak on a topic of vital importance to medical science. Although she was a member of the so-called delicate sex, Jacobi delivered a talk that was not so delicate: it was an all-out endorsement of vivisection, a practice still distasteful to many physicians.
In the late nineteenth century, "vivisection" carried a broad definition. While it could indicate a wide range of nontherapeutic investigations, it referred mainly to surgical experiments on live animals and humans.1 In Jacobi's Boston address, entitled "The Practical Study of Biology," she made her viewpoint clear. She insisted that live animal experiments be mandatory for the education of American medical students.2 Textbooks, lectures, and theoretical training alone would not suffice: future doctors needed to engage directly with processes of life and delve beneath the surface of the skin, deep into the tissues and organs of animals, in order to witness the movement of vital actions. Only laboratory study could reveal the secrets of nature to the physician, something Jacobi had learned from her own education in Europe. At a time when the role of science in medicine was highly debated, and animal as well as human experimentation contested, she stepped willingly into the center of a heated controversy that laid bare the most prominent intellectual divisions within the American medical community.
Historians have described how the post–Civil War era was a time of both [End Page 665] critical transition and dissension among American medical practitioners.3 Members of the orthodox medical community vigorously debated the future of therapeutics—specifically, the role of the laboratory and experimental science in clinical practice. Some physicians stood by testing, measurement, and, moreover, animal and human experimentation as essential tools to shape diagnosis and treatment. Critics of the experimental model of medicine defended clinical knowledge, believing that physicians learned most about illness at the bedside and in the examining room; scientific knowledge could inform clinical care, but should not dictate therapeutics, they argued. As physicians debated the role of experimentation in medicine, they also disputed the meaning of "scientific medicine" itself.
The divergent opinions of medical men about what type of science should inform medical practice created uncertainty and an opportunity to resist the gendering of experimentalism. A vocal minority of women doctors, led by Mary Putnam Jacobi, took advantage of this moment and argued that both women and men practitioners should embrace scientific models of medicine.4 Jacobi claimed a space for women in the laboratory, alongside men, thereby using a moment of professional contention to renegotiate the gendered meanings of medical practice. Although Jacobi believed that the laboratory should not be gendered, gender issues were at the heart of the conflict over vivisection in late nineteenth-century America, as both supporters and critics of animal experimentation tried to label certain medical practices as masculine or feminine. This case illustrates how the controversies over science in medicine and women in medicine mutually shaped each other. [End Page 666]
Jacobi's effort to expand experimental practices, including vivisection, fit with her larger commitment to the scientific enterprise in medicine and her uncompromising belief that science could solve social problems. Using the laboratory model as her base, she formulated a scientific identity in opposition to sentimental, Victorian femininity. As Regina Morantz-Sanchez pointed out in her classic 1985 monograph on women doctors, Jacobi rejected the nurturing, sympathetic, and caring model of medicine invoked by many of her female peers in medicine.5 Instead, she presented herself as a woman of scientific medicine who actively engaged with experimentation.6 While several women physicians in the late nineteenth century tried to combine elements of the two models, or create "balance," Jacobi held firmly to her scientific identity.7 Further examination of her life and work reveals that this was a calculated decision: she asserted an alternative model of medical womanhood to contrast herself with the gender and medical conventions that she opposed.
In 1889, when Jacobi gave her provivisection lecture in Boston, medical women, though growing in numbers, remained on the margins of professional medicine. Gender barriers and a strong cultural resistance to the "woman doctor" seriously limited women's access to medical schools, hospitals, and professional societies. Of the approximately two thousand women who practiced medicine in the United States, a quarter received training in "regular" or orthodox medicine, while the majority graduated from homeopathic and "irregular" schools focused largely on midwifery and the care of women and children.8 Many female practitioners justified [End Page 667] their practice by citing their maternal qualities and feminine compassion. Jacobi believed that women's emphasis on "sympathetic" medicine undermined their position at a moment when science was becoming a stronger component of clinical medicine. She set out to reverse this and to offer a scientific model of medical womanhood aimed at placing women at the forefront of the new medicine. She even hoped that "scientific" women could outnumber the men who were still committed to traditional therapeutics and who were unwilling to take part in the laboratory revolution.
For these reasons, Mary Putnam Jacobi's experimentalism was deeply political.9 She believed that scientific investigation was not only essential to clinical care, it was also a vital tool for reversing social inequalities and demonstrating women's biological vitality and intellectual agility. Ultimately, she would use the debates over vivisection to advance particular versions of femininity and to project the image that women were methodical, rational, and capable of engaging not only in science, but also in national politics: women's ability to be scientific demonstrated their ability to be educated, serve the public, and vote. Jacobi's advocacy of scientific medicine was both a medical and a political strategy to advance her own professional status and, ultimately, the status of women. Her story illustrates how matters of animal welfare and women's rights, vivisection and suffrage, intimately overlapped in the 1880s and 1890s.
Jacobi's commitment to life in the laboratory often gave rise to conflict with other physicians and women's rights activists. Yet, it was also a source of her influence and growing notoriety in New York and beyond. Men and women, laypersons and practitioners, held a range of opinions on live-subject experiments. Thus, the vivisection controversy illustrates how gender and medical knowledge are both malleable and situated in particular moments and contexts, and how multiple definitions of womanhood and science coexisted and collided within a crucial debate about the future of American medicine.10 [End Page 668]
The Female Experimenter
By the mid-1880s, when Jacobi campaigned in support of vivisection, she had built a distinguished reputation among both American physicians and women's rights activists.11 Born the daughter of publisher George Palmer Putnam in 1842, she grew up in the world of letters, but decided that science rather than literature was her calling. Witnessing firsthand the great human loss and suffering of the Civil War, she, like many women, sought training in the healing professions. While many middle-class women pursued nursing, (Putnam) Jacobi trained first in pharmacy, which led her down a scientific path. She studied next at the Female (later Woman's) Medical College of Pennsylvania; when she went to Paris in 1866, she became the first woman admitted to the École de Médecine.12
In Paris, Putnam was educated in both the clinical and scientific aspects of medicine. Although she spent many hours as a hospital intern, it was the laboratory experience that had the most profound and lasting impact on her thinking. She worked at dissecting tables, and studied the latest methods and theories of histology and cellular pathology. Her training in the microbiology laboratory of Louis-Antoine Ranvier (an assistant to Claude Bernard) and André-Victor Cornil was especially influential, placing her in close contact with the leading Parisian medical scientists.13 At the École de Médecine, she wrote a thesis applying Bernard's principles of experimentalism. Based on several of her own chemical investigations and experiments, using human and animal livers (from rabbits, pigs, and cats), her thesis examined how the development of fat in cellular composition led to failed nutrition.14 In it she argued for the [End Page 669] importance of chemical investigations for medical practice. This Parisian education laid the groundwork for her career-long commitment to the laboratory as well as her interest in the histology of nutrition, a dominant theme in her inquiry into the sources of female illness.15 Returning from Europe in 1871, Putnam continued her research while becoming a professor at the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary, the all-female institution founded by Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell and associated with their hospital for women and children.16
Putnam also experienced a political awakening in Paris. From October 1869 until her departure in 1871, she lived with the Réclus family, a group of socialists interested in political reform and women's rights.17 With the Réclus, she witnessed the Franco-Prussian War and survived the turmoil of the Paris Commune. She became enamored of socialist principles and voiced her support for the goals of republicanism in France. Influenced by Elisée Réclus, a renowned geographer and later a leading anarchist, Putnam also learned how to merge her science and politics. While Réclus mapped the earth, Putnam studied the physiological "map" of the body and became a loyal Comtean positivist, believing that all knowledge should be based on observable phenomena, that a focus on "humanity" should replace metaphysics and organized religion, and that science offered solutions for social reform. She brought these ideas back with her to New York, where she carried out a type of medicine that buttressed both the cause of women and the cause of medical science as she fully engaged in laboratory experimentation, thereby putting positivism into practice.
Mary Putnam Jacobi's embrace of experimentalism was controversial in the post–Civil War era because the laboratory itself was a point of contention among medical men. Some physicians rejected the idea that the laboratory should direct clinical care, fearing that abstract science would override experience and personal observations made at the bedside. Others believed that laboratory knowledge would transform therapeutics [End Page 670] into a science, making it more precise, accurate, and standardized. Medical men were divided by generational differences, diverse educational experiences in Europe, and concerns about professional identity and integrity.18 Jacobi used these divisions to her advantage, allying herself with laboratory science and challenging the idea that science was a masculine domain.
Western science had historically been constructed as a site where women had no place.19 The laboratory, the locus of the investigative enterprise, was considered a place of order, logic, and process; it was also a place of bodily fluids and severed bodies. By the late nineteenth century, the graphic and grisly nature of anatomy and the physiological study of live subjects seemed antithetical to late nineteenth-century Victorian notions of femininity. Feminist historians have shown that the masculinization of the laboratory was ultimately successful, but it was not automatic: men who questioned science in medicine or who opposed vivisection confused the gender boundaries of the laboratory. Jacobi contributed to this confusion as well, rejecting the notion that medicine and science were somehow "male" in nature, as she proceeded to practice, teach, and experiment as if the laboratory doors were wide open to women.
In her own laboratory investigations, Jacobi engaged with a broad spectrum of experimental practices with animals. On several occasions, she administered drugs to animal subjects in order to measure dosages and gauge the impact on humans. She studied the effects of atropine on pulse rates, for example, and recounted giving large amounts of the drug to a rabbit, "sacrificing" the animal and then dissecting it to find that "the pia-mater of the brain and cord were . . . engorged with blood."20 She also studied the effect of nitrate of silver for treating infections and "morbid [End Page 671] tissue" that she related to diseases of the nervous system: she tested the drug on dogs and rabbits, applying it to recently killed animals and also living animals, which then died after the experiment; to measure her results, she conducted full autopsies on the animals and examined their tissues under a microscope.21 Certainly, Jacobi was not the only woman doing dissection work. As Susan Wells has argued, women physicians believed that dissection was critical to their study of physiology, for it satisfied their desire to "know" the interior of the body.22 Dissection was still controversial, particularly when women attended clinical lectures and studied the human body in public—and yet, Jacobi publicly announced her practices in medical journals to illustrate her willingness to use animals for drug-related experiments and to study them postmortem. She also combined dissection with a broader experimental repertoire, which included vivisection.
Early in her career, Jacobi conducted several neurological studies on animals in her laboratory, performing surgical procedures on the brains of dogs and rabbits. She and her colleagues cut into the animals' cerebella to study how inhibiting one part of the brain affected muscle coordination and equilibrium. The results were unpleasant: the dogs could not stand and the rabbits were afflicted with spasms and a "convulsive tremor" in the days that followed the procedure; one rabbit was "rolling over and over on the floor," and another "leaped sideways," unable to function on the left side of his body.23 Although the animals were very disturbed, Jacobi was not, and she stoically presented her cases to a medical society meeting in 1873. In an open forum, she compared her studies with the findings of the leading French neurologists, Jean-Martin Charcot and Charles Édouard Brown-Séquard. Abraham Jacobi, her future husband, sat in the audience and offered feedback on her animal studies; he was simultaneously abetting and courting the young doctor, beginning their professional and romantic partnership in the context of a graphic medical discussion.24
For Mary Putnam Jacobi, dissecting live animals was the most "practical" way to acquire accurate physiological knowledge. While vivisection repelled some witnesses, it was inspiring for her as a practitioner. She recalled one of her experiments on a frog: After opening the animal, she [End Page 672] focused her lens to capture the "streaming movement" inside him. In her eyes, the view was remarkable: "The microscopic shred of tissue from the insignificant animal seemed for the moment to give a glimpse of a mighty vision of endless life, streaming with infinite energy into the minutest particles of an infinite universe. The impression was indescribably powerful."25 Witnessing the internal movements of live animals was both educational and inspirational for medical students, she maintained. Without that experience, they would be left ignorant of the real workings of physiology in animals and, consequently, in humans.
Experiments on animals did not rule out investigations with human subjects in an era when human experimentation was still unregulated.26 For Jacobi, laboratory studies on human patients were commonplace, for she often reported taking blood and urine samples in her published studies, samples that she used for both diagnostics and experimental data. Collecting and evaluating patients' bodily fluids was especially common with her female patients in her famous menstruation studies.27 Always in dialogue with colleagues, she reported unusual clinical cases to the medical journals and presented specimens from human autopsies at medical society meetings. Sometimes, patients accompanied her to meetings so that she could use living examples to illustrate problems or findings to fellow physicians. In these cases, she publicly integrated therapeutics and the process of medical investigation.
Jacobi also blurred the line between therapeutics and scientific study by transforming some of her patients at the New York Infirmary and the Mt. Sinai Pediatric Infirmary into experimental subjects, using them to test out hypotheses or drugs, or to simply demonstrate particular physiological phenomena. For example, she used a sphygmograph, an early pulse writer, to study and track patients' arterial tension and pulse rates after the administration of alcohol, caffeine, and a variety of drugs.28 Notably, she studied the pulse of an injured Irish boy, Josie Nolan. The boy's skull had been fractured in an accident; the wound healed, but an opening in the cranial bone remained, covered by a thin membrane that, Jacobi reported, "rises and falls in regular pulsations synchronous with [End Page 673] those of the radial artery."29 She placed the sphygmograph, usually attached to a patient's arm, on the boy's head in order to measure his intracranial pressure under normal conditions and then under the influence of stimulants; next, she tried to draw relationships between the cranial pressure and the amount of blood circulating in the boy's brain.30 Reporting this and other cases to the medical journals, Jacobi publicized her empiricism, offering it as a model of therapeutics based on science.
Living the experimental life herself, Jacobi pushed medical men to meet the new scientific ideal. She vocally demanded that her male colleagues embrace experimentalism, and she condemned those who did not. For example, she was known to critique the work of S. Weir Mitchell for lacking a scientific basis, and in the process, she dismissed his theories on the etiology of female pathological conditions.31 But she also addressed broad audiences of medical men, like the Massachusetts Medical Society, calling on all physicians and medical students to engage with physiological experimentation. She insisted that they have "fertile contact" with nature, following in the footsteps of the French experimentalist icon, Claude Bernard: "Such contact cannot be obtained second-hand," she maintained, "but [acquired] only by those who, as Claude Bernard says, have in the hospital, the amphitheatre, and laboratory, with their own hands stirred the soil foetid and palpitating with life."32 Only by seeing and touching live organisms "in the process of life" could physicians really know the human body and know how a patient would respond to drugs and health regimens; without this firsthand knowledge of physiology, they risked the health of their patients: "The physician who has not learned to adjust himself to the intricate delicacies and fragilities of living organisms by laboratory study, is condemned to take his first lessons in dealing with life upon human beings."33
Jacobi's 1889 Boston speech was a strategic call to action in many respects. It was a calculated response to physicians and laypersons alike who were demanding restraint in medical experimentation. Jacobi was fully aware of the strong animal-welfare movement in Britain and the [End Page 674] new restrictions imposed on researchers by the English parliament.34 Correctly anticipating the resistance growing in her own country, she used her voice in Massachusetts to insist that the need for physiological experimentation was "not occasional, but permanent," not an exception to the rule, but a constant form of teaching and learning about the "Science of Life."35 Published soon after in the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, the speech gave Jacobi a very public platform to endorse a scientific model of medicine. It also gave her a strategic opportunity to identify herself, and her womanhood, with science, and by implication, to cast a shadow over those men who resisted experimentalism.
Jacobi promoted the scientific model of medicine among men, but she was even more vociferous in demanding that women pursue experimentation. In her view, medical school was a place where women doctors should be indoctrinated into the experimental life. Her reform efforts had implications far beyond the walls of her own institution. In fact, the debate over women in medicine pivoted on the issue of the quality of medical education, for critics often denounced women physicians for their poor training. Supporters of medical women strove for and publicized improvements in women's institutions, and positive representations of women's education became a major priority and a strategy for the promotion of women in the profession.36 Back in the late 1860s, while Jacobi was experiencing a dynamic European education replete with clinical and research opportunities, the conditions in American medical schools were the focus of criticism and reform. In the mid-nineteenth century, as more "regular" schools with orthodox curricula emerged, competition for students increased as standards weakened. Reduced requirements for admission and graduation resulted in practitioners with very little training. The American Medical Association recognized this problem as early as 1847 and again in 1867, when it issued guidelines for improving the nation's medical institutions. Recommendations included expanding the terms and length of study, adding dissection and clinical requirements, faculty quotas, and higher standards for admission.37 In the post–Civil War era, as many orthodox schools strove for improvements, women's schools also worked toward elevating their status. [End Page 675]
During her years at the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary, Jacobi worked to reform the institution, mainly by calling for the expansion of scientific training, emphasizing laboratory work and vivisection. First, she revised the curriculum, ending the "illogical" system of teaching materia medica to first-, second-, and third-year students who had no knowledge of pathology or physiology. By creating two distinct courses—materia medica and therapeutics—she separated the study of the chemical properties of drugs (the science of pharmaceuticals) from the study of therapeutic physiology. Proud of this change in the curriculum, Jacobi envisioned yet more change in the future: "I will express hope that, before long, our school will accept the standard of Europe, and create a chair of materia medica entirely distinct from the chair of therapeutics. . . . Until this is done, all medical education will remain elementary, and the very conception of a superior education will continue to be ignored."38 Drawing a distinction between chemistry and therapeutics became a major goal in making the institution appear more scientific.
Time and again, Jacobi insisted that the advancement of women in medicine depended upon the expansion of laboratory studies at the College. This was critical not only for reordering the curriculum, but for revising the students' inclination to pursue the sympathetic, conventional model of medicine. Medicine must be learned not only at the bedside, but in the laboratory:
The processes that go on in the animal body all involve multiple changes in the composition of its tissues, which can only be studied by means of the science of chemistry. And this again can only be understood by practical work in the laboratory. Some knowledge of the sciences of botany, physics, histology, is equally indispensable, and again can only be obtained by laboratory work.39
Jacobi repeatedly argued that work in the laboratory must be centered not only on microscopy, but on dissection and vivisection as well. During a fundraising speech, she told her audience that "to really study [physiology] . . . people should engage for months and years in the most delicate [End Page 676] and difficult experiments upon animals and human beings. They must unravel the modes in which the heart beats, the lungs breathe, and the nerves feel, and the brain thinks."40 With this argument, she proposed a radical revision of Elizabeth Blackwell's own educational vision that focused on clinical training. Ultimately, by the late 1880s, the Blackwell Medical College had outpaced several orthodox institutions in terms of curricular reform, due in part to Jacobi's many efforts.41
Jacobi was convinced that the advancement of medical women would have a direct impact on women in American society. Women practitioners of scientific medicine would be the first step in a longer and broader process of revising white middle-class femininity. Reformulating the notion of women's "destiny," Jacobi envisioned a future where the majority of middle-class women would acquire scientific knowledge and find a prominent place for it in their ordinary, daily lives:
I [am] convinced that one day, instruction in the biological sciences will be diffused among women in at least the ratio in which musical education is at the present day. For men, this branch of knowledge may remain a specialty or an exceptional accomplishment, but for women it will be seen proper to place it at the very core of their education, as indissolubly associated with their special destinies. Then, for the first time, will the influence of women on the amelioration of human life be first made justly apparent.42
By expanding women's education in biology, Jacobi hoped that they would surpass men's expertise, thereby reducing men's interest in the biological sciences to the equivalent of a hobby. By defining science as women's true calling and downplaying the role of men, she sought to directly challenge the gender norms assigned to knowledge and creativity. This had far-reaching implications, beyond the world of medicine, to the realm of politics.
In Jacobi's view, there was a direct link between the medical and experimental project and women's rights. Science was an essential ingredient in the struggle for female advancement. Not only could it elevate women in the medical profession, science could be used to prove that women were physically vital and capable of full political participation. In her medical studies, Jacobi used laboratory analyses to demonstrate that women were physically fit for public life.43 And as a committed Comtean positivist, she believed that society could be best understood as a living [End Page 677] organism, whose health was dependent on the involvement of every person, especially women. The vitality of the social organism demanded the political activity of women, she argued, as she began to campaign more vocally for woman suffrage.
Jacobi consistently merged science with politics, but her activism evolved over time. Her "feminism" rested on science itself, and was first carried out through her work to promote women's education and their place in the professions. She backed this activism with her writings and with research that was organized to counter pathological constructions of female reproductive functions, and to endorse an image of healthy biological womanhood based on mental and physical activity. Jacobi practiced medicine and produced knowledge with an eye to women's rights, supplying arguments and information that supported an expanded public role for women. However, she did not actively support woman suffrage in the early part of her career. In fact, she claimed that she had been "theoretically opposed" to it, citing her "distrust" of the uneducated, voting "masses."44 This expression of political elitism only partly explains her early position on the female vote: for Jacobi, suffrage was not the most powerful tool for social change; instead, she believed it was the pursuit of science and medicine that would create "a full equality and independence for women as nothing else ever had or perhaps could."45 Jacobi's activism, expressed vis-à-vis medicine and by a scientific practitioner, was also more acceptable than suffrage agitation to her many male colleagues who, during a critical period of her professional development, welcomed her into their circles.
In 1885, Jacobi revised her agenda and announced her support for suffrage to the Woman's Journal. Paraphrasing Plato, she said that the survival of the state required the full participation of "every man," or, as she amended it, "every one."46 This shift reflected her alliance with the revived suffrage movement and a generation of educated and accomplished women reformers, who provided a receptive audience for her belief that science held the key to women's emancipation. Philosophically, Jacobi had also come to see woman suffrage as compatible with her positivist views on the social organism: if a healthy society was, indeed, like a healthy body, then all people needed to contribute to the health of the state, especially well-qualified women. In the late 1880s, as Jacobi [End Page 678] began to defend vivisection more vocally, she believed that science and the vote, working in tandem, held promise for female equality.
Jacobi's concept of equality was limited, however, and did not evenly translate to the clinic nor to her vulnerable immigrant patients. Her priorities often rested on the diagnosis, treatment, or investigation itself, rather than on the individual wishes of her patients. Although she fought to empower women with science, she did not defend powerless animals. She justified animal vivisection for the greater good and believed that experimentation produced knowledge of benefit to humans, who were "far more valuable than the frogs and rabbits of the laboratory."47 Many animal-welfare activists disagreed, believing that vivisection represented unnecessary acts of human cruelty against the natural world. Politicized and mobilized, these activists provided a strong challenge to Jacobi and those who saw "progress" through the microscope and on the dissecting table.
The Antivivisection Movement
In the late nineteenth century, animal vivisection was the source of great controversy in American culture because it was a direct affront to late Victorian sensibility. In the "Age of Innocence," reformers and concerned middle-class citizens often expressed deep sympathy for those who were unable to protect or defend themselves—especially children and animals, who were transformed by industrial forces from sources of labor to sources of affection. For the middle class, children were becoming the center of the family and deserved material comforts as well as emotional nurturing.48 Middle-class Americans were also viewing certain animals in a new light, more as pets than as pests. Darwin and his theories of evolution had forced members of the urban middle class to develop a new relationship with animals, one that led them to protect them against pain, suffering, and often, the instruments of science.49
As animal experimentation grew in medical significance, so did opposition to the practice, spawning efforts to regulate and control it, especially in the late 1880s and throughout the 1890s. Physicians were charged with mistreating animals in unnecessary, uncontrolled experiments. It [End Page 679] was also feared that humans would be the next victims: as the historian Susan Lederer has shown, critics uniformly believed that uncontrolled animal experiments would evolve into the abuse of human subjects.50 Concerns about animal suffering coincided with a societal preoccupation with physical pain. Historians have explained the Victorian aversion to pain as a product of both medicalization and secularization. The effectiveness and widespread use of nineteenth-century anesthetics—such as ether, chloroform, and morphine—eased pain but at the same time made it less tolerable when it did occur. The fear of pain was also a byproduct of a secular culture focused on alleviating human suffering, rather than accepting it as God's will.51 These concerns about human welfare translated directly into concerns about animal welfare.
Leading the effort to regulate animal vivisection was Dr. Albert T. Leffingwell of Aurora, New York. A practitioner, reformer, and physiology instructor, Leffingwell founded the American Society for the Regulation of Vivisection and served as the organization's secretary. Leffingwell sought to limit animal suffering and prevent the widespread use of human subjects in the laboratory. Although he did not want to outlaw all forms of experimentation, he worked tirelessly for regulation, including legislative restriction.52 He worried most about the unbridled use of vivisection for physiological instruction in American medical schools, the needless pain inflicted upon animals, and the general insignificance of vivisection for therapeutics. On this final matter, he said: "Now I venture to assert that, during the last quarter of a century, infliction of intense torture upon unknown myriads of sentient, living creatures, has not resulted in the discovery of a single remedy of acknowledged and generally accepted value in the cure of a disease"53 —yet he admitted that the "majority of men belonging to the medical profession" viewed vivisection as "wholly a scientific question" and [End Page 680] often favored "professional privilege against sentiment."54 Thus, Leffingwell realized the weight of his own role, as a man inside the profession, in opposing a practice that he deemed overused and unnecessary.
Leffingwell received support from other medical men who advocated either restriction or prohibition. The surgeon Henry Jacob Bigelow of Harvard University was known to oppose vivisection, especially as a method for teaching impressionable medical students.55 Matthew C. Woods of Philadelphia, president of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said that some of the best medical minds were lost "following the false trail of vivisection."56 The British surgeon (Robert) Lawson Tait had a voice in the American debate and spoke strongly against vivisection both at home and abroad, claiming that it played no part in advancing human surgery.57 While some medical men focused their opposition on needless animal pain and suffering, others framed their complaints by outlining how little vivisection had contributed to scientific progress; in this way, they did not forgo their identification with science, just the type of medical science that condoned live animal experiments.
Men of letters outside medicine also voiced opposition to vivisection. Mark Twain, for example, was known for his criticism of the practice, and John C. Kimball, a Unitarian minister from Hartford, Connecticut, declared that it was "cowardly and unmanly to inflict pain on weaker, innocent creatures, deprived of all power to resist us, for the sake of saving ourselves from pain."58 While some physicians tried to link manhood and science, men like Kimball associated their manhood with the protection of animals rather than the advances of the laboratory. [End Page 681]
Yet although there were men who condemned vivisection, the antivivisection movement became publicly defined as a woman's cause, and the rank-and-file of the movement consisted largely of female participants.59 Organizations like the American Humane Association (AHA), the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS), and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) campaigned to modify and end such experimentation. The women who dominated these societies linked their efforts to protect animals and vulnerable patients with their broader crusades for the protection of innocent women and children.60 Inspired by their evangelical faith, many of these activists worked in the name of Christian mercy, hoping to eradicate needless cruelty against all of God's creatures. In the process, they created a gender identity for themselves as mothers and moral crusaders, working for the good of humanity. Poised as righteous, pious women, they fought vivisection as they resisted other masculine-coded improprieties, such as alcohol and violence. Like their British counterparts, female antivivisectionists in the United States connected their activities to an array of political and social reform work.61
The feminized nature of the movement can be seen in the pages of Anti-Vivisection, a journal "opposed to experimentation of live animals, and every other phase of cruelty in the world."62 With graphic textual and pictorial representations of live-animal experimentation, the journal tried to expose the brutality of American and European men of science. [End Page 682] It published lists of physicians who were believed to have committed the worst acts of violence against animals, and these compilations were accompanied by images of bound and severed animals taken from physiology textbooks and medical journals. Other hand-drawn tableaus juxtaposed idyllic scenes of kind women petting animals with images of evil men equipped with saws and scissors, ready to sacrifice helpless animals.63 The writers also attacked women practitioners, such as Frances Emily White, who taught at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. The journal accused White of vivisecting rabbits without anesthesia, much to the disgust and fear of her students, and noted: "The vivisecting mania is constant proof of how man's (woman's) natural instincts may be perverted to gruesome monomania."64 Female vivisectors like White and Jacobi were especially offensive to activists who linked their protection of animals to their own identity as women.
Several American suffragists formed a robust strain of opposition to animal experimentation. In particular, those associated with Lucy Stone's American Woman Suffrage Association were very vocal. These activists had strong roots in abolitionism and the civil rights of African Americans, and developed a critique of vivisection that denounced the practice while remaining supportive of women in the medical profession who practiced "sympathetic" medicine. Alice Stone Blackwell, editor of the Woman's Journal and daughter of Lucy Stone, stood firmly against vivisection. In the pages of her newspaper, she labeled women "the sex most sensitive to moral and humane considerations," and called upon them to voice their opposition to vivisection.65 Linking suffrage to antivivisection, she claimed that women could be the decisive force behind outlawing such cruel practices, if they only had the right to vote; with the vote, she believed, women would "clean house," putting an end to political corruption, illegal business practices, widespread poverty, and vice, but also animal torture.66 Here, Stone Blackwell promised that women voters would modify and moralize science for the good of all.
Several women doctors endorsed the work of the antivivisection movement, including Stone Blackwell's aunt, Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States. Blackwell, a determined advocate for women in the profession, totally dismissed vivi-section as a method of medical investigation. She argued that experiments [End Page 683] on humans and animals corrupted the medical profession and devalued patients by turning them into objects of inquiry. With regard to human subjects, she had serious concern for the abuse of the poor, claiming that scientific medicine turned indigent patients into "clinical material."67 For nonhuman subjects, she believed that the "destructive experimentation on helpless animals—not for their own benefit—[was] a demoralizing practice."68 Blackwell could not fathom how physicians could engage in acts so "morally dangerous" and exhibit such "atrocious cruelty" toward animals.69
Elizabeth Blackwell especially feared the spread of experimentalism within her own medical college in New York. After returning to Britain in 1869, she wrote to her sister Emily, in opposition to the instructional use of vivisection at the institution. Calling vivisection pure "mischief," she argued that it was "morally degrading to students and as intellectually degrading to prof[essors]."70 She continued, unsuccessfully, to oppose vivisection in New York from across the Atlantic. She responded sharply to news that the Woman's Medical College had plans to expand its physiological laboratories and had hired a famous "New York Vivisector" to oversee the facilities.71 Vivisection was illegitimate as an educational tool, she argued, because of the vast physical differences between humans and animals; one could not acquire substantial knowledge about humans from dogs. Experiments on living animals posed a great "moral danger" to medical students, especially women students.72 "Animal torture" privileged materialism over spiritual life and threatened to destroy womanhood: "The excuse or toleration of cruelty by a woman upon any living creature is a deadly sin against the grandest force in creation—maternal love."73 Finally, Blackwell lamented that experimentalism had [End Page 684] become "a widespread approach to many of the young members of our most honourable and merciful profession"; this reference to young physicians was certainly a reference to Jacobi, her junior colleague, who disagreed with her, time and again, on this issue.74
By the mid-1880s, Jacobi's efforts to increase laboratory training at the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary came to fruition: the school now required students to have laboratory instruction, some of which involved vivisection.75 Such demonstrations sparked outrage, especially among dedicated friends of women in medicine, who believed that vivisection was incompatible with the femininity that was at the heart of sympathetic medical practice. In the view of these critics, women could be doctors, but not experimenters; they could sacrifice their lives to caring and curing in medicine, but they could not sacrifice animals. In essence, they were qualified for the clinic, but not meant for the laboratory, the site so central to Jacobi's definition of good medicine. Men who were sympathetic to the women's rights movement weighed in on the subject. John C. Kimball, a supporter of the Woman's Medical College, expressed his outrage over women and vivisection. He fully supported women physicians, but opposed the violation of their "natural instincts" via vivisection: it not only went against women's "gentler manners" and "higher ideals," it also worked against their political struggle.76 Women had resisted their own moral, legal, and social "vivisection," or oppression; they should extend their efforts to other sufferers, applying their goals for fair treatment to animals: "The animal's cause is woman's cause; the securing of their rights is one of the ways of securing her rights," Kimball argued.77 Suffragists and their supporters tied the two issues together, using sympathy for innocent animals to the advantage of the women's rights cause.
From different angles, antivivisectionists defined animal experimentation as unnecessary and used their gender identity to claim moral authority [End Page 685] on the issue. Women, especially, claimed to know right from wrong, humane from inhumane. Projecting feminine ideals and moral superiority, they placed themselves in opposition to many men of medicine who, they claimed, were willing to be brutal for the sake of scientific knowledge. From this perspective, Jacobi and other female experimenters were unwelcome anomalies who defied nature through acts of cruelty that violated Victorian notions of morality and womanhood.
Jacobi, of course, did not see vivisection as a violation of women's nature, but rather as an important tool in scientific education and a key to women's acceptance and authority within medicine. She also believed that the antivivisection movement only hurt the cause of women's rights by reifying women's alliance with sentimentalism. By the 1890s, she was a vital member of the revived suffrage movement and a key ally of a new generation of college-educated activists. It was in the company of these women that Jacobi found her political home as she continued to defend the practice of vivisection.78 She rose to the highest ranks of the suffrage leadership, becoming a leader in New York City suffrage activities and the leading spokeswoman for women's rights at the 1894 New York State Constitutional Convention.79
Taking advantage of her reputation as a physician, Jacobi launched a massive campaign to gather the signatures and donations of the city's elite women. Her speeches, writings, and prosuffrage arguments reflected her dual role as a professional physician and a political activist. First and foremost, she proclaimed that women deserved the vote due to their great educational and professional accomplishments in the decades since the Civil War: "It is absurd to give a girl the mental training of a man, and then refuse the suffrage," she wrote, and she called upon "college-bred women [to] lead the van in the movement for the political [End Page 686] emancipation of their sex."80 Jacobi believed that the vote would improve conditions for all classes of women, but she critiqued enfranchised working-class men, the population behind what she called the "ignorant vote."81 She argued that the vote of white, educated women would counter the corruption caused by universal male suffrage, using rhetoric that reflected her middle-class status and racial position.
Woman suffrage was also linked to health. It was necessary, Jacobi argued, to improve the physical well-being of women who were afflicted with so many nervous illnesses due to their social limitations and second-class political status; disenfranchisement accounted for a "large share of . . . the physical ill health of women, not to speak of [their] moral unhappiness."82 Sustaining a positivist perspective, Jacobi viewed society as a living organism that was nourished by women's votes and women's labor: "the productive forces of the community [labor] occupy the same relation to the life of the State, as the nutritive forces of the bodily organism to the individual life."83 This positivist philosophy neatly blended her scientific worldview with her political causes.84
Jacobi realized, of course, that science and suffrage were often at odds. The revival of the woman suffrage movement coincided with the expansion of the animal welfare movement, populated by an array of women reformers, and some of the same elite women whom she recruited to sign suffrage petitions and donate money to suffrage organizations also belonged to the antivivisection movement. Therefore, she strove to articulate that science and suffrage were complementary, not contradictory. More specifically, vivisection was not a masculine evil, but a valuable scientific tool that could be of great benefit to women doctors, if they only used it to their advantage. She argued that vivisection did not corrupt, but reinforced, women's ability to practice medicine. Standing by her principles, she wrote to Elizabeth Blackwell in 1888: "Of course, as you know, in regard to the vivisection question I should oppose you"; clearly impatient with her senior colleague, she said "I am totally confident that I am the only woman in the United States who experiments on [End Page 687] animals!"85 Certainly, Jacobi was not alone in using animals for medical purposes, but out of frustration she self-consciously presented herself as an experimental maverick, a woman set apart from sentimentalists like Blackwell who were unwilling to sacrifice animals for human good.
Showing a divide within the Blackwell family, Jacobi was backed by Emily Blackwell, Elizabeth's younger sister, who was dean and manager of the Woman's College. In the pages of the Woman's Journal, Emily Blackwell justified vivisection as a necessary instructional exercise that did not amount to cruelty, but showed great humanity. She explained that colleagues like Jacobi purchased stray dogs and cats from the pound that were already condemned to death. At the college,
without violence or terror, [they are] quietly etherized, just as a patient would be for an operation, and before the anesthesia is carried to the fatal degree, the professor, by surgical operation, illustrates some point of physiological function or structure; then the animal is allowed to die by profound etherization. There is no suffering. . . . for the animal itself, it substitutes a quiet and merciful death for the terror of the public pound and drowning.86
In a strategic defense, the younger Blackwell adopted the language of the antivivisectionists and claimed that experimentation at the college was merciful rather than horrific. Although she believed that vivisection advanced medical knowledge, she tried to garner support, within the women's rights community, by couching it in the language of compassion rather than science.
Jacobi, on the other hand, consistently defended vivisection in the name of science. She argued for its absolute necessity, believing that "no physiological doctrine has ever been established without vivisection."87 In fact, in the Century Magazine, she drew parallels between vivisection and human surgery—namely, ovariotomy, a controversial gynecological surgery. She argued in 1891 that the tools and techniques used in vivisections were often applied to humans, under the knife, in order to save lives. To the inexperienced eye, surgical procedures could appear just as invasive, violent, and bloody as vivisection—and, just like life-enhancing surgeries, vivisection was necessary, she claimed. Jacobi may have not won over many readers: although she was a defender of ovariotomy [End Page 688] herself, she addressed a general reading public that was divided over the benefits, dangers, and problems of risky gynecological surgery.88
In 1900, Jacobi took her campaign to the nation's capital, where she testified before a congressional committee in opposition to Senate Bill 34 for the Further Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the District of Columbia. The bill was designed to stop vivisection at a local level—it had emerged as a response to the instructional use of vivisection in Washington, D.C., elementary- and secondary-school biology courses and in government laboratories—but the impact of the hearing was not limited to the District of Columbia, and it had national consequences due to the growing debate over animal welfare. Supporters of the bill claimed to be seeking the regulation, not abolition, of vivisection. They asked Congress to impose strict controls on the practice by requiring licenses, outlawing it in public schools, eliminating procedures painful to animals, and verifying that all experiments actually contributed to the advancement of scientific knowledge.89
Opponents of the bill saw it differently, believing that the legislation threatened the scientific use of the practice and blocked medical advancement. Animal experimentation provided the basis for research in several fields, they argued, citing bacteriological, pharmacological, and physiological studies. In 1900, when skepticism and criticism of bacteriology were still alive and well, the hearings provided an opportunity for the supporters of experimentation to articulate and demonstrate the contributions of science to medical knowledge.90 While the opponents began the hearings in a defensive posture, they ultimately presented their testimony in an offensive mode, using the debate to secure a central role for science in medicine in the next century.91
The Senate hearing was significant for Jacobi because it provided her with a national forum in which to argue in defense of vivisection and to identify herself as a woman of science. It also formally associated her with a team of the most prominent medical men in the United States: William [End Page 689] Williams Keen, surgeon and president of the American Medical Association (1899–1900); Henry P. Bowditch of Boston; William Welch, dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and William Osler, the eminent Hopkins clinician. Alongside these men, Jacobi invoked the expertise of medical scientists and criticized the incompetence of her opponents.
In her testimony, Jacobi claimed that "ignorance" was the true "vice" of the legislation in question. She directly attacked Albert Leffingwell, one sponsor of the bill, targeting his disregard for all of the medical advances made by way of experimentalism. Citing medical efforts to reduce pain, she maintained that experimenters often used anesthesia on their animal subjects. Antivivisectionists, blinded by their fanatic opposition and focus on medical brutality, did not differentiate between the many types of pain, or between different types of animals and their ability to endure physical discomfort. Physicians were in a "strenuous warfare with misery," Jacobi insisted, and animal suffering was an unfortunate outcome in the battle against human suffering.92 Opponents of vivisection also seemed to focus on the most insignificant modes of investigation, she recalled: "I remember being severely denounced myself because during some weeks I administered cod-liver oil to a kitten."93 She discredited any proposed government oversight of the practice, asking: "Has not the supreme Government of the United States more urgent problems to discuss than the fate of cats and rabbits?"94 A long-time believer that religion had no place in science, Jacobi now insisted that the government was in no position to intervene. In her view, physiologists and other medical experts should regulate from within the field, not take direction from laypersons.
Jacobi's testimony was useful to her male peers, not only because of its pointed language, but because of her gender: she was the only woman to speak against the bill, and one of only four women in the chamber during testimony.95 Jacobi provided welcome help from what William Welch called the "humane sex."96 The Welch camp clearly tried to capitalize on their female ally: they hoped that she would put a moral face on their brand of medicine, but also that she would put a rational, feminine face on experimentation, providing a contrast to the sympathetic and "emotional" women antivivisectionists from whom she consciously separated [End Page 690] herself. Jacobi also strategically drew a stark line between scientific physicians like herself and misguided men like Leffingwell: focusing on her "ignorant" opponent, she publicly critiqued a medical man before the U.S. Senate for his lack of scientific enthusiasm and his disregard for truth. Coming from a woman, such accusations were stinging, as Jacobi knew full well.
While Welch, Keen, Osler, and others welcomed her testimony, opponents singled her out at the hearings as a woman with an unnatural stance. One critic associated vivisection with the "hardening of human hearts" and was disturbed that Jacobi "manifests in both her life and writings that even women ought to vivisect."97 It was Leffingwell who presented the most severe critique, a sizable rebuttal aimed squarely at Jacobi. He claimed that she had "carelessness and inaccuracy . . . stamped upon nearly every sentence of her statement"; this was outrageous coming from Jacobi, "one who loves science and who believes that we can render her no greater homage than by speaking the truth in all that concerns her."98 He also accused her of deliberately ignoring the severity and brutality of the particular experiments, which "a lady with the acquaintance which Dr. Jacobi has of vivisection must know": what she described as "an experiment on artificial respiration," he described as the extraction of canine hearts, involving up to forty dogs and other creatures.99 Jacobi and Leffingwell also disagreed over the work of Lawson Tait: Jacobi criticized Tait's unreasonable rejection of vivisection, claiming that his innumerable operations on female patients amounted to human vivisection; by contrast, Leffingwell described Tait as a devoted physician who successfully completed difficult operations on women and did not deserve to be "calumniated by one of the sex for whom he did so much."100 Trying to use gender to his own advantage, Leffingwell here crafted a response that attacked Jacobi simultaneously for her medical opinions and for her unconventional gender position, sure to point out that she was a woman who advocated unthinkable acts.
Despite criticism, Jacobi stood by her science and against many representatives of her sex. She attacked women in the antivivisection movement [End Page 691] for taking up "excited crusades" against the physiological experiment.101 Here, she used the same tactics as men in her camp to challenge her opponents: she formulated a rebuttal that cited female ignorance of science; she distanced herself from those women, and chimed in with male colleagues who criticized their misdirected feminine sympathies. Jacobi condemned a particular type of femininity, one that she constructed as overzealous and irrational with misdirected empathy. But while some men defined scientific medicine as a "man's practice," she continued to see vivisection as a genderless practice, open to women who were willing to abandon sentimentality and embrace the experimental life.102
Although Jacobi attacked women antivivisectionists, she did not blame them for being politically misguided. Instead, she blamed their subordination and status as second-class citizens. If women had political rights, she claimed, they would not have to be "meddling" in these trifling matters, but would turn their attention to more meaningful public issues than the sentimental defense of animals.103 Woman suffrage held out the promise that it would redirect women's activism away from trivial subjects and toward civic matters of greater importance. In this sense, Jacobi excluded the antivivisection movement from her vision of social reform.
Jacobi and her allies viewed the bill's ultimate failure as a victory for science in medicine. In the years to come, vivisection would claim a significant role in medical research, despite persistent criticism from opponents. Research institutions eventually began to self-regulate and to heed some of the new guidelines for experimentation distributed by the American Medical Association. Yet despite these efforts, debates over the scientific use of animals continued and became more closely tied to questions about the use of human subjects. In the new century, human subjects occupied the most prominent place in debates over experimentation as the clinic and the laboratory grew even more enmeshed.104
Mary Putnam Jacobi's successful defense of experimentation was one of her final public battles on behalf of both medical science and medical women. After 1900, she devoted most of her energy to her private battle [End Page 692] with a brain tumor, a condition that finally took her life six years later. What had begun thirty years earlier as a local struggle to integrate vivisection into her classes became a national effort to buttress a medical paradigm based on laboratory investigation. While the new century witnessed the growing influence of science in medicine, it also witnessed the stagnation of women's participation in the profession. Historians have explained this trend in a number of ways, pointing to new methods of female exclusion at leading institutions, the closing of women's medical colleges, and the marginalization of women doctors in the modern hospital. They have also described the challenge for women to balance work and family and the attraction of women to other "feminized" professions and associations in the Progressive Era.105 Ironically for Jacobi's cause, the solidification of science in medicine led to women's alienation from medicine rather than their emancipation.
Although Jacobi's strategy for women in medicine had mixed results, her activism remains crucial for understanding two overlapping controversies: the place of women in medicine, and the place of science in medicine. These conflicts came together in the vivisection debate, as practitioners and activists used gender categories to create rival notions of what constituted "good science" and "moral medicine." The competing desires to comfort or cure, to work at the bedside or in the laboratory, carried feminine and masculine associations. Jacobi defied efforts to connect men and women with particular types of medicine, and instead championed medical science as a genderless practice and a weapon against female inequality.
While scholars once focused on the ways in which nineteenth-century science and medicine worked to subordinate women, they are now paying more attention to the women who adopted science for their advantage.106 Certainly, the medical profession in the post–Civil War [End Page 693] period did try to exclude women and produced knowledge that pathologized women. And by the early twentieth century, science was largely defined as a "masculine project." But this narrative represents only part of the story: it ignores how Jacobi and her allies resisted female exclusion and worked to identify science as the work of women. While Jacobi often portrayed herself as a lone leader, she shared the historical stage with other women like Marie Zakrzewska, Mary Dixon Jones, and Alice Hamilton, each of whom in her own way advocated for science in medicine and scientific womanhood. Her story illuminates the ways in which women in science and medicine took advantage of transitional moments in their fields to carve out new space.107 At a critical moment when medicine, itself, faced redefinition, Jacobi not only tried to reserve a place for women, but set new medical standards for men, with the hope of rearranging gender relationships within the field and beyond.
Jacobi's activism also complicates notions of late nineteenth-century "feminism." The vivisection debate reinforces the diverse configurations of medicine and gender that coexisted and competed in this period. An individual's stance on vivisection could not be easily categorized merely by gender or profession, but rather by one's gender identity, politics, and notions of professionalism. Multiple feminisms and multiple feminine and masculine identities coexisted within the same movements and institutions. The debate over vivisection within the women's rights community and beyond shows how the politics of pain and cruelty extended beyond the laboratory, to the walls of Congress, and even to the voting booth.
I would like to thank the following libraries and archives: the Huntington Library, the New York Academy of Medicine, the New York Public Library, the Schlesinger Library, and the UCLA Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library History and Special Collections Division. Funding for this research was provided by Loyola Marymount University, Cornell University, the Huntington Library, the National Science Foundation: Grant #9910963, and the New York Academy of Medicine. I am grateful to Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Lisa Forman Cody, Cheryl Koos, Gregory Ruzzin, Arleen Tuchman, Shobita Parthasarathy, and three anonymous reviewers at the Bulletin for their helpful comments on this article. The Loyola Marymount University History Department and the UCLA U.S. History Colloquium heard early versions of this paper and offered valuable suggestions.
1. On the history of vivisection, see Anita Guerrini, Experimenting with Humans and Animals: From Galen to Animal Rights (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003); Susan E. Lederer, Subjected to Science: Human Experimentation in America before the Second World War (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995); Nicolaas A. Rupke, ed., Vivisection in Historical Perspective (London: Croom Helm, 1987).
2. Mary Putnam Jacobi, "The Practical Study of Biology" (Remarks addressed to the Massachusetts Medical Society at its Annual Dinner, 12 June 1889), in Mary Putnam Jacobi: A Pathfinder in Medicine (hereafter Pathfinder), ed. Women's Medical Association of New York City (New York: Putnam, 1925), pp. 458–62. For more on Jacobi, see Carla Bittel, "The Science of Women's Rights: The Medical and Political Worlds of Mary Putnam Jacobi" (Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, 2003); Joy Harvey, "Clanging Eagles: The Marriage and Collaboration between Two Nineteenth-Century Physicians, Mary Putnam Jacobi and Abraham Jacobi," in Creative Couples in the Sciences, ed. Helena M. Pycior, Nancy G. Slack, and Pnina G. Abir-Am (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1996), pp. 185–95; Regina Markell Morantz-Sanchez, Sympathy and Science: Women Physicians in American Medicine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), pp. 184–202; Susan Wells, Out of the Dead House: Nineteenth-Century Women Physicians and the Writing of Medicine (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2001), pp. 146–92.
3. Gerald Geison, "Divided We Stand: Physiologists and Clinicians in the American Context," in The Therapeutic Revolution: Essays in the Social History of American Medicine, ed. Morris J. Vogel and Charles E. Rosenberg (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1979), pp. 67–90; John Harley Warner, "The Fall and Rise of Professional Mystery: Epistemology, Authority, and the Emergence of Laboratory Medicine in Nineteenth-Century America," in The Laboratory Revolution in Medicine, ed. Andrew Cunningham and Perry Williams (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992); Warner, "Ideals of Science and Their Discontents in Late Nineteenth-Century American Medicine," Isis, 1991, 82 : 454–78; Warner, Against the Spirit of System: The French Impulse in Nineteenth-Century American Medicine (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998).
4. For examples of other women who embraced scientific models, see Regina Morantz-Sanchez, Conduct Unbecoming a Woman: Medicine on Trial in Turn-of-the-Century Brooklyn (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); Arleen M. Tuchman, "'Only in a Republic Can It Be Proved That Science Has No Sex': Marie Elizabeth Zakrzewska (1829–1902) and the Multiple Meanings of Science in the Nineteenth-Century United States," J. Women's Hist., 1999, 11 : 121–42; Tuchman, "Situating Gender: Marie E. Zakrzewska and the Place of Science in Women's Medical Education," Isis, 2004, 95 : 34–57.
5. On the "representative types" of female physicians, see Morantz-Sanchez, Sympathy and Science (n. 2), pp. 184–202. See also Regina Morantz-Sanchez, "Feminism, Professionalism, and Germs: The Thought of Mary Putnam Jacobi and Elizabeth Blackwell," Amer. Quart., 1982, 34 : 459–78.
6. For other examples of women physicians who problematized the "sympathetic" model, see Morantz-Sanchez, Conduct Unbecoming a Woman (n. 4); Tuchman, "'Only in a Republic'" (n. 4).
7. Several women physicians tried to create a balance between the duality of sympathetic and scientific medicine. See Ellen More, Restoring the Balance: Women Physicians and the Profession of Medicine, 1850–1995 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), pp. 1–12; Morantz-Sanchez, Sympathy and Science (n. 2), pp. 5–7.
8. Statistics quoted in Thomas Neville Bonner, To the Ends of the Earth: Women's Search for Education in Medicine (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992), p. 157. See also Sophia Jex Blake, Medical Women: A Thesis and a History (Edinburgh: Oliphant, Anderson, and Ferrier, 1886), pp. 246–47; Caroline Schultze, Die Ärztin im XIX. Jahrhundert (Leipzig: Hobbing, 1889), p. 54. On the history of women and homeopathy, see Anne Taylor Kirschmann, A Vital Force: Women in American Homeopathy (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2003); Naomi Rogers, An Alternative Path: The Making and Remaking of Hahnemann Medical College and Hospital of Philadelphia (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1998).
9. For another interpretation of Mary Putnam Jacobi's work, see Wells, Out of the Dead House (n. 2), pp. 146–92. Wells analyzes the importance of gender and scientific discourses in the writings of women physicians. In her chapter on Jacobi, she argues that Jacobi engaged in gender performance, alternating between masculine and feminine styles of writing and representation.
10. Scholars have explored how gender and science are specific to a number of social variables, also referred to as the "situatedness" of gender. See Judith Walzer Leavitt, "'A Worrying Profession': The Domestic Environment of Medical Practice in Nineteenth-Century America," Bull. Hist. Med., 1995, 69 : 1–29; Morantz-Sanchez, Conduct Unbecoming a Woman (n. 4); Tuchman, "Situating Gender" (n. 4), pp. 36–39. See also Sally Gregory Kohlstedt and Helen Longino, eds., Women, Gender, and Science: New Directions, Osiris, 1997, 2nd ser., 12 ; this volume includes an essay by Evelyn Fox Keller on the biologist Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, which speaks to these issues: see Evelyn Fox Keller, "Developmental Biology as Feminist Cause?" pp. 16–28. See also Sandra Harding, "Rethinking Standpoint Epistemology: What Is 'Strong Objectivity?'" in Feminism and Science, ed. Evelyn Fox Keller and Helen E. Longino (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 235–48.
11. Key sources on the early life of Mary Putnam Jacobi include Ruth Putnam, Life and Letters of Mary Putnam Jacobi (New York: Putnam, 1925); Pathfinder (n. 2).
12. For other scholarly treatments of (Putnam) Jacobi in Paris, see Bonner, To the Ends of the Earth (n. 8), pp. 48–54; Joy Harvey, "'Faithful to Its Old Traditions'? Paris Clinical Medi-cine from the Second Empire to the Third Republic (1848–1872)," in Constructing Paris Medi-cine, ed. Caroline Hannaway and Ann La Berge, Clio Med., 1998, 50 : 313–35; Joy Harvey, "La Visite: Mary Putnam Jacobi and the Paris Medical Clinics," Clio Med., 1994, 25 : 350–71; Joy Harvey, "Medicine and Politics: Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi and the Paris Commune," Dialec. Anthropol., 1990, 15 : 107–17; Warner, Against the Spirit of System (n. 3), pp. 322–27.
13. Mary C. Putnam to Victorine Haven Putnam, 29 May 1867, in Putnam, Life and Letters (n. 11), pp. 102–3.
14. See Mary C. Putnam, "De la graisse neutre et des acides gras" (med. thesis, École de Médecine, 1871). From Paris, Jacobi wrote a series of articles for the Medical Record. She also wrote fiction, including "A Martyr to Science," which described a mad scientist who wanted to perform a human vivisection on himself: Mary Putnam Jacobi, "A Martyr to Science," in Jacobi, Stories and Sketches (New York: Putnam, 1907), pp. 212–61 (first published in Putnam's Monthly, August 1869).
15. For more on Jacobi's science, see Bittel, "Science of Women's Rights" (n. 2), chaps. 3 and 4; Wells, Out of the Dead House (n. 2), pp. 166–88.
16. On the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary, see Ruth J. Abram, ed., "Send Us a Lady Physician": Women Doctors in America, 1835–1920 (New York: Norton, 1985).
17. On the Réclus, see Gary S. Dunbar, Elisée Réclus: Historian of Nature (Hamden, Conn.: Archon Books, 1978); Marie Fleming, The Anarchist Way to Socialism: Elisée Réclus and Nineteenth-Century European Anarchism (London: Croom Helm, 1979); Joseph Ishill, ed., Elisée and Elie Réclus: In Memoriam (Berkeley Heights, N.J.: Oriole Press, 1927).
18. See Warner, "Ideals of Science" (n. 3), and Against the Spirit of System (n. 3), pp. 330–64; Morantz-Sanchez, Sympathy and Science (n. 2), pp. 232–40.
19. See Margaret Rossiter, Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982). On the association of science and masculinity in Western culture, see Evelyn Fox Keller, Reflections on Gender and Science (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985); Sandra Harding, The Science Question in Feminism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986); David F. Noble, A World without Women: The Christian Clerical Culture of Western Science (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993); Londa L. Schiebinger, The Mind Has No Sex? Women in the Origins of Modern Science (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989).
20. Mary Putnam Jacobi, "On Atropine," in Pathfinder (n. 2), pp. 204–39, quotation at p. 222 n. 3. This article was originally published in two parts as Mary C. Putnam, "On Atropine: A Lecture Delivered at the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary," Med. Rec., 1873, 8 : 249–54, 273–78.
21. Mary Putnam Jacobi, "Action of Nitrate of Silver," in Pathfinder (n. 2), pp. 291–94.
22. Wells, Out of the Dead House (n. 2), pp. 193–226.
23. Mary C. Putnam, "Phenomena Attending Section of the Right Restiform Body," Med. Rec., 1873, 8 : 17–18. In this study, (Putnam) Jacobi also examined the relationship between nervous dysfunction and nutritional failure.
24. For Abraham Jacobi's short contribution to this discussion, see ibid., p. 18.
25. Jacobi, "Practical Study of Biology" (n. 2), p. 462.
26. On the lack of regulation, see Lederer, Subjected to Science (n. 1), pp. 1–26.
27. For example, see Mary Putnam Jacobi, The Question of Rest for Women during Menstruation (New York: Putnam, 1877).
28. On the sphygmograph, see Robert Frank, "The Telltale Heart: Physiological Instruments, Graphic Methods, and Clinical Hopes, 1854–1914," in The Investigative Enterprise: Experimental Physiology in Nineteenth-Century Medicine, ed. William Coleman and Frederic L. Holmes (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), pp. 211–90.
29. Mary Putnam Jacobi, "Sphygmographic Experiments upon a Human Brain, Exposed by an Opening in the Cranium," in Pathfinder (n. 2), pp. 299–310, quotation on p. 299.
30. Mary Putnam Jacobi, "Provisional Report on the Effect of Quinine upon the Cerebral Circulation," Arch. Med., 1879, 1 : 33–43, see especially p. 33.
31. See "Mary Putnam Jacobi's Letter of Protest," intro. and transcription by Nancy Cervetti, Trans. & Stud. Coll. Physicians Philadelphia, 1997, 19 : 110–14.
32. Jacobi, "Practical Study of Biology" (n. 2), p. 459.
33. Ibid., p. 461.
34. Ibid., p. 459. On the British Anti-Vivisection Movement and the 1876 legislation limiting the practice, see Richard D. French, Antivivisection and Medical Science in Victorian Society (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1975), pp. 112–76.
35. Jacobi, "Practical Study of Biology" (n. 2), p. 459.
36. Morantz-Sanchez, Sympathy and Science (n. 2), p. 70.
37. Historians who have described the state of American medical education at mid-century include Kenneth M. Ludmerer, Learning to Heal: The Development of American Medical Education (New York: Basic Books, 1985); Morantz-Sanchez, Sympathy and Science (n. 2), pp. 68–70; William G. Rothstein, American Medical Schools and the Practice of Medicine: A History (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), pp. 89–115.
38. Jacobi, "On Atropine" (n. 20), p. 205.
39. Mary Putnam Jacobi, "The School of Medicine for Women of the New York Infirmary" (Paper read at Laurel House, Lakewood, N.J., 3 March 1884), pp. 12–13, Library of the New York Academy of Medicine, New York, N.Y.
40. Ibid., p. 12.
41. Morantz-Sanchez, Sympathy and Science (n. 2), pp. 72–75.
42. Jacobi, "School of Medicine for Women" (n. 39), p. 25.
43. For a discussion of this, see Jacobi, Question of Rest (n. 27).
44. Mary Putnam Jacobi, "Letter from Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi: Plato for Woman Suffrage," Woman's J., 7 February 1885, p. 44.
45. Mary Putnam Jacobi to Elizabeth Blackwell, 25 December 1888, Blackwell Family Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
46. Jacobi, "Plato for Woman Suffrage" (n. 44), p. 44.
47. Jacobi, "Practical Study of Biology" (n. 2), p. 461.
48. See Vivian Zelizer, Pricing the Priceless Child: The Changing Social Value of Children (New York: Basic Books, 1985); Gary Cross, The Cute and the Cool: Wondrous Innocence and Modern American Children's Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).
49. On Victorian views of animals, see James Turner, Reckoning with the Beast: Animals, Pain, and Humanity in the Victorian Mind (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980).
50. Lederer, Subjected to Science (n. 1), p. 28.
51. For discussions on the history of pain, see Martin S. Pernick, A Calculus of Suffering: Pain, Professionalism, and Anesthesia in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985); Turner, Reckoning with the Beast (n. 49). On views about pain in antebellum America, see Karen Halttunen, "Humanitarianism and the Pornography of Pain in Anglo-American Culture," Amer. Hist. Rev., 1995, 100 : 303–34.
52. For more on Leffingwell, see Thomas A. Woolsey and Robert E. Burke, "The Playwright, the Practitioner, the Politician, the President, and the Pathologist: A Guide to the 1900 Senate Document Titled 'Vivisection,'" Perspect. Biol. & Med., 1987, 30 : 235–58; Albert Leffingwell, "Does Vivisection Pay?" Scribner's Monthly, 1880: 20 : 391–99; Albert Leffingwell, "On Vivisection in America," in Henry S. Salt, Animals' Rights, Considered in Relation to Social Progress (New York: Macmillan, 1894), pp. 133–68.
53. Leffingwell, "Does Vivisection Pay?" (n. 52), p. 395 (emphasis in the original).
54. Ibid., pp. 391, 392.
55. See Lederer, Subjected to Science (n. 1), p. 54; Anti-Vivisection (journal produced by the Illinois Anti-Vivisection Society, Aurora, Ill.), 1895, 2 : 13; Vivisection: Hearing before the Senate Committee of the District of Columbia, February 21, 1900, on the Bill S. 34, For the Further Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1900), p. 57, hereafter Vivisection (1900).
56. Matthew C. Woods, see Anti-Vivisection, 1895, 2 : 13; see also Vivisection (1900) (n. 55), pp. 12–16. For another example, see Edward Berdoe, "Does Vivisection Help?" Century, 1890, 40 : 956–58.
57. See Wilfred Risdon, Robert Lawson Tait (London: National Anti-Vivisection Society, 1967).
58. Letter from Rev. John C. Kimball, "Voices from the Church upon the Subject of Vivisection," Anti-Vivisection, 1897, 9 : 63–64. For more men opposed to vivisection, see Philip G. Peabody, Personal Experiences of Two American Anti-Vivisectionists in Various Countries (Boston: New England Anti-Vivisection Society, 1895); Salt, Animals' Rights (n. 52).
59. On the gendering of the antivivisection movement, see Susan E. Lederer, "Moral Sensibility and Medical Science: Gender, Animal Experimentation, and the Doctor-Patient Relationship," in The Empathic Practitioner: Empathy, Gender, and Medicine, ed. Ellen Singer More and Maureen A. Milligan (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1994), pp. 59–73.
60. Craig Buettinger, "Women and Antivivisection in Late Nineteenth-Century America," J. Soc. Hist., 1997, 30 : 857–72; Lederer, Subjected to Science (n. 1), pp. 27, 29, 36, 39. It was common for WCTU women to unite temperance with other strands of social reform: see Ruth Bordin, Woman and Temperance: The Quest for Power and Liberty (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1990), pp. 98, 109. For the WCTU's work in Wyoming against the juvenile death penalty and in favor of woman suffrage, see Joan Jacobs Brumberg, Kansas Charley: The Story of a Nineteenth-Century Boy Murderer (New York: Viking Press, 2003), pp. 166–71.
61. On British activism, see Moira Ferguson, Animal Advocacy and Englishwomen, 1780–1900 (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998); Mary Ann Elston, "Women and Anti-Vivisection in Victorian England, 1870–1900," in Vivisection in Historical Perspective, ed. Nicolaas A. Rupke (London: Croom Helm, 1987), pp. 259–94 (on pp. 281–86 Elston describes how vivisection also produced conflict within British feminist organizations that were torn between supporting women doctors and opposing animal experimentation).
62. See Anti-Vivisection, 1893–97; some issues are housed in the Blackwell Family Papers, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., MC 411, box 15, folders 214–16.
63. Anti-Vivisection, 1894, 2 (1): frontispiece; 1894, 2 (4): frontispiece.
64. Anti-Vivisection, 1894, 2 (4): 10.
65. Alice Stone Blackwell, "An Abominable Practice," Woman's J., 22 October 1892, p. 340.
67. Elizabeth Blackwell, "Erroneous Method in Medical Education," in Essays in Medical Sociology, vol. 2 (New York: Arno Press, reprint 1972), pp. 35–45, quotation on p. 43 (this was originally an address to the Alumnae Association of the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary, 1891).
68. Elizabeth Blackwell quoted in Abraham Jacobi, "Introductory Remarks by the Chairman," in Women's Medical Association of New York City, In Memory of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell and Emily Blackwell (New York: New York Academy of Medicine, 1911), pp. 67–82, on p. 77.
69. Ibid., pp. 77–78.
70. Elizabeth Blackwell to Emily Blackwell, 18 January 1875, Blackwell Family Papers (n. 62), box 3, folder 47.
71. Blackwell, "Erroneous Method" (n. 67), p. 43. See also Lederer, Subjected to Science (n. 1), pp. 37–38.
72. Blackwell, "Erroneous Method" (n. 67), pp. 37, 41.
73. Ibid., p. 45.
74. Ibid., p. 43 (emphasis added). On Jacobi and Blackwell's disagreement about vivisection, see Jacobi to Blackwell, 25 December 1888 (n. 45). See also Regina Morantz-Sanchez, "Feminist Theory and Historical Practice: Rereading Elizabeth Blackwell," Hist. & Theory, 1992, 31 : 51–69.
75. Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary, Sixteenth Annual Catalogue and Announcement, June 1884 (New York: Putnam, 1884), pp. 8, 10; Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary, Nineteenth Annual Catalogue and Announcement, June 1887 (New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1887), p. 7.
76. John C. Kimball, "Woman's Medical College and Vivisection," Woman's J., 15 May 1897, p. 153.
78. On the suffrage revival and the shift to expediency in the movement, see Eileen Kraditor, Ideas of the Woman Suffrage Movement, 1890–1920 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1965). See also Ellen Carol DuBois, "Working Women, Class Relations, and Suffrage Militance: Harriot Stanton Blatch and the New York Woman Suffrage Movement, 1894–1909," J. Amer. Hist., 1987, 74 : 34–58; Sara Hunter Graham, "The Suffrage Renaissance: A New Image for a New Century, 1896–1910," in One Woman, One Vote, ed. Marjorie Spruill Wheeler (Troutdale, Ore.: NewSage Press, 1995), pp. 157–78.
79. On Jacobi's suffrage activism, see Mary Putnam Jacobi, "Common Sense" Applied to Woman Suffrage (New York: Putnam, 1894); New York Woman Suffrage Association, Record of the Campaign: Woman Suffrage and the Constitutional Convention, 1894 (Rochester, N.Y.: Mann, 1895).
80. Mary Putnam Jacobi, "Two Representative Women," Woman's J., 23 December 1893, pp. 406–7, and 30 December 1893, p. 410; quotations on pp. 406 and 410.
81. Mary Putnam Jacobi, "The Woman Suffrage Question: The Present Demand," The Outlook, 12 May 1894, p. 820; Jacobi, "Address on Behalf of the Women of the City of New York," in "Common Sense" (n. 79), p. 213.
82. Jacobi, "Two Representative Women" (n. 80), p. 410.
83. Jacobi, "Common Sense" (n. 79), p. 190.
84. For more on Jacobi's positivism, see Mary Putnam Jacobi, The Value of Life: A Reply to Mallock's Essay, "Is Life Worth Living?" (New York: Putnam, 1879).
85. Jacobi to Blackwell, 25 December 1888 (n. 45).
86. Emily Blackwell, "Woman's Medical College Justified," Woman's J., 22 May 1897, p. 161.
87. Mary Putnam Jacobi to Richard W. Gilder, c. 26 January 1890, Century Company Records, Manuscript and Archives Division, Astor, Lenox, and Tilden Foundations, New York Public Library, New York, N.Y.
88. Mary Putnam Jacobi, "Does Vivisection Help?" Century, 1891, 42 : 157–58. On the controversy over gynecological surgery, see Morantz-Sanchez, Conduct Unbecoming a Woman (n. 4).
89. On Jacobi's testimony, see Vivisection (1900) (n. 55), pp. 58–61. On the Senate hearing, see Woolsey and Burke, "Playwright" (n. 52); Patricia Peck Gossel, "William Henry Welch and the Antivivisection Legislation in the District of Columbia, 1896–1900," J. Hist. Med. & Allied Sci., 1985, 40 : 397–419.
90. Gossel, "William Henry Welch" (n. 89), p. 418.
91. For more on the defense of vivisection by medical men, see "Vivisection": A Statement on Behalf of Science, February 1896, pamphlet, Library of the New York Academy of Medicine.
92. Vivisection (1900)(n. 55), p. 58.
94. Ibid., p. 60.
95. Woolsey and Burke, "Playwright" (n. 52), p. 247.
96. William Welch quoted in Lederer, Subjected to Science (n. 1), p. 58.
97. "Additional Statement of Matthew Woods, of Philadelphia," in Vivisection (1900) (n. 55), p. 169: Woods, president of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, quotes Shakespeare on vivisection, claiming that he "was among the first of moderns who condemned it, because of its effect in 'hardening human hearts.'" For background on Woods, see Woolsey and Burke, "Playwright" (n. 52), p. 243.
98. Vivisection (1900) (n. 55), p. 217.
101. Ibid., p. 60.
102. William James Robinson, "The Malice and Vindictiveness of the Antivivisectionists," Med. Rec., 1897, 51 : 791, quoted in Buettinger, "Women and Antivivisection" (n. 60), pp. 867–68.
103. Vivisection (1900) (n. 55), p. 60.
104. See Guerrini, Experimenting with Humans and Animals (n. 1); Lederer, Subjected to Science (n. 1).
105. On the problems faced by women in medicine in the early twentieth century, see Morantz-Sanchez, Sympathy and Science (n. 2), pp. 232–65; More, Restoring the Balance (n. 7), pp. 95–121; Mary Roth Walsh, Doctors Wanted: No Women Need Apply (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977), pp. 178–267.
106. For literature focused on science and the subordination of women, see Barbara Ehrenreich and Deirdre English, For Her Own Good: 150 Years of Experts' Advice to Women (Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1978); Cynthia Eagle Russett, Sexual Science: The Victorian Construction of Womanhood (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1989); Carroll Smith-Rosenberg and Charles Rosenberg, "The Female Animal: Medical and Biological Views of Woman and Her Role in Nineteenth-Century America," in Women and Health in America, ed. Judith Walzer Leavitt (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984), pp. 12–27. For alternative approaches that examine women who actively incorporated different types of scientific practices and rhetoric into medicine, see Morantz-Sanchez, Conduct Unbecoming a Woman (n. 4); Tuchman, "'Only in A Republic'" (n. 4), and "Situating Gender" (n. 4); Wells, Out of the Dead House (n. 2).
107. For another example of women "border crossers" in science, see Scott F. Gilbert and Karen A Rader, "Revisiting Women, Gender, and Feminism in Developmental Biology," in Feminism in Twentieth-Century Science, Technology, and Medicine, ed. Angela N. H. Creager, Elizabeth Lunbeck, and Londa Schiebinger (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001), pp. 73–97.