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Title: A Woman's Quest: The life of Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D.
Author: Zakrzewska, Marie E. (Marie Elizabeth)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Woman's Quest: The life of Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D." ***









[Illustration: MARIE E. ZAKRZEWSKA, M.D.

(From a photograph thought to have been taken some time in the ’60’s.)]

  MARIE E. ZAKRZEWSKA, M.D. (1829-1902)

 _Accoucheuse en chef, Royal Hospital Charité, Berlin, Prussia; First
 Resident Physician, New York Infirmary for Women and Children, New
 York; Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children, and
 Founder and Attending Physician of the Clinical Department (Hospital),
 New England Female Medical College, Boston; Founder and First
 Attending Physician, New England Hospital for Women and Children,





Viewed impersonally, this story of Marie E. Zakrzewska (Zak-shef’ska)
is one more document testifying to the Humanity of Woman. The fact that
the individual urge for the expression of this humanity found vent
along the line of Medicine, is a detail. It is also a detail that the
story is interwoven with an interesting transitional period in American
history and with the evolution of the American woman physician.

The essential interest lies in the fundamental human instinct asserting
itself through the individual woman, dominating her and driving her
to reach out into the world until, after migrations over thousands of
miles and through various phases of civilization, she at last found an
environment favorable for the development which her spirit so ardently

Eventually stretching across the Atlantic Ocean, this Polish-German
branch of the Human Tree pushed through first one crevice and then
another, with here and there a struggling blossoming and leafage, to
find at last its best efflorescence and fruitage in the favoring sun
and air of America.

Transplanted here, as are all the nations of mankind, her life finally
found fulfillment through the creation of the New England Hospital for
Women and Children, and though the influence which she exerted upon
the lives of the numbers of women medical students, women physicians,
women surgeons, and women nurses who have there, in turn, been helped
to develop and to express _their_ Humanity.

Stopping on her way to help in the birth of the _first_ true
“Woman’s Hospital” in the history of the world (the New York Infirmary
for Women and Children), to develop the short-lived _second_
(Clinical Department of the New England Female Medical College), and to
assist in the conception of the _third_ (the Woman’s Hospital of
Philadelphia), her life reached its fullest expression in the evolution
of the _fourth_ (the New England Hospital for Women and Children).

Thus in no ordinary sense do the life and personality of Doctor
Zakrzewska endure in America, and especially in Boston. Thence the
inspiration of her life has extended throughout New England; throughout
the United States; back across the Atlantic to Europe; and across the
Pacific to the Orient.

Is there, then, any part of the earth reached by educated medical women
where her living spirit does not penetrate, that unconquerable spirit
made manifest through her unchanging ideal--reasoned human standards
for women as for men.

It is a common habit of our people to abbreviate long or unfamiliar
words and the American populace so generally declined to apply itself
to the complete pronunciation of the word _Zakrzewska_ that the
name was characteristically shortened to the first syllable. Hence,
“Doctor Zak” became the more familiar title, first of convenience and
then of that personal and unceremonious aptitude for appropriation
which we as a people display toward those whom we regard with
admiration and affection.

The material for this biography was given to the editor by Dr.
Zakrzewska to prepare for publication with what might be called one
condition, and this has now been fulfilled. Circumstances which the
editor could not control, and which it is unnecessary to discuss
here, have delayed its appearance until now. The earlier chapters are
autobiographical and most of them were written in the form of a letter
to Miss Mary L. Booth, of New York, and were published in 1860 by
Mrs. Caroline H. Dall under the title of “A Practical Illustration of
‘Woman’s Right to Labor’; or A Letter from Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D.,
late of Berlin, Prussia.”

Finally, the editor desires to express her appreciation of the
assistance rendered by Miss Anne Sullivan, her secretary and synergetic





  CHAPTER                                                PAGE


  FOREWORD                                              ix-xi

  I. Some recollections of childhood                      3-7

  II. School life begins                                 8-15

  III. First knowledge of hospitals and reading
  of medical books                                      16-19

  IV. School life ends                                  20-25

  V. Learns all details of household work;
  then spends most of her time reading
  in her father’s library; drifts
  into assisting her mother, who has
  become a trained midwife                              26-34

  VI. After regular course receives diploma
  from School for Midwives and becomes
  assistant teacher in the Royal
  Hospital Charité                                      35-45

  VII. Is appointed _Accoucheuse en chef_ and
  succeeds Dr. Schmidt as teacher of
  midwifery                                             46-54

  VIII. Resigns her position                            55-65

  IX. Decides to go to America to help
  establish a woman’s hospital, her
  thoughts turned to Philadelphia                       66-72


  X. Impressions and experiences on landing--Unable
  to go to Philadelphia
  or to establish a practice in New
  York, she builds up a business in
  fancy goods                                           73-91

  XI. Social relations                                  92-98

  XII. Meets Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell                   99-106

  XIII. Goes to Cleveland Medical School to
  acquire the title of M.D.                           107-119


  XIV. Difficulties encountered by women
  medical students in Cleveland,
  Philadelphia, Boston, Edinburgh
  (Scotland)                                          120-131

  XV. Dr. Harriot K. Hunt’s attempt to
  study at Harvard Medical School
  and her practice in Boston                          132-143

  XVI. First visit to Boston--Meets many
  noted men and women                                 144-158

  XVII. An interesting week-end near Cleveland--Meets
  Ralph Waldo Emerson--Receives
  the degree of M.D.                                  159-175


  XVIII. Impossible for a woman physician to
  rent an office or to be admitted for
  study to a hospital or dispensary--Visits
  Boston to ask money to
  open the New York Infirmary for
  Women and Children--Visit to
  Philadelphia determines the building
  of the Woman’s Hospital there                       176-194

  XIX. Frequent guest at the variety of social
  “circles” then existing in New
  York                                                195-208

  XX. Opening of the New York Infirmary
  wards and dispensary, with Dr.
  Zakrzewska as resident physician
  and superintendent--Mobbing of
  the Infirmary following death of a
  patient                                             209-219

  XXI. Incident of Dr. J. Marion Sims--Second
  mobbing of the Infirmary--First
  attempt at establishing a
  training school for nurses                          220-234


  XXII. Removes to Boston to become professor
  of obstetrics in the New England
  Female Medical College and
  to establish a hospital department                  235-242

  XXIII. Meets opposition in her attempts to
  elevate the standards of the college                243-258

  XXIV. Her “Introductory Lecture”                    259-270

  XXV. Refused admission to Massachusetts
  Medical Society because she is a
  woman--Militant ostracism of
  women by Philadelphia County
  Medical Society, which tries to
  crush the Woman’s Medical College
  of Pennsylvania--She insists medical
  students must be trained practically
  as well as theoretically--Continuing
  unable to elevate the
  standards of the college, she resigns
  from the faculty and the hospital
  is discontinued                                     271-287



  CHAPTER                                                PAGE

  XXVI. Founding of the New England Hospital
  for Women and Children,
  with Dr. Zakrzewska as first resident
  and attending physician                             291-298

  XXVII. Letters to her first Boston student,
  Dr. Lucy E. Sewall                                  299-313

  XXVIII. Two stories illustrating her broad
  common sense methods of studying
  and treating patients                               314-327

  XXIX. Incident of Dr. Horatio R. Storer, the
  only man ever appointed on the attending
  staff--For the first time in
  America the name of a woman is
  listed officially as specializing in
  surgery, Dr. Anita E. Tyng being
  appointed assistant surgeon                         328-344

  XXX. Land bought in Roxbury for new
  Hospital buildings--Dr. Helen
  Morton--Sophia Jex-Blake                            345-355

  XXXI. New Hospital buildings completed--First
  general Training School for
  Nurses in America definitely organized--Dr.
  Susan Dimock--First
  Hospital Social Service in America
  organized in connection with the
  Maternity                                           356-365

  XXXII. Dr. Zakrzewska goes to Europe for
  her first vacation in fifteen years--Dr.
  C. Annette Buckel                                   366-372

  XXXIII. Attempts by Dr. Zakrzewska and the
  other leading pioneer medical
  women to keep the educational
  standard for medical women from
  being lowered--Opening of the
  Woman’s Medical College of the
  New York Infirmary--Movement
  to open to women one of the great
  medical schools for men, with special
  reference to Harvard                                373-387

  XXXIV. Opening of the Massachusetts Medical
  Society to women--Dr. Zakrzewska
  declines to present herself a third
  time for admission after having
  been twice refused because she was
  a woman                                             388-397

  XXXV. Association for the Advancement of
  the Medical Education of Women--Dr.
  Mary Putnam Jacobi--The
  New England Hospital establishes
  District Nursing in its out-practice--Dr.
  Zakrzewska leads another attempt
  to persuade Harvard to admit
  women to its medical school                         398-415

  XXXVI. Dr. Zakrzewska replies to the question,
  “Should Women Study Medicine?”--Her
  Opinion on “What’s
  in a Name?”                                         416-434

  XXXVII. Johns Hopkins becomes the first great
  medical school in America to admit
  women on the same terms as men--The
  New England Hospital adds
  new buildings for the Maternity
  and for Nurses--Because of misbehavior
  of men students Columbian
  University of Georgetown closes
  its doors to women--Dr. Zakrzewska
  writes on “The Emancipation
  of Women: Will It Be a Success?”                   435-446

  XXXVIII. Dr. Zakrzewska’s attitude as a critic:
  her judgment on various details of
  Hospital policy                                    447-456

  XXXIX. Her private life; her home; her
  friends; her ethics--Men physicians
  who served as consultants at
  the New England Hospital                           457-467

  XL. The New England Hospital adds new
  buildings for the Dispensary and
  for the Surgical department--Celebration
  of Dr. Zakrzewska’s seventieth
  birthday by a reception and
  by the naming of the original main
  building “The Zakrzewska Building”--Her
  retirement from practice--Her
  failing health--Her
  characteristic acceptance of the inevitable--Her
  death--Her funeral
  service--Her farewell message                      468-478

  AFTERWORD                                          479-482

  NOTES                                              483-498

  BIBLIOGRAPHY                                           499

  INDEX                                              501-514


  Portrait of Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D.
  (From a photograph thought to have been
  taken some time in the ’60’s)               _Frontispiece_

  Second location of the New England Hospital
  for Women and Children, Boston                    Page 331

  Portrait of Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D.
  (From a photograph taken about 1870)                   352

  First buildings of the New England Hospital
  for Women and Children, erected 1872 (third
  location)                                              357

  Portrait of Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D.
  (From a photograph taken in 1896)                      468




 _Her reason for writing autobiography, to encourage average woman to
 determine and decide for herself to do whatever she can--Polish-German
 ancestry--Childhood in Berlin--Recollection of experience when
 nineteen months old--Walks nine miles when twenty-six months old.
 (Birth to five years of age: 1829-1834.)_

I am not a great personage, either through inherited qualifications or
through the work that I have to show to the world; yet you may find,
in reading this little sketch, that with few talents and very moderate
means for developing them, I have accomplished more than many women of
genius and education would have done in my place, for the reason that
confidence and faith in their own powers were wanting.

And for this reason I know that this story may be of use to others, by
encouraging those who timidly shrink from the field of action, though
endowed with all that is necessary to enable them to come forth and do
their part in life.

The fact that a woman of no extraordinary powers can make her way, by
the simple determination that whatever she can do she will do, must
inspire those who are fitted to do much, yet who do nothing because
they are not accustomed to determine and decide for themselves.

I do not intend to weary you with details of my childhood, as I think
that children are generally very uninteresting subjects of conversation
to any except their parents, who naturally discover what is beautiful
and attractive in them and appreciate what is said that corresponds to
their own feelings. I shall therefore tell you only a few facts of this
period of my life, which I think absolutely necessary to illustrate my
character and nature.

I was born in Berlin, Prussia, on the 6th of September, 1829; and am
the eldest of a family of five sisters and one brother.[1]

[1] The figures throughout the text refer to corresponding numbers in
Notes, pages 483 to 498.

My early childhood passed happily, though heavy clouds of sorrow and
care at times overshadowed our family circle. I was of a cheerful
disposition, and was always in good humor, even when sick. I was quiet
and gentle in all my amusements. My chief delight consisted in telling
stories to my sister, one year younger than myself. She was always
glad to listen to these products of my imagination, which were wholly
original, for no stories were told me, nor had I any children’s books.

My heroes and heroines were generally distinguished for some mental
peculiarity--as kind or cruel, active or indolent--which led them into
all sorts of adventures till it suited my caprice to terminate their

In all our little affairs I took the lead, planning and directing
everything; and my playmates seemed to take it for granted that it was
their duty to carry out my commands.

My memory is remarkable in respect to events that occurred at this
time, but it always fails to recall dates and names.

When twenty years of age, I asked my father what sort of a festival he
took me to once, in company with a friend of his who had only one arm.
We walked through meadows where daisies were blossoming in millions and
rode in carriages that went round continually until they were wound up.

My father answered, with much surprise, that it was a public festival
of the cabinet-makers, which was celebrated in a neighboring village,
and that I was, at that time, only nineteen months old. He was so much
interested in my story that I related another of my memories.

One dark morning, my mother wakened me and hastened my dressing. After
this was accomplished, she handed me a cup of something which I had
never tasted before and which was as disagreeable as was asafœtida in
later years. This was some coffee which I had to take instead of my
usual milk.

Then I went with my father to the large park called “The Thiergarten,”
where we saw the sun rise. I began to spring about, looking at the
big oaks which seemed to reach into the heavens, or stooping down to
pluck a flower. Birds of all kinds were singing in chorus, while the
flower-beds surrounding the statue of Flora scented the pure morning
air with the sweetest of perfumes.

The sun ascended meanwhile, from the edge of a little pond covered with
water-lilies. I was intoxicated with joy. The feeling of that morning
is as fresh to-day as when I related this to my father. I know I
walked till I got fairly tired, and we reached a solitary house beyond
the park.

Probably fatigue took entire possession of me, for I remember nothing
more till we were on our way home and the sun was setting. Then I
begged for some large yellow plums which I saw in the stores. My father
bought some, but gave me only a few. I had a desire for all and stole
them secretly from his pockets, so that when we reached home, I had
eaten them all.

I was sick after I went to bed, and remember taking some horrible stuff
the next morning (probably rhubarb), thus ending the day which had
opened so poetically in rather a prosaic manner.

When I repeated this, my parents laughed and said that I was only
twenty-six months old when my father’s pride in his oldest child
induced him to take me on this visit, and that I walked the whole
way--a distance of about _nine miles_.

These anecdotes are worth preserving only because they indicate an
impressionable nature and great muscular endurance.

It is peculiar that between these two events and a third which occurred
a year after, everything should be a blank.

A little brother was then born to me, and he lay undressed upon a
cushion, while my father cried with sobs. I had just completed my third
year and could not understand why, the next day, this little thing was
carried off in a black box. From that time I remember almost every
day’s life.

I very soon began to manifest the course of my natural tendencies. Like
most little girls I was well provided with dolls, and on the day after
a new one came into my possession I generally discovered that the dear
little thing was ill and needed to be nursed and doctored.

Porridges and teas were accordingly cooked on my little toy stove,
and administered to the poor doll until the _papier mâché_ was
thoroughly saturated and broken, when she was considered dead and
preparations were made for her burial--this ceremony being repeated
over and over again.

White dresses were put on for the funeral; a cricket was turned upside
down to serve as the coffin; my mother’s flower pots furnished the
green leaves for decoration; and I delivered the funeral oration in
praise of the little sufferer while placing her in the tomb improvised
of chairs.

I hardly ever joined the other children in their plays except upon
occasions like these, when I appeared in the characters of doctor,
priest and undertaker; generally improving the opportunity to moralize,
informing my audience that Ann (the doll) had died in consequence of
disobeying her mother by going out before she had recovered from the
measles, etc.

Once I remember moving my audience to tears by telling them that little
Ann had been killed by her brother who, in amusing himself with picking
off the dry skin after she had had the scarlatina, had carelessly torn
off the real skin over the heart, as they could see; thus leaving it to
beat in the air and causing the little one to die. This happened after
we had all had the scarlatina.


 _Begins school life--Her conduct already guided by habits of
 reasoning and self-government--Conflict between such guidance and
 the school rule of unquestioning obedience to authority--First
 friendship with a girl--First contact with an insane person; changes
 an intractable patient to a docile one--Allowed to assist nurse in
 hospital in care of blind cousin--Observation of defects in hospital
 care arouses desire to be some day a head nurse, so as to prevent such
 defects and have patients treated more kindly. (Five to nine years of
 age: 1834-1838.)_

When five years old, I was sent to a primary school. Here I became a
favorite of the teacher of arithmetic, for which study I had quite a
fancy. The rest of the teachers disliked me. They called me unruly
because I would not obey arbitrary demands without being given some
reason, and obstinate because I insisted on following my own will when
I knew I was in the right.

I was told that I was not worthy to be with my playmates; and when I
reached the highest class in the school, in which alone the boys and
the girls were taught separately, I was separated from the latter and
placed with the boys by way of punishment, receiving instructions with
them from men, while the girls in the other class were taught by women.

Here I found many friends. I joined the boys in all their sports,
sliding and snowballing with them in winter, and running and playing
ball in summer. With them I was merry, frank and self-possessed, while
with the girls I was quiet, shy and awkward. I never made friends with
the girls or felt like approaching them.

Once only, when I was eleven years old, a girl in the young ladies’
seminary in which I had been placed when eight years of age won my
affection. This was Elizabeth Hohenhorst, a child of twelve, remarkably
quiet and disposed to melancholy.

She was a devout Catholic, and knowing that she was fated to become a
nun, was fitting herself for that dreary destiny, which rendered her
very sentimental. She was full of fanciful visions, but extremely sweet
and gentle in her manners. My love for her was unbounded. I went to
church in her company, was present at all the religious festivals, and
accompanied her to receive religious instruction: in short, I made up
my mind to become a Catholic and, if possible, a nun like herself. My
parents, who were Rationalists, belonging to no church, gave me full
scope to follow out my own inclinations, leaving it to my nature to
choose for me a fitting path.

This lasted until Elizabeth went for the first time to the
confessional. And when the poor innocent child could find no other
sin of which to speak than the friendship which she cherished for a
Protestant, the priest forbade her to continue this, until I too had
become a Catholic, reminding her of the holiness of her future career.
The poor girl conscientiously promised to obey.

When I came the next morning and spoke to her as usual, she turned away
from me and burst into tears. Surprised and anxious, I asked what was
the matter. In a voice broken with sobs, she told me the whole story
and begged me to become a Catholic as soon as I was fourteen years old.

Never in my whole life shall I forget that morning. For a moment, I
gazed on her with the deepest emotion, pitying her almost more than
myself; then suddenly turned coldly and calmly away without answering a
single word. My mind had awakened to the despotism of theology and the
church had lost its expected convert. I never went near her again and
never exchanged another word with her. This was the only friend I had
during eight and a half years of uninterrupted attendance at school.

A visit that I paid to my maternal grandfather when seven or eight
years old made a strong impression on my mind.

My grandfather, on his return from the war of 1813-1815 in which he
had served, had received from the authorities of Prenzlau (the city in
which he lived) a grant of a half-ruined cloister with about a hundred
acres of uncultivated land attached, by way of acknowledgment of his
services. He removed thither with his family, and, shortly after,
invited the widows of some soldiers who lived in the city to occupy the
apartments which he did not need. The habitable rooms were soon filled
to overflowing with widows and orphans, who went to work with him to
cultivate the ground.

It was not long before crippled and invalid soldiers arrived, begging
to be allowed to repair the cloister and to find a shelter also within
its walls. They were set to work making brick, the material for which
my grandfather had discovered on his land: and in about five years
an institution was built, the more valuable from the fact that none
lived there on charity but all earned what they needed by cultivating
the ground; having first built their own dwelling which at this time
looked like a palace surrounded by trees, grass and flowers. Here, in
the evening, the old soldiers sang martial songs or told stories of the
wars to the orphans gathered about them, while resting from the labors
of the day.

I tell you of this institution so minutely to prove to you how wrong it
is to provide charitable homes for the poor as we provide them, homes
in which the charity always humiliates and degrades the individual.
Here you have an instance in which poor crippled invalids and destitute
women and children established and supported themselves under the
guidance of a clear-headed, benevolent man, who said, “Do what you
like, but work for what you need.” He succeeded admirably, though he
died a very poor man, his younger children becoming inmates of the
establishment until they were adopted by their relatives.

When I visited my grandfather, the “convent,” as he insisted on
calling it--rejecting any name that would have indicated a charitable
institution--contained about a hundred invalid soldiers, a hundred
old women and two hundred and fifty orphans. One of the wings of the
building was fitted up as a hospital and a few of the rooms were
occupied by lunatics.

It was my greatest delight to take my grandfather’s hand at noon as
he walked up and down the dining room between the long tables around
which were grouped so many cheerful, hearty faces; and I stood before
him with an admiration that it is impossible to describe as he prayed,
with his black velvet cap in his hand, before and after dinner. Though
I could not comprehend why he should thank another person for what had
been done, when every one there told me that all that they had they
owed to my grandfather.

One afternoon, on returning from the dining room to his study, I spied
on his desk a neatly written manuscript. I took it up and began to
read. It was a dissertation on immortality, attempting by scientific
arguments to prove its impossibility. I became greatly interested, and
read on without noticing that my grandfather had left the room or that
the large bell had rung to call the family to dinner.

My grandfather, a very punctual man who would never allow lingering,
came back to call and to reprimand me; he suddenly started on seeing
the paper in my hands and snatching it from me tore it in pieces,
exclaiming, “That man is insane, and will make this child so too!” A
little frightened, I went to the dinner table, thinking as much about
my grandfather’s words as about what I had read, without daring,
however, to ask who this man was.

The next day, curiosity mastered fear. I asked my grandfather who had
written that paper, and was told in reply that it was poor crazy Jacob.
I then begged to see him, but this request my grandfather decidedly
refused, saying that he was like a wild beast and lay without clothes
upon the straw. I knew nothing of lunatics, and the idea of a wild
man stimulated my curiosity to such an extent that from that time I
teased my grandfather incessantly to let me see Jacob. He finally
yielded to be rid of my importunity and led me to the cell in which
he was confined. What a spectacle presented itself in the house that
I had looked on as the abode of so much comfort! On a bundle of straw
in a corner of the room, with no furniture save its bare walls, sat
a man clad only in a shirt, with the left hand chained to the wall
and the right foot to the floor. An inkstand stood on the floor by
his side, and on his knee was some paper on which he was writing. His
hair and beard were uncombed, and his fine eyes glared with fury as we
approached him. He tried to rise, ground his teeth, made grimaces, and
shook his fist at my grandfather, who tried in vain to draw me out of
the room.

But, escaping from his grasp, I stepped towards the lunatic who grew
more quiet when he saw me approach, and I tried to lift the chain which
had attracted my attention. Then, finding it too heavy for me, I turned
to my grandfather and asked, “Does not this hurt the poor man?” I had
hardly spoken the words when his fury returned, and he shrieked:

“Have I not always told you that you were cruel to me? Must this child
come to convince you of your barbarity? Yes, you have no heart.”

I looked at my grandfather: all my admiration of him was gone, and I
said, almost commandingly:

“Take off these chains! It is bad of you to tie this man!”

The man grew calm at once and asked imploringly to be set free,
promising to be quiet and tractable if my grandfather would give him a
trial. His chains were removed the same day, and Jacob was ever after
not only harmless and obedient but a very useful man in the house.

I never afterwards accompanied my grandfather. I had discovered a side
in his nature which repelled me. I spent the remainder of my visit in
the work rooms and the sick room, always secretly fearing that I should
meet with some new cruelty, but no such instance ever came to my view.

On my return from my grandfather’s I found that a cousin had suddenly
become blind. She was soon after sent to the ophthalmic hospital, where
she remained for more than a year, and, during this time, I was her
constant companion after school hours. I was anxious to be useful to
her; and being gentler than the nurse, she liked to have me wash out
the issues that were made in her back and arms. The nurse, who was very
willing to be relieved of this duty, allowed me also to cleanse the
eyes of the girl next my cousin; and thus these cares were soon made to
depend on my daily visit.

Child as I was, I could not help observing the carelessness of the
nurses and their great neglect of cleanliness. One day, when the head
nurse had washed the floor and left pools of water standing under the
beds, the under nurse found fault with it, and said, “I shall tell the
doctor when he comes why it is that the patients always have colds.”
“Do,” said the head nurse. “What do men understand of such matters? If
they knew anything about them, they would long ago have taken care
that the mattress upon which one patient dies should always be changed
before another comes in.”

This quarrel impressed itself upon my memory, and the wish rose in my
mind that some day I might be a head nurse to prevent such wrongs and
to show kindness to poor lunatics.


 _School life continues--Her mother begins training for career of
 midwife--Because of eye trouble, Marie resides in hospital with her
 mother, and becomes protégée of Dr. Müller--First real knowledge of
 medicine as a career--Adventure in morgue and dissecting rooms--Begins
 to read medical books. (Nine to eleven years of age: 1838-1840.)_

At the end of the year, my cousin left the hospital. At the same time,
trouble and constant sickness fell upon our family.

My father, who held liberal opinions and was of an impetuous
temperament, manifested some revolutionary tendencies, which drew upon
him the displeasure of the government and caused his dismissal, with
a very small pension, from his position as military officer. This
involved us in great pecuniary difficulties, for our family was large
and my father’s income too small to supply the most necessary wants,
and to obtain other occupation was for the time out of the question.

In this emergency, my mother determined to petition the city government
for admission to the school of midwives established in Berlin, in order
in this manner to aid in the support of the family. Influential friends
of my father secured her the election, and she was admitted to the
school in 1839, I being at that time ten years of age.

The education of midwives for Berlin requires a two years’ course of
study, during six months of which, they are obliged to reside in the
hospital to receive instructions from the professors together with the
male students. My mother went there in the summer of 1840. I went to
stay at the house of an aunt who wished my company, and the rest of the
children were put out together, to board.

In a few weeks my eyes became affected with weakness so that I could
neither read nor write, and I begged my mother to let me stay with
her in the hospital. She applied for permission to the director and
received a favorable answer.

I was placed under the care of one of the physicians (Dr. Müller), who
took a great fancy to me and made me go with him wherever he went while
engaged in the hospital. My eyes being bandaged, he led me by the hand,
calling me his “little blind doctor.” In this way, I was constantly
with him, hearing all his questions and directions, which impressed
themselves the more strongly on my mind from the fact that I could not
see but had to gain all my knowledge through hearing alone.

One afternoon, when I had taken the bandage off my eyes for the first
time, Dr. Müller told me that there was a corpse of a young man in the
dead-house that had turned completely green in consequence of poison
that he had eaten. I went there after my rounds with him, but finding
the room filled with relatives who were busily engaged in adorning the
body with flowers, I thought that I would not disturb them but would
wait until they had gone before I looked at it; meanwhile I went
through the adjoining rooms.

These were all freshly painted. The dissecting tables, with the
necessary apparatus, stood in the center, while the bodies, clad
in white gowns, were ranged on boards along the walls. I examined
everything, came back, and looked to my heart’s content at the poisoned
young man, without noticing that, not only had the relatives left but
the prosector had also gone away, after locking up the whole building.

I then went a second time to the other rooms, and looked again at
everything there; and at last, when it became dark and I could not
leave the house, sat down upon the floor and went to sleep, after
knocking for half an hour at the door in the hope that some passer
might hear.

My mother, who knew that I had gone with Dr. Müller, did not trouble
herself about me until nine o’clock, when she grew uneasy at my stay;
and, thinking that he might have taken me to his rooms, went there in
search of me, but found that he was out and that the doors were locked.
She then inquired whether the people in the house knew anything about
me, and was told that they had last seen me going into the dead-house.
Alarmed at this intelligence, my mother hastened to the prosector, who
unwillingly went with her to the park in which the dead-house stood,
assuring her all the way that I could not possibly be there; but, on
opening the door, he saw me sitting close by on the floor fast asleep.

In a few days after this adventure, I recovered the use of my eyes.
As it was at this time the summer vacation in which I had no school
tasks, I asked Dr. Müller for some books to read. He inquired what
kind of books I wanted. I told him, “Books about history,” upon which
he gave me two huge volumes, the _History of Midwifery_ and the
_History of Surgery_. Both were so interesting that I read them
through during the six weeks of vacation, which occupied me so closely
that even my friend Dr. Müller could not lay hold of me when he went
his morning and evening rounds.

From this time I date my study of medicine, for though I did not
continue to read on the subject, I was instructed in the no less
important branch of psychology by a new teacher whom I found on my
return to school at the close of the summer vacation.


 _Takes highest prizes at school--Helpful friendship with one of
 her men teachers--Begins to understand relation of public opinion to
 personal conduct--School life ends. (Eleven to fourteen years of age:

To explain better how my mind was prepared for such teaching, I must
go back to my position in school. In both schools that I attended I
was praised for my punctuality, industry and quick perception. Beloved
I was in neither. On the contrary, I was made the target for all the
impudent jokes of my fellow pupils, ample material for which was
furnished in the carelessness with which my hair and dress were usually
arranged, these being left to the charge of a servant who troubled
herself very little about how I looked, provided I was whole and clean.

The truth was, I often presented a ridiculous appearance; and once I
could not help laughing heartily at myself on seeing my own face by
accident in a glass, with one braid of hair commencing over the right
eye and the other over the left ear. I quietly hung a map over the
glass to hide the ludicrous picture and continued my studies, and most
likely appeared in the same style the next day.

My face, besides, was neither handsome nor even prepossessing, a large
nose overshadowing the undeveloped features; and I was ridiculed for
my ugliness both in school and at home, where an aunt of mine who
disliked me exceedingly always said in describing plain people, “Almost
as ugly as Marie.”

Another cause arose to render my position at school still more
intolerable. In consequence of the loss of his position in the army, my
father could no longer afford to pay my school bills, and was about to
remove me from school, when the principal offered to retain me without
pay. She disliked me and did not hesitate to show it, nor to tell me
whenever I offended her that she would never keep so ugly and naughty a
child _without being paid for it_, were it not for the sake of so
noble a father.

These conditions and harsh judgments made me a philosopher. I heard
myself called obstinate and willful, only because I believed myself
in the right and persisted in it. I felt that I was not maliciously
disposed towards any one but wished well to all, and I offered my
services not only willingly, but cheerfully wherever they could be of
the least use, and saw them accepted, and even demanded, by those who
could not dispense with them, though they shunned and ridiculed me the
same as before. I felt that they sought me only when they needed me;
this made me shrink still more from their companionship, and, when my
sister did not walk home from school with me, I invariably went alone.

The idea that I might not wish to attach myself to playmates of this
sort never occurred to any one, but I was constantly reproached with
having no friends among my schoolfellows, and was told that no one
could love so disagreeable and repelling a child. This was a severe
blow to my affectionate nature, but I bore it calmly, consoling myself
with the thought that they were wrong, that they did not understand me,
and that the time would come when they would learn that a great, warm
heart was concealed beneath the so-called repulsive exterior.

But, however soothing all this was for the time, a feeling of
bitterness grew up within me. I began to be provoked at my ugliness,
which I believed to be excessive. I speculated why parents so kind
and good as mine should be deprived of their means of support merely
because my father would not consent to endure wrong and imposition.
I was indignant at being told that it was only for my father’s sake
that I was retained in a school where I tried to do my best and where
I always won the highest prizes; and I could not see why, at home,
I should be forced to do housework when I wanted to read, while my
brother who wished to work was compelled to study. When I complained of
this last grievance, I was told that I was a girl and never could learn
much, but was only fit to become a housekeeper.

All these things threw me upon my own resources and taught me to
make the most of every opportunity, custom and habit to the contrary

It was at this juncture that I found, on my return to school, the
psychologic instructor of whom I have spoken, in a newly engaged
teacher of history, geography and arithmetic, all of which were my
favorite studies.

With this man I formed a most peculiar friendship, he being twenty
years older than myself, and in every respect highly educated; I,
a child of twelve, neglected in everything except my common-school

He began by calling my attention to the carelessness of my dress and
the rudeness of my manners, and was the first one who ever spoke kindly
to me on the subject.

I told him all my thoughts; that I did not mean to be disagreeable,
but that every one thought that I could not be otherwise; that I was
convinced I was good enough at heart; and that I had at last resigned
myself to my position as something that could not be helped.

My new friend lectured me on the necessity of attracting others by an
agreeable exterior and courteous manners, and proved to me that I had
unconsciously repelled them by my carelessness, even when trying the
most to please. His words made a deep impression on me. I thanked him
for every reproach, and strove to do my best to gain his approbation.

Henceforth, my hair was always carefully combed, my dress nicely
arranged, and my collar in its place; and as I always won the first
prizes in the school, two of the other teachers soon grew friendly
towards me and began to manifest their preference quite strongly.

In a few months, I became a different being. The bitterness that had
been growing up within me gradually disappeared, and I began to have
confidence in myself and to try to win the companionship of the other

But a sudden change took place in my schoolmates, who grew envious of
the preference shown me by the teachers. Since they could no longer
ridicule me for the carelessness of my dress, they now began to
reproach me for my vanity and to call me a coquette who only thought of
pleasing through appearances.

This blow was altogether too hard for me to bear. I knew that they
were wrong, for with all the care I bestowed on my dress, it was not
half so fine as theirs, as I had but two calico dresses which I wore
alternately, a week at a time, through the summer. I was again repelled
from them; and at noon, when the rest of the scholars went home, I
remained with my teacher-friend in the schoolroom, assisting him in
correcting the exercises of the pupils.

I took the opportunity to tell him of the curious envy that had taken
possession of the girls, upon which he began to explain to me human
nature and its fallacies, drawing inferences therefrom for personal
application. He found a ready listener in me. My inclination to
abstract thought, combined with the unpleasant experience I had had
in life, made me an attentive pupil and fitted me to comprehend his
reasoning in the broadest sense.

For fifteen months, I thus spent the noon hour with him in the
schoolroom, receiving lessons in logic and reasoning upon concrete and
abstract matters that have since proved of far more psychologic value
to me than ten years of reading on the same subjects.

A strong attachment grew up between us: he became a necessity to me,
and I revered him like an oracle. But his health failed, and he left
the school at the end of these fifteen months in a consumption.

Shortly after, he sent to the school for me one morning to ask me to
visit him on his deathbed. I was not permitted to leave the class until
noon; when, just as I was preparing to go, a messenger came to inform
the principal that he had died at eleven.

This blow fell so heavily upon me that I wished to leave the school at
once. I was forced to stay three weeks longer, until the end of the
quarter, when I left the schoolroom on the first of April, 1843, at the
age of thirteen years and seven months, and never entered it again.


 _Training in all details of housework--After mastering them, spends
 most of time reading in father’s library--Gradually begins assisting
 mother in care of patients--Contact with the heights and depths of
 human nature, from dens to palaces--Nurses two aunts and keeps house
 for their family--Dr. Arthur Lutze guides her reading in homeopathy
 and mesmerism--Attack of “brain fever”--Father burns books from
 Dr. Lutze--Marie learns French, plain sewing, dressmaking and the
 management of the household, while continuing to assist in mother’s
 practice. (Fourteen to eighteen years of age: 1843-1847.)_

On the same day that I quitted my school, an aunt with whom I was a
favorite was attacked with a violent hemorrhage from the lungs, and
wished me to come to stay with her. This suited my taste. I went, and
for a fortnight was her sole nurse.

Upon my return home, my father told me that, having quitted school,
I must now become a thorough housekeeper of whom he might be proud,
as this was the only thing for which girls were intended by nature.
I cheerfully entered upon my new apprenticeship, and learned how to
sweep, to scrub, to wash and to cook. This work answered very well as
long as the novelty lasted, but as soon as this wore off, it became
highly burdensome.

Many a forenoon when I was alone, instead of sweeping and dusting, I
passed the hours in reading books from my father’s library, until
it grew so late that I was afraid that my mother, who had commenced
practice, would come home and scold me for not attending to my work,
when I would hurry to get through, doing everything so badly that I had
to hear daily that I was good for nothing and a nuisance in the world;
and that it was not at all surprising that I was not liked in school,
for nobody could ever like or be satisfied with me.

Meanwhile, my mother’s practice gradually increased, and her generous
and kindly nature won the confidence of hundreds who, wretchedly poor,
found in her not only a humane woman but a most skillful practitioner.

The poor are good judges of professional qualifications. Without the
aid that money can buy, without the comforts that the wealthy hardly
need, and without friends whose advice is prompted by intelligence,
they must depend entirely upon the skill and humanity of those to whom
they apply. Their life and happiness are placed in the hands of the
physician and they jealously regard the one to whom they intrust them.

None but a good practitioner can gain fame and praise in this class,
which is thought so easily satisfied. It is often said, “Oh! those
people are poor and will be glad of any assistance.” Far from it! There
is no class so entirely dependent for their subsistence upon their
strength and health. These constitute their sole capital, their stock
in trade; and when sick, they anxiously seek out the best physicians,
for, if unskillfully attended, they may lose their all, their fortune
and their happiness.

My mother went everywhere, both night and day, and it soon came to pass
that when she was sent for and was not at home I was deputed to go in
search of her. In this way, I gradually became a regular appendage to
my mother, going with her in the winter nights from place to place and
visiting those whom she could not visit during the day.

I remember that in January, 1845, my mother attended thirty-five women
in childbed--the list of names is still in my possession--and visited
from sixteen to twenty-five daily, with my assistance. I do not think
that, during the month, we were in bed for one whole night. Two thirds
of these patients were unable to pay a cent.

During these years, I learned all of life that it was possible for a
human being to learn. I saw nobleness in dens, and meanness in palaces;
virtue among prostitutes, and vice among so-called respectable women.
I learned to judge human nature correctly, to see goodness where the
world found nothing but faults, and also to see faults where the world
could see nothing but virtue.

The experience thus gained cost me the bloom of youth; yet I would
not exchange it for a life of everlasting juvenescence. To keep up
appearances is the aim of every one’s life; but to fathom these
appearances and to judge correctly of what is beneath them ought to
be the aim of those who seek to draw true conclusions from life or to
benefit others by real sympathy.

One fact I learned, both at this time and afterwards, namely, that
men always sympathize with fallen and wretched women, while women
themselves are the first to raise and cast the stone at them.

Why is this? Have not women as much feeling as men? Why, women are said
to be made up entirely of feeling. How does it happen then that women
condemn where men pity? Do they do this in the consciousness of their
own superior virtue? Ah, no! for many of the condemning are no better
than the condemned.

The reason is that men know the world, that is, they know the obstacles
in the path of life, and they know that they draw lines to exclude
women from earning an honest livelihood while they throw opportunities
in their way to earn their bread by shame. All men are aware of this;
therefore, the good as well as the bad give pity to those who claim it.

It is my honest and earnest conviction that the reason that men are
unwilling for women to enter upon public or business life is not so
much the fear of competition or the dread lest women should lose their
gentleness, and thus deprive society of this peculiar charm, as the
fact that they are ashamed of the foulness of life which exists outside
of the house and home. The good man knows that it is difficult to
purify it; the bad man does not wish to be disturbed in his prey upon

If I could but give to all women the tenth part of my experience, they
would see that this is true, and would see, besides, that only faith in
ourselves and in each other is needed to work out a reformation.

Let woman enter fully into business with its serious responsibilities
and duties; let it be made as honorable and as profitable to her as
to men; let her have an equal opportunity for earning competence and
comfort--and we shall need no other purification of society. Men are no
more depraved than women, or rather, the total depravity of mankind is
a lie.

From the time of my leaving school until I was fifteen years old, my
life was passed as I have described, in doing housework, attending
the sick with my mother, and reading a few books of a scientific and
literary character. At the end of this time, a letter came from an aunt
of my mother’s, who was ill and whose adopted daughter (who was my
mother’s sister) was also an invalid, requesting me to visit and nurse
them. I went there in the fall.

This was probably the most decisive event of my life. My great-aunt
had a cancer that was to be taken out. The other was suffering from a
nervous affection which rendered her a confirmed invalid. She was a
most peculiar woman, and a clairvoyant and somnambulist of the most
decided kind. Though not ill-natured, she was full of caprices that
would have exhausted the patience of the most enduring of mortals.

This aunt of mine had been sick in bed for seven years with a nervous
derangement which baffled the most skillful physicians who had
visited her. Her senses were so acute that one morning she fell into
convulsions from the effect of distant music which she heard. None of
us could perceive it, and we fully believed that her imagination had
produced this result. But she insisted upon it, telling us that the
music was like that of the Bohemian miners who played nothing but
polkas. I was determined to ascertain the truth, and really found that
in a public garden one and a half miles from her house such a troop had
played all the afternoon. No public music was permitted in the city
because the magistrate had forbidden it on her account.

She never was a Spiritualist, though she frequently went into what is
now called a trance. She spoke, wrote, sang and had presentiments of
the finest kind while in this condition, far better than I have ever
seen here in America in the case of the most celebrated mediums.

She even prescribed for herself with success, yet she was not a
Spiritualist. She was a somnambulist, and, though weak enough when
awake, threatened several times to pull the house down by her violence
while in this condition. She had strength like a lion and no man could
manage her. I saw the same thing in the hospital later.

This aunt is now healthy; not cured by her own prescriptions or the
magnetic or infinitesimal doses of Dr. Arthur Lutze, but by a strong
emotion which took possession of her at the time of my great-aunt’s
death. She is not sorry that she has lost all these strange powers, but
heartily glad of it.

When she afterwards visited us in Berlin, she could speak calmly and
quietly of the perversion to which the nervous system may become
subject if managed wrongly; and she could not tell how glad she was to
be rid of all the emotions and notions she had been compelled to dream
out. Over-care and over-anxiety had brought this about, and the same
causes could again bring on a condition which the ancients deemed holy
and which the psychologist treats as one bordering on insanity.

The old aunt was extremely suspicious and avaricious. Eight weeks after
my arrival, she submitted to an operation. The operating surgeon found
me so good an assistant that he intrusted me often with the dressing of
the wound.

For six weeks, I was the sole nurse of the two, going from one room to
the other both night and day, and attending to the household matters
besides, with no other assistant than a woman who came every morning
for an hour or two to do the rough work, while an uncle and a boy
cousin were continually troubling me with their torn buttons, etc.

I learned in this time to be cheerful and light-hearted under all
circumstances, going often into the anteroom to have a healthy, hearty
laugh. My surroundings were certainly anything but inspiring. I had the
sole responsibility of the two sick women--the one annoying me with her
caprices, the other with her avarice. In one room, I heard fanciful
forebodings; in the other, reproaches for having used a teaspoonful
too much sugar. I always had to carry the key of the storeroom to the
old aunt in order that she might be sure that I could not go in and
eat bread when I chose. At the end of six weeks she died, and I put on
mourning for the only time in my life, certainly not through grief.

In connection with the illness of my aunt I have mentioned Dr. Arthur
Lutze. He was a disciple of Hahnemann, and I think a doctor of
philosophy--certainly not of medicine. Besides being an infinitesimal
homeopathist, this man was a devotee of mesmerism. He became very
friendly towards me and supplied me with books, telling me that I would
not only make a good homeopathic physician but also an excellent medium
for mesmerism, magnetism, etc.

At all events, I was glad to get the books, which I read industriously,
and he constantly supplied me with new ones so that I had quite a
library when he left the place, which he did before my return. He, too,
lived in Berlin, and inquired my residence, promising to visit me there
and to teach me the art he practiced.

I remained with my aunt until late in the spring, when my health failed
and I returned home. I was very ill for a time with brain fever, but at
last recovered and set to work industriously to search for information
in respect to the human body.

Dr. Lutze kept his word: he visited me at my home, gave me more
books, and directed my course of reading. But my father, who had
become reconciled to my inclination to assist my mother, was opposed
to homeopathy and especially opposed to Dr. Arthur Lutze. He even
threatened to turn him out of the house if I permitted him to visit
me again, and burned all my books except one that I snatched from the

From this time, I was resolved to learn all that I could about the
human system. I read all the books that I could get on the subject, and
tried besides to educate myself in other branches.

My father was satisfied with this disposition, and was glad to hear me
propose to have a French teacher in the house, both for my sake and for
that of the other children. I studied in good earnest by myself; at
the same time, going through the usual discipline of German girls. I
learned plain sewing, dressmaking and the management of the household,
but was allowed to use my leisure time as I pleased.

When my sisters went skating, I remained at home to study; when they
went to balls and theaters, I was thought the proper person to stay
to watch the house. Having become so much older, I was now of great
assistance to my mother in her business. No one complained any longer
of my ugliness or my rudeness. I was always busy, and, when at liberty,
always glad to do what I could for others; and though these years were
full of hardships, I consider them among the happiest of my life. I was
as free as it was possible for any German girl to be.


 _Decides to qualify herself as midwife--Meets great difficulties
 due to being unmarried and too young--Studies privately under Dr.
 Schmidt--History and organization of the School for Midwives: first
 school established through Justina Ditrichin (obstetric surgeon
 and writer about 1735); after her death, owing to the opposition
 of medical men, educated women withdrew from the profession which
 then deteriorated; it became legally standardized in 1818 with
 the present school, and women of the higher classes returned
 to the profession--Marie being refused for the third time, Dr.
 Schmidt obtains an order from the King for her admission to the
 school--Becomes assistant teacher under Dr. Schmidt--Receives diploma
 of highest degree, and the class which she taught makes the highest
 known record. (Eighteen to twenty-two years of age: 1847-1851.)_

My household duties, however, continued distasteful to me, much to
the annoyance of my father who still contended that this was the only
sphere for woman. From being so much with my mother, I had lost all
taste for domestic life--anything out of doors was preferable to the
monotonous routine of the household.

I at length determined to follow my inclinations by studying, in order
to fit myself to become a practitioner of midwifery, as is usual in

My father was satisfied and pleased with this idea, which opened the
way to an independent, respectable livelihood, for he never really
wished to have us seek this in marriage.

My mother did not like my resolution at all. She practiced, not because
she liked the profession, but because in this way she obtained the
means of being independent and of aiding in the education of the

I persisted, however, in my resolution, and immediately took measures
to carry it into effect by going directly to Dr. Joseph Hermann
Schmidt, the Professor of Midwifery in the University and the School
for Midwives, and Director of the Royal Hospital Charité; while my
father, who for several years held the position of a civil officer,
made the application to the city magistrates for me to be admitted as a
pupil to the School for Midwives, in which my mother had been educated.

In order to show the importance of this step, it is necessary to
explain more fully the history and organization of the school.

About 1735, Justina Ditrichin (the wife of Siegemund, a distinguished
civil officer of Prussia) was afflicted with an internal disease which
baffled the skill of the midwives, who had pronounced her pregnant, and
none of whom could define her disorder. After many months of suffering,
she was visited by the wife of a poor soldier, who told her what ailed
her; in consequence of which, she was cured by her physicians.

This circumstance awakened in the mind of the lady an intense desire
to study midwifery, which she did; and afterwards practiced it with
such success that, in consequence of her extensive practice, she was
obliged to confine herself solely to irregular cases. She performed all
kinds of operations with masterly skill and wrote the first book on the
subject ever published in Germany by a woman. She was sent for from all
parts of Germany, and was appointed body-physician to the Queen and
ladies of the court of Prussia and Mark Brandenburg.

Through her influence, schools were established in which women were
instructed in the science and the art of obstetrics. She also taught
many herself, and a very successful and respectable practice soon grew
up among women. After her death, however, this was discountenanced by
the physicians, who brought it into such disrepute by their ridicule
that the educated class of women withdrew from the profession. This
left it in the hands of ignorant pretenders who continued to practice
it until 1818. At this time, public attention was called to the subject
and strict laws were enacted by which women were required to call in a
male practitioner in every irregular case of confinement, under penalty
of from one to twenty years of imprisonment and the forfeiture of the
right to practice.

These laws still continue in force. A remarkable case is recorded by
Dr. Schmidt of a woman who, feeling her own competence to manage a case
committed to her care, _did not_ send for a male physician as the
law required. Although it was fully proved that she had done everything
that could have been done in the case, her penalty was imprisonment
for twenty years. Two other cases are quoted by Dr. Schmidt, in which
male practitioners were summoned before a legal tribunal. It was proved
that they _had not_ done that which was necessary, yet their
penalty was no heavier than that inflicted on the woman who had done
exactly what she ought.

At this time (1818), it was also made illegal for any woman to practice
who had not been educated. This brought the profession again into
repute among women of the higher classes. A school for midwives,
supported by the government, was established in Berlin, in which women
have since continued to be educated for practice in this city and
in other parts of Prussia. Two midwives are elected each year, by a
committee, from the applicants, to be educated for practice in Berlin.
And as they have to study two years, there are always four of these
students in the school, two graduating every year. The remainder of the
students are from the provincial districts.

To be admitted to this school is considered a stroke of good fortune,
as there are generally more than a hundred applicants, many of whom
have to wait eight or ten years before they are elected. There is,
besides, a great deal of favoritism, those women being generally chosen
who are the widows or wives of civil officers or physicians, to whom
this chance of earning a livelihood is given in order that they may
not become a burden on the government. Though educated apart from the
male students while studying the theory of midwifery, they attend
the accouchement ward together, and receive clinical or practical
instruction in the same class from the same professor.

The male students of medicine are admitted to the university at the age
of eighteen, having first been required to go through a prescribed
course of collegiate study and to pass the requisite examination.
Here they attend the lectures of various professors, often of four
or five upon the same subject, in order to learn how it is treated
from different points of view. Then, after having thus studied for a
certain length of time, they present themselves for an examination by
the professors of the university, which confers upon them the title of
_M.D._, without the right to practice. They are then obliged to
prepare for what is called the State’s examination, before a Board of
the most distinguished men in the profession appointed to this place
by the government; these also constitute the medical court. Of this
number, Dr. Schmidt was one.

Dr. Schmidt approved my resolution and expressed himself warmly in
favor of it. He also recommended to me a course of reading, to be
commenced at once as a kind of preliminary education. And although he
had no influence with the committee of the city government who examined
and elected the pupils, he promised to call upon some of them and urge
my election. But despite his recommendation and my father’s position as
civil officer, I received a refusal, on the grounds that I was much too
young (being only eighteen) and that I was unmarried.

The latter fault I did not try to remove; the former I corrected daily;
and when I was nineteen, I repeated my application and received the
same reply.

During this time, Dr. Schmidt became more and more interested in me
personally. He promised that he would do all in his power to have me
chosen the next year and urged me to read and study as much as possible
in order to become fully acquainted with the subject.

As usual, I continued to assist my mother in visiting her patients,
and thus had a fine opportunity for explaining to myself many things
which the mere study of books left in darkness. In fact, these years
of preliminary practical study were more valuable to me than all
the lectures that I ever listened to afterwards. Full of zeal and
enthusiasm and stimulated by a friend whose position and personal
acquirements inspired me with reverence and devotion, I thought of
nothing else than how to prepare myself in such a way that I should not
disappoint him nor those to whom he had commended me.

Dr. Schmidt was consumptive and almost an invalid, often having to
lecture in a reclining position. The author of many valuable medical
works and director of the largest hospital in Prussia (the Charité of
Berlin), he found a most valuable assistant in his wife--one of the
noblest women that ever lived. She was always with him except in the
lecture room, and almost all of his works are said to have been written
by her from his dictation.

This had inspired him with the highest possible respect for women.
He had the utmost faith in their powers when rightly developed, and
always declared their intellectual capacity to be the same with that of
men. This belief inspired him with the desire to give me an education
superior to that of the common midwives; and at the same time, to
reform the school of midwives by giving to it a professor of its own

To this position he had in his own mind already elected me. But before
I could take it, I had to procure a legitimate election from the city
to the school as pupil, and during my attendance, he had to convince
the government of the necessity of such a reform, as well as to bring
over the medical profession. This last was not so easily done, for many
men were already waiting for Dr. Schmidt’s death in order to obtain
this very post which was considered valuable.

When I was twenty, I received my third refusal. Dr. Schmidt, whose
health was failing rapidly, had exerted himself greatly to secure my
admission. The medical part of the committee had promised him that
they would give me their vote, but some theological influence was set
to work to elect one of the deaconesses in my stead, so that she might
be educated for the post of superintendent of the lying-in ward of the
hospital which was under Dr. Schmidt’s care. She also was rejected in
order not to offend Dr. Schmidt, but for this he would not thank them.

No sooner had I carried him the letter of refusal than he ordered his
carriage and, proceeding to the royal palace, obtained an audience with
the king, to whom he related the refusal of the committee to elect me
on the ground that I was too young and unmarried, and entreated of him
a cabinet order which should compel the city to admit me to the school,
adding that he saw no reason why Germany as well as France should not
have and be proud of a Lachapelle.

The king, who held Dr. Schmidt in high esteem, gave him at once the
desired order, and I became legally the student of my friend. His
praise, however, procured me intense vexation, for my name was dropped
entirely and I was only spoken of as Lachapelle the Second, which
would by no means have been unpleasant had I earned the title, but to
receive it sneeringly in advance before having been allowed to make my
appearance publicly, was indeed unbearable.

On the third day after his visit to the king, Dr. Schmidt received me
into the class and introduced me to it as his future assistant teacher.
This announcement was as surprising to me as to the class, but I took
it quietly, thinking that if Dr. Schmidt did not consider me fit for
the place, he would not risk being attacked for it by the profession
_en masse_, by whom he was watched closely.

On the same day, a little incident occurred which I must mention.
In the evening, instead of going alone to the class for practical
instruction, I accompanied Dr. Schmidt at his request. We entered the
hall where his assistant, the chief physician, had already commenced
his instructions. Dr. Schmidt introduced me to him as his private pupil
to whom he wished him to give particular attention, ending by giving
my name. The physician hurriedly came up to me and grasped my hand,
exclaiming, “Why, this is my little blind doctor!” I looked at him and
recognized the very Dr. Müller with whom I used to make the rounds of
the hospital when I was twelve years old, and who had since risen to
the position of chief physician. This _rencontre_ and the interest
that he manifested afterwards greatly relieved Dr. Schmidt who had
feared that he would oppose me instead of giving me any special aid.

During this winter’s study, I spent the most of the time in the
hospital, being almost constantly at the side of Dr. Schmidt. I
certainly made the most of every opportunity, and I scarcely believe
it possible for any student to learn more in so short a time than I
did during this winter. I was continually busy, acting even as nurse
whenever I could learn anything by it. During the following summer, I
was obliged to reside wholly in the hospital, this being a part of the
prescribed education. Here I became acquainted with all the different
wards and had a fine opportunity to watch the cases by myself.

In the meantime, Dr. Schmidt’s illness increased so rapidly that he
feared he might die before his plans in respect to me had been carried
out, especially as the state of his health had compelled him to give up
his position as Chief Director of the Hospital Charité. His intention
was to make me chief accoucheuse in the hospital, and to surrender into
my hands his position as professor in the School for Midwives, so that
I might have the entire charge of the midwives’ education.

The opposition to this plan was twofold. First, the theological
influence that sought to place the deaconess (Sister Catherine) in
the position of house-midwife; and, second, the younger part of the
profession, many of whom were anxious for the post of professor in the
School for Midwives, which never would have been suffered to fall into
the hands of Sister Catherine. Dr. Schmidt, however, was determined
to yield to neither. Personal pride demanded that he should succeed
in his plan, and several of the older and more influential members of
the profession took his part, among whom were Johannes Müller, Busch,
Müller, Kilian, etc.

During the second winter, his lecturing in the class was only nominal,
often nothing more than naming the heads of the subjects while I had
to give the real instruction. His idea was to make me feel the full
responsibility of such a position, and at the same time to give me a
chance to do the work that he had declared me preëminently capable of
doing. This was an intrigue, but he would not have it otherwise. He
did not intend that I should perform his duty for his benefit, but for
my own. He wished to show to the government the fact that I had done
the work of a man like himself and had done it well; and that, if he
had not told them of his withdrawal, no one would have recognized his
absence from the result.

At the close of this term, I was obliged to pass my examination at
the same time with the fifty-six students who composed the class. Dr.
Schmidt invited some of the most prominent medical men to be present,
besides those appointed as the examining committee. He informed me of
this on the day before the examination, saying, “I want to convince
them that you can do better than half of the young men at _their_

The excitement of this day I can hardly describe. I had not only to
appear before a body of strangers of whose manner of questioning I had
no idea, but also before half a dozen authorities in the profession,
assembled especially for criticism.

Picture to yourself my position: standing before the table at which
were seated the three physicians composing the examining committee, who
questioned in the most perplexing manner, while four other physicians
of the highest standing were seated on each side, making eleven in
all; Dr. Schmidt, a little way off, anxious that I should prove true
all that he had said in praise of me, and the rest of the class in the
background, filling up the large hall. It was terrible. The trifling
honor of being considered capable was rather dearly purchased.

I went through the whole hour bravely, without missing a single
question, until finally the clock struck twelve, when everything
suddenly grew black before my eyes, and the last question sounded like
a humming noise in my ear. I answered it--how, I know not--and was
permitted to sit down and rest for fifteen minutes before I was called
to the practical examination on the manikin. I gave satisfaction to
all, and received the diploma of the first degree.

This by no means ended the excitement. The students of the year were
next examined. This examination continued for a week, after which the
diplomas were announced, when it was found that never before had there
been so many of the first degree and so few of the third. Dr. Schmidt
then made it known that this was the result of my exertions, and I was
pronounced _a very capable woman_.


 _Dr. Schmidt urges Marie’s appointment as Chief of the
 School, including the surrender to her of his own position as
 professor--Violent medical and diplomatic opposition, becoming a
 controversy over “Woman’s Rights”--Marie’s father refuses his consent
 and insists that she marry a man she has never even seen--Eventually,
 Dr. Schmidt wins and Marie receives her appointment--Triumph
 immediately turned to tragedy by sudden death of Dr. Schmidt on the
 same day. (Twenty-two years of age: 1851-1852.)_

The acknowledgment that I was a very capable woman having been made
by the medical men present at the examination, Dr. Schmidt thought
it would be an easy matter to get me installed into the position for
which I had proved myself capable. But such could not be the case
in a government ruled by hypocrisy and intrigue. To acknowledge the
capability of a woman did not by any means say that she was at liberty
to hold a position in which she could exercise this capability.

German men are educated to be slaves to the government: positive
freedom is comprehended only by a few. They generally struggle for a
kind of negative freedom, namely, for themselves. For each man, however
much he may be inclined to show his subserviency to those superior
in rank, thinks himself the lord of creation and, of course, regards
woman only as his appendage. How can this lord of creation, being a
slave himself, look upon the _free development_ and _demand for
recognition_ of his appendage otherwise than as a nonsense or a
usurpation of his exclusive rights?

And among these lords of creation, I heartily dislike that class which
not only yield to the influence brought to bear upon them by the
government but who also possess an infinite amount of narrowness and
vanity united to an infinite servility to money and position. There is
not ink and paper enough in all the world to write down the contempt I
feel for men in whose power it is to be free in thought and noble in
action, and who yet act to the contrary to feed their ambition or their
purses. I have learned, perhaps, too much of their spirit for my own

You can hardly believe what I experienced in respect to intrigue within
the few months following my examination. All the members of the medical
profession were unwilling that a woman should take her place on a level
with them.

All the diplomatists became fearful that Dr. Schmidt intended to
advocate the question of “Woman’s Rights”; one of them exclaiming one
evening, in the heat of discussion, “For Heaven’s sake! the Berlin
women are already wiser than all the men of Prussia: what will become
of us if we allow them to manifest it?”

I was almost forgotten in the five months during which the question was
debated: it became more than a matter of personal intrigue. The real
question at stake was, “How shall women be educated, and what is their
true sphere?” And this was discussed with more energy and spirit than
ever has been done here in America.

Scores of letters were written by Dr. Schmidt to convince the
government that a woman could really be competent to hold the position
in question, and that I had been pronounced so by the whole faculty.

The next objection raised was that my father was known as holding
revolutionary principles; and to conquer this cost a long discussion,
with many interviews of the officials with my father and Dr. Schmidt.

The next thing urged was that I was much _too young_; that it
would be necessary, in the course of my duties, to instruct the young
men also, and that there was danger in our thus being thrown together.
In fact, this reason, read to me by Dr. Schmidt from one of the letters
written at this time (all of which are still carefully preserved), runs
thus, “To give this position to Miss M. E. Zakrzewska is dangerous. She
is a prepossessing young lady, and from coming in contact with so many
gentlemen must necessarily fall in love with some one of them, and thus
end her career.” To this, I have only to reply that I am sorry that
I could not have found _one_ among them that could have made me
follow the suggestion.

This objection, however, seemed for a while the most difficult to be
met, for it was well known that, when a student myself, I had stood
on the most friendly terms with my fellow students. And that they had
often taken my part in little disturbances that naturally came up in an
establishment where no one was permitted to enter or to leave without
giving a reason. Even my private patients were sometimes sent away at
the door because I did not know of their coming and for this reason
could not announce to the doorkeeper the name and residence of those
who might possibly call.

That this difficulty was finally conquered, I have to thank the
students themselves. My relation with these young men was of the
pleasantest kind. They never seemed to think that I was not of their
sex, but always treated me like one of themselves. I knew of their
studies and their amusements; yes, even of the mischievous pranks
that they were planning both for college and for social life. They
often made me their confidante in their private affairs, and were
more anxious for my approval or forgiveness than for that of their
relatives. I learned during this time how great is the friendly
influence of a woman even upon fast-living and licentious young men;
and this has done more to convince me of the necessity that the two
sexes should live together from infancy, than all the theories and
arguments that are brought to convince the mass of this fact.

As soon as it became known among the students that my youth was the new
objection, they treated it in such a manner that the whole thing was
transformed into a ridiculous bugbear, growing out of the imagination
of the _virtuous_ opposers.

Nothing now seemed left in the way of my attaining to the position,
when suddenly it dawned upon the mind of some that I was irreligious,
that neither my father nor my mother attended church, and that, under
such circumstances, I could not of course be a church-goer.

Fortunately, I had complied with the requirements of the law, and
could therefore bring my certificate of confirmation from one of the
Protestant churches. By the advice of Dr. Schmidt, I commenced to
attend church regularly, and continued until a little incident happened
which I must relate here.

One Sunday, just after the sermon was over, I remembered that I had
forgotten to give instructions to the nurse in respect to a patient and
I left the church without waiting for the end of the service. The next
morning, I was summoned to answer to the charge of leaving the church
at an improper time. The inquisitor (who was one of those who had
accused me of irreligion), being vexed that I contradicted him by going
to church regularly, was anxious to make me confess that I did not care
for the service. But I saw through his policy as well as his hypocrisy,
and simply told him the truth, namely, that I had forgotten important
business and therefore thought it excusable to leave as soon as the
sermon was over.

Whether he sought to lure me on to further avowals, I know not; but
whatever was his motive, he asked me in reply whether I believed that
he cared for the humdrum custom of church-going, and whether I thought
him imbecile enough to consider this as anything more than the means by
which to keep the masses in check, adding that it was the duty of the
intelligent to make the affair respectable by setting the example of
going themselves, and that he only wished me to act on this principle,
when all accusations of irreligion would fall to the ground.

I had always known that this man was not my friend, but when I heard
this, I felt disenchanted with the whole world. I had never thought
him more than a hypocrite, whereas I now found him the meanest of men
both in theory and in practice. I was thoroughly indignant, the more
so, since I felt guilty myself in going to church simply to please Dr.

I do not remember what answer I gave, but I know that my manners and
words made it evident that I considered him a villain. He never forgave
me for this, as all his future acts proved to me. For, in his position
of chief director of the hospital, he had it in his power, more than
any one else, to annoy me, and that he did so you will presently see.

The constant opposition and attendant excitement, together with the
annoyances which my father, as civil officer, had to endure, made him
resolve to present a declaration to the government that I should never,
with his consent, enter the position. He had become so tired of my
efforts to become a public character in my profession that he suddenly
conceived the wish to have me married.

Now, take for a moment into consideration the facts that I was but
twenty-two years of age, full of sanguine enthusiasm for my vocation,
and strong in the friendship of Dr. Schmidt. He had inspired me with
the idea of a career different from the common routine of domestic life.

My mother, overcoming her repugnance to my entering my profession, had
been my best friend, encouraging me steadily; while my father, yielding
to the troubles that it involved, had become disgusted with it, and
wished me to abandon my career. He was stern, and would not take back
his word. I could do nothing without his consent; while Dr. Schmidt had
finally overcome all difficulties and had the prospect of victory if my
father would but yield.

A few weeks of this life were sufficient to drive one mad, and I am
sure that I was near becoming so. I was resolved to run away from home
or to kill myself, while my father was equally resolved to marry me to
a man whom I had never seen.

Matters finally came to a crisis through the illness of Dr. Schmidt,
whose health failed so rapidly that it was thought dangerous to let him
be longer excited by the fear of not realizing his favorite scheme.
Some of his medical advisers influenced the government to appeal to my
father to withdraw his declaration, which, satisfied with the honor
thus done him, he did on the 1st of May, 1852.

On the 15th of May, I received my legal installment to the position
for which Dr. Schmidt had designed me. The joy that I felt was great
beyond expression. A youthful enthusiast of twenty-two, I stood at the
height of my wishes and expectations. I had obtained what others could
obtain only after the protracted labor of half a lifetime, and already
I saw myself in imagination occupying the place of Dr. Schmidt’s
aspirations--that of a German _Lachapelle_.

No one who has not passed at the same age through the same excitement
can comprehend the fullness of my rejoicing, which was not wholly
selfish, for I knew that nothing in the world would please Dr. Schmidt
so much as this victory. The wildest joy of an accepted suitor is a
farce compared to my feelings on the morning of that 15th of May. I
was reconciled to my bitterest opponents, I could even have thanked
them for their opposition, since it had made the success so much the

Not the slightest feeling of triumph was in my heart; all was happiness
and rejoicing. And it was in this condition of mind and heart that
I put on my bonnet and shawl to carry the good news to Dr. Schmidt.
Without waiting to be announced, I hastened to his parlor, where I
found him sitting with his wife upon the sofa. I did not walk, but
flew, towards them and threw the letter upon the table, exclaiming,
“There is the victory!”

Like a conflagration, my joy spread to Dr. Schmidt as well as to his
wife, who thought that she saw in these tidings a cup of new life for
her husband. I stayed only long enough to accept their congratulations.
Dr. Schmidt told me to be sure to come the next morning to enter
legally upon my duties at his side. He saw that I needed the open air,
and felt that he too must have it to counteract his joy. I went to tell
my father and several friends, and spent the day in blissful ignorance
of the dreadful event that was transpiring.

The next morning at seven o’clock, I left home to go to my residence in
the hospital. I had not slept during the night; the youthful fire of
enthusiasm burnt too violently to allow me any rest.

The old doorkeeper opened the door for me, and gazed at me with an air
of surprise. “What is the matter?” I asked. “I am astonished to see you
so cheerful,” said he. “Why?” I asked with astonishment. “Don’t you
know that Dr. Schmidt is dead?” was the answer. Dr. Schmidt dead! I
trembled; I staggered; I fell upon a chair.

The beautiful entrance hall, serving also as a greenhouse during the
winter, filled in every place with flowers and tropical fruit, faded
from my eyes; and in its stead I saw nothing but laughing faces,
distorted with scorn and mockery.

A flood of tears cooled the heat of my brain, and a calmness like that
of death soon took possession of me. I had fallen from the topmost
height of joy and happiness to the profoundest depth of disappointment
and despair. If there was nothing else to prove the strength of my
mind, the endurance of this sudden change would be sufficient.

I went at once to Dr. Schmidt’s residence in the Hospital Park, where I
met him again, not as I had expected an hour before ready to go with me
to the hospital department which I was henceforth to superintend, but
as a corpse.

After I had left the day before, he had expressed a wish to go into the
open air, his excitement nearly equaling mine. Mrs. Schmidt ordered the
carriage, and they drove to the large park. He talked constantly and
excitedly about the satisfaction he felt in this success until they
arrived, when he wished to get out of the carriage and walk with his
wife. Mrs. Schmidt consented, but they had taken only a few steps when
he sank to the ground, and a gush of blood from his mouth terminated
his existence.


 _Death of Dr. Schmidt opens doors for hosts of office-seekers and
 for Marie’s opponents--Hostilities of latter nullified by her methods,
 and by her continued professional success with patients and with both
 men and women students--After six months’ struggle with unabated
 animosities and intrigue, she resigns her position in the hospital.
 (Twenty-three years of age: 1852.)_

I left Dr. Schmidt’s house, and entered alone into the wards, where
I felt that I was without friendly encouragement and support. During
the three days that intervened before the burial of Dr. Schmidt, I was
hardly conscious of anything, but moved about mechanically like an

The next few days were days of confusion, for the death of Dr. Schmidt
had left so many places vacant that some fifty persons were struggling
to obtain some one of his offices. The eagerness, servility and
meanness which these educated men displayed in striving to conquer
their rivals was more than disgusting. The serpents that lie in wait
for their prey are endurable, for we know that it is their nature to
be cunning and relentless; but to see men of intellect and education
sly and snaky, ferocious yet servile to the utmost, makes one almost
believe in total depravity. The most of these men got what they
deserved, namely, nothing. The places were filled temporarily with
others, and everything went on apparently as before.

My position soon became very disagreeable. I had received my
installment, not because I was wanted by the directors of the hospital,
but because they had been commanded by the government to accept me, in
the hope of thus prolonging the life of Dr. Schmidt.

Young and inexperienced in petty intrigue, I had now to work without
friendly encouragement and appreciation, in an establishment where
three thousand people were constantly at war about each other’s
affairs; with no one about me in whom I had a special interest, while
every one was regretting that the installment had been given me before
Dr. Schmidt’s death which might have happened just as well from some
other excitement. I surveyed the whole arena, and saw very well that,
unless I practiced meanness and dishonesty as well as the rest, I could
not remain there for any length of time, for scores were ready to
calumniate me whenever there was the least thing to be gained by it.

I was about to commence a new period of life. I had a solid structure
as a foundation, but the superstructure had been built up in so short a
time that a change of wind would suffice to cast it down. I resolved,
therefore, to tear it down myself and to begin to build another upon
the carefully laid basis. I waited only for an opportunity to manifest
my intention. This opportunity soon presented itself.

Sister Catherine, the deaconess of whom I have spoken, who had been
allowed to attend the School for Midwives after my election, through
the influence of her theological friends upon Dr. Schmidt (the city
magistrates having refused her because I was already the third accepted
pupil), had as yet no position. These friends now sought to make her
the _second accoucheuse_, I having the first position, with the
additional title of Chief.

This she would not accept. She, the experienced deaconess, who had been
a Florence Nightingale in the typhus epidemic of Silesia, was unwilling
to be under the supervision of a woman who had nothing to show but
a thorough education, and who was besides eight years younger than

Her refusal made my enemies still more hostile. Why they were so
anxious for her services I can only explain by supposing that the
directors of the hospital wished to annoy Pastor Fliedner, the
originator of the Kaiserswerth Sisterhood. For, in placing Sister
Catherine in this position, they robbed him of one of the very best
nurses that he had ever had in his institution.

My desire to reconcile the government of the hospital, in order that I
might have peace in my position to pursue my development and education
so as to realize and manifest to the people the truth of what Dr.
Schmidt had affirmed of me, induced me to go to one of the directors
and propose that Sister Catherine should be installed on equal terms
with me, offering to drop the title of Chief and to consent that the
department should be divided into two.

My proposition was accepted nominally, and Sister Catherine was
installed but with a third less salary than I received, while I had
to give the daily reports, etc., and to take the chief responsibility
of the whole. Catherine was quite friendly to me, and I was happy
in the thought that there was now one at least who would stand by me
should any difficulties occur. How much I was mistaken in the human
heart! This pious, sedate woman, towards whom my heart yearned with
friendship, was my greatest enemy, though I did not know it until after
my arrival in America.

A few weeks afterwards, the city petitioned to have a number of
women instructed in the practice of midwifery. These women were all
experienced nurses who had taken the liberty to practice this art to a
greater or less extent from what they had learned of it while nursing;
and to put an end to this unlawful practice, they had been summoned
before an examining committee, and the youngest and best educated
were chosen to be instructed as the law required. Dr. Müller, the
pathologist, was appointed to superintend the theoretical, and Dr.
Ebert, the practical, instruction. Dr. Müller, who never had given
this kind of instruction before, and who was a special friend of mine,
immediately surrendered the whole into my hands; while Dr. Ebert, whose
time was almost wholly absorbed in the department of the diseases
of children, appointed me as his assistant. Both gentlemen gave me
certificates of this when I determined to emigrate to America.

The marked preference for my wards that had always been shown by
the male students was shared by these women when they came. Sister
Catherine was neither ambitious nor envious, yet she felt that she was
the second in place. Drs. Müller and Ebert never addressed themselves
to her; neither did they impress the nurses and the servants with the
idea that she was anything more than the head nurse. All these things
together made her a spy; and though nothing happened for which I could
be reproved, all that I said and did was watched and secretly reported.

Under a despotic government, the spy is as necessary as the corporal.
The annoyance of this reporting is that the secrecy exists only for the
one whom it concerns, while the subaltern officers and servants receive
hints that such a person is kept under constant surveillance.

When it was found that no occasion offered to find fault with me, our
administrative inspector was removed and a surly old corporal put in
his place, with the hint that the government of the hospital thought
that the former inspector did not perform his duty rightly, since he
never reported disturbance in a ward that had formerly been notorious
as being the most disorderly.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Marie’s method in transforming this ward and consequently its
reputation is evidently described in the “Introduction” written by Mrs.
Dall for these earlier chapters.

In the autumn of 1856, Marie was addressing a physiological institute
in Boston. Mrs. Dall says:

 She spoke to them of her experience in the hospital at Berlin, and
 showed that the most sinning, suffering woman never passed beyond the
 reach of a woman’s sympathy and help.

Mrs. Dall then quotes from the address:

 Soon after I entered the hospital [said Marie], the nurses called
 me to a ward where sixteen of the most forlorn objects had begun to
 fight with each other. The inspector and the young physician had been
 called to them, but dared not enter the _mêlée_. When I arrived,
 pillows, chairs, footstools and vessels had deserted their usual
 places; and one stout little woman, with rolling eyes and tangled
 hair, had lifted a vessel of slops which she threatened to throw all
 over me, as she exclaimed, “Don’t dare to come here, you green young

 I went quietly towards her, saying gently, “Be ashamed, my dear woman,
 of your fury.”

 Her hands dropped. Seizing me by the shoulder, she exclaimed, “You
 don’t mean that you look on me as a woman?”

 “How else?” I answered. She retreated to her bed while all the rest
 stood in the attitudes into which passion had thrown them.

 “Arrange your beds,” I said; “and in fifteen minutes, let me return
 and find everything right.” When I returned, all was as I had desired,
 every woman standing at her bedside. The short woman was missing, but
 bending on each a friendly glance I passed through the ward, which
 never gave me any more trouble.

 When, late at night, I entered my room, it was fragrant with violets.
 A green wreath surrounded an old Bible and a little bouquet rested on
 it. I did not pause to speculate over this sentimentality, but threw
 myself weary upon the bed when a light tap at the door startled me.
 The short woman entered and humbling herself on the floor, since she
 would not sit in my presence, entreated to be heard.

 “You called me a woman,” she said, “and you pity us. Others call us by
 the name the world gives us. You would help us, if help were possible.
 All the girls love you and are ashamed before you; and therefore
 _I_ hated you--no: I will not hate you any longer. There was a
 time when I might have been saved--I, and Joanna, and Margaret, and
 Louise. We were not bad. Listen to me. If _you_ say there is any
 hope, I will yet be an honest woman.”

 She had had respectable parents; and, when twenty years old, was
 deserted by her lover who left her three months pregnant. Otherwise
 kind, her family perpetually reproached her with her disgrace and
 threatened to send her away. At last, she fled to Berlin, keeping
 herself from utter starvation by needlework. In the hospital to which
 she went for confinement, she took the smallpox. When she came out,
 with her baby in her arms, her face was covered with red blotches.
 Not even the lowest refuge was open to her, her appearance was so
 frightful. With her baby dragging at her empty breast, she wandered
 through the streets. An old hag took pity on both, and carefully
 nursed till health returned, her good humor and native wit made those
 about her forget her ugly face. She was in a brothel, where she soon
 took the lead. Her child died, and she once more attempted to earn
 her living as a seamstress. She was saved from starvation only by her
 employer, who received her as his mistress. Now her luck changed. She
 suffered all that a woman could, handled poison and the firebrand.
 “I thought of stealing,” she said, “only as an amusement; it was not
 exciting enough for a trade.” She found herself in prison, and was
 amused to be punished for a trifle, when nobody suspected her crime.
 It was horrible to listen to these details; more horrible to witness
 her first repentance.

 When I thanked her for her violets, she kissed my hands, and promised
 to be good.

 While she remained in the hospital, I took her as my servant and
 trusted everything to her, and when finally discharged she went out to
 service. She wished to come with me to America. I could not bring her,
 but she followed, and when I was in Cleveland, inquired for me in New

The truth was that in my innocence of heart I had been striving to
gain the respect and friendship of my enemies by doing my work better
than any before me had done. To go to bed at night regularly was a
thing unknown to me. Once, I was not undressed for twenty-one days
and nights; superintending and giving instructions on six or eight
confinement cases in every twenty-four hours; lecturing three hours
every afternoon to the class of midwives; giving clinical lectures to
them twice a week for an hour in the morning; superintending the case
of some twenty infants who were epidemically attacked with purulent
ophthalmia; and having, besides, the general supervision of the whole

But all this could not overcome the hostility of my enemies, the chief
cause of which lay in the mortification at having been vanquished by my

On the other hand, I was happy in the thought that Mrs. Schmidt
continued to take the same interest in me as before, and was glad to
hear of my partial success. The students, both male and female, were
devoted to me, and manifested their gratitude openly and frankly. This
was the greatest compensation that I received for my work.

The women wished to show their appreciation by paying me for the extra
labor that I performed in their instruction, not knowing the fact that
I did it simply in order that they might pass an examination which
should again convince the committee that I was in the right place.
I forbade all payment as I had refused it to the male students when
they wished to pay me for their extra instruction on the manikin. But
in a true womanly way, they managed to learn the date of my birthday,
when two or three, instead of attending the lecture, took possession
of my room which they decorated with flowers, while on the table they
displayed presents to the amount of some hundred and twenty dollars
which the fifty-six women of the class had collected among themselves.

This was, of course, a great surprise to me and really made me feel
sad, for I did not wish for things of this sort. I wished to prove that
unselfishness was the real motive of my work, and thought that I should
finally earn the crown of appreciation from my enemies for which I was
striving. This gift crossed all my plans. I must accept it, if I would
not wound the kindest of hearts, yet I felt that I lost my game by so
doing. I quietly packed everything into a basket and put it out of
sight under the bed, in order that I might not be reminded of my loss.

Of course, all these things were at once reported. I saw in the faces
of many that something was in agitation, and I waited a fortnight in
constant expectation of its coming. But these people wished to crush
me entirely. They knew well that a blow comes hardest when least
expected, and they therefore kept quiet week after week until I really
began to ask their pardon in my heart for having done them the wrong to
expect them to act meanly about a thing that was natural and allowable.

In a word, I became quiet and happy again in the performance of my
duties; then suddenly, six weeks after my birthday, I was summoned to
the presence of Director Horn (the same who had reprimanded me for
leaving the church). He received me with a face as hard and stern as an
avenging judge, and asked me whether I knew that it was against the law
to receive any other payment than that given me by the hospital. Upon
my avowing that I did, he went on to ask how it was then that I had
accepted gifts on my birthday.

This question fell upon me like a thunderbolt, for I had never thought
of looking upon these as a payment. If these women had paid me for the
instruction that I gave them beyond that which was prescribed, they
ought each one to have given me the value of the presents. I told him
this in reply and also how disagreeable the acceptance had been to me
and how ready I was to return the whole at his command, since it had
been my desire to prove not only my capability but my unselfishness in
the work.

The man was ashamed--I saw it in his face as he turned it away from me;
yet he saw in me a proof that he had been vanquished in intrigue, and
he was resolved that the occasion should end in my overthrow.

Much more was said about the presents and their significance, and I
soon ceased to be the humble woman and spoke boldly what I thought, in
defiance of his authority, as I had done at the time of the religious
conversation (by the way, I never attended church again after that

The end was that I declared my readiness to leave the hospital.

He wished to inflict direct punishment on me and forbade me to be
present at the examination of the class which was to take place the
next day. This was really a hard penalty to which he was forced for
his own sake. For if I had been present, I should have told the whole
affair to men of a nobler stamp who would have opposed, as they
afterwards did, my leaving a place which I filled to their entire


 _She begins private practice--Mrs. Schmidt and many physicians plan
 to establish a Maternity Hospital for her--Her father renews his
 insistence that she should marry--Recollections of a report of the
 Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, located in Philadelphia, and
 of Dr. Schmidt’s comment on it, turn her thoughts to America, and
 she decides to emigrate--She receives official acknowledgment of her
 work at the Hospital, together with a gift of money--Accompanied by a
 younger sister, she arrives in New York. (Twenty-four years of age:

I made my preparations to leave the hospital on the 15th of November,
1852. What was I to do? I was not made to practice quietly, as is
commonly done; my education and aspirations demanded more than this.
For the time, I could do nothing more than inform my patients that I
intended to practice independently.

My father again wished that I should marry, and I began to ask
myself whether marriage is an institution to relieve parents from
embarrassment. When troubled about the future of a son, parents are
ready to give him to the army; when in fears of the destiny of a
daughter, they induce her to become the slave of the marriage bond.
I never doubted that it was more unendurable and unworthy to be a
wife without love than a soldier without a special calling for that
profession, and I never could think of marriage as the means to
procure a shelter and bread. I had so many schemes in my head that I
would not listen to his words. Among these was especially the wish to
emigrate to America.

The Pennsylvania Female Medical College had sent its first report to
Dr. Schmidt, who had informed me as well as his colleagues of it and
had advocated the justice of such a reform. It was in March, 1852, that
he spoke of this, saying to those present, “In America, women will now
become physicians, like the men; this shows that only in a republic can
it be proved that science has no sex.”

This fact recurred to my memory, and I decided to go to America to
join in a work open to womanhood on a larger scale; and for the next
two months, I did nothing but speculate how to carry out my design of

I had lived rather expensively and lavishly, without thinking of laying
up any money; and my whole fortune, when I left the Charité, consisted
of sixty dollars.

One thing happened in connection with my leaving the hospital which I
must relate here. Director Horn was required to justify his conduct to
the minister to whom the change had to be reported, and a committee was
appointed to hear the accusation and to pass judgment upon the affair.
As this was done in secrecy and not before a jury, and as the accuser
was a man of high rank, I knew nothing of it until Christmas Eve when I
received a document stating that, “as a gratification for my services
for the benefit of the city of Berlin” in instructing the class of
midwives, a compensation was decreed me of fifty dollars.

This was a large sum for Berlin, such as was given only on rare
occasions. I was also informed that Director Horn was instructed to
give me, should I ever demand it, a first-class certificate of what my
position had been in the hospital, with the title of Chief attached.

For whatever I had suffered from the injustice of my enemies, I was
now fully recompensed. I inquired who had taken my part so earnestly
against Director Horn as to gain this action, and found that it was Dr.
Müller the pathologist, backed by several other physicians. Director
Horn, it was said, was greatly humiliated by the decision of Minister
von Raumer, who could not see the least justice in his conduct in this
matter, and had I not left the hospital so readily, I should never have
stood so firmly as after this secret trial.

It was done, however, and I confidently told my mother of my design to
emigrate. Between my mother and myself there existed not merely the
strongest relation of maternal and filial love, but also a professional
sympathy and peculiar friendship, which was the result of two similar
minds and hearts, and which made me stand even nearer to her than as a
child I possibly could have done. She consented with heart and soul,
encouraged me in all my plans and expectations, and asked me at once at
what time I would leave.

I next told my father and the rest of the family of my plan. My third
sister (Anna), a beautiful, joyous young girl, exclaimed, “And I will
go with you!” My father, who would not listen to my going alone,
at once consented to our going together. But I thought differently.
In going alone, I risked only my own happiness; in going with her,
I risked hers too, while I should be constantly restricted in my
adventurous undertakings by having her, who knew nothing of the world
save the happiness of a tranquil family life, with me.

The next day I told them that I had changed my mind and should not go
away, but should establish myself in Berlin. Of course, I received
a torrent of gibes on my fickleness, for they did not understand my
feelings in respect to the responsibility that I feared to take for my
younger sister.

I began to establish myself in practice. Mrs. Schmidt, who was anxious
to assist me in my new career, suggested to those physicians who were
my friends the establishment of a private hospital which should be
under my care. She found them strongly in favor of the plan, and had I
not been constantly speculating about leaving for America, this scheme
would have been realized.

But Dr. Schmidt’s words after reading the first report of the
Philadelphia Female Medical College recurred to me again and again. I
had resolved to emigrate, and I took my measures accordingly. I went
secretly to Drs. Müller and Ebert and procured certificates attesting
my position in respect to them in the hospital. I then obtained the
certificate from Director Horn, and I carried them all to the American
Chargé d’Affaires (Theodore S. Fay) to have them legalized in English,
so that they would be of service to me in America.[2]

When I told Drs. Ebert and Müller and Mrs. Schmidt of my intention to
emigrate, they pronounced me insane. They thought that I had the best
field of activity open in Berlin and could not comprehend why I should
seek greater freedom of person and of action.

Little really is known in Berlin about America, and to go there is
considered as great an undertaking as to seek the river Styx in order
to go to Hades. The remark that I heard from almost every quarter was,
“What! you wish to go to the land of barbarism, where they have negro
slavery and where they do not know how to appreciate talent and genius?”

But this could not prevent me from realizing my plans. I had idealized
the freedom of America and especially the reform of the position of
women, to such an extent that I would not listen to their arguments.
After having been several years in America, very probably I would think
twice before undertaking again to emigrate, for even the idealized
freedom has lost a great deal of its charm when I consider how much
better it could be.

Having put everything in order, I told my father of my conclusion to
leave. He was surprised to hear of it the second time, but I showed him
my papers in readiness for the journey and declared that I should go
as soon as the ship was ready to sail, having a hundred dollars, just
money enough to pay my passage.

He would not give his consent unless my sister Anna accompanied me,
thinking her, I suppose, a counterpoise to any rash undertakings in
which I might engage in a foreign land. If I wished to go, therefore,
I was forced to have her company, of which I should have been very glad
had I not feared the moral care and responsibility.

We decided to go in a fortnight. My father paid her passage and gave
her a hundred dollars in cash, just enough to enable us to spend a
short time in New York, after which he expected either to send us more
money or that we would return; and, in case we did this, an agreement
was made with the shipping merchant that payment should be made on our
arrival in Hamburg.

On the 13th of March, 1853, we left the paternal roof, to which we
should never return. My mother bade us adieu with tears in her eyes,
saying, “_Au revoir_ in America!” She was determined to follow us.

Here ends my Berlin and European life, and I can assure you that this
was the hardest moment I ever knew. Upon my memory is forever imprinted
the street, the house, the window behind which my mother stood waving
her handkerchief. Not a tear did I suffer to mount to my eyes in order
to make her believe that the departure was an easy one, but a heart
beating convulsively within punished me for the restraint.

My father and brothers accompanied us to the depot, where the cars
received us for Hamburg. On our arrival there, we found that the ice
had not left the Elbe and that the ship could not sail until the river
was entirely free. So we were forced to remain three weeks in Hamburg.

We had taken staterooms in the clipper ship _Deutschland_. Besides
ourselves, there were sixteen passengers in the first cabin, people
good enough in their way, but not sufficiently attractive to induce us
to make their acquaintance. We observed a dead silence as to who we
were, where we were going, or what was the motive of our emigrating
to America. The only person that we ever spoke to was a Mr. R. from
Hamburg, a youth of nineteen, who like ourselves had left a happy home
in order to try his strength in a strange land.

The voyage was of forty-seven days’ duration, excessively stormy but
otherwise very dull, like all voyages of this kind, and had it not
been for the expectations that filled our hearts, we should have died
of _ennui_. As it was, the days passed slowly, made worse by the
inevitable seasickness of our fellow-passengers, and we longed for the
hour that should bring us in sight of the shores of the New World.

And now commences my life in America.


 _First impressions of New York--Marie takes walk alone the next
 day--Experience with a white slave agent--Confronted with her
 ignorance of the English language, she postpones proceeding to
 Philadelphia--Begins housekeeping in a small apartment with her
 sister Anna--Astounded by hearing that “female physicians” have no
 professional standing in New York, she puts out a sign and seeks
 private practice, as she did in Berlin--While waiting for patients,
 she builds up a business in making fancy worsted goods, Anna works for
 a dressmaker, and they soon become self-supporting. (Twenty-four years
 of age: 1853.)_

“Dear Marie, best Marie! make haste to come up on deck to see America!
Oh, how pleasant it is to see the green trees again! How brightly the
sun is gilding the land you are seeking--the land of freedom!”

With such childlike exclamations of delight, my sister Anna burst
into my cabin to hasten my appearance on deck on the morning of the
22nd of May, 1853. The beautiful child of nineteen summers was only
conscious of a heart overflowing with pleasure at the sight of the
charming landscape that opened before her eyes after a tedious voyage
of forty-seven days upon the ocean.

We had reached the quarantine at Staten Island. The captain, the old
pilot, every one, gazed at her as she danced joyously about the deck,
with a mingled feeling of sadness and curiosity, for our reserve while
on shipboard had surrounded us with a sort of mystery which none knew
how to unravel.

As soon as I had dressed for going on shore and had packed up the
things that we had used on our voyage in order that they might not be
stolen during this time of excitement, I obeyed the last call of my
impatient sister to come at least to see the last rays of sunrise and
went on deck, where I was at once riveted by the beautiful scene that
was spread before my eyes.

It was a warm, glorious day. And the green sloping lawns with which
the white cottages formed such a cheerful contrast; the trees clad in
their first foliage, and suggesting hope by their smiling blossoms; the
placid cows feeding quietly in the fields; the domestic chickens just
visible in the distance; and the friendly barking of a dog--all seemed
to greet me with a first welcome to the shores of this strange country;
while the sun shining brightly from an azure sky strewn with soft white
clouds mellowed the whole landscape, and so deeply impressed my soul
that tears sprang to my eyes and a feeling rose in my heart that I can
call nothing else than devotional, for it bowed my knees beneath me and
forced sounds from my lips that I could not translate into words for
they were mysterious to myself.

A stranger in a strange wide land, not knowing its habits and customs,
not understanding its people, nor its workings and aims, yet my mind
was not clouded with loneliness. I was happy. Had it not been my own
wish that had made me leave the home of a kind father and of a mother
beloved beyond all earthly beings. I had succeeded in safely reaching
the shores of America. Life was again open before me.

With these thoughts, I turned from the beautiful landscape and finding
the captain, a noble-hearted sailor, inquired of him how long it
would take us to reach the port of New York. “That is New York,” said
he, pointing to a dark mass of buildings with here and there a spire
towering in the air. “We shall reach there about eight o’clock, but it
is Sunday and you will have to stay on board till to-morrow.” With this
he turned away, calling his men to weigh anchor, as the physician whose
duty it was to inspect the cargo of men, like cattle, had just left in
his boat.

On we went, my sister still dancing and singing for joy; and Mr. R.
and myself sitting somewhat apart, he looking despondently into the
water, and I with my head firmly raised in the air, happy in heart, but
thoughtful in mind and trusting in my inward strength for the future.

I took my breakfast on deck. No one seemed to have any appetite, and I
felt somewhat reproved when I heard some one near me say, “She seems to
have neither head nor heart--see how tranquilly she can eat at such a
time as this!” These words were spoken by one of the cabin passengers,
a young man who was exceedingly curious to know why I was going to
America and had several times tried to make the rest of the passengers
believe that it must be in consequence of an unhappy love. The poor
simpleton! he thought that women could enter into life only through the
tragedy of a broken heart.

A bell sounded. We were opposite Trinity Church whose bell had just
tolled eight. On our right were masses of brick houses and tall
chimneys surrounded by a forest of masts; on our left were the romantic
shores of New Jersey. Islands and projecting points of land, clad in
the brilliant green of the fresh spring foliage, greeted the eye;
ferryboats, like monstrous white swans, glided to and fro from the
shores; rowboats plied everywhere, the white or red shirts of the
oarsmen giving a bright touch of color to the ever-changing panorama.
Such was the scene which gave us our first impressions of this new
country, seeming to proclaim as its welcome freedom and hospitality to
all newcomers.

This new civilization was utterly different from what we had been
taught about the United States. Indeed, I think many of the passengers
expected to see a _half-civilized_ community who, under a rather
anarchical state of government called a “republic,” did just as
each individual pleased, and who would greet every newcomer with an
enthusiastic joy, inviting him to come and partake of all the good the
country could offer.

Such, or similar, were the vague ideas which many passengers of the
good ship _Deutschland_ entertained no matter whether in the cabin
or steerage. The captain had done his best to rectify these false
expectations but with very little success, I am sure.

Therefore, the picture that unrolled itself as we approached slowly
from the quarantine to the dock, while arousing the old enthusiasm
that started the emigrants from their homes, brought also a kind of
disappointment--a surprise to see a well-built and well-regulated
“brick-house” city with all the accessories of a large commercial port;
a city, in fact, to all appearances not very much unlike European
cities. But the admiration with which I had gazed upon Staten Island
was gone as I stood before this beautiful scene; the appreciation of
nature was mastered by another feeling, a feeling of activity that had
become my ideal.

I had come here for a purpose--to carry out the plan which a despotic
government and its servile agents had prevented me from doing in
my native city. I had to show to those men who had opposed me so
strongly because I was a woman that, in this land of liberty, equality
and fraternity, I could maintain that position which they would not
permit to me at home. My talents were in an unusual direction. I was a
physician, and, as such, had for years moved in the most select circles
of Berlin. Even my enemies had been forced to give me the highest
testimonials, and these were the only treasure that I brought to this
country, for I had given my last dollar to the sailor who brought me
the first news that land was in sight.

I looked again upon New York, but with a feeling that a great mystery
was lying before my eyes--a feeling that was confirmed by the men who
came off to the ship in small boats speaking a language that seemed
like a chaos of sounds.

Then, though standing before the promised land of freedom and in spite
of all youthful enthusiasm and vigor, a sadness overcame me, especially
one which bordered very closely on homesickness, even before my foot
had been once more planted on _terra firma_.

As I turned, I saw my sister coming slowly up from the cabin with a
changed air; and I asked her with surprise what was the matter. “O
Marie!” said she, “most of the passengers are called for. Mr. R.’s
brother has just come to take him on shore. He was so glad to see him
(for he thought he was in New Orleans), that I think he will forget to
say good-by. I am afraid that we shall have to stay here all alone,
and----” “Are the Misses Zakrzewska on board?” called a voice from a
little boat by the side of the ship. We looked down in surprise but
did not recognize the man, who spoke as if he were an acquaintance.
The captain answered, “Yes.” Upon which the same voice said, “Mr. G.
requests them to wait; he will be here in a moment.”

This announcement surprised us the more that it came from a totally
unexpected quarter. An acquaintance of ours, who had emigrated to New
York a few years before and had shortly after married a Mr. G. had
heard from her brother in Berlin of our departure for America in the
ship _Deutschland_, and these good people, thinking that they
could be of use to us in a new country, had been watching for its

No one on board dared ask a question as to who our friends were, so
reserved had we been in regard to our plans. Only the young man who
had accused me of having neither head nor heart said, half aside, “Ah
ha! Now we know the reason why Miss Marie ate her breakfast so calmly,
while her sister danced for joy. They had beaus who were expecting
them.” “Simpleton!” thought I, “must women always have beaus in order
to be calm about the future?”

Mr. G. came on board in a few minutes, bringing us from his wife an
invitation of welcome to her house. I cannot express in words the
emotion awakened in my heart by the really unselfish kindness that
had impelled these people to greet us in this manner; and this was
increased when we reached their very modest dwelling, consisting of a
large shop in which Mr. G. carried on his business of manufacturing
fringes and tassels, one sitting room, a bedroom and a small kitchen.
My strength left me, and my composure dissolved in a flood of tears.
The good people did all that they could to make us feel at home, and
insisted that we should occupy the sitting room until we had decided
what to do further. Of course, I determined that this should be for as
short a time as possible, and that we would immediately look out for
other lodgings. But for the moment, nothing but pleasure was in our
hearts. Questions and answers concerning friends and relations at home
filled every minute, and joy and thankfulness to be safe and sound on
land quickened the heart beats.

One-half of this first day was spent in talking about home; the other,
in making an excursion to Hoboken. This visit we would gladly have
dispensed with, so exhausted were we by the excitement that we had
passed through since sunrise, but our friends were bent on entertaining
us with stories and sights of the New World, and we followed them
rather reluctantly. I have since been glad that I did so, for my mind
was in a state that rendered it far more impressible than usual and
therefore better fitted to observe much that would have been lost to me
in a less-excited condition.

Here I first saw the type of common German life on Sunday in America,
and I saw enough of it on that one Sunday afternoon to last a whole
lifetime. My friends called on several of their acquaintances.
Everywhere that we went, I noticed two peculiarities--comparative
poverty in the surroundings and apparent extravagance in the manner of
living. For in every house we found an abundance of wine, beer, cake,
meat, salad, etc., although it was between the hours of meals; and
every one was eating, although no one seemed hungry. At nine o’clock in
the evening, the visit was concluded by going to a hotel, where a rich
supper was served up to us; and at eleven at night we returned home.

My work in America had already commenced. Was it not necessary for a
stranger in a new country to observe life in all its phases before
entering upon it? It seemed so to me, and I had already planned while
on shipboard to spend the first month in observations of this kind.
I had made a fair beginning, and when I saw many repetitions of this
kind of life among my countrymen, I feared that this was their main
purpose in this country and their consolation for the loss of the
entertainments and recreations which their fatherland offered to them.

But as soon as I got opportunity to make my observations among the
educated classes, I found my fear ungrounded; and I also found that the
Americans had noticed the impulse for progress and higher development
which animated these Germans. The German mind, so much honored in
Europe for its scientific capacity, for its consistency regarding
principles and for its correct criticism, is not dead here. But it has
to struggle against difficulties too numerous to be detailed here,
and therefore it is that the Americans do not know of its existence,
and the chief obstacle is their different languages. A Humboldt must
remain unknown here unless he chooses to Americanize himself in every
respect--and could he do this without ceasing to be Humboldt, the
cosmopolitan genius?

It would be a great benefit to the development of this country if
the German language were made a branch of education and not simply
an accomplishment. Only then would the Americans appreciate how much
has been done by the Germans to advance higher development and to
diffuse the true principles of freedom. It would serve both parties
to learn how much the Germans aid in developing the reason and in
supporting progress in every direction. The revolution of 1848 has been
more serviceable to America than to Germany, for it has caused the
emigration of thousands of men who would have been the pride of a free
Germany. America has received the German freemen, whilst Germany has
retained the _subjects_.

The next morning, I determined to return to the ship to look after my
baggage. As Mr. and Mrs. G. were busy in their shop, there was no one
to accompany me. I therefore had either to wait until they were at
leisure or to go alone. I chose the latter, and took my first walk in
the city of New York on my way to the North River where the ship was
lying. The noise and bustle everywhere about me absorbed my attention
to such a degree that instead of turning to the right, I went to the
left and found myself at the East River, in the neighborhood of Peck
Slip. Here I inquired after the German ship _Deutschland_ and was
directed, in my native tongue, down to the Battery and thence up to
Pier 13, where I found the ship discharging the rest of her passengers
and their baggage. It was eleven o’clock when I reached the ship; I
had, therefore, taken a three hours’ walk. I had now to wait until the
custom-house officer had inspected my trunk, and afterwards for the
arrival of Mr. G., who came at one o’clock with a cart to convey the
baggage to his house.

While standing amidst the crowd, a man in a light suit of clothes of no
positive color and with a complexion of the same sort, came up to me
and asked in German whether I had yet found a boarding-place. The man’s
smooth face instinctively repelled me, yet the feeling that I was not
independently established made me somewhat indefinite in my reply. On
seeing this, he at once grew talkative and friendly and speaking of the
necessity of finding a safe and comfortable home, said that he could
recommend me to a hotel where I would be treated honestly; or that, if
I chose to be in a private family, he knew of a very kind, motherly
lady who kept a boarding house for ladies alone, not to make money but
for the sake of her countrywomen.

The familiarity that he mingled in his conversation while trying to
be friendly made me thoroughly indignant. I turned my back upon him,
saying that I did not need his services.

It was not long before I saw him besieging my sister Anna, who had come
with Mr. G., being nervous lest I might not have found the ship. What
he said to her, I do not know. I only remember that she came to me,
saying, “I am afraid of that man; I wish that we could go home soon.”

This meeting with a man who makes friendly offers of service may seem
a small matter to the mere looker-on, but it ceases to be so when
one knows his motives. And since that time, I have had but too many
opportunities to see for what end these offers are made.

Many an educated girl comes from the Old World to find a position as
governess or teacher who is taken up in this manner and is never heard
from again or is found only in the most wretched condition. It is
shameful that the most effective arrangements should not be made for
the safety of these helpless beings who come to these shores with the
hope of finding a Canaan.

To talk with our friends about the future and the cause of my arrival
in New York became now a necessity. So I related how the information
of 1852, concerning a medical school for women, in Philadelphia, had
inspired me to offer my assistance as a practical instructor and to
assist in organizing a hospital.

My good friends not only showed dismay in face and manner as I
proceeded, but they expressed it in words, telling me that they
had never heard of any “female physicians” except those of a very
disreputable character who advertised in all newspapers and carried on
criminal practices.

Confronted with my ignorance of the English language, as I now realized
myself, I postponed starting for the medical school in Philadelphia,
and, having letters of introduction to well-stationed people in New
York, I decided to settle in a two-room home of my own as soon as this
could be found, we having concluded to commence housekeeping on a small
scale in order to be more independent and to save money.

The week was mostly spent in looking for apartments. On our arrival,
I had borrowed from my sister the hundred dollars which my father had
given her on our departure from Berlin and which was to be my capital
until I had established myself in business. I succeeded in finding
a suite of rooms with windows facing the street, in the house of a
grocer; and having put them in perfect order, we moved into them on
the sixth of June, paying eleven dollars as our rent for two months in

My sister took charge of our first day’s housekeeping, while I went
to deliver my letters of introduction. I went first to Dr. Reisig, in
Fourteenth Street. My mother, who had employed him when he was a young
man and we were small children, had spoken of him kindly, and for this
reason I had confidence in him. I found him a very friendly man, but by
no means a cordial one.

He informed me that female physicians in this country were of the
lowest rank and that they did not hold even the position of a good
nurse. He said that he wished to be of service to me if I were willing
to serve as nurse, and as he was just then in need of a good one, he
would recommend me for the position. I thanked him for his candor
and kindness, but refused his offer as I could not condescend to be
patronized in this way.

Depressed in hope but strengthened in will, I did not deliver any
more of my letters, since they were all to physicians and I could not
hope to be more successful in other quarters. I went home, therefore,
determined to commence practice as a stranger.

The result of my experiment discouraged my sister greatly. After
meditating for some time, she suddenly said, “Marie, I read in the
paper this morning of a dressmaker who wanted some one to sew for her.
I know how to sew well; I shall go there, and you can attend to our
little household. No one here knows me, and I do not think there is
anything wrong in my trying to earn some money.”

She was determined, and went. I put up my sign, and spent my time in
attending to the household duties and in reading in order to gain
information of the country and of the people. Occasionally I took walks
through different parts of the city to learn from the houses and their
surroundings the character of life in New York. I am sure that, though
perhaps I appeared idle, I was not so in reality, for during this time
I learned the philosophy of American life.

But our stock of money was becoming less and less. To furnish the rooms
had cost us comparatively little as we had brought a complete set of
household furniture with us, but paying the rent and completing the
arrangements had not left us more than enough to live upon, in the most
economical manner, until the first of August.

My sister obtained the place at the dressmaker’s; and after working
a week from seven in the morning until twelve (when she came home to
dinner), then from one in the afternoon until seven in the evening,
she received two dollars and seventy-five cents as the best sewer of
six. She brought home the hard-earned money with tears in her eyes, for
she had expected at least three dollars for the week’s work. She had
made each day a whole muslin dress, with the trimmings. And this was
not all--the dressmaker often did not pay on Saturday nights, because,
as she said, people did not pay her punctually, and the poor girls
received their wages by six or eight shillings at a time. For the last
two weeks of my sister’s work, she received her payment seven weeks
after she had left.

We lived in this manner until the middle of July, when I lost patience,
for practice did not come as readily as I wished nor was I in a
position for making money in any other way. My sister, usually so
cheerful and happy, grew grave from the unusual work and the close
confinement. One of these nights on lying down to sleep, she burst into
tears and told me of her doubts and fears for the future. I soothed her
as well as I could, and she fell asleep. For myself, I could not sleep
but lay awake all night meditating what I could possibly do. Should I
write home, requesting help from my father? He certainly would have
given it, for two weeks before we had received a letter offering us
all desirable aid. No! All my pride rebelled against it. “I must help
myself,” I thought, “and that to-morrow.”

The next morning my sister left me as usual. I went out and walked
through the city to Broadway, turning into Canal Street, where I had
formed an acquaintance with a very friendly German woman by purchasing
little articles at various times at her store. I entered without any
particular design and exchanged a few commonplaces with her about the

Her husband stood talking with a man about worsted goods, and their
conversation caught my ear. The merchant was complaining because
the manufacturer did not supply him fast enough, upon which the man
answered that it was very difficult to get good hands to work and that
besides he had more orders than it was possible to fill, naming several
merchants whose names I had seen in Broadway who were also complaining
because he did not supply them.

After he had left, I asked carelessly what kind of articles were in
demand and was shown a great variety of worsted fancy goods. A thought
entered my brain. I left the store and, walking down Broadway, asked
at one of the stores that had been mentioned for a certain article of
worsted goods in order to learn the price. Finding this enormous, I
did not buy it, and I returned home, calculating on my way how much it
would cost to manufacture these articles and how much profit could be
made in making them on a large scale. I found that two hundred per cent
profit might be made by going to work in the right way.

My sister came home as usual to dinner. I sat down with her, but could
not eat. She looked at me anxiously, and said, “I hope you are not sick
again. Oh, dear! What shall we do if you get sick?” I had been ill
for a week and she feared a relapse. I said nothing of my plan, but
consoled her in respect to my health.

As soon as she had left, I counted my money. But five dollars remained.
If I had been dependent upon money for cheerfulness, I should certainly
have been discouraged. I went to John Street and entering a large
worsted store, inquired of a cheerful-looking girl the wholesale price
of the best Berlin wool, how many colors could be had in a pound, etc.
The pleasant and ready answers that I received in my native tongue
induced me to tell her frankly that I wanted but a small quantity at
that time, that I intended to make an experiment in manufacturing
worsted articles; and if successful, I would like to open a small
credit, which she said they generally would do when security was given.

I purchased four and a half dollars’ worth of worsted, so that fifty
cents were left in my pocket when I quitted the store. I then went to
the office of a German newspaper, where I paid twenty-five cents for
advertising for girls who understood all kinds of knitting.

When my sister came home at night, the worsted was all sorted on the
table in parcels for the girls who would come the next morning, while I
was busily engaged in the experiment of making little worsted tassels.
I had never been skillful in knitting, but in this I succeeded so well
that I could have made a hundred yards of tassels in one day.

My sister turned pale on seeing all this, and hurriedly asked, “How
much money have you spent?” “All, my dear Anna,” answered I, “all,
except twenty-five cents, which will be sufficient to buy a pound of
beefsteak and potatoes for to-morrow’s dinner. Bread, tea and sugar, we
have still in the house; and to-morrow night you will bring home your
twenty-two shillings.” “May you succeed, Marie! That is all I have to
say,” was her reply. She learned of me that evening how to make the
tassels, and we worked till midnight, finishing a large number.

The next day was Saturday, and some women really came to get work. I
gave them just enough for one day, keeping one day’s work in reserve.
The day was spent busily in arranging matters, so that on Monday
morning, I might be able to carry a sample of the manufactured articles
to those stores that I had heard mentioned as not being sufficiently

In the evening, my sister came home without her money--the dressmaker
had gone into the country in the afternoon without paying the girls.
She was more than sad, and I felt a little uncomfortable, for what was
I to do without money to provide for the next two days or to pay those
girls on Monday with whose work I might not be satisfied? What was to
be done? To go down to our landlord, the grocer, and ask him to advance
us a few dollars? No! He was a stranger and had no means of knowing
that we would return the money. Besides, I did not wish the people in
the house to know of our condition.

My resolution was taken. I proposed to my sister to go to the market
with me to buy meat and fruit for the morrow. She looked at me with
blank astonishment, but without heeding it I said calmly, taking from
the bureau drawer the chain of my watch, “Anna, opposite the market
there is a pawnbroker. No one knows us, and by giving a fictitious name
we can get money without thanking any one for it.” She was satisfied,
and taking a little basket, we went on our errand. I asked six dollars
of the pawnbroker under the name of Müller, and received the money,
after which we made our purchases and went home in quite good spirits.

On Monday morning, the knitters brought home their work. I paid them,
and gave them enough for another day, after which I set about finishing
each piece, completing the task about two in the afternoon. This done,
I carried the articles to Broadway, and leaving a sample in a number of
stores, received orders from them for several dozens. Here, I have to
remark that not being able to speak English, I conducted my business at
the different stores either in German or in French, as I easily found
some employees who could speak one of these languages.

I then went to the worsted store in John Street, where I also obtained
orders for the manufactured articles together with ten dollars’ worth
of worsted on credit, having first given my name and residence to the
bookkeeper, with the names of the stores from which I had received

In the evening when my sister came home, I was, therefore, safely
launched into a manufacturing business. The news cheered her greatly,
but she could not be induced to quit her sewing. The new business had
sprung up so rapidly and pleasantly that she could not trust in the
reality of its existence.


 _Social relations largely limited to learning the lives of her
 employees and helping them by work, by sympathy and by friendliness,
 and sometimes by taking them into her house to tide over an emergency.
 (Twenty-four years of age: 1853.)_

I must tell you here something of the social life that we led. We had
brought a number of friendly letters with us from our acquaintances in
Berlin to their friends and relatives in America; all of which upon our
arrival we sent by post, with the exception of two--the one sent by a
neighbor to his son, Albert C., the other to a young artist, both of
whom called for their letters.

About four weeks after we were settled in New York, we received a
call from some young men whose sisters had been schoolmates of my
sisters in Berlin, who came to inquire of us where to find Mr. C. We
could give them no information, as we had not seen him since he called
for his letter; neither did we now see anything of the G.’s. But the
acquaintance thus formed with these young men was continued, and our
solitude was now and then enlivened by an hour’s call from them. Soon
after I had commenced my new business, they came one day in company
with Mr. C., whom they had met accidentally in the street, and, on his
expressing a wish to see us, had taken the liberty to bring him to our

My business continued to prosper, and by constantly offering none but
the best quality of goods for sale, in a very short time I had so
much to do that my whole time in the day was occupied with out-door
business, and I was forced to sit up at night with my sister to prepare
work for the knitters.

At one time, we had thirty girls constantly in our employ, and in this
way I became acquainted with many of those unfortunates who had been
misled and ruined on their arrival by persons pretending friendship.
Two of these in particular interested me greatly.

One, the granddaughter of a famous German and bearing his name, was the
daughter of a physician. She had come to this country hoping to find a
place as governess. Poor girl! She was a mere wreck when I found her,
and all my efforts to raise her up were in vain. She was sick and in a
terrible mental condition. We took her into our house, nursed her and
cared for her. When she recovered, we supplied her with work for which
we paid her so well that she always had three dollars a week, which
paid for her board and washing. It was twice as much as she could earn,
yet not enough to make her feel reconciled with life.

At one time, she did not come to us for a whole week. I went to see
her, and her landlady told me that she was melancholy. I persuaded
her to come and stay with us for a few days, but in spite of all
my friendly encouragement, I could not succeed in restoring her to
cheerfulness. She owned that she could not work merely to live; she
did not feel the pangs of hunger, but she felt the want of comforts
to which she had been accustomed and which in our days are regarded as

She attempted to find a situation as governess, but her proficiency
in music, French and drawing counted as nothing. She had no city
references, and though having been two years in New York, dared not
name the place to which she had been conducted on her arrival. She
left us at last in despair after having been a week with us. She never
called again and I could not learn from her landlady where she had gone.

Three months afterwards, I heard from one of the girls in our employ
that she had married a poor shoemaker in order to have a home, but I
never learned whether this was true. About a year later, I met her in
the Bowery, poorly but cleanly dressed. She hastily turned away her
face on seeing me, and I only caught a glimpse of the crimson flush
that overspread her countenance.

The other girl that I referred to was a Miss Mary ----, who came with
her mother to this country, expecting to live with a brother. They
found the brother married and unwilling to support his sister, while
his wife was by no means friendly in her reception of his mother. The
good girl determined to earn support for her mother, and a pretended
friend offered to take care of their things until she could find work
and rent lodgings. After four weeks’ search, she found a little room
and bedroom in a rear building in Elizabeth Street at five dollars a
month, and was preparing to move when her “friend” presented a bill of
forty dollars for his services. She could only satisfy his rapacity
by selling everything that she could possibly spare, after which she
commenced to work, and as she embroidered a great deal besides working
for me (for which I paid her six dollars a week), for a time she lived
tolerably well.

After some time, her mother fell ill, and she had to nurse her and
attend to the household as well as to labor for their support. It was a
trying time for the poor girl. She sought her brother, but he had moved
to the West. I did all that I could for her, but this was not half
enough. And after I had quitted the manufacturing business and left
the city, my sister heard that she had drowned herself in the Hudson,
because her mother’s corpse was lying in the house while she had not
a cent to give it burial or to buy a piece of bread unless she sold
herself to vice.

Are not these two terrible romances of New York life? And many besides
did I learn among these poor women, so many indeed that I forget the
details of them all. Stories of this kind are said to be without
foundation, but I say that there are more of them in our midst than it
is possible to imagine.

Women of good education but without money are forced to earn their
living. They determine to leave their home, either because false pride
prevents their seeking work where they have been brought up as ladies,
or because this work is so scarce that they cannot earn by it even a
life of semi-starvation, while they are encouraged to believe that in
this country they will readily find proper employment.

They are too well educated to become domestics, better educated indeed
than half the teachers here, but modesty, and the habit of thinking
that they must pass through the same legal ordeal as in Europe, prevent
them from seeking places in this capacity. They all know how to
embroider in the most beautiful manner, and knowing that this is well
paid for in Europe, they seek to find employment of this kind in the

Not being able to speak English, they believe the stories of the clerks
and proprietors, are made to work at low wages, and are often swindled
out of their money. They feel homesick, forlorn and forsaken in the
world. Their health at length fails them, and they cannot earn bread
enough to keep themselves from starvation. They are too proud to beg,
and the consequence is that they walk the streets or throw themselves
into the river.

I met scores of these friendless women. Some I took into my house; for
others I found work and made myself a sort of guardian; while to others
I gave friendship to keep them morally alive. It is a curious fact that
these women are chiefly Germans. The Irish resort at once to beggary or
are inveigled into brothels as soon as they arrive, while the French
are always intriguing enough either to put on a white cap and find a
place as _bonne_, or to secure a _private_ lover.

I am often in despair about the helplessness of women, and the
readiness of men to let them earn money in abundance by shame while
they are ground down to the merest pittance for honorable work.

Shame on society, that women are forced to surrender themselves to
an abandoned life and to death when so many are enjoying wealth and
luxury in extravagance! I do not wish the rich to divide their estates
with the poor--I am no friend to communism in any form. I only wish
institutions that shall give to women an education from childhood that
will enable them, like young men, to earn their livelihood. These weak
women are the last to come forth to aid in their emancipation from
inefficient education. We cannot calculate upon these; we must educate
the children for better positions, and leave the adults to their

How many women marry only for a shelter or a home! How often have I
been the confidante of girls who the day before, arrayed in satin, had
given their hands to rich men before the altar, while their hearts were
breaking with suppressed agony! And this, too, in America, this great
free nation, which, notwithstanding, lets its women starve.

It is but lately that a young woman said to me, “I thank Heaven, my
dear doctor, that you are a woman, for now I can tell you the truth
about my health. It is not my body that is sick, but my heart. These
flounces and velvets cover a body that is sold--sold legally to a man
who could pay my father’s debts.”

Oh! I scorn men, sometimes, from the bottom of my heart. Still, this is
wrong, for it is the fault of the woman--of the mother--in educating
her daughter to be merely a beautiful machine fit to ornament a fine
establishment; not gaining this, there is nothing left but wretchedness
of mind and body.

Women, there is a connection between the Fifth Avenue and the Five
Points! Both the rich and the wretched are types of womanhood, both
are linked together forming one great body, and both have the same part
in good and evil. I can hardly leave this subject, though it may seem
to have little to do with my American experience, but a word spoken
from a full heart not only gives relief but may carry a message to at
least one listening ear with far-reaching results.


 _Her former rival (and later her successor), Sister Catherine, comes
 from Berlin to New York to ask her aid--Marie is joined also by a
 second sister and a brother--She is robbed of all her savings--The
 end of her first year in America finds her profoundly depressed
 because, though successful in business, she has found no opening in
 her profession--Her hopes are suddenly renewed by hearing of Dr.
 Elizabeth Blackwell upon whom she calls. (Twenty-four years of age:

I must now return to my new enterprise. The business paid well, and,
although I was often forced to work with my sister till the dawn of
morning, we were happy, for we had all that we needed, and I could
write home that the offered assistance was superfluous.

Here I must say that I had resolved, on leaving Berlin, never to ask
for aid, in order that I might be able with perfect freedom to carry
out my plans independently of my family. How this was ever to be done,
I did not yet see, though I had a good opportunity to learn, from
life and from the papers, what I had to expect here. But this mode of
instruction, though useful to one seeking to become a philosopher, was
very unsatisfactory to me.

The chief thing that I learned was that I must acquire English before
I could undertake anything. And this was the most difficult point to
overcome. I am not a linguist by nature; all that I learn of languages
must be obtained by the greatest perseverance and industry, and for
this my business would not allow me time.

Shortly after I had fairly established myself in the manufacturing
business, I received news from Berlin that Sister Catherine had left
the Hospital Charité and was intending to join me in America, in order
to aid me in carrying out my plan for the establishment of a hospital
for women in the New World. The parties interested in her had finally
succeeded in placing her in the wished-for position, thus disconnecting
her from the sisterhood. But, after my departure, the position became
greatly modified in rank and inferior in character. Private reasons,
besides, made it disagreeable for her to remain there any longer, and
in this moment she remembered my friendship towards her. And in the
unfortunate belief which she shared with many others that all that I
designed to do I could do, she at once resolved to come to me and offer
her assistance.

She joined us on the 22d of August, and was not a little disappointed
to find me in the tassel business instead of in the medical line. The
astonishment with which her acquaintances in Berlin heard her announce
her intention of going to seek help from a person to whom she had been
less than a friend could not be expressed in words. And she told me
that the annoyance they manifested was really the chief stimulus that
decided her to come at last. She arrived without a cent. Having always
found enough friends ready to supply her with money whenever she
wished to establish a temporary hospital, it had never occurred to her
that she should need any for private use beyond just enough to furnish
the simple blue merino dress of the sisterhood, which had often been
provided for her by the Kaiserswerth Institute.

But here she was, and she very soon learned to understand the
difficulties which must be overcome before I could enter again into my
profession. She became satisfied, and lived with us, sharing equally in
whatever we had ourselves. There is a peculiar satisfaction in showing
kindness to a person who has injured us even though unconsciously, but
in her case, she was not entirely unconscious of the harm she had done
me. While in America she confessed to me that her acquaintance had
been courted by all those who had opposed my appointment and that they
sought every opportunity to annoy me.

On the 18th of September, a sister, one year younger than myself,
joined us, having been tempted by our favorable accounts to try a life
of adventure. We were now four in family.

But Catherine gradually grew discontented. Having been accustomed to
the comforts afforded in large institutions and to receiving attentions
from the most aristocratic families of Prussia, the monotonous life
that we led was endurable to her only so long as the novelty lasted.
This soon wore off, and she became anxious for a change.

She had heard her fellow-passengers speak of a Pastor S., who had been
sent to America as a missionary, and she begged me to seek him out and
take her to him that she might consult him as to what she had best
do. I did so, and she soon became acquainted with his family. Mr. S.
exerted himself in her behalf and secured her a place as nurse in the
Home for the Friendless, where she had charge of some thirty children.

This was a heavy task, for though none was under a year old, she
was constantly disturbed through the night and could get but a few
consecutive hours of sleep. Besides, she could not become reconciled to
washing under the hydrant in the morning and to being forced to mingle
with the commonest Irish girls. She was in every respect a lady and had
been accustomed to having a servant at her command, even in the midst
of the typhus fever epidemic in the desolate districts of Silesia,
while here she was not treated even with humanity.

This soon grew unbearable, and she returned to us on the 16th of
October, after having been only ten days in the institution. So eager
was she to make her escape that she did not even ask for the two
dollars that were due her for wages. But we could not receive her, for
we had taken another woman in her place who was as friendless and as
penniless as she.

Besides, a misfortune had just fallen upon us. During the night before,
our doors had been unlocked, our bureau drawers inspected, and all our
money, amounting to fifty-two dollars, carried off. And when Catherine
arrived, we were so poor that we had to borrow the bread and milk for
our breakfast. Fortunately, the day before, I had refused the payment
due me for a large bill of goods, and this came now in a very good

I did not feel justified, however, in increasing the family to five
after our loss, nor did she claim our assistance, but went again to
Pastor S. who had invited her to visit his family. With his assistance,
she obtained some private nursing, which maintained her until the
congregation had collected money enough to enable her to return to
Berlin, which she did on the 2d of December. Having many friends in the
best circles of that city, she immediately found a good practice again
and she is now, as she says, enjoying life in a civilized manner.

We moved at once from the scene of the robbery and took a part of a
house in Monroe Street, for which we paid two hundred dollars a year.
Our business continued good, and I had some prospect of getting into
practice. But with the spring (1854), the demand for worsted goods
ceased, and as my practice brought me work but no money, I was forced
to look for something else to do.

By accident, I saw in a store a coiffure made of silk in imitation
of hair, which I bought. But I found on examination that I could not
manufacture it as it was machine work. I went, therefore, to Mr. G.
and proposed to him the establishment of a business in which he should
manufacture these coiffures, while I would sell them by wholesale to
the merchants with whom I was acquainted.

Mr. G. had completely ruined himself during the winter by neglecting
his business and meddling with Tammany Hall politics, which had wasted
his money and his time. He had not a single workman in his shop when I
called, and he was too much discouraged to think of any new enterprise;
but on my telling him that I would be responsible for the first
outlay, he engaged hands and in less than a month had forty-eight
persons busily employed. In this way, I earned money during the spring
and freed myself from the obligations which his kindness in receiving
us the spring before had laid upon us.

My chief business now was to sell the goods manufactured by Mr. G. Our
worsted business was very small, and the prospect was that it would
cease entirely, and also that the coiffure that we made would not long
continue in fashion. Some other business, therefore, had to be found,
especially as it was impossible for us to lay up money.

Our family now consisted of myself and two sisters, the friend that was
staying with us, and a brother, nineteen years of age, who had just
joined us during the winter and who, though an engineer and in good
business, was, like most young men, thoughtless and more likely to
increase than to lighten our burdens. Our friend Mr. C., who had become
our constant visitor, planned at this time a journey to Europe, so that
our social life seemed also about to come to an end.

On the 13th of May, 1854, as I was riding down to the stores on my
usual business, reveries of the past took possession of my mind.
Almost a year in America, and not one step advanced towards my
purpose in coming hither! It was true that I had a comfortable home,
with enough to live on, and had repaid to my sister the money that I
had borrowed from her on our arrival; yet what kind of life was it
that I was leading, in a business foreign both to my nature and to
my inclinations, and without even the prospect of enlarging this?
These reflections made me so sad that when I reached the store, the
bookkeeper, noticing my dejection, told me by way of cheering me that
he had another order for a hundred dollars’ worth of goods, etc., but
this did not relieve me.

I entered the omnibus again, speculating constantly on what I should
do next. Everywhere, my inquiries about women physicians were
received with a pitiful shrug of the shoulders, and I could obtain no
information concerning the Philadelphia Female Medical College whose
report I had read in Berlin. I had finally consulted the newspapers in
spite of all the warnings against so doing, and I was almost at the
point of calling upon a Mr. and Mrs. B. who advertised their private
lying-in hospital (Mrs. B., after becoming a widow, resumed the name of
her first husband and became the originator of the homeopathic medical
college for women), when a thought suddenly dawned upon me.

Might not the people in the Home for the Friendless be able to give
me advice? I had hardly conceived the idea, when I determined to ride
directly up there instead of stopping at the street in which I lived.
I thought, besides, that some employment might be found for my sister
Anna where she could learn the English language for which she had
evinced some talent, although I had decided that I could never become
master of it.

I had once seen the matron, Miss Goodrich, when I had called there on
Catherine S. She had a humane face, and I was persuaded that I should
find a friend in her. I was not mistaken. I told her of my plans in
coming here and of our present mode of life and prospects, and confided
to her my disappointment and dejection as well as my determination to
persevere courageously. She seemed to understand and to enter into my
feelings and promised to see Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, whom she advised
me to call upon at once.

I went home full of the hope and inspiration of a new life--the
happiness of that morning can hardly be comprehended. I was not
suffering, it is true, for the necessaries of life, but what was far
worse, I suffered from the feeling that I lived for no purpose but to
eat and to drink. I had no friends who were interested in the pursuits
towards which my nature inclined, and I saw crowds of arrogant people
about me to whom I could not prove that I was their equal in spite
of their money. My sisters had not seen me so cheerful since our
arrival in America and they thought that I had surely discovered the
philosophers’ stone. I told them of what I had done and received their


 _Learns that Dr. Blackwell is working for the same purpose that
 brought her (Marie) to America, that is, to establish a Hospital for
 Women; and that she (Dr. Blackwell) has already progressed as far
 as opening a dispensary (the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women
 and Children)--Dr. Blackwell invites Marie to assist her in the
 dispensary, gives her lessons in English, and urges her to acquire
 the degree of M.D.--Elizabeth Blackwell first English-speaking woman
 to receive such degree--Italian, German and French women her only
 predecessors in this respect--Since beginning of the race, women have
 instinctively practiced obstetrics and general medicine but their
 education has been opposed--Marie’s business goes out of fashion--She
 substitutes a new one which pays very poorly and is complicated by
 frequent suggestions for irregular sex life with employers--Refusal
 leads to loss of work--She is compelled to draw on her savings--In the
 autumn with a balance of fifty dollars, she sets out for Cleveland
 to enter the Medical Department of the Western Reserve College.
 (Twenty-five years of age: 1854.)_

On the morning of the 15th of May, 1854--the anniversary of the death
of Dr. Schmidt, the day of my greatest joy and my greatest misery--we
received a call from Miss Goodrich who told us that she had seen
Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, and that she thought she had also procured
a suitable place for my sister. She gave us the addresses of Dr.
Blackwell and of Miss Catherine Sedgwick.

We called first upon the latter, who was extremely kind, and although
she had quite misunderstood our wishes--having exerted herself to
procure a place for my sister in a way that manifested the belief that
we had neither a home nor the means to live--yet her friendliness and
readiness to assist us made us forever grateful to her. At that time we
did not know her standing in society and looked upon her merely as a
benevolent and wealthy woman. We soon learned more of her, however, for
though unsuccessful in her first efforts, she shortly after sent for
my sister, having secured for her a place in Mr. Theodore Sedgwick’s
family, which was acceptable inasmuch as it placed her above the level
of the servants. She remained there for seven weeks and then returned

On the same morning, I saw Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell--and from this call
of the 15th of May, 1854, I date my new life in America. She spoke a
little German and understood me perfectly when I talked. I gave her all
my certificates for inspection, but said nothing to her of my plans
in coming to America. It would have seemed too ludicrous for me in my
position to tell her that I entertained the idea of interesting the
people in the establishment of a hospital for women. I hardly know what
I told her, indeed, for I had no other plan of which to speak, and
therefore talked confusedly like an adventurer. I only know that I said
that I would even take the position of nurse if I could enter one of
the large hospitals, in order to learn the manner in which they were
managed in this country.

I cannot comprehend how Dr. Blackwell could ever have taken so deep an
interest in me as she manifested that morning, for I never in my life
was so little myself. Yet she did take this interest, for she gave me
a sketch of her own experience in acquiring a medical education and
explained the requirements for such in this country and the obstacles
that are thrown in the way of women who seek to become physicians.

She told me of her plan of founding a hospital--the long-cherished idea
of my life--and said that she had opened a little dispensary on the 1st
of May, two weeks before (the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and
Children), which was designed to be the nucleus for this hospital, and
she invited me to come and assist her.

She insisted that first of all I should learn English, and she offered
to give me lessons twice a week and also to make efforts to enable
me to enter a college to acquire the title of “M.D.,” which I had
not the right to attach to my name. I left her after several hours’
conversation, and we parted friends.

[Dr. Blackwell, in her autobiography, tells of writing to her sister,
Dr. Emily, giving her impression of this interview: “I have at last
found a student in whom I can take a great deal of interest, Marie
Zakrzewska, a German about twenty-six.... There is true stuff in her,
and I shall do my best to bring it out.... She must obtain a medical

I found Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell a rather short but stately lady, blonde
with wavy hair, very dignified, kindly in speech, and very deliberate
and wise in her remarks.

The cordiality with which she welcomed me as a co-worker, I can never
describe nor forget. It aroused all my sunken hopes and energies and
directed them again to the field of work which I had cultivated and
which I had almost given up in despair. Now, I was finding the welcome
and the beginning of which I had dreamed, and all the many days of
disappointment were instantly forgotten.

I met in Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell no eccentric person who wanted to
bring about the millennium for women, for I soon learned from her of
the great obstacles which were to be overcome in the social stratum.
Soon, indeed, I learned that social prejudices, habits and customs can
be as strong barriers to intellectual development as those placed in
the way of reform by a despotic German government.

However, behind this social barrier, a number of high-minded and
intellectually advanced women were ready to enter upon a struggle
for greater freedom of action. They were especially inspired by the
Anti-Slavery movement, which was then fully established and which
appealed so strongly to the emotional nature of women. The paths these
women trod were full of thorns and thistles yet they bore everything
patiently, for, knowing their country and its people, they foresaw all
the possibilities for good which could be achieved.

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, while not the first woman practitioner of
medicine even in America, was yet the pioneer in the movement which
insisted that medical women should be educated so as to stand equal
with men physicians in medical knowledge and in legalized position.
Hence, she began her medical life not by practicing her art but by
working for the degree of “M.D.” from one of the regularly constituted
medical colleges, this meaning at that time a medical college
established exclusively for men.

In this course, she followed the example of at least three Italian
women who had, near the end of the eighteenth century and in the
beginning of the nineteenth, taken the medical degree at the
Universities of Florence and Bologna. But her autobiography is well
entitled, _Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to
Women_, because nothing of this kind had been undertaken by an
English-speaking woman. Exceptionally, women have, here and there,
received the same training as men, as evidenced by ancient histories.
And early in this nineteenth century, two German women had received
the medical degree at the University of Giessen. And the French
obstetrician, Madame Boivin, had the medical degree conferred on her by
the University of Marburg before she died in 1841.

From the earliest history of the human race, women have been the
practitioners of obstetrics, and thence, naturally, the practitioners
in the diseases of women and children.

But even such women suffered from the subjection which was inflicted
upon all their sex. Hence, as the science of medicine became organized,
and as systematized instruction in both the science and the art became
established, opportunities for study and advanced practice were more
and more monopolized by men; and women were more and more hindered
from exercising and developing their instinctive tendencies in these

But the monopoly has never been secure. Always, large numbers of
people, especially of women, have persisted in the desire to be
advised medically by women; and always, a certain number of women have
responded to their instincts and have prepared themselves as best they
could to give medical advice and help, especially to women and children.

Thus even at this date all over the world large numbers of women
continued to practice obstetrics, largely as “midwives.” But a
considerable number of women also practiced general medicine,
especially where they did not come in conflict with medical or civil
laws, which were designed to exclude all except the practitioners of
the dominant medical group. The passage of laws regulating the practice
of medicine is undoubtedly actuated by a sincere desire to raise the
standard of medical practice throughout the community, but only too
frequently these laws give power to a group of medical oligarchs, a
fact which I was many times to observe later.

The best known of the last class of women just described is Dr.
Harriot K. Hunt, who was at this date preparing for publication
her autobiography which appeared under the title of _Glances and

Dr. Blackwell was graduated from the Geneva (New York) Medical College,
in 1849, and she then went to Europe to obtain the clinical experience
which was denied to women in America, returning to see her sister Emily
also become a regular M.D. (1854).

The two sisters procured a charter from the New York Legislature to
establish the New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and Children, both
feeling the absolute necessity for continued clinical experience before
offering their services to suffering humanity at large. Dr. Emily then
went to Europe for special clinical study and she was still there. Dr.
Blackwell said to me, “My sister has just gone to Europe to finish what
she began here, and you have come here to finish what you began in

And here I am obliged to give a short statement of the mode of study in
the medical profession at that time.

The young student had to find a “preceptor,” a physician of good
standing, with whom he studied the preliminaries necessary for
entering a medical college or school. He also visited patients with
this preceptor and assisted the latter in every way possible. The
student thus became familiar with the details of practice even before
matriculating regularly in a medical college. I have met young men who
had been for years such assistants to physicians, and who later entered
college merely to become legally qualified.

Any student who could bring certificates from an acceptable preceptor
could easily procure a diploma by attending the medical school of any
college for two short successive winter sessions, often of only sixteen
weeks’ duration.

This method of clinical experience in private practice made hospital
attendance by the student seem almost unnecessary. Even opportunities
for attendance at dispensaries, when such existed in the larger cities,
were not much sought after by the young men, they feeling that they
could gain all the required knowledge by attaching themselves to

Society, and indeed civilization in general, was in a primitive stage
of development, in spite of material elegance, yes, even of luxury and
refined manners. It would take a long time to describe the great change
which has taken place in the educational and intellectual development
of the people in the United States and the increased facilities which
they have for the higher and deeper studies.

The time which it would take with a monarchically limited people to
advance any social improvement or reform would require generations,
while under free, unlimited social laws, months instead of years will
serve to bring about the desired evolution.

Under these conditions, I became the student of Dr. Elizabeth
Blackwell, she assuming the rôle of medical preceptor, as well as most
patient instructor in the English language.

In consequence of her having obtained a charter for a hospital, a few
high-minded and progressive friends had contributed sufficient money
to open one room for dispensary purposes in a very poor quarter of
the East Side of New York. Here poor women and children came three
afternoons a week, from three to five o’clock, for medical advice
and such simple medicines as Dr. Blackwell could dispense without
assistance, until I became her pupil.

The beneficiaries were by no means always grateful; on the contrary,
they often considered themselves as important patrons of the women
doctors. An incident will illustrate this.

One day, in the hall of the Dispensary, the few settees were filled
with patients waiting for our arrival, and two old and decrepit women
had taken seats on the curbstone of the sidewalk, also waiting for us.
It unavoidably happened that we were fifteen minutes behind the regular
time for opening the Dispensary.

As these two old women saw us turning around the corner of Second
Avenue, one of them called to those within hearing in the hall, “There
come the Dispensary women now!”

And to us, she said, reproachfully, “Those ladies in the hall have been
waiting a whole hour already.”

I continued my work at home, going regularly to Dr. Blackwell to
receive lessons in English and to assist her in the Dispensary. As we
grew better acquainted, I disclosed more to her of the fact that I had
a fixed plan in coming to this country, which increased her interest in

She wrote in my behalf to the different colleges, and at length
succeeded in obtaining admission for me to the Cleveland Medical
College (Western Reserve) on the most favorable terms, credit being
given me on the lecture fees for an indefinite time.

Here I must stop to tell you why this credit was necessary. The
articles that I had manufactured had gone out of fashion in May, and I
could not invent anything new, partly because I no longer felt the same
interest as before, knowing that I should soon go to a medical college,
and partly because the articles then in fashion were cheaper when

We had to live for a little while on the money that we had laid up,
until I procured a commission for embroidering caps. It is perfectly
wonderful into what kinds of business I was forced, all foreign to my

And here let me tell you some secrets of this kind of business, in
which hundreds of women starve and hundreds more go down to a life of

Cap-making (the great business of Water Street of New York) gives
employment to thousands of unfortunates. For embroidering caps, the
wholesale dealer pays seven cents each; and for making up, three cents.
To make a dozen a day, one must work for sixteen hours.

The embroidering is done in this wise: I received the cut cloth from
the wholesale dealer; drew the pattern upon each cap; gave them with
three cents’ worth of silk to the embroiderer, who received three cents
for her work; then pressed and returned them; thus making one cent on
each for myself.

By working steadily for sixteen hours, a girl could embroider fifteen
in a day. I gave out about six dozen daily, earning like the rest fifty
cents a day; unless I chose to do the stamping and pressing at night
and to embroider a dozen during the day, in which case I earned a
dollar. One can live in this way for a little while until health fails
or the merchant says that the work has come to an end.

You will think this terrible again. Oh, no! This is not terrible. The
good men provide another way.

They tell every woman of a prepossessing appearance that it is wrong
in her to work so hard, that many a man would be glad to care for her,
and that many women live quite comfortably with the help of a “friend.”
They say, further, that it is lonely to live without ever going to
church, to the concert and theater, and that if these women would only
permit the speakers to visit them and to attend them to any of these
places, they would soon find that they would no longer be obliged to
work so hard.

This is the polished talk of gentlemen who enjoy the reputation of
piety and respectability and who think it a bad speculation to pay
women liberally for their work. So it would be, in truth, for these
poor creatures would not be so willing to abandon themselves to a
disreputable life if they could procure bread in any other way.

During the summer of 1854, I took work on commission from men of this
sort. While in Berlin, I had learned from the prostitutes in the
hospital in what manner educated women often became what they then were.

The average story was always the same. Love, even the purest, made
them weak; their lover deceived and deserted them; their family cast
them off by way of punishment. In their disgrace, they went to bury
themselves in large cities, where the work that they could find
scarcely gave them their daily bread. Their employers, attracted by
their personal appearance and the refinements of their speech and
manners, offered them assistance in another way, in which they could
earn money without work. In despair, they accepted the proposals and
sank gradually step by step to the depths of degradation, as depicted
by Hogarth in the _Harlot’s Progress_.

In New York, I was thrown continually among men who were of the stamp
that I described before, and I can say, even from my own experience,
that no man is ever more polite, more friendly or more kind than one
who has impure wishes in his heart. It is really so dangerous for a
woman of refined nature to go to such stores that I never suffered my
sister to visit them; not because I feared that she would listen to
these men, but because I could not endure the thought that so innocent
and beautiful a girl should come in contact with them or even breathe
the same atmosphere.

When fathers are unwilling that their daughters shall enter life as
physicians, lawyers, merchants, or in any other public capacity, it is
simply because they belong to the class that so contaminates the air
that none can breathe it but themselves; or because, from being thrown
constantly in contact with such men, they arrive at the same point at
which I then stood, and say to themselves, “_I_ can afford to meet
such men. I am steeled by my knowledge of mankind and supported by the
philosophy that I have learned during years of trial. It cannot hurt
_me_; but by all means, spare the young and beautiful the same

I dealt somewhat haughtily with the merchants whom I have described,
in a manner that at once convinced them of my position. But the
consequence was that the embroidery commission which had commenced so
favorably, suddenly ceased, “because the Southern trade had failed”; in
truth, because I would not allow any of these men to say any more to me
than was absolutely necessary in our business.

My income became less and less, and we were forced to live upon the
money that we had laid up during the year. I did not look for any
new sources of employment for I was intending to go to Cleveland in
October. My next sister had business of her own, and Anna was engaged
to be married to our friend Mr. C. My brother was also with them, and
my mother’s brother, whom she had adopted as a child, was on his way to

After having settled our affairs, fifty dollars remained as my share,
and with this sum I set out for Cleveland, on the 16th of October,
1854. Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell had supplied me with the necessary
medical textbooks, so that I had no other expenses than those of my
journey and the matriculation fees which together amounted to twenty
dollars, leaving thirty dollars in my possession.


 _Attends the medical course at Cleveland, learning English at
 the same time--Is befriended by the Dean, Dr. John J. Delamater,
 and by Mrs. Caroline M. Severance--Some professors and students
 object to women as students--Students petition faculty to exclude
 women--Petition by Harvard medical students against admission
 of Dr. Harriot K. Hunt to lectures in 1851--No minister would
 offer prayer at early Commencements of Female Medical College of
 Pennsylvania--Philadelphia County Medical Society not only refused
 to admit women as members but issued an edict of excommunication
 against any of its members who should teach in the woman’s medical
 college, or who should consult with women physicians or even with the
 male teachers of the medical women--Edict approved by Pennsylvania
 State Medical Society--Mrs. Mary A. Livermore witnesses on Chestnut
 St., Philadelphia, male students mobbing women students and pelting
 them with mud--Similar mobbing and pelting with mud of women medical
 students at the gates of the University of Edinburgh--Dr. Blackwell
 writes she is obliged to close her dispensary for lack of funds and
 assistance--Marie and her roommate ostracized at the table and in the
 parlor by the other boarders. (Twenty-five years of age: 1854.)_

I do not believe that many begin the study of medicine with so light a
purse and so heavy a heart as did I. My heart was heavy for the reason
that I did not know a single sentence of English. All of my study
with Dr. Blackwell had been like raindrops falling upon stone; I had
profited nothing.

The lectures I did not care for, since there was more need of my
studying English than medicine, but the subjects were well known to me,
and I therefore reasoned that by hearing familiar things treated of in
English, I must learn the language--and the logic held good.

I have already told you that the faculty had agreed to give me credit
for my lecture fees. Dr. Blackwell had written also to a lady in
Cleveland, who had called upon her some time before in the capacity of
president of a Physiological Society which, among other good things,
had established a small fund for the assistance of women desirous of
studying medicine. This lady (Mrs. Caroline M. Severance) replied in
the most friendly manner, saying that I might come directly to her
house, and that she would see that my board for the winter was secured
by the Physiological Society over which she presided.

The journey to Cleveland was a silent but a pleasant one. Through a
mishap, I arrived on Saturday night instead of in the morning, and
being unwilling to disturb Mrs. Severance at so late an hour, I went
first to a hotel. But what trials I had there! No one could understand
me, until at last I wrote on a slate my own name and that of Mrs.
Severance, with the words, “A carriage” and “to-morrow.” From this,
the people inferred that I wished to stay at the hotel all night and
to have a carriage to take me to Mrs. Severance’s the next day, as was
the case. A waiter took my carpet-bag and conducted me to a room. I
could not understand his directions to the supper-room, neither could
I make him understand that I wanted some supper in my own room; and the
consequence was that I went to bed hungry, having eaten nothing all day
but a little bread and an apple for luncheon.

As soon as I was dressed the next morning, I rang the bell furiously,
and on the appearance of the waiter, exclaimed, “Beefsteak!” This
time he comprehended me, and went laughingly away to bring me a good
breakfast. I often saw the same waiter afterwards at the hotel, and he
never saw me without laughing and exclaiming, “Beefsteak!”

In the course of the forenoon, I was taken in a carriage to the house
of Mrs. Severance, but the family was not at home. I returned to the
hotel somewhat disheartened and disappointed. Although I should have
supposed that death was not far off if some disappointment had not
happened to me when I least expected it, yet this persistent going
wrong of everything in Cleveland was really rather dispiriting. But
a bright star soon broke through the clouds in the shape of Mr.
Severance, who came into the parlor directly after dinner, calling for
me in so easy and so cordial a manner that I forgot everything and was
perfectly happy.

This feeling, however, lasted only until I reached the house. I found
four fine children, all full of childish curiosity to hear me talk,
but who, as soon as they found that I could not make myself understood
by them, looked on me with that sort of contempt peculiar to children
when they discover that a person cannot do as much as they themselves
can. Mr. Severance, too, was expecting to find me accomplished in
music “like all Germans,” and had to learn that I had neither voice nor
ear for the art. Mrs. Severance understood a little German, yet not
half enough to gain any idea of how much or how little I was capable
of doing, and therefore looked upon me with a sort of uncertainty
as to what was my real capacity. This position was more provoking
than painful--there was even something ludicrous in it, and when not
annoyed, I often went into my room to indulge in a hearty laugh by

 [Mrs. Severance tells of this first meeting:

 I had gone to take her to our home in response to a letter from Dr.
 Blackwell commending her to our care. The letter had come late the
 night before, and I had not realized the forlornness to her of being
 in a hotel over night in a strange city.

 How condemned I felt for this thoughtlessness as I looked into the
 tearful eyes of the lonely foreigner who did not feel at home in
 English, and who had found no one to greet her in her own language
 until I ventured my crude German! Her eyes kindled into smiles at that
 and our years of close friendship were begun.]

I met with a most cordial reception in the college. The dean (Dr.
John J. Delamater) received me like a father, and from the first day
I felt perfectly at home. All was going on well. I had a home at Mrs.
Severance’s, and despite my mutilated English I found many friends in
the college, when suddenly circumstances changed everything.

Some changes occurred in Mr. Severance’s business and he was forced
in consequence to give up housekeeping. At that time I did not know
that the Physiological Society was ready to lend me money, and I was
therefore in great distress.

I never experienced so bitter a day as that on which Mrs. Severance
told me that I could stay with her no longer. It was but five weeks
after my arrival, and I was not able to make myself understood in the
English language, which was like chaos to me. On the same day I well
remember that for the first time in my life I made an unsuccessful
attempt to borrow money; and because it was the first and the last
time, it was the more painful to me to be refused. I envied the dog
that lived and was happy without troubling his brain; I envied the
kitchen-maid who did her work mechanically and seemed to enjoy life far
more than those fitted by nature for something higher.

Mrs. Severance secured a boarding place for me for the rest of the
winter and paid my board, amounting to thirty-three dollars, from the
funds of the society. I lived quietly by myself; studied six hours
daily at home, with four dictionaries by me; attended six lectures a
day, and went in the evening for three hours to the dissecting rooms.

 [Dr. Blackwell, again writing to her sister Emily on November 13th,
 says: A pleasant circumstance occurred to my German, Dr. Zakrzewska.
 I arranged a Cleveland course for her, and she entered two weeks ago.
 She met a very friendly reception, and found that Dr. Kirtland is in
 correspondence with Professor Müller of Berlin, and he had mentioned
 her in some of his letters in such high terms that the faculty told
 her that if she would qualify herself for examination in surgery and
 chemistry and write an English thesis, they would graduate her at the
 end of this term. Of course, she is studying with might and main, and
 will, I have no doubt, succeed; so we may reckon on a little group of
 three next year. That will be quite encouraging.]

I never conversed with any one at the boarding house, nor even asked
for anything at the table, but was supplied like a mute. This silence
was fruitful to me. About New Year, I ventured to make my English
audible; when, lo! every one understood me perfectly. From this time
forward, I sought to make acquaintances, to the especial delight of
good old Dr. Delamater who had firmly believed that I was committing
gradual suicide.

My stay in that congenial family, the Severances, was meant to be
only temporary, until a suitable boarding house could be obtained.
Alas, nobody wanted to take a “female medical student!” For several
weeks, Mrs. Severance hunted for such a place until she found a New
England woman, Mrs. Shepard, who was willing to brave the criticism
of neighborhood and church connections and take me and another female
medical student who was in the same dilemma to board for the winter,
the Association mentioned making themselves responsible for the

Being now well-housed, we trotted unconcernedly by neighbors staring
from behind half-shut blinds, twice a day, to and from our college.
And there being four women among a couple of hundred young men, we
had our box seat to ourselves, unmolested by the tobacco-chewing and
spitting Æsculapians in embryo. My three companions were Mrs. Chadwick
who was my roommate, Miss Cordelia A. Greene, now practicing in her
own institution in Castile, N. Y., and Miss Elizabeth Grissell, now a
practicing physician in Salem, Ohio.[4]

In the college, we had nothing of which we could complain; the young
men did not like our presence; some of the professors acted as if we
did not exist, while others favored us in many ways; and one, the most
eminent, Dr. Delamater, offered to be my preceptor and gave me good
practical advantages.

On the whole, life was made quite pleasant in the college, although we
were told that a strong petition was circulated by the male students to
exclude women after that winter’s term. The faculty refused to consent
to this request because they had given the four women the promise of an
opportunity to graduate. However, the assurance was given to the men
that the college would not again admit women, especially as the faculty
considered that the little Pennsylvania Medical College for Women was
prospering and giving fully as good an education as the Western Reserve
Medical College.

We did not see a copy of the petition of the men students, but as there
was never any variety in the objections made to the study of medicine
by women, it was undoubtedly similar to the one which the medical
students at Harvard College presented against the admission of Dr.
Harriot K. Hunt, in 1850, and which she published in _Glances and

As it is interesting because showing the weakness of the forces which
everywhere opposed us, I will cite it here.

After quoting a communication which approved of her conduct and
disapproved of that of the men students, and which appeared in the
_Boston Evening Transcript_, July 5, 1851, Dr. Hunt adds: “This
article brought out the resolutions of the students which I had
endeavored to obtain in vain.”

 THE FEMALE MEDICAL PUPIL.--Mr. Editor: As an article, in some
 respects imaginative, appeared in the _Transcript_ on Wednesday
 evening over the signature of _E. D. L._, who professes to be
 “well informed” respecting the application of a female to the Medical
 Lectures, and the “insubordination” with which the intelligence
 was received by the students, allow me to correct any erroneous
 impression by claiming space for an insertion of the following series
 of resolutions passed at a meeting of the medical class with but
 _one_ dissenting vote, and afterwards respectfully presented to
 the Faculty of the Medical College.

 WHEREAS, it has been ascertained that permission has been
 granted to a female to attend the Medical Lectures of the present
 winter, therefore,

 _Resolved_, That we deem it proper both to testify our
 disapprobation of said measure, and to take such action thereon as
 may be necessary to preserve the dignity of the school, and our own

 _Resolved_, That no woman of true delicacy would be willing in
 the presence of men to listen to the discussion of the subjects that
 necessarily come under the consideration of the student of medicine.

 _Resolved_, That we object to having the company of any female
 forced upon us, who is disposed to unsex herself, and to sacrifice her
 modesty, by appearing with men in the medical lecture room.

 _Resolved_, That we are not opposed to allowing woman her rights,
 but do protest against her appearing in places where her presence is
 calculated to destroy our respect for the modesty and delicacy of her

 _Resolved_, That the medical professors be, and hereby are,
 respectfully entreated to do away forthwith with an innovation
 expressly at variance with the spirit of the introductory lecture,
 with our own feelings, and detrimental to the prosperity, if not to
 the very existence of the school.

 _Resolved_, That a copy of these resolutions be presented to the
 Medical Faculty.


We women in Cleveland were fortunate that we had to contend only with
ostracism and petitions, for in Philadelphia and in Edinburgh, women
medical students suffered grievously at the hands of the male medical
students, as well as from other groups in the community.

For instance, at the commencement exercises of the Pennsylvania Female
Medical College, prayer was offered by a layman because no minister in
Philadelphia could be found who would take part in the services.[5]

And the Philadelphia County Medical Society not only refused to admit
women physicians as members, but, in 1859, it pronounced an edict of
excommunication against any of its members who should teach in the
Pennsylvania Female Medical College, or who should consult with women
physicians or with the male teachers of the women. And this edict
of excommunication was approved, in 1860, by the Pennsylvania State
Medical Society. As a leading member of both societies, Dr. Atlee,
expressed it, “By the rules of our medical association, I dare not
consult with the most highly educated female physician, and yet I may
consult with the most ignorant masculine ass in the medical profession.”

Again, in _The Business Folio_, Boston, March, 1895, Mrs. Mary A.
Livermore tells of a personal observation which she made during the
earlier days of this college. Speaking to a relative, she says:

 Before you were born, and you are now nearly twenty-eight years old,
 my husband and myself went to Philadelphia to make your father and
 mother a visit.

 One day, we were walking up Chestnut Street when suddenly we became
 aware that something unusual was the matter. Before us was a group of
 women hurrying along in great confusion; they were well dressed, but
 their clothing was then in a very dilapidated condition.

 We wondered what had happened, and as we looked this way and that a
 chunk of mud flew by, perilously near my face, and hit one of the
 women who was then not far from us.

 With a startled cry, the woman with the others ran into the wide-open
 doors of a large store. They were followed by a company of young men
 seemingly intent only upon reaching them. The proprietor and clerks
 sprang to the rescue of the young women, and, with the help of my
 husband and his brother, grabbed the unmannerly cubs by the napes of
 their necks and threw them into the street.

 We then learned that the company of young women had entered one of the
 medical colleges in Philadelphia, and these young men from another
 college in another part of the city had determined that if they could
 prevent it no women should study medicine.

This Philadelphia episode suggests the mobbing and pelting with mud
which Sophia Jex-Blake and her fellow women students received from the
male medical students at the gates of the University of Edinburgh as
late as 1870, but it lacks the compensating feature of the Edinburgh
occurrence when “the decent male medical students” came to the rescue
of the women and formed a protecting and chivalrous escort for them,
continuing this gentlemanly course till the “rowdies” accepted
the presence of women students. Though this “presence” was only

Meanwhile, I exchanged letters pretty regularly With Dr. Elizabeth
Blackwell, telling her the details of my college life, and she telling
me that she was obliged to close the little dispensary. One reason for
this was the lack of funds to meet the expense, while another was the
lack of such assistance as I had rendered, Dr. Emily Blackwell being
in Europe, studying, and there being no other medical woman to avail
herself of the opportunity for such practice. She also wrote me that
the practice she sought increased but slowly while expenses were high,
so she had decided to enter upon the new speculation of buying a house
on Fifteenth Street and reducing her own expenses by sharing its rooms
with friends.

The first three months of college life were rather dull for me, as my
imperfect knowledge of the English language excluded me from taking
part in the comradeship of the few male students who rather enjoyed the
presence of the women, and who had taken no part in the petition of
objection to us.

After college hours, my roommate and I spent our time chiefly in our
room as the other boarders would retire as soon as we entered the
parlor; and at table would politely but decidedly manifest their
intention to ignore us. On Sundays, we went to “Meeting,” as it was
called, sometimes under the auspices of our good hostess, Mrs. Shepard,
who was a strict orthodox Presbyterian. More often, however, I went to
a hall where a small society known as that of the Liberal Christians
was addressed by Rev. A. D. Mayo. He was a humanitarian and belonged in
the ranks of the Abolitionists. He was also interested in various other
social reforms, among which was the Woman’s Rights movement.


 _Marie’s contact with “transcendentalism” and the Know-Nothing
 movement--Meets Dr. Harriot K. Hunt, of Boston--Why Harriot and her
 sister began to study medicine in 1830--In 1847, Harriot applies to
 Harvard for permission to attend medical lectures and is refused--In
 1850, she renews her application and receives permission--Harvard
 medical students send two petitions of protest to the faculty: one
 against admission of negro men students; one against admission
 of women students--The faculty requests Harriot to withdraw her
 application--Marie’s father opposes her study of medicine, denounces
 her leaving “woman’s sphere” and demands her return to New York or to
 Germany. (Twenty-five years of age: 1854-1855.)_

Retracing these later steps for a moment, I wish to add that the
years 1840 to 1860 form the period of what is now called the
“transcendentalism of New England.” What has given rise to this mode of
thinking and acting of the people has been explained by many an able
writer. I, arriving in America in 1853, experienced the effect of this
phase of spiritual life when it was on the wane; when phalansteries had
been tried and had failed; when social reforms were discussed in all
parts of the country by those who led the van from Boston, New York,
Philadelphia, and Cleveland.

Groups of reformers existed in the churches and schools as well as
in political and social circles. Women, still timid and under the
pressure of social propriety, hailed every one who dared to give
expression to their wishes and longings for a sphere beyond that of

The broader religious preaching of William Ellery Channing and of
Theodore Parker encouraged many to join these men in their efforts,
while transcendental thinking and reading had prepared their minds to
accept any new theory of life and its aims, for the individual woman as
well as for the whole sex.

The first impressions received from the few acquaintances I had, after
arriving, were depressing in the highest degree; for I found that the
life of the New World had not only confirmed my countrymen in their Old
World prejudices but it had even a reactionary result upon their mode
of thinking, leading them to ridicule the American ways and modes in
social, religious and political forms of life.

The Know-Nothing party had just been established; and those immigrants
who were exiled after the revolutionary efforts of the years following
1848, created a prejudice among themselves against the English-speaking
people of New York, especially against all reformers, which included
the Know-Nothings.

And, yet, it was through the accidental acquaintance of these
Know-Nothings that I was introduced to the so-called reformers; and,
strange to say, the family giving firm adherence to the Know-Nothing
principles was of German birth, their parents having emigrated after
the year 1830, when exiled following the student revolt.

This family opened the path to the first acquaintance to whom I could
show my credentials, verified by letters from the American Secretary of
Legation at Berlin, Theodore S. Fay.[2]

A new world seemed to appear before my eyes when I was first introduced
to the different circles of reformers. It seemed to me then as if the
whole social and religious life was undermined, and that a labyrinth
of ways ran confusedly in all sorts of directions. All that education,
habit and custom had nurtured in my perception of life seemed to
crumble into pieces.

That negro slavery was still in full force I soon learned, and that
women declared their incapability to speak freely and openly against it
shocked me beyond comprehension. On the other hand, I was shocked that
a Mrs. Wright and others had demanded the emancipation of women. That
a Woman’s Rights Convention was held in New York State seemed to me so
ridiculous that I found the expression in one of the New York papers,
“The hens which want to crow,” quite appropriate.

However, I had tried to crow as hard as any of these women without
realizing it, for I had been quite enthusiastic when I received the
news that ways and means had been found through the efforts of Dr.
Elizabeth Blackwell for me to enter the medical school of the Western
Reserve College, at Cleveland. It was not a week after my arrival when
through a visit from Dr. Harriot Kezia Hunt to the house of my hostess
and protector, Mrs. Caroline M. Severance, I learned to my great
astonishment that the “crowing hens” of Cleveland had taken me under
their wings to shelter me and to promote my efforts.[6]

[As Marie became better acquainted with the “woman’s rights” question
her logical mind was impressed by the arguments in favor of the
movement, and she eventually accepted it and became associated with
its ardent advocates, though never herself taking the position of a
militant suffragist.]

A few details regarding Dr. Hunt will be of interest here. Harriot
Kezia Hunt and her sister, Sarah Augusta, had their minds withdrawn
from their profession of teaching and turned towards medicine, in 1830,
by the prolonged illness of Sarah and her ineffective treatment by the
regular medical profession. “After forty-one weeks of sickness and
one hundred and six professional calls, my sister was roused to more
thought on this subject. We talked it over together; she obtained some
medical works; and finally, she came to the conclusion that her case
was not understood.”

The sisters continued the study of medicine by themselves, and Harriot
first thought of _woman_ as a _physician_ when, in 1833,
Mrs. Mott and her husband, two irregular practitioners who had come to
Boston from England, were called to see if they could in any way help
Sarah. As Harriot writes: “... it did not occur to us that to die under
regular practice, and with medical etiquette, was better than any other

Sarah soon began to improve and Harriot then decided to become a
physician, giving up her teaching so that she might have more time
to study. Sarah’s new treatment eliminated the rather drastic use
of drugs then prevalent in medical practice, and confined itself
principally to attention to the somewhat neglected laws of hygiene,
combined with cheering assurances of a cure. As her health became
established, Sarah joined in the study, and in October, 1835, the two
sisters formally began practice by advertising the fact in the daily
papers. Sarah later married and became the mother of six children,
gradually withdrawing from the practice which Harriot continued alone.

Harriot persevered in her studies while building up a very successful
practice in Boston, and, in 1847, she applied to Harvard College
for permission to attend medical lectures but was refused. In 1850,
she renewed her application and this time she received the desired
permission, five of the seven members of the Faculty voting in the

Of the two men who voted in the negative (Drs. James Jackson and
Jacob Bigelow), it was Dr. Jackson who had introduced into Boston the
midwife, Mrs. Janet Alexander. “Thus,” comments Dr. Putnam-Jacobi, “it
would seem that his objection was not to women but to _educated_
women who might aspire to rank among regularly educated men physicians.”

But again Dr. Hunt’s hopes met disappointment for, as noted in a
previous chapter, the men students sent to the Faculty two petitions of
remonstrance--one against the admission of negro men students, and one
against the admission of women students.

The Faculty referred these petitions to a committee of which Dr. Jacob
Bigelow (one of the two members originally voting against Dr. Hunt’s
admission) was chairman. This committee reported the following votes
regarding the petition against women students (and this report was

 _Voted_, that the Faculty are at all times anxious to promote the
 gratification and welfare of the members of the medical class so far
 as their duty and the great interests of medical education permit.

 _Voted_, that the female student who had applied for liberty to
 attend the lectures having by advice of the Faculty withdrawn her
 petition, no further action on this subject is necessary.

In 1853, Dr. Hunt received the honorary degree of M.D. from the Female
Medical College of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia.

I found among those whom Mrs. Severance had interested in my behalf,
kind and intelligent as well as sympathizing friends who were willing
to assist me even financially in my studies. These good people, I saw
well, pitied my benightedness concerning the emancipation of women,
without trying to proselyte, but leaving me in good faith that I would
work out my own salvation and see the righteousness of their demands
for a larger sphere for women.

Another tie of sympathy soon became apparent, namely, the religious
tendency which was prevailing in the Severance circle of acquaintances.
Mr. and Mrs. Severance were the leading spirits of a small Universalist
congregation who held their meetings in the only public hall which
Cleveland then possessed. This assembly was inspired by Rev. A. D. Mayo
who had recently been called by them. They were adverse to Calvinism as
well as to Episcopalianism, yet they felt the want and need of some
form of church union.

This congregation was the most heterogeneous imaginable. Most of
the people were in a transition stage from the darkest orthodoxy to
atheism, neither of these extremes satisfying their ideals. There were
also reformers in other directions dissatisfied with all existing
codes of religion and law who sought refuge in the companionship of
malcontents. Thus, we had not only Unitarians and Universalists to
meet, but also Spiritualists, Magnetists, Fourierists, Freelovers,
Women’s Rights advocates, Abolitionists--in fact, followers of all
kinds of _isms_ then existing.

Every theory had its representatives and advocates when a couple of
dozen men and women gathered in alternate houses, socially or for
discussing problems in general. A woman medical student was a new
element and was welcomed by all the factions. Fortunately, I could
not speak the English language, so I belonged to the class of patient
listeners. I thus received attention from all groups, learning a great
deal of what was agitating the intelligent and thinking ones, and being
befriended by many in the expectation of swelling their numbers by one
more in support of their specific beliefs or theories.

However, as these people seemed to be the only group of human beings
who were not afraid of female medical students, I decided to avail
myself of the customary opportunity of calling on New Year’s Day, 1855,
at the house of Mr. Mayo, Mrs. Severance having inspired me with the
courage to do so. To my great surprise, after arriving there I found
that I could speak English well enough to be understood.

 [At a later date Mr. Mayo writes of this call:

 Among my visitors at my home in Cleveland, at the New Year’s reception
 of 1855, was a young woman whose face I recognized as a bright
 presence in the Sunday congregations that waited on my ministry.

 Despite her impossible Polish name and her picturesque pronunciation
 of the English language, she became at once the notable guest of the
 evening. Her cheerful voice, reinforced by her magnetic womanhood,
 sent every sentence to the right place and won our hearts.]

My roommate and fellow student, Mrs. Chadwick, refused to accompany
me on this New Year’s call. Mr. Mayo was too liberal for her. Such is
the inconsistency of human nature; she herself did not hesitate to don
the robe of a reformer as medical student, yet she did not dare to
speculate on new theories in the realm of thought.

Thus the new year began very promisingly, as it opened to me the chance
of entering somewhat into social relations which to my nature were
absolutely necessary in order to keep up my hopes and aspirations.
Besides, this connection gave me the opportunity to observe the habits
and customs of this new life, both in the intellectual and the domestic
spheres, during the little time that I could spare from my studies.

In the autumn of 1854, after deciding to go to Cleveland to resume my
medical studies, I wrote to my parents to tell them of my hopes and
aims. These letters were not received with the same pleasure with which
they had been written.

My father, who had encouraged me before my entrance upon a public
career, was not only grieved by my return to my old mode of life but
greatly opposed to it, and manifested this in the strongest words in
the next letter that I received from him. My mother, on the contrary,
who had not been at all enthusiastic in the beginning, was rather glad
to receive the news.

As I had left many good friends among the physicians of Berlin, my
letters were always circulated, after their arrival, by one of their
number who stood high in the profession; and, though I did not receive
my father’s approbation, he sent me several letters from strangers who
approved my conduct, and who, after hearing my letters, had sent him
congratulations upon my doings in America.

How he received the respect thus manifested to him, you can judge from
a passage in one of his letters, which I will quote to you:

 I am proud of you, my daughter; yet you give me more grief than any
 other of my children. If you were a young man, I could not find words
 in which to express my satisfaction and pride in respect to your acts;
 for I know that all you accomplish you owe to yourself: but you are a
 woman, a weak woman; and all that I can do for you now is to grieve
 and to weep. O my daughter! return from this unhappy path. Believe me,
 the temptation of living for humanity _en masse_, magnificent
 as it may appear in its aim, will lead you only to learn that all is
 vanity; while the ingratitude of the mass for whom you choose to work
 will be your compensation.

Letters of this sort poured upon me; and when my father learned that
neither his reasoning nor his prayers could turn me from a work which
I had begun with such enthusiasm, he began to threaten; telling me
that I must not expect any pecuniary assistance from him; that I would
contract debts in Cleveland which I should never be able to pay, and
which would certainly undermine my prospects; with more of this sort.

My good father did not know that I had vowed to myself, on my arrival
in America, that I would never ask his aid; and besides, he never
imagined that I could go for five months with a single cent in my
pocket. Oh, how small all these difficulties appeared to me, especially
at a time when I began to speak English! I felt so rich that I never
thought money could not be had whenever I wanted it in good earnest.

But with the closing of the term, which occurred early in March,
the financial assistance in paying for my board ceased, and further
provision had to be made for my support.

Shortly before this period, a letter was received from my father
denouncing my leaving my sisters, my despising the sphere of woman, and
my entering upon a field which so entirely belonged to men; he demanded
my return to New York or to Germany and he utterly refused me any
financial aid. After reading this letter to Mrs. Severance and asking
her counsel, I retired to my room almost in despair.

That same evening, I attended a meeting which had been announced from
all the pulpits and which was being held for the purpose of discussing
how to aid the Cherokee Indians. Representatives of this tribe were
sojourning in Cleveland on the way to Washington in order to see the
Great White Father and to implore his help in their troubles.

During this meeting, I resolved to follow my father’s advice and give
up man’s sphere, and offer myself as one of the missionaries to the
Indians for which the leader pleaded as so necessary to civilize the
squaws. Thus would I carry the working out of woman’s sphere to the
wilderness of the Indian Territory. The next morning I told my decision
to Mrs. Shepard, to my fellow students and to Mr. Mayo; and in the
evening I began a letter to my sisters who were now well established,
my sister Anna having married a very estimable young man whose parents
were friends and neighbors of ours in Berlin.

If I had not been visited in the morning of the next day by Dr. Seelye,
a friend of my fellow student, Miss Greene, and an hour later by Mrs.
Severance, my fate as an Indian missionary would have been decided by
the arrival of the afternoon hour appointed for the meeting of all
those interested in the Indian troubles. However, these two friends not
only dissuaded me from any such change, but promised to provide in some
way or other, means for my continuing my studies.

Dr. Seelye insisted on my first writing to Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell,
showing me that I was under special obligation to her. The Indians
had to leave before I received her reply. She was indignant at my
proposition and requested me to return to New York immediately after my
graduation the middle of the next March.


 _During vacation months, Marie teaches German--Becomes working guest
 in family of Rev. A. D. Mayo--Meets many noted men and women--Her
 mother dies on the voyage to New York and is buried at sea--Marie
 returns to New York, visits Dr. Blackwell, and finds the Infirmary is
 still closed--She goes to Boston to visit Dr. Hunt--Meets the Grimké
 sisters--Learns of the New England Female Medical College--Meets
 William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Parker, Wendell Phillips, and other
 noted people--Returns to Cleveland and becomes the guest of Mrs.
 C. Vaughan for her closing term at college--Meets Lyceum speakers,
 professors, political and social leaders, and literary men and women
 from various parts of the country. (Twenty-six years of age: 1855.)_

Within a few days, there were found some pupils to whom I might teach
German. There also came a proposition from Mrs. Mayo who was expecting
her first baby within a very short time. The proposition was that I
should become a general member of the family, attending to her needs
as well as aiding in the housekeeping, etc., till the arrival of her
mother later in the spring.

In April, I removed my possessions into that hospitable house which
offered its little to me who had less. Both Mr. and Mrs. Mayo were
really nervous invalids, and the troubles and trials of their position
as anti-slavery advocates and religious reformers bore heavily upon
them and kept their purse lean. However, I had no personal needs
further than my board, as my clothing was still good in spite of my two
years in America.

I found many dear and valued friends during my residence in Cleveland,
but none to whom I am bound in lasting gratitude as to Mr. Mayo, who
offered me his assistance when he learned that I was in need, my extra
expenses having swallowed up the little money that I had brought with
me, so that I had not even enough to return to my sisters in New York.
As the minister of a small congregation advocating Liberal ideas, he
had a hard position in Cleveland, both socially and pecuniarily, yet he
offered to share his little with me. I was forced to accept it, and I
am now, and have always been, glad that I did so.

No one that has not had the experience can appreciate the happiness
that comes with the feeling that a rich man has not cast a fragment of
his superfluity towards you (and here let me remark that it is next to
impossible to find wealth and generosity go together in friendship),
but that the help comes from one who must work for it as well as the
recipient. It proves the existence of the mutual appreciation that is
known by the name of “friendship.” The apple given by a friend is worth
ten times more than a whole orchard bestowed in such a way as to make
you feel that the gift is but the superfluity of the donor.

Now I was in my element: superintending a very inferior servant girl;
providing wholesome simple meals for the invalids; going three mornings
a week to an apothecary shop where a friendly man permitted me to
assist him in his work, thus acquiring a knowledge of drugs and their
preparation; going two mornings a week to my preceptor’s office to
recite in the usual manner; giving German lessons two afternoons a
week; spending one evening a week at meetings in houses of different
parishioners for discussions on theological subjects, especially
Unitarian and Universalist themes; assisting Mr. Mayo on Sundays at the
Sunday school, especially in organizing the same and in substituting
for absent teachers; and, after the arrival of the baby girl, taking
exclusive charge of the delicate little being, trying to bring it up by

During this summer, I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Mr.
and Mrs. Leander Lippincott (_Grace Greenwood_, a sister of Mrs.
Mayo). And later I met a great many renowned ministers and lecturers
from the East who either called when passing through Cleveland or
exchanged pulpits with Mr. Mayo, being our guests in either case. All
these gentlemen were highly interesting, especially when talking on
politics, the Free Soil movement and anti-slavery. My knowledge of
American civilization was in this way greatly increased and my powers
of observation and meditation received full satisfaction.

This quiet yet useful existence was broken by a letter from my father,
bringing the news of his having sent my mother and the youngest two
sisters to New York for a visit to us, with the intention of following
them himself as soon as he could obtain a year’s furlough with full
salary. All this was meant to see for himself whether I could not be
brought back to my senses and persuaded to return to the proper sphere
of woman.

Perhaps it may be of interest here to state that my only brother had
arrived in New York just before I left for Cleveland and had found a
good position as mechanical engineer. And a half-brother of my mother,
whom my father had adopted, had arrived after my departure. My father
wanted to rescue these two from the fate of being soldiers in Germany,
so he expatriated them, sending them to America. But in their new
country, the former became a captain in the militia, while later,
during the war of the rebellion, the latter became a captain in the
regular United States Army.

Shall I attempt to describe the feeling that overpowered me on the
receipt of these tidings? If I did, you never could feel it with me,
for I could not picture in words the joy I felt at the prospect of
beholding again the mother whom I loved beyond all expression, and who
was my friend besides; for we really never thought of each other in our
relation of mother and child, but as two who were bound together as
friends in thought and in feeling.

No, I cannot give you a description of this, especially as it was
mingled with the fear that I might not have the means to go to greet
her in New York before another ten months were over. Day and night,
night and day, she was in my mind; and from the time that I had a right
to expect her arrival, I counted the hours from morning until noon, and
from noon until night, when the telegraph office would be closed.

At length, on the eighteenth of September, the despatch came--not to
me but to my friend Mr. Mayo--bearing the words,

 Tell Marie that she must calmly and quietly receive the news that our
 good mother sleeps at the bottom of the ocean, which serves as her
 monument and her grave.

This is the most trying passage that I have to write in this sketch
of my life, and you must not think me weak that tears blot the words
as I write. My mother fell a victim to seasickness which brought on a
violent hemorrhage that exhausted the sources of life. She died three
weeks before the vessel reached the port, and my two sisters (the one
seventeen, and the other nine years of age) chose rather to have her
lowered on the Banks of Newfoundland than bring to us a corpse instead
of the living. They were right, and the great ocean seems to me her
fitting monument.

This news almost paralyzed me. It was impossible for me to remain in
Cleveland, I longed so to be with my sisters in New York. Availing
myself of the cheapness of an excursion to the eastern cities, I
hastened to them, they being nicely established all in one house headed
by my brother-in-law, Mr. A. C. ----.

After the first shock of our mother’s loss had passed, I called upon my
friend, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who, though well established in her
newly acquired house, in East Fifteenth Street, could not speak very
encouragingly as to practice. For entirely social reasons, people were
afraid to employ a woman physician openly, although desirous and ready
to consult her privately. Yet even this unsatisfactory practice had
prevented her from continuing the little dispensary regularly and it
was still closed.

But, during my absence, she had been trying to interest some wealthy
friends in the collection of money to enable us after my return in the
spring to commence again upon a little larger scale. To effect this,
she proposed to hold a Fair during the winter after my return, and we
concluded that the first meeting for this purpose should be held during
my visit in New York. She succeeded in calling together a few friends
at her house, who determined to form a nucleus for a Fair Association
for the purpose of raising money for the New York Infirmary.

Dr. Blackwell’s experience was so contradictory to Dr. Harriot K.
Hunt’s statements of the Boston public (in which city a regularly
graduated medical woman from Cleveland, Dr. Nancy E. Clark, had also
settled) that I decided to avail myself of the fact that my excursion
ticket included Boston and to accept Dr. Hunt’s invitation for a visit
of a few days in order to learn more of the opportunities of that city.

Arriving early one morning, I was conducted through winding streets
from Exeter Place to Green Street to Dr. Hunt’s house, where I stayed,
and where Mrs. Theodore Weld and Miss Sarah Grimké were engaged in
editing Dr. Hunt’s autobiography, _Glances and Glimpses_, then in
the press.

I was shown into a room in the third story, and as I was descending
the stairway soon afterward, my foot caught in the carpet in such a
way that I fell head foremost down the stairs, striking against the
door at the foot of the flight. The noise caused by this fall brought
the inmates of the room to the door where I lay unconscious. My period
of unconsciousness was short, and on opening my eyes I saw a queerly
shaped scarlet leg on each side of my head, and above these a short
drapery of the same bright color but with large flowers printed upon
it, while from a beautiful, gentle and kind face encircled by soft
white curls, came the words, “Are you hurt, my dear?” It was Mrs.
Angelina Weld, in a bloomer dress of calico, and beside her was Miss
Sarah Grimké, in a Quakerlike costume, trying to disentangle me from
the position which I had assumed.

The picture made by the ladies was so amusing that a burst of mirthful
laughter brought me at once to my senses and to my feet, to the delight
of these two charming ladies who became from that moment dear and
intimate friends of mine.

Dr. Hunt introduced me to many fine people who consulted her
professionally, and also to Dr. Nancy Clark, then established as a
physician in Boston. I observed that prejudice against women physicians
was by no means as strong as in New York or Cleveland.

A school established in 1850, for the education and training of
“midwives,” had been supported by Boston’s liberal-minded men and
women. Some of the graduates of this school practiced very successfully
as midwives. This school developed later into a medical school for
women (New England Female Medical College), and was now giving legal
diplomas of “Doctor of Medicine.” The medical school was a small
but very respectably lodged concern, with correct and kind men for
teachers, and with substantial prospects for getting a larger building
and greater advantages for study within a year or two.

However, the greatest event of my three days’ sojourn in Boston was
my introduction (through Mr. Mayo) to Mr. Theodore Parker, on Sunday
evening, I having attended the morning’s service in Music Hall. Through
Mr. Parker, I met Mr. William Lloyd Garrison and Mr. Wendell Phillips,
as well as a number of other prominent men and women. These three men
who were pictured so often in Cleveland as three ferocious lions, I
found gentle in manners, humanitarian in thought and word and earnest
in purpose, possessors of great souls, feeling hearts and sincere
patriotism. I was cordially welcomed by them and kept up this relation
until the close of their lives, holding even a very honoring relation
as professional adviser in their families.

It was a genial circle of friends, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Parker,
who in their easy, informal manner of enjoying each other, impressed me
as so utterly different from what I had heard of them, they having been
represented by word of mouth as well as in print as the most dangerous
and violent revolutionists.

I remember the delicate and graceful figure of Miss Matilda Goddard,
the cordial Miss Hannah Stevens, Dr. William F. Channing and Mr. W. L.
Garrison, as the center of groups in the spacious parlors, when the
talk was of religious and anti-slavery themes, with a frequent easy
and cordial laugh at the expense of nobody.

Before returning to Cleveland, I received letters from Mrs. C. Vaughan,
a member of Mr. Mayo’s congregation, who was shocked to learn of our
great bereavement in the death of our mother. She offered me a home for
the winter, with the kindest assurance that financial help might be
gained by forming German conversational classes for the evenings.

Thus, on my return, I removed from Mrs. Mayo’s home, where my
assistance had become unnecessary, owing to the death of the little
baby, to the hospitable mansion occupied by the Vaughan family and the
daughter, Mrs. G. Willey, and her husband.

A few words as to the social and educational standing of this family
will be pardonable, especially as they were of so rare an occurrence
at the time. Southerners by birth, they were yet opposed to slavery,
having set their slaves free by bringing them to Cincinnati. Highly
cultivated and talented as well as financially well-to-do, they
unconcernedly became true reformers in many ways. The daughter, Mrs.
Willey, wrote good Free Soil poetry, then needed by that movement;
other members of the family developed their special talents as writers
or musicians, while Mrs. Vaughan used her advantages for making
propaganda by encouraging Lyceum lectures, which system was then in its
infancy. And she invited nearly all prominent speakers to stay at her
house while in Cleveland.

I thus saw and heard Dr. Harriet Kezia Hunt; Mr. and Mrs. George
Hildreth; Mrs. George Bradburn; Grace Greenwood; Rev. Henry Bond; Rev.
Mr. Mumford; Rev. Mr. Chapin; Ralph Waldo Emerson; Dr. W. Elder; Bayard
Taylor; James Murdock, the actor; Frederick Douglass; Mr. John Giles,
of the Lyceum lecture system; Rev. Starr King; prominent professors of
the Western Reserve College; and a number of leading _literati_ of
those times as well as men distinguished in politics, such as Speaker
Colfax, leader of the Free Soil party, and Secretary Salmon Chase,
who were holding political meetings. All these acquaintances were of
incalculable use to me in this educational period. Although not able to
converse with them, I could observe and learn much that was of greatest
importance to my future.

Discussions pro and con on all kinds of subjects agitated the people,
and more than once did I hear the “Boston Trio”--William Lloyd
Garrison, Wendell Phillips and Theodore Parker--denounced as disturbers
of Law and Order.

To Mrs. Vaughan’s untiring patience do I owe my acquiring the English
language as well as I was then capable of doing. I had to write
two essays that winter, one being for an association formed by the
medical students, and one being my thesis. After having assisted me in
correcting the grammar, Mrs. Vaughan made me read over each one four
times, from ten to half-past eleven o’clock, for fifty evenings, until
I got a good English pronunciation of which I was very proud.

My German conservatism was not a little startled when I found that
here also the so-called Woman’s Rights movement (the political
enfranchisement of women) was heartily indorsed. Yet, in all the
families whose acquaintance I made from this social center, and who
were so different from those in the circles of Mrs. Severance and
Mr. Mayo, I soon recognized the same prejudice existing against all
women who attempted to step out of the domestic sphere. In spite of
their cultivation in literature and music and the fine arts generally,
after the completion of school life the women preferred a mere social
activity in their own surroundings and a Lady Bountiful attitude among
the poor belonging to their respective churches.

I perceived so many contradictions in meeting with these evidently
superiorly educated women. For instance, they abhorred the female
medical student and would not dare be seen with one of them in the
streets, and they considered themselves heroic for including me when
inviting any of the Vaughan family to tea or to an evening gathering;
yet, in discussing matters of politics, as Free Soilers or sympathizers
with anti-slavery, they manifested an independence of speech which
showed that they were well acquainted with the subject they discussed.
It was so, also, in spiritual and religious matters, in school affairs
and in regard to pauperism. The women, young and old, held firmly to
their intellectual convictions, and these might be for or against their
fathers, brothers or husbands.

It astonished me to see how absolutely quietly and calmly discussions
were carried on, without bitterness or excitement, between opponents,
and how respectfully men would listen to each other and to the women
in particular, even when directly contradicted in their own views of
the case.

It was a great educational opportunity for me, broadening my whole
nature which had been narrowed by the German school training of being
_a subject_, first to the Government and next to Man.

I was often taken by surprise when, on the brink of forgetting that
these manifestations of independence could exist side by side with the
most ludicrous prejudice against me and my medical companions, I would
be seriously questioned, “Do you want to turn women into men?”

And when appearing in a church or meeting, we always noticed a
significant withdrawal of all present so that we medical students could
walk or sit conspicuously by ourselves. This isolation which bordered
on ostracism when exposed to a limited multitude was very painful to
bear, especially as we were young and at the time of life when the
_amour propre_ of the individual would seek obscurity rather than

Elizabeth Blackwell only wished to open “legally” to women a field of
labor which was successfully cultivated by them “illegally,” because we
find that women were numerously employed to relieve pain and to combat

They appear, it is true, in the capacity of nurses only, but in this
vocation their usefulness increased to such an extent that the name
“Doctresses” was given to them, and their advice and help were sought
by the educated and the ignorant, the rich and the poor, from far and

Legally, their position was not recognized. They maintained it either
through their evident integrity of purpose or through shrewdness,
making themselves as useful and as honored as the men physicians, who
in reality were often superior to them only because the position of the
men was made secure by political laws made by the men and for the men.

Thus when, in the later forties, a woman claimed the right of gaining
intellectual power, it appeared as if she stepped out of her sphere.
And this claim, so simple and natural, was perverted by a hostile
spirit into the claim that she wished “to become a man.”

Under the influence of this perverting and contaminating spirit, the
sensitive were shocked by her demands; the indolent were vexed; and the
wildest apprehensions were excited among both men and women.

I can recall by name even, persons who went to see Miss Blackwell at
the college where she studied, really expecting to behold a woman on
whom a beard had developed, but who were surprised to find a most
womanly woman, delicate in size and figure, timid and reserved in
manners, and modest in speech.

Agreeably disappointed in her, proud of her ability, and anxiously
wishing her success in all her desires and enterprises, they yet did
not dare to invite her to their houses or to request an introduction to
her, from fear that they might meet her on the streets and be forced to
recognize her in the presence of others.

To associate with or to employ a “doctress” famous merely for common
sense, was perfectly respectable and honorable, but to seek the
acquaintance of a woman who wished to enter “legally” upon the same
work which these doctresses performed was considered of very doubtful

The consequence was that my three fellow students withdrew entirely
into their own abodes and devoted themselves to their professional
work. This I could not possibly do. I had to persevere and get
acquainted with all phases of American life in order to become what I
had always hoped to be, an assistant organizer in the development of
the medical education of women.

“The Emancipated Woman!” That was the horror of the day, in social
life as well as in the press. And woe to those women who perhaps
through lack of physical beauty, or through want of taste in dress, or
through a too profound seriousness, did not observe all social graces
in detail. They became objects of criticism in private and in public.
Exaggerated descriptions and accounts of their every word and act, as
well as impertinent and ridiculous delineations, came forth in speech
and in print for the amusement of all those who wished to stagnate

Nobody could or would believe that in so few years the admission of
the right of women, as “human beings,” to do that for which they felt
best fitted would lead to the acceptance of the presence of women in
all branches of human activity; and not only this, but that these
women would be respected and honored, and appointed to positions of
responsibility hitherto filled only by men. And, again, that the
number of positions calling for them would be greater than the number
of women available, thus proving that there is no danger that all women
will desert their natural sphere as wives and mothers.


 _Interesting adventure leading to acquaintance with Ralph Waldo
 Emerson--Marie receives the degree of M.D.--The faculty presents
 her, as a gift, with the note which she had given in payment for her
 lecture fees--Reflections: direct benefit which the men students
 derived from co-education; tribute to her college teachers, especially
 Drs. Delamater and Kirtland. (Twenty-six years of age: 1856.)_

This second year of my stay in Cleveland was therefore a most valuable
episode of my life, turning all my views topsy-turvy, uprooting me, so
to say, from all German conservatism and throwing me into this chaotic
medley of contradictions.

However, the one straight aim of preparing myself for the examinations
leading to a medical diploma kept me from any alarming detour in my
progress of evolution, and the year closed without any other than
the usual events in the course of life, as, for instance, the birth
of a nephew which arrived in December and which I superintended, my
brother-in-law defraying my expenses to and from New York.

But I did have one very interesting adventure. And one daughter,
Virginia Vaughan, who had been really the means of my being asked to
become the guest of the house, was the leader in this. Mr. Ralph Waldo
Emerson had lectured in Cleveland and he was as usual a guest of Mrs.
Vaughan; she had been his pupil when a young lady and at school in
Boston and quite an intimacy existed between them. From Cleveland, Mr.
Emerson went to Hudson, ten miles away, the real seat of the Western
Reserve College, and he was advertised to lecture there at six in the

Virginia, anxious to hear Mr. Emerson again, came to the medical
college which closed at four in the afternoon, and proposed our going
to Hudson on the half-past four o’clock train to return on the one
leaving there at nine. On arriving at the Hudson lecture hall, we found
a notice posted on the door informing the public that the lecture would
be at seven o’clock.

We went back to the station intending to return to Cleveland and there
we found there was no train until the one at nine o’clock. The station
was a crude, cold room, having only an insignificant little stove, so
Virginia proposed that we find Mr. Emerson who, she knew, was at the
house of his cousin, Professor Emerson, a member of the college faculty.

It was a cold, bitter day with plenty of snow everywhere, so we could
do nothing better than seek the house of the Professor. There we were
made so cordially welcome by Mrs. Emerson that we forgot even our very
improper appearance in our common everyday working attire. These kind
hosts would not allow us to return in that last train but telegraphed
to the family in Cleveland of our whereabouts, insisting that we remain
with them over Sunday, there being no trains till Monday morning at
eight o’clock.

That evening, after returning from the lecture and while partaking of a
cup of hot tea, we noticed a bright rosy light upon the parlor windows.
Thinking it was an exhibition of “northern lights,” we all started for
the door. Alas! it was a great conflagration of magnificent hues of
dark red flame.

We went to see the spectacle from a little hill between the house and
the fire where hundreds of people were already assembled, all of whom
were warmed and pleased by the wonderful flames, without any one making
any effort to extinguish them or to try to prevent their spreading from
the burning cheese storehouse to the adjacent factory. Mr. Ralph Waldo
Emerson asked in astonishment of the men standing nearest, “Why don’t
you try to extinguish the fire?” One replied in a very phlegmatic way,
“Because we have no firemen or machines.” While another added, “Even if
we had, there would be no use for them as we have no water.” The little
town of Hudson, with its pretty streets and with a college aspiring to
become soon a university, was without water. This seemed impossible to
believe, yet it was true, as Professor Emerson assured us.

This night will always remain a memorable one, for independently of
that glorious illumination of the snow-covered city and landscape
which was so fearful and yet so wondrously beautiful, it gave me an
opportunity to get acquainted with one of the greatest philosophers
of our times. This opportunity was well used during the Sunday
morning when all but Mr. Ralph Waldo Emerson and myself went to
church, I having no suitable clothes for such attendance. This short
acquaintance gave rise to the many kind and pleasant words to people
with which Mr. Emerson favored me in later years, and to a very
interesting friendship with members of Professor Emerson’s family
residing in New York and Boston.

During the winter of 1855-1856, my life in Cleveland became doubly
interesting because I began to speak English and thus was able to
manifest my appreciation of the delightful impressions which I
received, directly and indirectly, through the channels outside of my
medical studies.

How often was I surprised by the doubts of these more or less radical
reformers concerning the success of women as medical practitioners.
Only Ralph Waldo Emerson spoke rationally about the innovation of
women physicians; yet he doubted that women would enter upon any other
profession except that of teaching.

Having spent Christmas in New York with my sisters and the family, who
enjoyed the newly arrived baby as only the first one can be enjoyed, I
returned to my college life with new zest, and I now had the extra task
to perform of writing my thesis for examination.

New Year’s Day, 1856, was cold and windy and brought a snowstorm. The
lake opposite the house presented a sad and terrible aspect in the
presence of an icebound schooner with several dead sailors covered
with ice and hanging in its rigging. Attempts to reach the vessel in
small boats had failed, and a number of sturdy, sympathizing men were
standing on the shore discussing plans for relief that still might be
given to some unseen fellow beings on board.

As the day was no holiday, I, of course, had to go to college. But it
was a bitter day. I thought my first winter in Cleveland was a severe
one, but this was cruelly so and it continued till late in March.

The first ten weeks of the year were spent very industriously by me in
preparing to pass my examinations, after my thesis was accepted. The
latter was considered exceptionally good, and was the cause of my not
failing as a candidate for a diploma, because I received only mediocre
marks in all the branches of study, even falling below the passing mark
in one branch.

I wish to make a statement of this fact here for many good reasons.
One is, that it shows the utter absurdity of giving marks or numbers
at all, for independently of my being still very awkward in English
expressions, I was, and still am, very slow in thinking out any subject
and I have a very poor mechanical memory.

Among my three companions I was very much liked when discussing or
reasoning out problems of our studies, often systematizing what seemed
to us chaotic on a first reading. They often made me the “quizzer,” and
I was not a little ashamed to hear with what readiness they gave names
and relations of organs, knowing how impossible it would be for me to
do the same.

But when it came to practical deductions or applications they always
relied upon me. I enjoyed the confidence of those professors with whom
I had practical instruction, and I had always out-patients on hand
to look after. For this latter, my companions felt they had no time,
sitting and committing to memory their lessons, and only one of them
had had any practical work in that she had lived in a “water-cure”

I envied my three friends not a little when I found they graduated with
full marks and high honors. However, the desired diploma of “M.D.” was
also awarded to me. I felt grateful for it, intending to make the most
conscientious use of the power thus given to me and which I felt I
fully deserved, as I could not help judging my medical knowledge to be
as complete as that of any one of the forty-two graduates.

And it is for this reason, also, that I condemn the method of judging
of the ability or competence of any student simply from questions and
answers. So much knowledge can be acquired by storing the memory with
all sorts of details, without making one’s self fit to digest what
is learned and to assimilate even a part of it. But how necessary is
this latter when one is called upon to help all sorts of conditions
in people who seek advice for physical, mental or moral ailments.
And a physician, in the full sense of the word, must be qualified to
help human nature from these three points of view. The mere studying
and learning by heart of the symptoms of diseases, and of the origin,
preparation and doses of drugs, ought to be the last chapter to be
examined upon.

My private studies in which examinations would have given much
more satisfactory results, were “biology,” “cellular anatomy” and
“comparative anatomy,” in none of which subjects had we any instruction
in the college. And it is my opinion that the medical profession will
not, and cannot, make medicine a science as long as these branches
(in both their physiological and pathological forms) are not studied
profoundly and made a foundation upon which to build methods for
averting or controlling disease. So long as physicians are taught to
talk of “curing disease,” so long will the whole profession wander in
the realm of empiricism, if not outright quackery.

It may be excusable that I thus use myself in illustrating what I
think is so pernicious, namely, cramming the memory with learning
isolated facts and filling the brain to its fullest capacity with the
names of authors and their opinions, leaving no room for individual
reasoning or research or for the power of making original deductions
and applications.

After this apparent digression, I must return to my theme, namely,
the last few weeks of my student life in Cleveland. As I have already
stated how distrustful the so-called “good society” was concerning
female medical students and how ready the so-called “reformers” were to
seek them, I must here mention a peculiar aberration which had taken
hold of the whole community. I refer to what was then called Mesmerism.
The individual thinking and theorizing on this subject assumed with
many persons a perfectly preposterous form. The views held were based
on no scientific research or study but simply on memorizing what was
published (often after the most superficial observation) regarding
hysterical or somnambulistic manifestations.

The faith with which statements of so-called “cures” in all sorts of
illnesses were received was just as widespread as that which later
accepted Clairvoyance, Hypnotism and Christian Science. These, one
after the other, followed the Mesmerism and Magnetism waves; but they
are all precisely the same thing, under other names, and they are
all more or less influenced by what is called Spiritualism. And the
countless “miracle” workers, under a host of names, are all of the same

The desire for the assistance of superrational influences is one of
the greatest obstacles which the human mind has to overcome. It will
take centuries of education before the majority of thinking beings will
learn that a cell will produce only its like, that modifications of the
cell are produced only after a time of slow and, as yet, imperceptible
changes, and not suddenly by prayer or personal magnetism.

One of the most perplexing phenomena which I observed was that educated
men themselves became victims of these delusions. For instance, I knew
a professor of botany who was so completely absorbed in the phenomena
of _Spiritualism_ and _Magnetism_ that he submitted himself
to treatment by these uneducated pretenders for an ailment produced by
malaria. It is sometimes almost discouraging to see that even education
will not prevent faith in the superrational or supernatural.

But the Earth has billions and billions of years to live, and at the
rate of mental development as we have observed it, I have no doubt
that the human intellect will grow out of its present infantile
condition into a maturity of which even the present generations have
no conception, although, unconsciously, we all assist in nursing the
embryo of intelligence which we call “knowledge” and “science.”

One may dream of the greatness of the human mind when all the
inhabitants of the earth will be as well-developed mentally as the few
out of the billions are to-day. One may imagine that the lowest of the
Pygmies in mid-Africa or the stupidest Esquimaux near the North Pole
will be able to think, to reason and to enjoy, as much as I do now; and
that the then great minds will work and struggle to bring up in the
scale such poor ignorant mortals as those of my present level, these
then existing by the billions as we have the billions of illiterate
existing to-day.

[Walt Whitman had a similar thought, and it is interesting to compare
her and his expression of it, remembering the difference between prose
and poetry, and the obstruction to expression caused by a foreign
tongue which never became easy to her. In “Leaves of Grass,” he says:

  This day before dawn I ascended a hill and looked at the crowded
  And I said to my Spirit, _When we become the enfolders of those
    orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of everything in them, shall
    we be filled and satisfied then?_
  And my Spirit said, _No, we but level that lift to pass and continue

In March, 1856, the great event took place. On Commencement Day,
forty-two students, four of whom were women, received the degree of
“M.D.” The hall in which the exercises took place was crowded, not only
with friends of the graduates but with a goodly number of the curious
of the city who had come to get a look at the women doctors. A deep
silence prevailed after the president had alluded to the female portion
of the students, and the dropping of a pin might have been heard when
one after the other, according to alphabetical arrangement, they
stepped up to the platform, each to receive her roll of parchment. No
sign for or against them was made and all went home in a dull, somber

The doors of the college had closed behind us, and the words of advice
to “go out and do honor to your chosen profession” with which the whole
event had concluded, rang in my ears, though I had not the slightest
idea how to realize them.

Shortly after Commencement, the dean of the college (Dr. Delamater)
called upon me. A call from this venerable gentleman was a thing so
unusual that numberless conjectures as to what this visit might mean
flitted through my brain on my way to the parlor. He received me, as
usual, paternally, wished me a thousand blessings, and handed back to
me the note for one hundred and twenty dollars, payable in two years,
which I had given for the lecture fees. He told me that in the meeting
of the faculty after graduation day, it was proposed by one of the
professors to return the note to me as a gift. To this, those present
cheerfully gave a unanimous vote, adding their wishes for my success
and appointing Dr. Delamater as their delegate to inform me of the

This was a glorious beginning, for which I am more than thankful, and
for which I was especially so at that time when I had barely money
enough to return to New York, with very small prospects of getting
means wherewith to commence practice. The mention of this fact might
be thought indiscreet by the faculty in Cleveland were they still so
organized as to admit women, which I am sorry to say is no longer the
case, though they give as their reason that women at present have their
own medical colleges and, consequently, no longer have need of theirs.

Before I quit the subject of the Cleveland College, I must mention a
fact which may serve as an argument against the belief that the sexes
cannot study together without exerting an injurious effect upon each
other. During the last winter of my study, there was such emulation in
respect to the graduating honors among the candidates for graduation,
comprising thirty-eight male and four female students, that all studied
more closely than they had ever done before--the men not wishing
to be excelled by the women, nor the women by the men. One of the
professors afterwards told me that whereas it was usually a difficult
thing to decide upon the best three theses to be read publicly at the
Commencement, since all were more or less indifferently written, this
year the theses were all so good that it was necessary, to avoid doing
absolute injustice, to select thirteen from which parts should be read.

Does not this prove that the stimulus of the one sex upon the other
would act favorably rather than otherwise upon the profession? And
would not the very best tonic that could be given to the individual be
to pique his _amour propre_ by the danger of being excelled by one
of the opposite sex? Is not this natural, and would not this be the
best and the surest reformation of humanity and its social condition,
if left free to work out its own development?

On the day following the visit of Dr. Delamater, I received a letter
from my brother-in-law in which he told me that his business compelled
him to go to Europe for half a year, and that he had, therefore, made
arrangements for me to procure money, in case that I should need it to
commence my practice. He said that he intended to assist me afterwards,
but that as he thought it best for my sister (his wife) to live out of
New York during his absence, he was willing to lend me as much money
as I required until his return. I accepted his offer with infinite
pleasure, for it was another instance of real friendship. He was by
no means a rich man but was simply in the employ of a large importing

By giving lessons in German, I had earned a little money that served
to cover my most necessary expenses. For the last months that I spent
in Cleveland, I carried in my purse one solitary cent as a sort of
talisman, firmly believing that some day it would turn into gold; but
this did not happen, and on the day that I was expecting the receipt of
the last eighteen dollars for my lessons, which were designed to bear
my expenses to New York, I gave it to a poor woman in the street who
begged me for a cent, and it doubtless ere long found its way into a

The twenty months that I spent in Cleveland were chiefly devoted to the
study of medicine in the English language, and in this I was assisted
by most noble-hearted men. Dr. Delamater’s office became a pleasant
spot and its occupants a necessity to me. On the days that I did not
meet them, my spirits fell below zero.

In spite of the pecuniary distress from which I constantly suffered,
I was happier in Cleveland than ever before or since. I lived in my
element, having a fixed purpose in view and enjoying the warmest tokens
of real friendship. I was liked in college, and though the students
often found it impossible to repress a hearty laugh at my ridiculous
blunders in English, they always showed me respect and fellowship in
the highest sense of the terms.

After receiving the degree of “M.D.” and leaving the college behind me,
it seems quite right to stop for a few moments and cast a retrospective
glance at my own situation, objectively. I wonder whether any one can
justly claim that one has always followed a well-laid plan in life, or
whether conditions and environment do not mold our actions, sustain our
firmness and fortify our persistence in following or working towards a
positive aim.

I do not think that in youth the individual shapes the _modus
operandi_ of any undertaking. In spite of having a vague idea, or
even a strong desire to carry into effect such an idea, environment
as well as outside influences must come to the aid, in order to keep
alive and to nourish the hope that his preconceived idea or desire
can ever be realized. Without such assistance, the young aspirant can
easily be diverted and led into spheres of action not intended or
desired in the first instance.

After we become older, we may honestly imagine that we followed a
regularly planned course in life, when we really lived simply according
to whatever chances from time to time molded or influenced our activity.

During the years from 1850 to March, 1856, it now seems to me that no
definite plan determined my action, and that all that guided me was the
strong desire to make for myself “an independent livelihood” and to
assist all persons who felt that same strong desire.

Several times I was tempted to change my field of work so as to
obtain this independence. For instance, in Berlin, after leaving the
Charité Hospital, offers were made to me by eminent physicians to take
charge of private hospitals which were then beginning to be started,
especially for surgery. I did not accept these offers, partly because
they again placed me in dependence and partly because surgery had been
distasteful to me as it was then practiced, without anesthetics, the
use of neither ether nor chloroform having become general.

So, as we reason from the concrete to the abstract, I doubt that any
one, man or woman, can stand up and declare that one has achieved
exactly what one hoped to achieve when entering upon the battlefield of
active life. There is no doubt that an intrinsic fitness for a certain
kind of activity guides us towards such influences as we need to
develop this fitness, but that is all.

It is for this reason, perhaps, that I never married, although educated
and trained with the idea that the true sphere of woman is to be a
wife and mother. Also, I was very sentimentally inclined towards men,
to moonlight walks and to the exchange of friendly letters; but I
always grew tired of it all in a very short time and decided that none
of these attachments was the right one, proving that my desire for
independence was innate. So, happy the man who got released from me and
happy was I to remain free.

Again, after arriving in New York, I might just as well have become a
manufacturer, as I had begun to be, if I had become familiar with the
English language. I was quite happy in that branch of work and was
able to assist many a woman in various ways. But the impossibility of
acquiring the language in that limited sphere prevented the enlargement
of my knowledge and connections necessary in that branch of activity.

Then later came, last but not least, the temptation to go as missionary
to the Cherokee Indians. I have not a doubt that in that direction I
could have developed my independence and have been extremely useful,
had I not been influenced by people in whose judgment I had full
confidence--a rare thing in young, impulsive, enthusiastic natures, to
accept the advice of others. I was bridled and held in check, not by a
clear vision but by influences which overpowered me as the magnet does
the iron which it attracts.

Also, do I consider it fair and right and not out of place to speak of
the lecturers and teachers connected with the medical department of the
Western Reserve College. At the time as well as in the following years,
I often heard depreciatory remarks about our professors and their
methods of instruction.

There was no doubt that a very few of the students in attendance had
a collegiate education superior to that which some of the professors
might have had in their younger days, for instance, Dr. John J.
Delamater, then over seventy years old, and Dr. J. B. Kirtland, not far
from seventy, both of them the kindest of men, true philanthropists and
men of a natural genius who had attained a high position among their
fellow men.

They had had, perhaps, less advantages in booklearning when young, yet
they had the power of inspiring youth to a higher and more thorough
study, and their influence in developing the thinking powers of the
students was something remarkable. Originality of thought, reasoning
and deduction was the example given to us by them. And the form of
their teachings was not so much memorizing prescribed methods as the
teaching of the students how to observe closely all the phenomena of
the case of illness in question and how to study the smallest details,
physical, mental and moral, in order to find the primary cause. Such
instruction can never be gained from books, although medical literature
has now begun to attempt it. Many of the students ridiculed the hints
and directions given, while to others they were the inspiration for
deeper study even after the degree was obtained.

I know it was so in my case, and works like Kölliker’s _Comparative
Anatomy_, later Virchow’s _Cellular Pathology_, and works on
biology, embryology and histology became really the foundation upon
which I built my practice, taking little heed of recommendations of how
to treat cases or how to administer doses of this or that old or new
remedy or system of remedies. I did my own reasoning, I made my own
deductions, in as logical a method as possible as the cases revealed
themselves to my understanding through physical or psychical symptoms.
Originality and spontaneity of mental action are injured by unthinking
cramming of mind and memory with booklearning.

It is for these reasons that I love to think, with gratitude and a deep
feeling of honor, of the men who then constituted the medical faculty,
although two of them were greatly annoyed by the presence of the four
women students and did not hesitate to manifest their feelings in word
and deed, without being offensive.

Indeed, even this feeling that our presence was objectionable was of
use in our training, as it gave us a strong foretaste of the prejudice
which we were to meet in our professional lives. And it helped us in
many ways to develop the courage which we were to need in meeting the
offensive behavior of many physicians and students with whom we were
obliged to come in contact when trying to seek fellowship in private
practice, or to increase our knowledge, or to gain admittance to public


 _Returns to New York to begin practice as an M.D.--Insuperable
 difficulties encountered by a woman physician in finding an office
 to rent in New York--Dr. Zakrzewska opens her office in one of Dr.
 Blackwell’s parlors--No admission for women to dispensaries or
 hospitals--Infirmary remains closed for lack of money--Dr. Zakrzewska
 meets Mary L. Booth who informs the newspapers and social circles of
 the medical women--In desperation, she goes to Boston to visit Mrs.
 Severance and to seek contributions for the Infirmary--Meets Mr.
 Samuel E. Sewall and his daughter Lucy--Her campaign in Boston is
 successful--Its extension to Portland, Maine, is unsuccessful--She
 goes to Philadelphia for the same purpose but succeeds only in
 convincing the Female Medical College there that it must build a
 hospital for itself--A second visit to Boston to ask help for the
 long-delayed Infirmary Fair--Meets Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney--Extends
 campaign to smaller towns around Boston with no success. (Twenty-six
 years of age: 1856.)_

With regret, I made ready to depart from Cleveland. I dreaded the
obstacles which I saw and felt were before me and which I must conquer.
I fully felt the isolated social position which we four women medical
students had occupied in Cleveland. My three companions, belonging
to the orthodox church and disapproving of each and every subject
discussed in Mr. Mayo’s congregation, had absolutely no outside
recreation, “even of the body,” and were shunned even in the boarding
house by the inmates there, where we had found an otherwise comfortable
home during the first winter, in 1854.

I realized the opposition to women physicians still more after I
had learned to speak English. Strange to say, this was far stronger
among women than among men in and outside of the profession. My
discouragement grew the stronger the nearer the end of my stay in
Cleveland approached.

Following Commencement Day, a tremendous snowstorm was the first event
which blockaded my next movements; for days no trains could pass the
roads; the last quarter of my lessons in German had ended on March 1;
my packing made little demand on my time and it was finished. I had
no special interests to keep me longer in Cleveland, and I began to
consider this calamity of snow a bad omen when Mr. Willey brought home
the news that, in a roundabout way and by changing trains four times, I
might be able to reach New York in thirty-six hours.

So I started off and I had really a most tedious journey, suffering
greatly from the cold before I reached my family, after forty hours in
trains, and finding New York just getting free from the snow blockades
of the streets.

The welcome at my sisters’ was cordial. The one next in age to me
had taken a position in a large wholesale millinery establishment,
receiving a good salary, while the next younger one superintended the
household, and the youngest attended school. We were all hoping that
our father would get his furlough for a visit and counsel as to what
to do next with the family. Both brothers had gone to the Far West,
seeking their own fortunes as brothers usually do.

Although our father sent financial aid to the two younger sisters,
eighteen and eleven years old, I had no hope of such assistance from
him, and I could not settle down with the family because they resided
in Hoboken, New Jersey.

This was too far distant from Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell as well as from
the center of the poor among whom it was necessary to seek patients.
I felt the necessity of familiarizing myself with general practice in
which I had had but very slight training. No clinical instruction was
attempted in college, all students depending upon the private practice
of their preceptors for this kind of teaching. We women students had
received scarcely any such opportunities, as even our kind and beloved
Dr. Delamater could not often venture upon such an innovation as to
take a female student with him, even when visiting the poorest patients.

My good brother-in-law, who did not have my father’s prejudices and his
distrust in my eventual success as a practitioner, offered me financial
aid, promising to give guaranties to the people from whom I would hire
rooms where I might begin practice.

Immediately after my arrival in New York, I began to look out for a
suitable office, consulting Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, with whom I had
maintained a constant correspondence, in regard to location.

My fears concerning the opposition to women physicians were fully
realized. I found no well-regulated household would rent rooms to
me. I investigated everywhere, in all respectable parts of New York
wherever signs announced “Parlor to let for a physician” or where I
was sent by agents. But as soon as it was learned that it was a woman
physician who desired the office, I was denied the opportunity of even
looking at the advertised rooms. Thus days and weeks were spent. I even
began to explain and to remonstrate with those who sought tenants, but
it was all in vain.

Some were afraid to let an office to a female physician lest she might
turn out a spiritual medium, clairvoyant, hydropathist, etc. Others,
who believed me when I told them that I had a diploma from a regular
school and should never practice contrary to its requirements, inquired
to what religious denomination I belonged, and whether I had a private
fortune or intended to support myself by my practice. While the third
class, who asked no questions at all, demanded three dollars a day for
a back parlor alone, without the privilege of putting a sign on the
house or the door.

Now all this may be very exasperating when it is absolutely necessary
that one should have a place upon which to put a sign to let the world
know that she is ready to try her skill upon suffering humanity; but
it has such a strongly ludicrous side that I could not be provoked in
spite of all the fatigue and disappointment of wandering over the city
when, with aching limbs, I commenced the search afresh each morning,
with the same prospect of success.

Finally, in a moderate-sized house, I was admitted by an introductory
letter from an agent. The lady was kind and pleasant, entered into
conversation with me and informed me that a cousin of hers had drawn
her attention to the fact that women studied medicine in Cleveland. On
further talk, she spoke of one who was especially liked by her cousin
through the interest which Ralph Waldo Emerson took in her. And thus I
found that this lady was a cousin of Mrs. Emerson, of Hudson, Ohio.

Of course, my heart was delighted to find a cultured woman not only
interested in me and my profession but who was also willing to have me
become a member of her household, if--her husband agreed to such an
arrangement. Alas! in a few days came a letter in which she regretted
that her husband could not reconcile himself to a woman doctor. He
feared all sorts of annoyances should he take such a step as to have a
woman doctor go in and out of his house. At any rate, he could not bear
the thought of having the sign of a woman physician on his house.

Such was the horror that beset every one, that woman would disgrace
decency and undertake abhorred practice. The name of “Madame Restelle”
was on every one’s tongue as typifying the “female physician.” She was
then the leading abortionist, of whom a prominent lawyer said, when Dr.
Blackwell and I called upon him to see if something could not be done
to stop her in her vile career, “She is a social necessity, and she
will be protected by rich and influential personages.” However, I may
here remark that after many years of agitation, her infamous business
succeeded in placing her and some of her disciples in prison, and,
eventually, she killed herself by drowning in the spacious bathtub of
the extravagantly luxurious house on Fifth Avenue, where she resided
under her real name.

Thus time passed, and I could find no abode. My lack of success was
similar to that of Dr. Blackwell who had finally been obliged to rent
a house, and she now proposed that I should join her at her home, she
letting me have the back parlor for office purposes. Thus I was able to
arrange for office work as well as for general practice. Arrangements
were concluded and, on April 17, I established myself with her, yet
independent of her, in business.

Still, small as was Dr. Blackwell’s practice, this association was of
great benefit to me. Her household consisted of her relatives and was
headed by an older sister and her mother, a fine, cultivated lady.
Antoinette Brown Blackwell and her husband joined us just before their
oldest daughter was expected, and there also came Lucy Stone and
her husband, Henry Blackwell. In fact we were a delightful family,
suffering more or less from social ostracism but happy in spirit, and
feeling far above the ordinary run of mankind in the belief of our
superiority in thought and aim.

I love to remember the friendship which developed between Dr. Elizabeth
Blackwell and myself when, wearied and disappointed in waiting for
patients who seldom appeared, we renewed our courage by getting
temporarily away from the field of struggle. On Sundays, we took long,
long walks in Staten Island, in Jersey Heights, yes, even as far as
Hackensack, watching the budding trees, the inspiring scenery and the
glorious sunsets, and renewing our faith in our calling as physicians.
And we discussed all kinds of plans as to how to become of use to our
fellow men and to ourselves.

[These must have been memorable walks, for Dr. Blackwell refers to
them again and again in later life in her letters from England to Dr.
Zakrzewska, recalling “the picture which is hung up in memory, the
dark-haired young physician with whom I used to walk on Weehawken

Alas! money was wanting. To resume even the little dispensary work of
two years previous was impossible, for the reëstablishment of that
called for a sum of five hundred dollars and this we could not raise.
Meanwhile, we tried to get opportunities to improve our practical
knowledge by endeavoring to get admission into dispensaries or
hospitals. Everywhere we met objections, and everywhere we found denial.

Many high-stationed professors and physicians to whom Dr. Blackwell
had applied were willing, but the general practitioners objected, just
as remains the situation at present in most instances. The fear that
women doctors would diminish their practice was the real cause of
their objection; although the denials were usually expressed as the
moral conviction that women could not take any serious responsibility,
or, if they did, that they would unsex themselves. However, a
German physician, Dr. Aigner, and a Scotch physician, Dr. McCready,
occasionally allowed me to accompany them to their respective hospital
and dispensary.

Meanwhile, I had regularly attended the Fair meetings which were held
every Thursday, wondering how persons could afford to meet to so
little purpose. There was scarcely any life in these gatherings, and
when I saw ladies come week after week to resume the knitting of a
baby’s stocking (which was always laid aside again in an hour or two,
without any marked progress), I began to doubt whether the sale of
these articles would ever bring ten thousand cents instead of the ten
thousand dollars which it was proposed at the first meeting to raise in
order to buy a house. I used to say on Wednesday, “To-morrow we have
our Fair meeting. I wonder whether there will be, as usual, two and a
half persons present or three and three-quarters.”

After weeks of this idle waiting, for the few patients who came
through acquaintances did not fill much of my time, I began to feel
desperate, especially as social life also was so utterly closed against
us, and this latter was such a necessity to my temperament. I then
proposed to go canvassing with circulars giving information of our
previous experiment, to try to collect money for the establishment of a

The idea occurred to me to go from house to house and ask for a dime
at each, which, if given, would amount to ten dollars a day; and, with
the money thus collected daily for half a year, to establish a nucleus
hospital which, as a fixed fact, should stimulate its friends to
further assistance.

I took my notebook and wrote out the whole plan, and also calculated
the expenses of such a miniature hospital as I proposed, including
furniture, beds, household utensils, everything, in short, that was
necessary in such an institution. With this book which I still have
in my possession, I went one evening into Dr. Blackwell’s parlor and,
seating myself, told her that I could not work any longer for the Fair
in the way that the ladies were doing; and then read my plan to her,
which I advocated long and earnestly.

She finally agreed with me that it would be better speedily to
establish a small hospital than to wait for the large sum that had
been proposed, though she did not approve of the scheme of the dime
collection, fearing that I would not only meet with great annoyances
but would also injure my health in the effort. At that time, after some
discussion, I agreed with her. Now I think that this plan would have
been better than that which I afterwards followed. On the same evening
I proposed, and we agreed, that on a year from that day (the 1st of
May, 1857), the New York Infirmary should be opened.

I went to rest with a light heart, but rose sorrowfully in the morning.
“In one year from to-day, the Infirmary must be opened,” said I to
myself, “and the funds towards it are two pairs of half-knit babies’
stockings.” The days passed in thinking what was the next best scheme
to raise money for its foundation, when an accidental visit from Mary
L. Booth to Dr. Blackwell turned the tide in another direction. Miss
Booth was serving her apprenticeship as a journalist through the
kindness of the editor of the New York _Times_.[7] Her sister who
was a patient of Dr. Blackwell had interested both Mary and him in the
idea of women doctors, so Mary came to interview us concerning our
practical progress.

This interview led to the disclosure of our wishes and plans regarding
the dispensary, and Miss Booth, taking up the idea, made our wishes
known in the _Times_, very guardedly, of course, but decidedly.
The effect of this little notice was remarkable, and it gave both Dr.
Blackwell and myself new hope and also the courage to ask for similar
remarks in other papers.

At the same time, my social circle became a little widened through this
acquaintance with Miss Booth which I developed when I found that she
also was a beginner in her career and had obstacles to overcome; as,
for instance, hiding her sex by signing only her initials to whatever
she wrote, or not signing at all.

Thus a few new friends were obtained for our cause, and a few of Dr.
Blackwell’s patients who belonged to the sect of Quakers, and who
had sustained the former dispensary, came forward promising small
subscriptions towards a new effort. Yet no sum was large enough to
warrant the expenditure of five hundred dollars, the amount absolutely
needed to open this charity for the poor and the chance for us to gain
practical experience.

About this time, Dr. Harriot K. Hunt, of Boston, sent a patient of
hers to Dr. Blackwell. This patient was accompanied by Dr. W. H.
Channing, who was not in practice but who attended this patient with
Dr. Blackwell. Becoming acquainted with Dr. Channing, I disclosed to
him our financial, professional and social position, enlarging upon the
difficulty of obtaining that practical experience in clinics which is
so absolutely necessary to the young physician.

Then as I told him of the plan of establishing a dispensary which
could have a small number of indoor patients, in fact, the nucleus of
a hospital for which Dr. Blackwell had already obtained a charter from
the Legislature, his enthusiasm created not only hope but courage.

He spoke so ardently of Boston as being liberal and “the hothouse
of all reforms” that I proposed visiting that noble city in the
interest of our plans and asked him for introductions, as I knew
only Dr. Harriot K. Hunt and Mrs. Severance, the latter recently
removed to Boston from Cleveland. He gave me a list of names of Boston
ladies--Miss Lucy Goddard, Miss Mary Jane Parkman, Miss Abby May and
Mrs. E. D. Cheney.

When I look over my diary and see that the time of my receiving my
degree and leaving Cleveland was in March and that this proposition to
go to Boston was only three months later, it seems a fact impossible
to believe. For the restlessness caused by the want of opportunity
to further our desires seemed to turn days into weeks and weeks into
months. I find in one of my notes the words, “It seems an impossibility
to find friends for our cause; nobody seems to feel the need of
hospital or dispensary for the practical training of women physicians.
Even our gentlemen friends in the profession say women must find this
training for themselves among the poor.”

I may here remark, perhaps, a fact which amused me greatly. So far,
I had had but very little opportunity to write prescriptions, but
whenever I gave any I added my initials, M. E. Z., as signature, thus
proving my responsibility. Every time such a prescription was received
by an American apothecary, a messenger called to inquire the meaning
of those mystical signs. And when I explained that it was my name
which was too long to write in full, I was told that signatures to
prescriptions were not customary or needed. However, I continued to
sign mine, for I felt from the very outset that I must establish the
position of being responsible for all I did, so that in case of trouble
from either patient or apothecary I could protect myself. So I never
followed the then prevailing custom of giving prescriptions without
indicating for whom they were intended and by whom they were issued.
Perhaps I may add that my practice by the end of the year had brought
me one hundred and twenty dollars.

The earnestness with which Dr. Blackwell advocated not only the
necessity of having women as physicians but also their thorough
education and training for practice was convincing to a few friends,
who promised to assist with subscriptions as soon as the idea had taken
shape and had materialized itself in a building in which the experiment
could be tried.

Nobody has fathomed the depth of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell’s soul as I
have had the opportunity to do. On our delightful long walks she was
the speaker, and her reasoning was so sound, her determination so firm,
her love for humanity so true, that she seemed to me a prophet of no
ordinary insight and foresight. Even now, when doubts arise in me
whether women will develop fully all the chances provided for their
higher scientific education, I recall her words and quiet my doubts,
remembering that what one woman has done, thousands can do and will
do. To me she was, and is, not preëminently the physician but the
philanthropic philosopher, the standard bearer of a higher womanhood.

To such a nature, it is given to inspire others with an idea or an
ideal but not the faculty of execution or organization. I was able to
supply these latter qualities, and, encouraged by the description of
Boston’s liberal element, I proposed to Dr. Blackwell to search for a
house which would suit our purposes and to get an estimate of the rent
and the expense of furnishing it, so as to have a definite sum for
which to beg, since simple statements were not sufficient.

[Dr. Blackwell refers to such complementary relations in a letter to
Dr. Zakrzewska, written in later years, in which she alludes to the
days here described and says:

 “I work chiefly in Principles, and you in putting them into practical
 use; and one is essential to the other in this complex life of ours.”

Again she refers to these days, “as we sat in Fifteenth Street planning
those everlasting bazaars,” and she writes:

 “You are a natural doctor, and your best work will always be in the
 full exercise of direct medical work.... You know I am different from
 you in not being a natural doctor; so, naturally, I do not confine
 myself to practice.

 “I am never without some patients but my thought, and active interest,
 is chiefly given to some of those moral ends--for which ends I took up
 the study of medicine.”]

The house was found in Bleecker Street close by the poor quarters,
at an annual rental of one thousand, three hundred dollars, and an
estimate was made of another five hundred dollars for furnishing, as
well as an outlay of one hundred dollars for fuel. My proposition was
now to go to Boston and try to get half of the rent pledged for a three
years’ lease, Dr. Blackwell to raise the other half of the three years’
rent from friends in New York, and then to hold a Sale or Fair to raise
the remaining six hundred dollars.

On the next day, the regular Fair meeting was held at Dr. Blackwell’s.
The new plan was brought forward, and, although it was as yet nothing
but a plan, it acted like a warm, soft rain upon a field after a long
drought. The knitting and sewing (for which I have a private horror
under all conditions) were laid aside, to my great relief. And the
project was talked of with so much enthusiasm that I already saw myself
in imagination making my evening visits to the patients in the New York
Infirmary; while all the members present (and there were unusually
many--I think, six or seven) discussed the question the next day among
their circles of friends whether Henry Ward Beecher or a physician of
high standing should make the opening speech in the institution.

This excitement increased the interest exceedingly, and the succeeding
meetings were quite enthusiastic. The babies’ stockings were never
again resumed (don’t think that because I detested those stockings so
much I am cruel enough to wish the little creatures to go barefoot),
but plans were made for raising money in New York and for getting
articles for sale on a larger scale.

Thus it happened that I went to Boston for the second time in the
beginning of July, visiting Mrs. C. M. Severance and using my
introductions to begin a regular, systematized campaign “to beg for an
institution for American women.” For myself I could never have begged;
I would sooner have drowned myself. Now I determined to beg money
from Americans to establish an institution for their own benefit. Dr.
Blackwell agreed to this plan, as there was nothing risked in it, I
taking the whole responsibility.

In spite of finding the women of Boston quite ready to listen to me,
it was not an easy task to get a three years’ promise of six hundred
and fifty dollars. The first question put to me was always, “Can you
not raise this small sum in rich New York?” The explanation had to
be repeated over and over that only a very few women in social life
dared to connect themselves openly with “such radical reformers” as
we appeared to them. To turn upon “the sphere of woman” and declare
openly that she can take the whole responsibility of managing a public
institution, as well as the care as a physician of sick women and
children, seemed so monstrous to most men and women that in New York
money was intrusted to us only with incredulity.

The second and more important question was as to “why we needed and
wanted a dispensary and a hospital for women physicians.” Nobody at
this present time would or could believe that this need then had to
most people a preposterous sound.

And here I may tell you an episode which occurred to me in
Philadelphia, to which city I went after returning from Boston with
my six hundred and fifty dollars pledged. In Philadelphia, the first
medical college for women (the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania),
had been established in 1850, and it was housed in extremely modest
quarters in a rear building on Arch Street. I was introduced through
Dr. Ann Preston, one of the first graduates of this college and now
one of its professors. And I spoke to the friends of this enterprise
at a gathering of both men and women, explaining the need of a
practical professional training after a merely theoretical course of
instruction. I tried to make plain the greater difficulties which beset
the introduction of the young women students to the private patients
of their preceptors even though these patients were ever so poor, and
I illustrated the situation by quoting Dr. Ann Preston’s conscientious
refusal to practice under such circumstances, she simply teaching
physiology in the college. I also spoke of others going to Europe to
seek this clinical instruction from foreign physicians and maternity

After having exhausted the subject, as well as myself, one of the
ladies present said--it was in the parlors of Lucretia Mott--“Then
thee thinks that a hospital must be connected with the college?” I
replied, “Yes.” “Then thee thinks that practical training cannot be got
by the young physician among the poor?” I said, “No.” “We thank thee
for thy coming to tell us so, and we promise thee that we shall exert
ourselves at once to get a hospital of our own.”

Thus ended my efforts in that noble city. But the Philadelphia Woman’s
Hospital was established there within the five years following my visit.

In Portland, Maine, where I went by the advice of Mr. Samuel E. Sewall
and his aunt, Miss ----, I also met with no success for the Infirmary.
Here, in spite of my being the guest of some of their relatives, none
dared to expose themselves to the ridicule of asking acquaintances
to see or hear a woman doctor. To illustrate again something of the
feeling regarding a woman doctor, I must tell an incident which in
after years caused us great amusement.

Dr. Harriot K. Hunt had introduced me, in Boston, to Mr. Joseph Sewall,
and we had been invited to meet Mr. Samuel E. Sewall, Miss Lucy E.
Sewall and Miss ----, their aunt. While sitting in the parlor waiting
for the dinner hour, Lucy Sewall went upstairs and, as she told me in
later years, examined my cloak, bonnet and gloves in order to find out
whether they were neat and respectable, she feeling a great uncertainty
as to whether a regularly graduated and practicing woman physician
could attend to the minor details of proper habiliments. Dr. Hunt was
accepted by them as a curiosity but she had never been a regular
student in a college. However, all this company became our truest
friends, as the history of the New England Hospital for Women and
Children testifies.

The season being July, it was not favorable for doing any more than
securing signatures, guaranteeing for the New York Infirmary for
Indigent Women and Children six hundred and fifty dollars, for half
the rent annually for three years. But friendly invitations to revisit
Boston caused me to return in early October.

The encouragement which I brought back to New York from the Boston
friends rendered it easy for Dr. Blackwell to secure among her friends
the other half of the rent. However, we also needed money to furnish
and to prepare the house as a hospital and dispensary. But we hoped to
obtain this additional money from the Fair which had been so long in
preparation, and it was in connection with this that I again appeared
in Boston.

It was then that I made the most valuable acquaintance of Mrs. E. D.
Cheney who has ever since been a true and devoted friend of the medical
education of women.

This visit was rich in experience as I was introduced by my
acquaintances made in July to a great number of the leading women in
the anti-slavery cause. From these I learned how the anti-slavery
bazaars were managed, and I obtained a promise to provide a table at
our New York fair in December, as well as the names of several ladies
who would superintend it, so that accommodations for their sojourn in
New York might be made. Another table was promised by Dr. Blackwell’s
English friends to whom she had appealed by letters.

I also visited a number of the smaller towns around Boston for the
same purpose but without success. A list of the Boston people in whose
houses I spoke, creating enthusiasm, and who subscribed towards the
half of the Infirmary rent as well as towards the table for the Fair,
is still in my possession and I will here copy the names:

  Miss Lucy Goddard
  Miss Abby May
  Miss Mary Jane Parkman
  Mrs. George Hildreth
  Mrs. George Hilliard
  Miss Anna Lowell
  Mrs. Mary G. Shaw
  Mrs. Sarah S. Russell
  Mrs. W. L. Garrison
  Mrs. E. D. Cheney
  Miss Sarah Clarke
  Mrs. James Freeman Clarke
  Mr. George W. Bond
  Mr. Samuel E. Sewall

besides a goodly number of others not so prominent in benevolent and
advanced work for women.


 _Boston’s help for the Infirmary stimulates New York, sometimes to
 unconscious humor--Meeting with Fanny Kemble--Dr. Zakrzewska obtains
 entrée into the variety of social “circles” then existing--The Cary
 sisters--Women of the Press--The educational circle--The esthetic
 group--The so-called Free Lovers--The artistic circle--Mrs. Z.’s
 social circle--The philanthropic circle--The Fourierites--The
 demonstrating Spiritualists--Woman’s Rights meetings--Dr. Zakrzewska
 and Horace Greeley opposing speakers in discussion on “Divorce”--Dr.
 Emily urges Dr. Blackwell to give up New York for London, opposition
 there being lessened by Florence Nightingale’s work--The Fair finally
 materializes and is successful--Dr. Emily Blackwell returns from
 Europe, making the third physician working upon the Infirmary plans.
 (Twenty-seven years of age: 1856.)_

Meanwhile, the letters from Dr. Emily Blackwell, who was completing her
medical studies in England, urged Dr. Blackwell to give up her life in
America and come to England as a more promising field for developing
the introduction of medical women into practice.

But Dr. Blackwell held fast to the fact that in America the first
Woman’s Medical College (Philadelphia) had been in existence for
several years, and she felt that it would be unwise to desert this

The struggles of this little college were so great because all aids
to foster its growth were so hard to acquire; and also because many a
student withdrew from the school after a few months of attendance upon
learning what great obstacles were to be overcome in acquiring medical
knowledge and how great was the social prejudice against female medical
students. Hence, only the brave, the courageous, the determined, and
the financially equipped women could remain and weather the stormy days
of their student life.

Thus it was felt best that the realization of the New York Infirmary
should be carried on; and Dr. Emily promised to interest her English
friends to contribute to the English table. Dr. Blackwell’s friends and
well-wishers began with great zeal to arrange sewing circles, while new
friends were acquired who were willing to assist in the charity even if
not inclined to the “reformers,” as we were called.

An old lady, Mrs. T----, residing on Fifth Avenue, was one of the newly
acquired friends. She also wished to assist us by introducing us into
her circle and she invited me to her reception days which were held
from eleven to one--the fashionable hours at that time.

The difficulty was not in my name, for it was very fashionable at
that time to introduce exiles and their friends into society, but
what should be my title? She said that I was too young to be called
“Madame”; and “Miss” would not sound well with my unpronounceable name
while “Doctor”--oh! no! she could not call me that; and “Doctress” was
not reputable. So, what?

Then, what would I talk about? “Hospitals,” of course. Yes, of
course--and then she added, tolerantly, “Well, if you must talk on
hospitals, do not mention women doctors but say for the purpose of
‘training nurses,’ which is now so fashionable in England through Miss
Nightingale’s training at Kaiserswerth, Germany.”

Another lady invited me to dine with her. And she remarked, “I shall be
all alone and we can talk your plans over without being disturbed or
ridiculed by my husband and sons. You see,” she added, “my daughters
are married and we hold by our fortune a position which would equal
that of a duchess in your country, so we must be very careful not to
offend good taste by inviting reformers without a thorough knowledge
of their plans.” When I replied that my ancestry was about as good as
her money as we dated our name back to 911, she was quite relieved and
asked permission to tell this fact to her friends in order to explain
her interest in me.

Then there was the little incident which I never can forget, so
ludicrous did it appear to me, when Dr. Blackwell and I called upon
Fanny Kemble, and she most tragically exclaimed, “_Women_

During the summer months, Dr. Blackwell gained a number of new
acquaintances who, being inclined towards the elevation of woman’s
education, were sent to us by Dr. Harriot K. Hunt, of Boston. Among
these were Miss Elizabeth Peabody and Miss Anne Whitney (the latter
then known simply as a poet, now also as a sculptor) who interested
themselves deeply in our projects. And through them we became
acquainted with Mrs. Angelina Grimké Weld and her sister, Miss Sarah
Grimké, and Mrs. Spring, all these being our neighbors across the
Hudson, residing at Eagleswood. Other valuable aid came through Mrs.
Lucy Stone and Mrs. Antoinette Brown Blackwell who, sharing the home
with us, formed strong links with all the liberally inclined members of
the anti-slavery movement. My friend, Mary L. Booth, became of great
assistance to me, and I joined an association of women, called the
_Alpha_, of which she was secretary.

There was a quiet revolution going on in all strata of social life. The
present generation can form only an approximate idea of the spirit of
the time in those years. New England transcendentalism had influenced
all intelligent people throughout the country. It was a real _Sturm
und Drang_ period which pervaded men and women alike. Abolitionism
was at its height. Everywhere, the _pros_ and _cons_ of the means to
abolish slavery was the topic of conversations and discussions. And
transcendentalism was interpreted into all kinds of _isms_ because
nobody could define its meaning. Thus it happened that there arose
a great many circles and cliques in which one or more theories were

One of the pleasantest of these circles was that formed by the sisters,
Alice and Phœbe Cary, who kept open house every Sunday evening from
eight to eleven o’clock. These were not the fashionable, senseless
receptions of the present day, but real social gatherings where
everybody came regularly and often took up the conversation where
it was left unfinished the week before, or brought the new events
of the week for discussion. All was informal; no sitting down, the
little parlor often holding fifty or sixty guests, many representing
the press or politics; no refreshments except a pitcher of cold water
and glasses in the hall. Eminent men were always the center at these
gatherings--the names of Greeley, Colfax, Ripley, Garrison, and a host
of similar leaders were never wanting.

This description answers very well for all the other circles. The
charm of all these gatherings consisted in the fact that they were not
receptions but places where everybody came regularly when disengaged
otherwise, or while in New York if not resident. No refreshments were
served but a liberal supply of ice water, with plenty of glasses, stood
in a little room or in the hall, while conversation or discussion or
music or even dancing formed the attraction.

One circle was the promoter of women in the press, and this was
headed by Mrs. Elizabeth Oakes Smith. She held open house on Thursday
evenings, and here all the then-known press women, musicians and
artists met in the most liberal spirit.

In the educational field were Mrs. Kirtland and Miss Haynes, who each
had the best school for young ladies but to whose houses invitations
were needed.

The esthetic group, representing those who aspired to the cultivation
of the fine arts, and including exiles of renown, gathered at evening
receptions under the leadership of Mrs. X. In her elegant parlors every
one who was introduced by those already accepted was welcomed and
entertained with music, conversation and card playing. Mr. and Mrs.
George Hildreth could be found there week after week, as well as the
then most-renowned musicians and actors.

Another very prominent circle was that of the Free Lovers, then so
called. Mrs. Grosvenor was called by Mr. Alcott, whom I first met at
her evenings, the “high priestess of free love.” This circle was most
frequented by all persons who represented any _ism_. Mr. Alcott
held his conversations often in this house. Messrs. Ripley, Greeley,
Albert Brisbane; the pianist, Gottschalk; the advocate of Spiritualism,
Andrew Jackson Davis; the communist, Stephen Pearl Andrews;
representatives of legislatures and of Congress; as well as literary
women and artists--all could here find people who were intellectually
congenial to them in this field of speculation.

A purely artistic circle gathered at Miss Freeman’s studio apartments.
She being then the most prominent illustrator of books, drew around
her delightful aspirants in art and music. In her parlor, I met Miss
Charlotte Cushman, who kindly patronized me and my internes and
students after the New York Infirmary was established, by sending us
tickets to her performances.

An important social circle gathered around Mrs. Z., the leader of taste
and fashion, who entertained in her elegant and spacious parlors. Here
also whist playing was cultivated under the leadership of Mr. George
Hildreth, who patiently taught me whenever I could join his table.

The philanthropic circle was the smallest. Its leaders were Mr.
Charles Brace of “Five Points” fame, Mr. Peter Cooper, Miss Elizabeth
P. Peabody, and the Sedgwick family, of which Miss Catherine Sedgwick
was the most prominent member. I attended meetings of this circle
through Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell.

Another important and active influence was exerted by the admirers of
the socialist Fourier. A movement was initiated similar to the Brook
Farm movement, in Boston. Mr. Marcus Spring had erected a phalanstery,
in Eagleswood, New Jersey, where ideal housekeeping, education, the
cultivation of literature and high-grade amusement were the objects
pursued. To this phase of social life, I was introduced through Mrs.
Theodore Weld, Miss Sarah Grimké, Miss Elizabeth P. Peabody and Mrs.
Horace Mann. Menial labor was abhorred, in contradistinction to Brook
Farm ideas; the culture of mind and of body was preëminent, and Mr.
Theodore Weld was the High Priest.

A strange center was that of the demonstrating Spiritualists, who
were held together by Mrs. Cleveland and her sister, Mrs. Horace
Greeley. Here, as it happened, abolitionists appeared most prominently,
and general invitations to the house were extended only during the
“Convention Week” in May. The Fox Sisters have been said to perform
wonderful feats on such occasions. I never witnessed any, as each time
that I happened to be present disturbing elements were said to prevent
the materialization of the spirits. Soon after this, the Fox Sisters
joined the Roman Catholic Church and were said to have confessed that
all their performances were well-arranged deceptions.

Thus I became acquainted with the leading minds who agitated the
public, and who helped to advance our plans for the establishment of a
hospital where women physicians could prove their capacity and skill by
attending sick women and children.

Unfortunately, Dr. Blackwell was not in general harmony with these
different phases of social development; on the contrary, she often
felt repelled by the theories advanced by them. And I was not only
interested and instructed in the various ways of freedom of thought
and speech, but also greatly amused by the frequent extravaganzas and
oddities of persons and occurrences, especially at the Anti-Slavery
meetings and, later, at the so-called Woman’s Rights conventions.

For instance, on one occasion Mrs. Ernestine L. Rose was speaking, when
a mob of men was determined to quiet her by making unseemly noises.
A handsome, delicate little woman, she stood silent on the platform
listening to the roaring of these men. All at once they became quiet,
impressed by her statuelike dignity, and one of the disturbers called
out, “Go on, old steamboat!” to which she calmly replied, “As soon
as you have done.” She then spoke for a whole hour without further

Similar interruptions can be related by Lucy Stone and Antoinette
Brown Blackwell. Both of these ladies at that time formed part of Dr.
Elizabeth Blackwell’s family, in New York, which was presided over
by the most genial, kind and efficient old lady, Mrs. Blackwell, the

A great misfortune for us was that the components of these circles,
while not exactly poor, were certainly not rich. All the assistance
which they could give us was in good will and good wishes. Yet these
were of great help after all, for they opened channels which led us to
the well-to-do. These latter were influenced by motives of philanthropy
and also by the general awakening of the spirit which began to demand
nobler fields of action than the providing of mere physical comforts.
They also opened the way for us to friends such as Mr. George W.
Curtis, Rev. O. B. Frothingham (then in Newark), Rev. Henry Ward
Beecher, Drs. McCready, Kissam and Porter, Rev. Mr. Bellows, Rev. Mr.
Chapin, Dr. Tuthill (one of the editors of the New York _Times_)
and his wife and sister; Mrs. R. G. Shaw (mother of Col. Robert Shaw),
Mrs. Marcus Spring, the Misses Sedgwick, Mrs. Howland and many others,
who came to our assistance and turned the social scale somewhat in our

I might here record an experience which I had as a member of what we
would now call a “Woman’s Club,” and which was named the “Alpha.” This
association was composed of women who were striving for the advancement
of women. Its leader and president was Mrs. Lyons, Miss Mary L. Booth
was secretary, and Miss Sarah Tuthill was treasurer. Its meetings were
held alternately at the houses of Mrs. Lyons and Miss Booth. It also
held social gatherings several times during the year, and to these
gentlemen were invited and asked to take part in the discussions.
Among these latter were Horace Greeley and George Ripley, but there
were also all persons well known in literary or professional life.

At one of these latter meetings the divorce question was made the
subject for discussion, and Mr. Horace Greeley was appointed to take
the negative side and I the affirmative. As I was with and in the
spirit of the times in discussing the subject, it was decided by the
judges that I had the better of the argument.

Mr. Greeley was so excited and provoked that he said, “Then, Madam,
I understand that a man has the right to say to his wife on Sunday
morning when he finds that a button is missing on his shirt, ‘Wife, I
demand that we get divorced!’”

All were rather confounded by his argument and looked dubiously at me.
Fortunately, my wits were previously rather excited, and so I replied:

“Mr. Greeley, the sooner such a man seeks a divorce from his wife, the
better for her, because if he considers such a trifle as he mentions a
cause for divorce, he is not married in the sense he ought to be.”

This incident he related soon afterward in the _Tribune_, with
the addition of pointing out the danger to which the “thinking” of
women will lead. And he markedly ignored me whenever by chance we met

All these experiences were of great interest and advantage to me
personally, and I developed all these opportunities for forwarding my
plans and gaining friends, little by little, for the idea of employing
women physicians. But the main object at that time was to gain friends
for the proposed Fair in December.

As I now look back on that time when a little pin-cushion or mat was
presented for this enterprise and think how joyful we were, as we saw
in every little gift the desired dollar, or even fifty cents, and then
compare that state of affairs with the present, when we calmly announce
that ten thousand dollars must be raised by a Fair, I cannot hope to
describe the happy emotion which I then felt over the gift of fifty

It is not the size of the gift or the amount of money which it
represents which swells our breast with thankfulness and happiness.
It is, after all, the sympathy which the gift conveys which makes its
value, and this value is greatest when such sympathy is most needed.

Oh! the golden time of Youth and Hope! How little we improve the
chances in our later years to assist the young in their aspirations!
And thus do we deprive both them and ourselves of that which means true
happiness, namely, sympathetic relations between on the one hand, those
who keep the world and its interests moving by their aspirations; and,
on the other hand, those who have retired, often with disappointment,
because of the little they could effect individually.

It is youth and the superior wisdom of the young, no matter whether
they have it in reality or only in their imagination, which leads
humanity onward toward the millennium. Humanity is, and must remain,
young; and no olden times are worthy of being held up as an example.

Meanwhile, letters from Dr. Emily Blackwell, who was continuing her
studies in England, came cheeringly with promises of help towards the
Fair. But she also continued to urge the abandonment of the work in the
United States and its transference to London, where a desire to promote
the education of medical women had begun to manifest itself after
Miss Florence Nightingale had so successfully shown the necessity of
educating nurses in their profession.

One of the great advantages in such transference to England urged upon
Dr. Blackwell was that we would not there have to live down or fight
the nefarious and criminal practice which was being carried on chiefly
in New York City, but also more or less in smaller places, and which by
its advertising in the newspapers had created such a strong prejudice
against “Doctresses,” as its practitioners were styled.

We were obliged to place the intention of training nurses in the
foreground when appealing for sympathy or assistance in our work, in
order to get any kind of hearing among the philanthropists, or in
sending articles to the newspapers.

Finally, in November, we saw the result of our efforts becoming
substantiated in boxes, in baskets, in trunks and in the closets, so
that we now were ready to decide upon a locality where we might offer
our treasures to the benevolent of New York City.

Dr. Blackwell called a meeting in her parlors of all the ladies who
had interested themselves during the summer, and we discussed halls,
as well as vestries, which might prove attractive to the public, and
a committee was appointed to visit the different places and to seek
interviews with those in control of them.

I was, of course, one of the members of the committee, and we decided
to go to the places in groups of two or three and to report the result
at the end of a week. In less than three days, however, the chairman
called a meeting of the committee because of the experiences of the
three groups who had spent two days from morning till evening visiting
the agents of the different desirable, and even undesirable, locations.
Everywhere they had received the same answer, namely, “We don’t want to
have anything to do with women doctors or irresponsible ladies wishing
to hold a Fair in our place.”

Not the proposition to pay in advance nor the promise that we should
not advertise the fact that it was intended to furnish a hospital for
female physicians, as they were then called, could soften the hearts of
these men, who simply closed all discussion by saying, “It is not our
custom to deal with ladies.” Even the kind words of Dr. Bellows could
not induce the men of his church to allow us the use of their vestry.
What was to be done?

A general meeting was again called, and the husband of one of the
committee, Mrs. Haydock, suggested that we hire a large loft in a
building, in the business quarters, of which he had control. This was
an unfinished room with a bare floor of unplaned boards with numerous
knot holes and protruding nails. It had no fixtures for lighting and
no ornaments overhead but rough beams and rafters. Another lady of the
committee proposed to send her parlor chandeliers to be connected with
the gas pipes; while a friend of Dr. Blackwell made a drawing showing
how to cover bare, rough walls with evergreens and wreaths. Others
loaned rugs for the floor and draperies for the walls, and we used
evergreens to conceal the bareness above.

The necessity to have a place at all caused us to accept these
propositions and, in spite of three long rough flights of stairs,
we advertised our Fair largely and also the motive for holding it,
praising its arrangements and enlarging upon its novelty as well as
upon its choice goods. We charged ten cents admission and we drew
a good attendance for four days, realizing six hundred dollars net
profit. And what an immense sum this seemed to us all!


 _Opening of the New York Infirmary, both dispensary and
 hospital--Details of its arrangement and furnishing--Dr. Zakrzewska
 is resident physician and instructor to the students, and also
 superintendent and housekeeper, while carrying on her private
 practice and consulting in the Out-Practice--Sample record of one
 day’s work--Four resident students from the Philadelphia medical
 college--Incidents in practice--Mobbing of the Infirmary following
 death of a patient. (Twenty-eight years of age: 1856-1857.)_

We at once entered into negotiation for the house we had in view and
obtained the refusal of it for the 1st of March, 1857. We also ordered
the twenty-four iron bedsteads needed, for the sum of one hundred
dollars, and all the ladies went to work begging and preparing house
linen, so that when the year closed we held a most joyful New Year’s
Day, and received so many congratulations that we actually thought
ourselves in the command of thousands of dollars.

The house was an old-fashioned mansion of the Dutch style, at the
corner of Bleecker and Crosby Streets, just at the outer end of what
was called the “Five Points,” fully respectable on the Bleecker Street
side, and full of patients and misery on the other side and at the
rear. And we spent the few weeks which elapsed before we could begin to
arrange it in getting the good will of editors, ministers and business
men, in order that we might procure the means for carrying on a charity
for which we had nothing but an empty purse.

Dr. Blackwell’s influence among the Quakers, many of them rich, and
Miss Mary L. Booth’s indefatigable notices in the newspapers, opened to
us the ways of procuring the necessary materials for the dispensary,
which occupied the lower front room. It contained a consulting desk,
an examination table behind a large screen, shelves for medicines and
a table for preparing the ingredients of prescriptions. The front
entrance hall was comfortably arranged with settees for the patients
to wait their turn. Donations from several wholesale druggists were
received, and second-hand furniture suitable for our purposes was
cheaply acquired.

A door was put in to separate the back hall from the front hall, and
in this back hall was placed a large stove which heated the stairways,
there being no furnace in the house. This back hall also served as a
dining room for the officers, while the large kitchen opening into it
was ample for all culinary purposes and also allowed space for the
servants’ dining table.

The second floor was arranged for two wards, each containing six beds;
while the third floor was made into a maternity department, the little
hall room serving as a sitting room for the physicians. Open grate coal
fires provided the only heat throughout the house.

The fourth, or attic, floor contained four rooms--two large ones and
two small ones, with a square hall in the center. The two large rooms
served as sleeping rooms, one for four students and the other for
three servants. One of the small rooms served a similar purpose for the
resident physician and one student, while the other was the much needed
store and trunk room. As the attic was rather low studded, the doors
were all kept open, and the skylight of the center hall was kept lifted
except during a storm.

These apartments were furnished with such material as benevolence
provided. It was the most curious mixture of elegant old furniture and
cheap stands and chairs, without any comfort or system, each of us
doing the best we could with our belongings as the house was almost
entirely devoid of closet room.

Into this primitive, first true “Woman’s Hospital” in the world, I
moved in March, superintending all its arrangements, with the kind
assistance of a few ladies appointed by the now organized board of
directors. We ventured to hire one servant to clean, wash and do
general work, as I was the only inmate until the house was regularly
and formally opened on May 1, 1857.

Dr. Blackwell was aided in procuring speakers by Dr. Emily who had
returned from Europe a few weeks before this memorable event. Henry
Ward Beecher, Dr. William Elder from Philadelphia and Dr. Kissam,
a prominent New York physician who was in favor of our experiment,
carried out the program and solemnized the undertaking, while the
audience, seated among the snowy white little beds, felt proud of
having accomplished so much.

But even here my proposition to have one of the Drs. Blackwell also
speak and explain our intentions was refused by our patrons, because it
was feared that she might speak “like a Woman’s Rights woman.” So we
remained in the background, in the most elated spirits yet modest in

A sign on the front door told the purpose of the house, and very soon
our old patrons of the Tompkins Square Dispensary found their way to
the now comparatively speaking, quite stylish place. And before a month
had passed, we had our beds filled with patients and a daily attendance
of thirty and more dispensary patients. Drs. Elizabeth and Emily
Blackwell and myself each attended the dispensary two mornings in the
week, from nine to twelve, while four students from the Philadelphia
college came to live in the hospital in the capacity of internes,
apothecaries and pupils of nursing.

The students spent thus their summer months between their lecture
terms in Philadelphia, grateful to have at last an opportunity to see
actual practice. Of course, they had to pay for this opportunity, three
dollars a week for board, as the establishment could not afford to feed

We also had two nurses, one for the general wards and one for the
maternity department. They were both unskilled and considered the
training as more than sufficient equivalent for their services,
receiving simply an allowance of two dollars per week for their
necessary clothing. Thus we kept true to our promise to begin at once
a system for training nurses, although the time specified for that
purpose was only six months. However, one woman remained with us for
several years, and in the course of time she became invaluable as head

As for myself, I occupied a peculiar position. I was resident
physician, superintendent, housekeeper and instructor to the students
of whom none was graduated, so that I had the full responsibility of
all their activities, both inside and outside the little hospital. In
order to give an idea of the situation, I want to relate from my notes
the record of one day of my work.

At 5:30 A. M., I started in an omnibus for the wholesale market,
purchasing provisions for a week, and at 8:00, I was back to breakfast.
This consisted, for all inmates except patients, of tea, bread and
butter, Indian meal mush and syrup, every morning except Sundays when
coffee and breakfast bacon were added.

After breakfast, I made my visit to the patients in the house with
two of the students, while the other two students attended upon Dr.
Blackwell in the dispensary. Then a confinement case arrived and I
attended to her, giving orders to students and nurses. After this, I
descended into the kitchen department, as the provisions had arrived,
and with the assistance of the cook I arranged all these so as to
preserve the materials, and I settled the diet for all as far as

I then took another omnibus ride to the wholesale druggist, begging and
buying needed articles for the dispensary and the hospital, arriving
home at 1:00 P. M. for dinner. This consisted every day of a good soup,
the soup meat, potatoes, one kind of well-prepared vegetable, with
fruit for dessert. On Sundays, we had a roast or a steak, while in the
winter we occasionally had poultry when this was sent in as a donation
and when the amount was more than was needed for the patients.

After dinner, I usually went out to see my private patients, because
receiving no compensation I depended upon my earnings for personal
needs. On this day, however, I was detained by the confinement case
mentioned and could not go out till 5:00 P. M., returning at 7:00 P.
M. for tea. This always consisted of bread and butter, tea and sauce
or cheese or fresh gingerbread. After again making the rounds of the
patients in the house, it was 9:00 o’clock.

Then the students assembled with me in the little hall room, I cutting
out towels or pillow cases or other needed articles for the house or
the patients, while the students folded or even basted the articles for
the sewing machine as they recited their various lessons for the day.
After their recital, I gave them verbal instruction in midwifery. We
finished the work of the day by 11:30, as I never allowed any one to be
out of bed after midnight unless detained by a patient.

This day is a fair illustration of our life. If I had not food to
provide, it was something else; if not drugs, it was drygoods; and
if neither, I attended the dispensary at least two forenoons, and if
either of the Drs. Blackwell was prevented by private business from
attending her regular forenoon, I attended in her place.

The strain upon us all, added to the very meager diet, was immense,
and it became a necessity to provide relaxations. So I arranged that
during the summer, once a month, we all went on a picnic during an
afternoon in the hills across the Hudson; and in the winter, once a
month, we went to a good theater which was near by, and where we often
saw Joseph Jefferson, Laura Keene, Karl Formes or Brignoli. These
entertainments were highly refreshing, and, what was very important,
they were cheap; theater prices were then very moderate and simple
picnics were furnished at low rates.

Oh! how delightful were those days, in their youthful enthusiasm and
filled with hopes. They were full of hard work, both day and night, for
our out-door poor practice increased almost faster than the dispensary
morning clinics, but a few leisure hours once in a while were enjoyed
as we had never before in our lives enjoyed the most desirable events
or festivities.

Also, we were patronized by those families who, in favor of our medical
work as reformers, often invited us to their receptions where we
enjoyed intellectual diversion. Among others already mentioned were
the Sunday evenings at the house of the sisters, Alice and Phœbe Cary,
where distinguished men and women filled the homelike parlors and
partook of plenty of ice water as refreshment.

Another house open to us was that of Mrs. Oakes Smith, where art and
literature were represented. Another was that of the leading lady of
fashion, Mrs. Cole, where whist and music formed the entertaining
pleasures. Here I felt especially at home with Mr. George Hildreth as
whist partner, his being almost deaf giving me a fine opportunity to be
diverted without exertion when too tired even to talk.

To be seen and noticed in these circles was an advantage to medical
women and to our little hospital, for, in spite of our very simple
diet and the plain living of the patients, we were always in debt; and
we had to make great efforts to raise money, holding even a little
Sale again before Christmas. This Sale was held in our own wards,
the patients being removed for a whole week, but we raised the two
thousand, six hundred dollars which was the cost of our first year’s
experiment, not including the rent which was pledged, as already told.

It was a great oversight and much to be regretted, that we considered
this hospital experiment and ourselves of so little importance in
themselves that no printed report had been preserved until the year
1868, that is, eleven years from the time we opened the Infirmary.

I have also only very imperfect private notes, but I find that the
expense, all in all, including the board of the students, was a little
over two thousand, six hundred dollars, from May 1, 1857, to May 1,
1858; and that the average morning dispensary attendance was thirty;
while the in-door patients were about one hundred during the year. But
we had a very large out-door practice, one of the four students alone,
Dr. Mary E. Breed, attending fourteen cases of childbed in one month;
while I was often sent for in the night to assist them with advice when
their knowledge was not sufficient.

The practical gain to these young women was so great that they were
not only devoted, hardworking and conscientious in their professional
duties, but they were more than willing to bear great physical
discomfort, as well as the ridicule which they encountered when they
attempted to demand the recognition and the respect due to their
calling. Everywhere among the better situated people, they met with
discouraging remarks and questions, giving evidence that the opinion
was that the practice of medicine by women would, in the course
of time, be impossible, even if the present few were received as
exceptions, or as the novelties of a fad. And the greatest tact was
called for in accommodating ourselves and our work to the need of even
the poorest people.

I may here describe one picture which memory recalls. Dr. Breed had
been attending a difficult case of childbirth, in a negro quarter, and
she called on me for consultation and assistance.

I entered a room which seemed filled with people of all sizes, and with
faces shading from pitch black through all colors to what seemed pure
Caucasian. This latter was the woman in the corner, near the table on
which stood the lamp, and she was just being delivered of a mulatto
baby by the doctor.

The rest of the swarm were both male and female, of whom the woman in
the corner claimed eight or more. We did not concern ourselves with the
relationship of the remainder, as they all seemed perfectly healthy and
did not require our attention. It seems to me that there must have been
about twenty-four persons in that room, to judge from the number of
beds and the air.

We medical women all went home together at about one o’clock in the
morning. It is strange to say but we had no fear about going to these
squalid places, and there really was no need of fear either.

The greatest politeness and attention was given to our students when
they were once accepted and, as in this case, the young doctor had to
be nurse and comforter during the whole day, as well as doctor at the
moment of crisis.

She felt quite safe during her stay and was provided with fresh
milk--which she drank from the tin can of the store in which it was
bought; and she ate the pie from the paper in which it was wrapped. She
felt strong and at ease, and happy to have the opportunity to exercise
her best influence during the twenty hours of her stay--which may or
may not have sowed some seed for the better.

At any rate, gratefulness was gained in more than one way, for this
kind of people being more or less under the control of the police and
of missionaries at large, did much to spread a good reputation for us
and for our work. In this way, women physicians became known and sought
by just the class in whom they were interested and among whom they
desired to work.

The need for the friendliness of the police towards us I can illustrate
here also. A woman died in the hospital after childbirth. We had
informed the many relations whom the poor and forsaken usually possess
of the seriousness of the case. There was always one woman of the
kinship at the bedside of the patient for about sixty hours before the
death, which took place in the forenoon.

It was not an hour after this sad occurrence before all the cousins
who had relieved each other at the bedside appeared, with their male
cousins or husbands in working attire and with pickaxes and shovels,
before our street door, demanding admission and shouting that the
female physicians who resided within were killing women in childbirth
with cold water.

Of course, an immense crowd collected, filling the block between us and
Broadway, hooting and yelling and trying to push in the doors, both on
the street and in the yard; so that we were beleaguered in such a way
that no communication with the outside was possible. We could not call
to the people who were looking out of the windows in the neighboring
houses, our voices being drowned by the noise of the mob.

At this juncture the policeman who had charge of Bleecker Street and
the one from Broadway came running up to the scene. On learning the
complaint of the men, they commanded silence and ordered the crowd to
disperse, telling them that they knew the doctors in that hospital
treated the patients in the best possible way, and that no doctor could
keep everybody from dying some time.


 _Social success--Growth of private practice--Professional
 recognition--Consulting staff of leading medical men for
 Infirmary--Occasional opening of some dispensary clinics to women
 students who there introduce a needed reform--Incident of Dr. J.
 Marion Sims, and why a woman was not appointed assistant surgeon
 in the New York Woman’s Hospital of which he was chief--Second
 mobbing of the Infirmary following death of a patient--Definite
 beginning of training of nurses--Trying experience of two fires in
 neighborhood--Dr. Zakrzewska’s health begins to show effects of
 overstrain--Inquiring visitors from all parts of the United States and
 even from England. (Twenty-nine years of age: 1857-1859.)_

During the winter of 1857-1858, our entrance into the social circles
already mentioned was an immense help to the spreading of the idea of
women physicians through our meeting what was then called the “higher
kind of Bohemians,” among whom were preëminently women artists,
aspiring journalists and dramatic students. Although we medical women
were not cordially accepted, as only a few of them dared to make our
acquaintance, our repeated weekly appearances (as one or more of us
made it a point to attend these receptions, no matter how tired we
were) familiarized these small publics with the thought that women
doctors are as good as anybody.

The fashion then was to attend these “socials” regularly; and
_social_ they became. They were not stiff and meaningless as is
the present fashion, where one goes once or twice during the whole
season, shakes hands with the hosts, says some nothings, meets friends
and foes and says more nothings, shakes many hands without knowing why,
and takes some refreshment in thimble cups, which is no refreshment
so scanty is it in quantity and so poor in quality, mere elegant
nothings only pretty to look upon. No; in those years, receptions meant
intellectual recognition, social grace, conversation, and enjoyment in
whatever suited the different tastes, whether a song, or some music, or
a quiet game of whist in a retired corner; and no “refreshment” to make
a show of pretense, but simply plenty of good ice water.

Among these good people, of whom many have since become of eminence in
literature and in art, we gradually developed professionally a small
clientele who, if not paying in lucre, paid with grateful remembrance
in speaking of us, spreading the idea of us and occasionally writing
little articles concerning the New York Infirmary for the leading
papers and journals.

I much regret not to be in possession of any of these writings for, as
I remember them now, they seem to me so juvenile, so absolutely simple
in their tenor, that it might appeal to our sense of humor to read them
in the present altered position of women physicians.

For instance, the public was assured that none of us wore short
hair like men, but dressed gracefully within the fashion; that we
appeared neat in costume, nothing extraordinary indicating our calling,
etc., etc. The only disagreeable thing which they found in us was
that we objected to being called “Doctress,” but insisted upon the
neutral appellation of “Doctor of Medicine.” This led even to lengthy
discussions as to “whether the English language would conform to such a
title for a woman.”

However, this publicity helped “the Cause” and, strange to say,
men were the first who took to the innovation of employing a woman
physician by advising their daughters and wives to avail themselves of
our services.

Thus, at the end of the year 1857, I had quite a comfortable private
practice established. And I took great pains to assure those to whose
families I ministered that, year by year, an increase of better women
doctors would be the consequence of widening their practical experience
and giving them equality of opportunity with the men physicians.

Here my notes read very sanguine, as some of the men highest in
professional standing were exceedingly friendly, both professionally
and privately; and it is with deep gratitude that I mention the names
of Drs. Kissam, Willard Parker, McCready, Aigner and Buck, who gave us
their most cordial assistance.

Dr. Kissam, a prominent obstetrician, was on our consulting staff and
he became quite friendly to our students, though still believing that
Dr. Blackwell and I were exceptions to all womankind. Dr. McCready,
attending physician at Bellevue Hospital, was another one who had put
aside prejudice. The influence of these men procured for our students
attendance at some of the larger dispensaries. In one, the Eastern
Dispensary, Dr. Aigner, one of the Austrian exiles and a man of high
education, took a sincere interest in the whole movement.

When our students expressed their surprise that no books of patients
were kept in these large and rich institutions, no records of cases
or prescriptions retained, in fact, that no methodical system was
followed, these men inquired into our doings and came and looked
through our system, by means of which every patient could be
traced--the name, residence, diagnosis, treatment and subsequent
course. This was a revelation to them; as it was further when I told
them that I never allowed in out-door practice any student to give
a prescription without signing her name to it. Thus, in case of any
question being raised as to mistake in the prescription or mistake by
the druggist (who was by no means in those years always a professional
person in that line, but often a mere business man who opened an
apothecary store), this signature would always tell where to place the
responsibility for the writing of the prescription.

At that time I did not realize, as I do now, that these men, like all
those whose position is fully established both professionally and
financially, could afford to step outside the pale of professional
custom and take up what was not recognized in the strict sense of
common daily life.

It is the insecure, struggling physician who is hostile to the woman
innovator, actually fearing for his bread and butter much more than
for any alleged inferiority of intellect or of professional skill in
the woman, although these latter have always been used as the war cry
against women doctors.

The Boston _Medical and Surgical Journal_, Feb. 16, 1853,
expresses this point of view in an editorial on female physicians,
apropos of Dr. Hunt’s receiving an honorary degree of M.D. from the
Female Medical College of Pennsylvania. It says:

 It is not a matter to be laughed down as readily as was at first
 anticipated. The serious inroads made by female physicians in
 obstetrical business, one of the essential branches of income to a
 majority of well-established practitioners, makes it natural enough to
 inquire what course it is best to pursue.

Among the young men at that time, Dr. J. Marion Sims played such a
peculiar rôle and one which is so characteristic that I must relate it
here. Dr. Sims had come from the South to New York in 1853, poor and
unknown. He had perfected an important operation which was based on a
German theory, but for which no material to practice on could be found
either in Europe or America, until he was able to utilize the negro
slave women. Dr. Sims quotes “the great Würtzer, of Germany”; and he
told me by word of mouth that he had operated one hundred and eleven
times before he had the first success. This first success followed the
performance of the thirtieth operation upon one of the six or seven
slave women upon whom he had unlimited freedom for experimentation.

As it happened, Dr. Sims was introduced into the same social circle in
which we were acquainted, and learning from certain members that they
were enthusiastically interested in women physicians, he advanced in
a year’s time in such a friendly manner that he had hard work to live
down his friendly advances when he later learned from his professional
brethren, as well as from a wider public, that women physicians were
by no means popular and could in no way forward his plans. However, he
remained outwardly polite to the Drs. Blackwell and myself, inviting
us to his operations in the then small beginning of the Woman’s
Hospital, but excusing himself from further assistance to medical
women as a hindrance to the philanthropic enterprise of enlarging the
above-mentioned institution.

Dr. Sims stood on common ground with the women physicians in that he
also found the medical profession unfriendly, and realized that his
only hope of establishing himself was to open a hospital for himself.
He says in his autobiography, which was published under the title of
_The Story of My Life_, “I said to myself, ‘I am a lost man unless
I can get somebody to create a place in which I can show the world what
I am capable of doing.’ This was the inception of the idea of a woman’s
hospital.... If the profession had received me kindly in New York and
had acted honorably and gentlemanly and generously towards me, I would
not have thought of building a woman’s hospital.... When I left Alabama
for New York, I had no idea of the sort in the world. I came simply for
a purpose the most unselfish in the world--that of prolonging my life.”

While no more fortunate than the women physicians in enlisting the
coöperation of the medical profession, Dr. Sims had greater success
with some prominent and wealthy women, who eventually established the
hospital for him. The work of Dr. Blackwell and the movement in favor
of women physicians had evidently made an impression upon these women
also, because they adopted a by-law providing that “the assistant
surgeon should be a woman”; and Dr. Blackwell and her sister, Dr.
Emily, both well-qualified by their added clinical training in Europe,
were the logical candidates for this position.

Dr. Sims cynically refers to this by-law as follows: “One clause of
the by-laws provided that the assistant surgeon should be a woman. I
appointed Mrs. Browne, a widowed sister of my friend, Henri L. Stuart,
who had been so efficient in organizing the hospital. She was matron
and general superintendent.”

Six months later, he told the board of lady managers that he must have
an assistant. He then offered this position, successively, to two young
men who had just been graduated and who declined it. His third choice
was made because the man had married a young Southern friend of his

Returning to the friendly physicians mentioned above, they dared
to introduce our students into their dispensary clinics, and they
gave clinical instruction to us at the Infirmary, thus helping on
gratuitously the few women who were struggling faithfully to fit
themselves for their responsible calling. It was the more estimable
in these men that their audience was a small one whenever they came
to our hospital during the winter evenings, the largest number never
exceeding six. And they were always ready to come in consultation, even
if they were requested to attend the same case repeatedly.

My heart is still full of joy when I think how kind and helpful these
men were in protecting us in this way; and even, also, against brutal
assault, as, for instance, in a case of appendicitis to which Dr.
Kissam had been every other day in consultation and which ended in
death. His advice had been the application of cold water compresses,
which were in vogue at that time.

On the morning following the day on which the patient died, a number
of men appeared before the Infirmary, demanding entrance and creating
within ten minutes a large mob to whom they were talking loudly,
declaring that this was an institution of some cranky women who killed
people with cold water. I had found means for sending a messenger from
the back door to Dr. Kissam, and it was through his presence that no
harm was done to the institution. He addressed the mob and advised the
disturbed people to have a coroner sent for to make an examination
in the presence of twelve of themselves as a jury. It was a sight
to behold--these poor distraught men in overalls, with dirty hands,
disheveled hair and grim faces, standing by during the autopsy, and
at its close, declaring their satisfaction that death had been an
unavoidable consequence of the disease.

New Year’s Day, 1858, was one of the brightest and pleasantest winter
days we ever enjoyed. A friend to women physicians had placed money in
my hands for gifts to our faithful servants; and another friend sold to
me at half price a whole piece of thibet, so that I was able to present
each one of my hardworking women with a dress, as well as with some
sweetmeats, all of which were duly appreciated.

Perhaps nobody, nowadays, can understand the willingness and devotion
of the women who assisted me in carrying on this primitive little
hospital: who were willing to work hard, in and out of hours; who fared
extremely plainly and lodged almost to uncomfortableness; yet who felt
that a good work was being accomplished for all womankind. And this was
true of all--students, nurses and domestic help.

The eight months of experiment had stimulated us all with great hope
for the future, and we now began to make more positive plans for
the education and training of nurses. The first two who presented
themselves for this training were superior women, one a German, the
other an American, but neither was willing to give a longer time than
four months, during which they received no compensation except their
keeping and one weekly lesson from me on the different branches of

After these left, it was again a German woman who presented herself,
and who, after four months’ training, remained as head nurse for
several years. The second pupil nurse was sometimes of American,
sometimes of Irish, descent and nothing remarkable.

This whole year had nothing special to note except that the press
began to take a little more favorable notice of our doings and was
ready to speak in favor of a Fair which again was arranged for at
the end of the year; and this publicity spread the idea of women’s
competency to take care of sick people.

We had constant applications from students to share in the experience
of practice which we offered, and who were willing to live outside in
order to attend the dispensary; while the number of patients in daily
attendance at this latter increased so rapidly that we had to establish
the rule of locking the door against admission after a certain hour.

Among the applicants were all sorts of extremists--such as women
in very short Bloomer costume, with hair cut also very short, to
whom the patients objected most strenuously; others were training
as practitioners in a water-cure establishment, and wished to avail
themselves of our out-door practice in order to introduce their
theories and methods of healing. In fact, we were overrun with advisers
and helpers whom we had to refuse. Popular prejudices could be overcome
only in the most careful and conservative manner; and even our most
ardent friends and supporters shared to a certain degree in the feeling
of uncertainty as to the success of our experiment.

Personally, I received during this year great comfort in the
acquaintances and lifelong friendships gained. And the recollection
of these friends calls forth such a deep feeling of gratitude for
their devotion in our work of love, and for their trust in me, and of
admiration for their high purpose to serve humanity, that I consider
it worth while to have lived if for no other reason than to realize
through them the goodness of womankind.

So the year closed upon us as one which had brought great satisfaction
in all we expected to gain, professionally and as bearers of a new
idea. Youth was with us all, and our hopes of success knew no limit. We
were the happiest, even if materially the poorest, of a group of women
which included friends engaged in different lines of work, such as
journalism, art and music. Of these, none identified herself so closely
with us as Mary L. Booth, later editor of _Harper’s Bazar_, who
spent every Sunday with us, and who often shared my room and bed when
she was out at night as reporter of the New York _Times_ too late
to return to her home in Williamsburg.

Oh! happy days! Springtime of life! It was the “May” which never
returns to the human being, and the beauty of which we realize only
long after it has passed. Memories of these glorious days keep with
us and reconcile us to the many sad, dark, anxious and trying hours
through which we all have to pass in one form or another. These latter
make us wiser, perhaps, but certainly not happier, even though we have
struggled successfully through the years and feel that we should be
contented with what we have accomplished.

Still, there was a dark side to my experience during that year. The
sick headaches, to which I had been subject off and on since childhood,
came upon me quite often and very unexpectedly, evidently due to the
overstraining of all my forces, physical and mental, and I was quite
often obliged to relinquish some very important duties.

Before leaving this year’s record, I must add a few remarks concerning
our work, that is, mine and that of the ten or twelve students who had
been connected with the Infirmary now for twenty months.

The prejudice against women physicians was by no means confined to that
stratum of society where education and wealth nurtured the young. We
found it just as strong, through habit and custom, among the working
people and among the very poorest of the poor. Their coming to our
dispensary was not _a priori_ appreciation of the woman physician,
but was the result of faith in the _extraordinary_, just as now
faith-curers with other claims are sought and consulted in illness.

Our work was that of real missionaries. Even among the well-to-do and
intelligent, little or nothing was known of hygiene. If “a goneness in
the stomach” was felt, whisky, brandy or a strong tonic was resorted
to for relief. Diet, rest and the sensible use of water were never

So among the poor we found everywhere bad air, filth and utter
disregard of food. And sponges, as well as soap, were carried in the
satchels of our young medical women along with the necessary implements
of the physician. And the former were given to the patients’ friends,
after showing them the use of water and soap in fever cases as well as
in ordinary illness. It was an innovation in the minds of the people,
the teaching that sick people must be bathed and kept clean, and that
fresh air was not killing.

The good results obtained by the addition of these sanitary auxiliaries
whose use was permitted only through our persuasion, created almost a
superstitious faith in us and resulted in sending to us patients from
a distance of ten and twelve miles from Bleecker Street. This made
increased demands on our physical and nervous powers, for we made it a
point not to refuse any person if it were at all possible to see her.

Thus we placed foundation stones here and there all over Manhattan
Island upon which to build our superstructure of medical practice by
women. In this respect, as in all solid production in nature and in
civilization, a sound foundation must be created first. No reform,
no culture can be successful if we limit ourselves to the higher
intellects. We must under all conditions be careful not to speak over
the heads of the mentally mediocre crowd.

The soil in which the seed is sown must be examined, then prepared, and
then cultivated in the most prudent and careful manner--only then can
we expect to have the seed take root and grow.

The gaining of confidence is not obtained by showing your own
superiority; nay, it is by hiding this latter and allowing the persons
whom you want to benefit to think well of themselves, yet continuing
to lead them, indirectly, to the idea that there is a possibility of
their bettering themselves. Only by such a proceeding is it possible
to bring about confidence; then an attachment follows and, finally, a
dependence upon your higher wisdom which will always end in admiration
and gratitude. Whenever this is not the case, it shows failure in our
having been wise, or kind, or comprehending of the situation; in
short, it is the fault of the would-be benefactor.

We had two strange accidents in the neighborhood during that year. Our
backyard and outbuildings faced the rear of a livery stable containing
more than forty horses. This stable took fire one afternoon about five
o’clock. I was just coming home, and I felt so sure of the solidity of
our own buildings that I was able to control the excitement of all our
inmates who, in bed and out of bed, were perfectly quiet and remained
in their rooms in spite of the smoke and noise and all the confusion
which a large fire causes.

A few months later at four o’clock in the morning, I was just retiring
to my room after having attended a patient below when I heard the cry
of “Fire!” And looking out of my window, I saw that a man had upset a
fluid lamp, filling the whole room with flames, while he with his night
shirt on fire was seeking to escape through the door which he could
not find, thus burning to death before my eyes. It was an appalling
spectacle, and before I could really comprehend the situation, firemen
appeared and worked hard, for the conflagration soon included several

Again, I could control my patients and the other inmates, although our
students and servants dressed hastily and were ready to obey commands
in case of need. Fortunately for us, the wind blew the flames in the
opposite direction from our house, and I trusted in this fact. Had I
had the experience of the Chicago and Boston conflagrations, I would
not have trusted to the wind nor perhaps have been able to control
a family of nearly forty heads. Such is the blessing of youthful
inexperience! But the strain of anxiety on these two occasions was
tremendous, and I was laid up each time for a couple of days with a
severe sick headache.

Visitors interested in women physicians came from all parts of the
United States as well as from England, but especially from Boston. I
was often at the same time amused and pained when disappointment was
expressed over the smallness of our hospital, and we had to take great
pains to explain our out-door department work.

From the very beginning, I had instituted record books in which the
name, age, residence, occupation, diagnosis and treatment of every
individual case were written--of those who were in the hospital, those
who came to the dispensary clinics, and those who were attended at
their homes.

These books revealed to the visitors our activity, and they were
admired also by our professional brethren. No such records then existed
in their dispensaries but were introduced after our example, primitive
as it was in those years. However, having such records saved us a great
deal of annoyance in many ways, as we offered them for inspection to
all whom they concerned; and they protected us against any accusation
of carelessness, ignorance or malpractice of any kind.

It was the same with the prescriptions given when the medicines were
not provided by us. I insisted that every one who wrote a prescription
should sign her name, if not also the name of the patient. As my name
was so long, I have always signed _M. E. Z._


 _Dr. Blackwell goes to England for vacation--Dr. Zakrzewska’s health
 suffers under increased strain--Goes to Boston for vacation--Is there
 urged to become professor of obstetrics in the New England Female
 Medical College, and to establish a hospital for this college--Accepts
 offer and removes to Boston. (Twenty-nine years of age: 1859.)_

New Year’s Day, 1859, was a very cold one, bleak winds prevailing
after a snowstorm. A number of invitations were extended to us by
friends, who did not simply array their houses for callers bringing
their congratulations in Dutch fashion and receiving the customary
refreshments. I decided to accept the hospitality of Mrs. and Mr. Booth
in Williamsburg, the home of our friend and companion, Mary L. Booth,
while the rest of the household was treated to a dinner of roast goose
which kind patrons had provided. We never could have thought of such
luxuries ourselves, nor on Thanksgiving Day nor Christmas, either.
However, we never suffered for the want of them--they always appeared
in due time on these holidays.

This furnishes proof that it is a pleasure to be kind and that there
are more good people in the world than we may realize. If only one half
of humanity could be brought into absolute contact individually with
the other half which is neglected, degraded and discouraged, there
is no doubt that we would witness the same equalization in the large
cities as that which prevails in the country towns and villages. Not
that there is no difference of subsistence in these latter, but the
absolute poverty is not to be found in them as we find it in the former.

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell now went to England for a vacation and to visit
old friends. Her absence caused an increase in work and responsibility,
as Dr. Emily and myself had to divide the work which she had done in
the dispensary. This increase was just the little more which I could
not bear, and the sick headaches returned so often and with such
violence that I had to relinquish a good deal of supervision to my head
nurse, and finally I was obliged to keep to my bed for a whole week.

When they were visiting the Infirmary, the Boston friends of woman’s
medical education, of whom I have spoken, had kindly asked me to visit
them. So I concluded to take a short vacation in February, placing my
senior students in charge of the medical work, under the supervision of
Dr. Emily Blackwell.

My visit to Boston, towards the last of February, was exceedingly
interesting. I found that Mr. Samuel E. Sewall, as well as his
associate directors of the _New England Female Medical College_,
had been anxious to add a clinical department to their purely
theoretical school.

And outside friends, who had become interested in me personally as well
as in my plans to aid the education of medical women by training them
in practical work, also were anxious that I should change my place of
residence from New York to Boston and accept the position of organizer
of this clinical department.

The impression which I received when first visiting Boston in 1856
was deepened. And it was exceedingly favorable as to the earnestness
of all the women with whom I came in contact, and as to their desire
to elevate the education of womankind in general and in medicine
especially. I felt that a larger field for my efforts might be opened
there in connection with a medical school rather than in New York where
the two Drs. Blackwell controlled the direction of efforts towards what
seemed to them wisest and best.

Besides, the financial condition of the Infirmary was improving so
steadily that the services which I had been rendering gratuitously
could now be hired; while the medical applicants were of an unusual
talent and more and more willing to make arrangements for a longer
period of service with increased responsibilities, although they still
had to pay their expenses.

Also, my private practice had increased to such an extent that I was
free from debt, having repaid all loans advanced to me during my
studies save the two hundred dollars which the Cleveland society had
expended towards my first year. This, I could not now repay as the
society had dissolved. But I kept this amount to loan to poor students,
without note or interest. Some repaid the loan of fifty dollars or one
hundred dollars from time to time; others, not able perhaps to do so,
are still holding it, and I am unable to say positively who they are
as I did not record the names. I am only sure that these amounts, and
some more, are in their hands. The first one to whom I loaned the whole
two hundred dollars was Dr. Susan Dimock, when she was going to Europe
to study, she repaying it before she made that fatal trip abroad in

All these considerations influenced me when Boston’s liberal friends
of women, or of “the Cause,” as it was styled, offered me the position
of organizer and head of the clinical department which they were ready
to establish. And the directors of the medical college offered me the
chair of obstetrics in that school, which being my specialty had great
attraction for me.

After hesitating for a long time as to what course to pursue, I went
to Boston in the spring to define in a public address my views and
position in respect to the study of medicine. I found so great a desire
prevailing for the elevation of the medical college for women to the
standard of the male medical colleges and such enthusiasm in respect
to the proposed hospital, that I felt a great desire to make the new
hospital department as useful to the public and to the students as the
New York Infirmary had become.

The chance of being able to carry out my own plans of work instead of
being simply assistant to the Drs. Blackwell was a final temptation,
and after inquiries and consultations with Dr. Emily I decided in
May to accept the offered position and to remove at once to Boston.
My decision was aided by two facts: the first, that Dr. Blackwell’s
absence had proved that the Infirmary could be sustained by two
doctors, not only without loss but with a continuance of its steady
increase, this latter being the consequence of the good already done
to the community through its ministrations. And the second was that my
health was becoming uncertain under the strain of the work which, by
virtue of necessity as well as of habit, would remain my share in New

Having fulfilled my promise of contribution to the Infirmary of two
years’ gratuitous services and having put everything in order and
divided the duties which I had been discharging, I left the Infirmary
on June 1, 1859, taking a short vacation in New York but arriving in
Boston on the sixth, as I found to my great disappointment that no
short vacation would bring back the strength which I had wasted in my
zeal to advance “the Cause” more rapidly than the law of evolution

Thus ended my New York career. I left feeling that I could be spared,
although the breaking up of several true friendships saddened the
departure. Of all the friends, Mary L. Booth was the dearest to me. It
is not through blood kinship that we feel the strongest; nay, we may
even feel no affinity at all towards the sisters and brothers we so
love, while the few kindred spirits we meet fill our souls with life
and inspiration.

The few friends to whom I was thus sincerely attached remained such for
life, and the professional affinities stand to-day in the same relation
to me as when we were young, while a few non-professional New York
friends find time and opportunity to meet me occasionally to exchange
reminiscences of the golden days of our youth.

About this date, there were already a goodly number of women upon whom
the degree of M.D. had been legally conferred, but the minds of those
who understood the conditions which prevailed were far from being
satisfied with results.

Recognition in the profession and opportunities for a good education
for others who wished to cultivate this field of labor were our aims.
And so we labored on, the Drs. Blackwell and myself in New York and Dr.
Ann Preston in Philadelphia--the latter for the “college,” and all the
former for the “hospital” education of female students.

Meanwhile, a number of spurious institutions proclaiming the same aim
had sprung up like weeds which threatened to choke the wheat in the
field. After the interest of a few high-minded male physicians had
been secured, the battle with and against these institutions had to be
fought--and it is still to be fought.

The best of these secondary institutions existed in Boston, and it
was thither that I was going with the hopefulness which befits the
missionary spirit.

[As has been elsewhere stated, most of the preceding chapters were
written by Dr. Zakrzewska in a letter to her friend, Miss Mary L.
Booth, in New York. And she closes this letter with the paragraphs
which follow.]

 ... I could not refrain from writing fully of this part of my life
 which has been the object of all my undertakings, and for which I have
 borne trials and overcome difficulties which would have crushed nine
 out of ten in my position. I do not expect that this will be the end
 of my usefulness; but I do expect that I shall not have to write to
 you any more of my doings. It was simply in order that you, my friend,
 should understand me fully, and because you have so often expressed
 a wish to know my life before we met, that I finished this letter.
 Now you have me externally and internally, past and present. And,
 although there have been many influences besides which have made their
 impressions on my peculiar development, yet they are not of a nature
 to be spoken of as facts, as, for instance, your friendship for me.

 On looking back upon my past life, I may say that I am like a fine
 ship that, launched upon high seas, is tossed about by the winds and
 waves and steered against contrary currents until finally stranded
 upon the shore. There, from the materials a small boat is built, just
 strong enough to reach the port into which the ship had expected to
 enter with proudly swelling sails. But this ambition is entirely gone
 and I care now very little whether or not people recognize what is in
 me, so long as the object for which I have lived becomes a reality.

 And now, my good friend, I must add one wish before I send these last
 few pages to you, namely, that I may be enabled some day to go with
 you to Berlin to show you the scenes in which my childhood and youth
 were passed, and to teach you on the spot the difference between
 Europe and America. All other inducements to return have vanished.
 Nearly all the men who aided in promoting my wishes have passed away,
 and the only stimulus that now remains to make me want to revisit the
 home of my youth, is the wish to wander about there with you and
 perhaps with two or three other of my American friends. Until this can
 be accomplished, I hope to continue my present work in the New England
 Female Medical College which, though by no means yet what we wish it
 to be, is deserving of every effort to raise it to the position that
 it ought to take among the medical institutions of America.


 _Details of the College building--Dr. Zakrzewska meets many
 men and women leaders in advanced thought in Boston--Differences
 between Boston and New York with regard to the question of “woman’s
 sphere”--History of the New England Female Medical College--She finds
 the educational standards of the College low, and she meets opposition
 in her attempts to elevate them--She establishes the hospital
 (Clinical Department) along lines similar to those she had developed
 in the New York Infirmary--Several leading men in the profession
 acknowledge her qualifications but refuse to act as consultants
 for the hospital, or to countenance the College--Letters from Dr.
 John Ware--Hardships of the Out-Practice. (Thirty years of age:

The New England Female Medical College had its home in Springfield
Street, in the building erected for the Boston Lying-In Hospital and
later occupied by the Home for Aged Men. Here the lectures were held,
the officers had their rooms and the directors, their meetings; and
yet, not half of the building was occupied. So I had there my office
and bedroom, furnished by the lady managers of the college.

I assigned the basement rooms to the dispensary, while the rest of the
lower rooms served for domestic purposes inclusive of servants’ rooms.
The middle story was taken for the indoor clinical department, or
hospital; while the upper floor, or attic, was arranged for students’
chambers, and for these we received rent and pay for board from those
actively serving in the hospital department.

This whole affair, however, had to be organized and superintended, and
as I felt unequal to added medical responsibilities I devoted myself
during the whole summer (1859) to arranging this department and getting
it in working order, taking every now and then a whole week’s vacation
at the seashore or in the country.

New friends in the form of a board of lady managers were added to
the college because increased funds were needed to carry on the new
department, the most noted name on this board being that of Harriet
Beecher Stowe. And the ladies and gentlemen who favored my plans when
I came, three years earlier, pleading for the New York Infirmary, now
bravely advanced and provided the means for this new enterprise.

Through all of my former acquaintances I at once found warm friends and
protectors here in our beloved city of Boston. I may mention the names
of Theodore Parker, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, Samuel E.
Sewall, F. W. G. May, Francis Jackson, Rev. William E. Channing, Dr. W.
F. Channing, Dr. Samuel Cabot, Dr. E. H. Clark, Mrs. Sarah S. Russell,
Miss Abby G. May, Miss Lucy Goddard, Rev. and Mrs. James F. Clarke, Mr.
and Mrs. Bond, Miss Mary J. Parkman, Mrs. R. G. Shaw, Mrs. Ednah D.
Cheney, Mrs. F. Fenno Tudor, Miss Susan Carey--and there were a host of
others, both men and women.

I wish I could mention all of the noble minds, pioneers of a new era
in the broadening of thought. No specialism was represented, except
perhaps that of Abolitionism and the Advancement of Women. Free scope
of the intellect was admitted, and every one who promoted culture of
mind and body was welcomed. Scores of able women sought instruction,
demanding to know what was objectionable in woman’s aspirations.

These and other activities were evidences of the smoldering volcano
which burst forth into active conflagration in the outbreak of the
Civil War, in 1861, and which gave birth to a new type of Woman--as
Minerva was said to have issued forth from the head of Zeus fully armed
with weapons of force and intellect.

The names of Lucy Goddard, Abby May, Ednah D. Cheney, Sarah Shaw
Russell and Anna Lowell should be engraved on plates of gold for
remembrance by those who will come after, for they took a stand which
made history in life, and especially in the life of women.

For, let it be understood, the impression of the great liberality of
Boston society, which I had cherished and fostered as a belief, was
not as well-founded as I thought, and upon closer acquaintance I was
soon convinced that here also it required a great deal of courage to
advocate a new era in woman’s sphere.

Although I found much less tendency to ridicule, to treat with
contempt, or to prophesy failure than we had met in New York, yet
the fear of losing social caste was strong here also. Declarations
that the study of medicine would unsex girls or break down health and
beauty prevailed throughout the community, and newspaper remarks were
discouraging rather than otherwise.

In short, I had to go over the same ground as in New York, explaining
the possibility of a woman physician’s being able to do precisely the
same work as the average man physician. The only difference I found in
the two cities was that in spite of doubt and prejudice against woman
“leaving her sphere,” as it was called, intelligent men and women in
Boston were ready to listen to and to discuss all possible chances.

The fact that this small medical college for women had now lived for
nearly ten years induced the liberal-minded to go a step farther and to
begin to employ women, especially in midwifery cases.

One of the graduates of this school was still practicing in Boston as
midwife on July 1, 1889, she having by that time attended five thousand
confinement cases. Although she was never sought by the well-paying
portion of the Boston community, she held a very reputable position
among her patients and among such of the profession as had business
relations with her. Her name, Mrs. Hassenfuss, has been mentioned to me
quite often by the best of men physicians. Therefore, honor to whom it
belongs. This good, sensible woman, the mother of eleven children, has
done her share in overcoming prejudice against women physicians.

Several other ladies who had graduated from this school tried to
practice in Boston although as they told me with very little financial
result. They were obliged during the first years after establishing
themselves to seek practical experience among the poor, either as
assistant to a friendly man physician or on their own responsibility.
In either case, they appeared to the people’s minds more like
well-trained nurses than physicians who assume an authority which
creates confidence. Their position was by no means an enviable one, and
only the self-assurance produced by the American education could hold
them up socially.

Here it should be said that the graduates of this school labored
under disadvantages produced by obscurities in the minds of those who
controlled it.

Ever since the men physicians began to organize themselves into a
compact body or guild, their endeavor has been not to educate the women
whom they everywhere found called to be the natural obstetricians, but
to drive them entirely out of such practice and to monopolize it for
themselves. This struggle continues everywhere, all over the world.
And it is a struggle which will continue until both men and women are
educated equally well, so that the individual patient may exercise her
choice of the “trained doctor” of either sex.

A public agitation begun in Boston in the summer of 1847 culminated in
1848 in a revulsion of feeling among the laity against this attempt of
the male physicians to monopolize the practice of obstetrics, and in
favor of the restoration of at least a part of such practice to the
hands of women. And this revolt was countenanced by a large number of
the leading citizens of Boston as well as of the rest of New England.

As a result of this agitation, the _Boston Female Medical School_
was opened on November 1, 1848, with twelve pupils. And to aid this
School, the _Female Medical Education Society_ was organized on
November 23, 1848, with six members. This membership increased to a
thousand or more during the following year, its larger part consisting
of men of prominence in all walks of life. And in the following year,
1850, this society was incorporated “for the purpose of providing for
the education of Midwives, Nurses, and Female Physicians.”

In the earliest printed report of the Boston Female Medical
School (1851), most stress is laid upon the course of study for
_Midwives_, which is as follows:

 Candidates for Diplomas as Practitioners in Midwifery, must be at
 least twenty years of age, and must present testimonials of good moral
 character; they must have studied at least one year, including the
 Lecture terms; must have attended two full courses of Lectures, one of
 which must have been in this institution: and must pass a satisfactory
 examination before the Board of Examiners, in Anatomy and Physiology,
 in Obstetrics and the diseases peculiar to Women.

_Nurses_ are referred to in the statement that:

 Courses of Lectures and Instruction will be given to Nurses in
 reference to their important and responsible vocation of attending the

And _Female Physicians_ are considered in the paragraph:

 The candidates for full Medical Diplomas must have pursued a
 course of Education equivalent to that required in other medical
 institutions; and at least two terms of their instruction must have
 been in this School.

While all groups are urged to seek to prepare themselves, “Persons
intending to become members of the School will do well to study, in
advance, some elementary work on Anatomy and Physiology--Cutter,
Jarvis, etc.,” closing with the naïve statement whose wisdom cannot be
gainsaid, “And any other preparatory knowledge will be useful.”

Thus we see that the Boston Female Medical School aimed as high as any
of the male medical schools of the day. Really, its aim was higher,
in that from the beginning it planned to have a Hospital and to make
“practical” instruction in obstetrics and the diseases of women an
integral part of its course. In advocating this latter procedure, it
claims superiority for itself, making the statement that “the Harvard
Medical School furnishes no facilities in the way of ‘practice’ in a
Maternity Hospital--the most important part of an obstetric education.”

But, presumably, this school found itself practically confined to the
education of midwives and nurses--groups whose qualifications were
apparently not regulated by strict legal enactment. Because, in 1856,
an act of legislature was passed changing the name of the Female
Medical Education Society to that of the _New England Female Medical
College_, and giving this latter body power to “appoint Professors,
who shall constitute a Medical Faculty; and to confer the usual degree
of Doctor of Medicine,” provision for these latter legal necessities
having evidently been overlooked in the earlier incorporation of 1850.

The New England Female Medical College says nothing in its reports
about midwives, but speaks only of medical students, of nurses, of
female physicians, and of its purpose to have “a part of the Faculty
consist of female Professors.” But it lists its medical alumnæ from

Thus becoming acquainted during the summer with the new field for my
activity, I found still an added difficulty among the few women who
possessed a medical diploma, namely, that not being accustomed to work
with one another on a common plane, they rather feared any one whose
standpoint differed from their own and who brought new views of the
subject in question.

“What is, or was, sufficient for me ought to be sufficient for all who
come after me,” was the common human principle on which they based
their indifference towards improving or enlarging their stock of
knowledge. Medicine was then taught, even in the best of colleges, not
as a scientific vocation but as a practical business.

For instance, after having been connected with the New England Female
Medical College for a year, I ventured to express my surprise that no
microscope was in the college, and to say that I wished for one because
much that it was necessary to explain could only be done with such an

My petition for one was refused. And Mr. Sewall informed me that one of
the gentlemen who was a leader in the college, after having listened
to my written petition, said, “That is another one of those new-fangled
European notions which she tries to introduce. It is my opinion that
we need a doctor in our medical department who knows when a patient
has fever, or what ails her, without a microscope. We need practical
persons in our American life.” This man is long dead, yet I feel sorry
that he could not have lived longer in order to see that we teach
the new-fangled notion of the use of a microscope even in our public

It can easily be understood that my position, both as professor
of midwifery and as head of the clinical department, was not very
agreeable, with such opponents among the directors of the school and
having to meet the indifference of the established women doctors of
Boston; and also, I am deeply sorry to say, receiving only limited
support from the men physicians with whom I was associated in the

Although in favor of the school, the students were regarded by these
physicians more in the light of trained nurses who were to become their
handmaids in practice. This fact revealed itself to me when, feeling
the need of consultants, I tried to reorganize the hospital staff. I
found that none of the prominent Boston physicians was willing to give
me his name, and the excuse was that the standard of the school was
below par. On the other hand, the physicians connected with the school
thought they were teaching all that a woman doctor ought to know.

Here I want to anticipate a little by telling of my first examination
of students for the degree of M.D. This was to be carried on by the
professors of the school, in the presence of a committee of three
from the directors, but only one of the latter appeared. Several
of the candidates who presented themselves for their examination
were possessed of such elementary education that they had no other
recommendation to the examiners than that they had attended two courses
of medical lectures of twenty weeks each, and had studied with a
preceptor to make up three years of reading medicine, but whom I had
never seen in our clinical department.

I objected, of course, to these students as unfit for a position of the
gravest responsibility. While all the rest reluctantly took my side,
they added, “Nobody in Boston would employ a woman doctor in serious
cases, anyhow!” However, I prevailed, and I did not have to place my
name on the diploma of women who, excellent as nurses, were unfit to
take the position of physicians.

By October 1, 1859, I considered myself strong enough to begin regular
daily work. The housekeeping cares which I had hitherto assumed were
divided with a competent woman. Financial difficulties, however, were
not so easily overcome, and we had to charge a board payment of three
dollars a week to such students as wished to avail themselves of
residence within the building.

This arrangement added a good deal of care to me as superintendent,
for, in spite of exercising the greatest impartiality between the
resident students and those from outside, a feeling naturally grew up
among the students that favoritism was practiced. What really happened
was that, as a consequence of constant presence, the internes appeared
better equipped to render assistance than the externes. A few of these
latter, however, gave me credit by word and deed that, if anything, I
favored the externes rather than the internes and these few became real
and true friends in later years, often calling upon me or writing for
advice, as well as giving me their sincere friendship.

To be appreciated as just, conscientious and unselfish has always been
my ambition--other honors, or wealth, I have never sought nor received.
Even at this moment, when age has come to me and health has failed, my
small income from my savings gives me greater satisfaction than if I
had accumulated a large competency. Though I should still like to have
this latter in order that I might help many a struggling woman to whom
I have to refuse aid because I am poor myself.

Among the resident students, were Lucy E. Sewall, my private pupil
and devoted friend and co-worker during her life; Anita E. Tyng, a
woman of talent, at present living in California; Mary H. Thompson,
who became famous by establishing the _Woman’s Hospital_ in
Chicago, reëstablishing the same after it was burned during the great
conflagration; Helen Morton, my associate in practice after her return
from Paris in 1867, and still residing in Boston; Lucy Abbott, who
became resident physician at the New York Infirmary; and others who
became of more or less importance in after years.

Again our household assumed more of the condition of a family circle
like that of the New York Infirmary, having a similar intimacy. This
was due to the fact that, although women physicians were more tolerated
in Boston society, they had not yet conquered all doubt or prejudice
among the women of Boston, while the profession at large would not
recognize any of them at all.

However, I made the attempt to call upon a few prominent men. For
instance, I saw Dr. Henry E. Clark, who had visited the Hospital
Charité in Berlin when I held the position of _Accoucheuse en
chef_ in the Maternity Department of that institution. And I had the
opportunity of being very helpful to him in all he wished to gain as a
young doctor seeking experience in a foreign land. He received me with
kind politeness, but told me frankly that he could not sanction the
study of medicine by women. He yielded so far as to pronounce me “an
exception” to my sex, and he promised to assist me in private practice
should I require consultation. Also, in the course of the winter, he
sent me several patients, and he spoke with recommendation to those who
inquired of him about me and my former position in Berlin.

Another one, Dr. John Ware, accepted me as an exceptional woman, and
fatherly and kind as he was, he laughed heartily when I told him that
the exceptions would multiply by the hundred.

[Dr. Ware writes, under date of February 11, 1860:


 I ought before now to have acknowledged your kindness in sending me a
 copy of your Lecture. I have read it with much satisfaction, and wish
 most heartily that every one of my professional brethren entertained
 views as just and elevated of the nature of their calling, and were as
 conscientious in regard to its responsibilities as you would have all
 be who assume them.

 I take the liberty of sending in return a few publications of my
 own, relating in part to the same topic. You will find on the
 24th page of one of the Lectures--that on “Success in the Medical
 Profession”--a brief expression of my opinions on the subject of
 Female practitioners, which, altho’ you may not agree with them, I
 hope you will find no reason otherwise to disapprove.

 I am, with sincere respect and regards,

  To Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D.

Again, referring to the earlier chapters of this autobiography, he
writes, on December 13, 1860:

  My dear Miss Zakrzewska:

 I received yesterday a volume which I supposed, certainly I hoped,
 came from you. I read it at once, and with the deepest interest. I
 have a right, therefore, whether it came from you or not, to thank
 you for it. Neither can I let the opportunity escape of expressing
 the admiration and sympathy with which I followed you in the long
 struggle you endured, and which you maintained with so much of that
 energy, courage, perseverance and fortitude, which we are apt to
 call manly--as if they were our peculiar possession--and yet without
 any infringement of that womanly delicacy, which we certainly cannot

 You know perhaps my doubts about the medical education of women. It is
 not because I do not think well enough of women that I entertain these
 doubts, but rather, I suspect because I think too well of them, to be
 willing they should go through with a medical education, or endure a
 medical practice. I have put it to myself whether I could be willing
 that one of my daughters should go through the discipline and lead the
 life that I have done myself. The idea is intolerable. That you have
 accomplished what you have with success and honor does not satisfy my
 doubts--how few of either sex could do the same.

 I may be mistaken, for it is very hard to be sure that we are not
 influenced by early impressions and the prejudices of society, and
 I am quite willing to find myself in the wrong, for I have the most
 earnest desire that every possible avenue should be opened for the
 admission of women, not only to places for labour, but of honor and
 profit. I sympathize not only with every attempt to enforce “Woman’s
 Right to Labour”--but to think, speak, act and enjoy.

 With sincere regard, I am your friend,

  To Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D.

Drs. Henry I. Bowditch and Samuel Cabot regretted to refuse all aid so
long as I was connected with such an inferior school as they considered
the New England Female Medical College to be.

Dr. Cotting, of Roxbury, was the most cordial; he expressed himself as
favorable to having women physicians as auxiliaries to the professional
men. He sent me more patients than any one, and they were rich as
well as poor. The latter were the most desirable, as our dispensary
practice was small, lacking material for the benefit of the students.

This was the great difference between New York and Boston. Within three
months after opening the New York Infirmary dispensary, we were obliged
to close the doors for admission after a certain hour, so full became
our reception hall; while in Boston we kept open all the forenoon
without getting all the patients we wanted, and we even attended to
them the whole day.

This may have been due to the fact that the college and hospital were
located in what was then a demi-fashionable quarter of the city,
the South End, where not many poor lived; and distance was not then
annihilated by street cars, of which none existed. But it was also
due to a greater prosperity among the poor of Boston, this creating a
prejudice against free dispensaries in general, and women physicians in

To all these reasons was due the very hard work which we had to do,
because if a family in the distant poor quarters inclined to favor
us with their patronage, we had to rejoice. And the disadvantage of
such events because of walks of two or three miles in the midst of
winter nights was overcome by the enthusiasm of having gained another
foot-hold among the poorest of the poor. Thus we had our clientele not
only, though chiefly, at the North End of the city but also in the
suburbs, where not even omnibus travel was possible, there being none
to South Boston, Dorchester, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain and other outlying

What would life be without the enthusiasm of the young! And how much
or how little would be accomplished in the evolution of reforms and
progress, if the young were not ready and happy to live up to the
fullest inspiration of this enthusiasm! Reasonable or unreasonable,
let us not stint or discourage any enthusiastic young person in the
ways and means of living up to its fullest extent! Youth will always
meet with more or less success in realizing its ambition, and even if
premature death should be the consequence of such efforts, it does pay
to have favored and encouraged the activity of such aspirations.

The happiness which is enjoyed by enthusiastic workers is impossible
to describe in words, for, though ever so little be gained from the
opposition, or by perseverance, this gain gives moments of joy which
cannot be outweighed by many a disappointment or by any amount of
fatigue. Oh! the single hour of happiness which victory brings! Even
in humble aspirations, it is worth living for. It is not the quantity
of anything which satisfies a noble heart--it is the quality, and the
feeling of conscious satisfaction that the best of which the person was
capable has been done.


 _Formal opening of the College term--Professor Zakrzewska delivers
 the Introductory Lecture--Father disapproves of her removal to
 Boston--This increases the shock of news of his death. (Thirty years
 of age: 1859.)_

The term of 1859-1860 of the college opened well. A goodly number of
students had registered, among them the fine women already mentioned
who assisted much in giving a high tone to our work, and I felt
greatly supported by their earnestness and zeal. [According to the
college announcement, this term opened on November 21, 1859, with the
“Introductory Lecture by Professor Zakrzewska.” A few extracts from
this formal address will help still further in developing the portrait
of the speaker.]

 The study of medicine is so great and comprehensive a field that
 within its horizon we find included the whole moral world. It
 comprises mankind in all its conditions, in all its changes of
 opinions and in all its modes of society. It has been subject to the
 highest wisdom in existence, to the greatest folly and mysticism which
 superstition could produce and, in our days, to the most profound
 learning and scientific speculation. And though I am now addressing a
 miscellaneous audience of which only a few are physicians or students
 of medicine, every one is in some way connected with the profession,
 be it only as a patient. Every one receives this liability as an
 inheritance from nature and, therefore, ought to be interested in a
 science which occupies itself with mankind.

 The only motives that this profession permits to its votaries are
 the clear and decided conviction of an inborn taste and talent
 for the practice of medicine and an earnest desire for, and love
 of, scientific investigations concerning the human being--its
 construction, its condition of health and disease, and all its
 relations with the surrounding world.

 It is a positive fact, acknowledged among all nations and at all
 times, that there is in the mass a growth of the human mind from
 generation to generation similar to that in the different periods of
 individual existence. And to these varying stages of mental growth
 we must ascribe the different forms through which the practice of
 medicine has passed.

 Disease is as old as mankind. The first sore finger made the first
 patient, and the first physician was the one who bound it up or who
 inquired how it was doing. Pain awakens the instinct to relieve, one
 following the other, and this must have existed from the creation of

 The practice of medicine dates back, therefore, to the morning of
 life; the shadows of a hoary antiquity gather around its cradle. The
 annals of history do not reach back of it, but only open the portals
 of fable in whose shadowy domain it is supposed to dwell. Æsculapius
 was the grandson of Zeus, whose father was Time himself.

 Gradually we see it emerging from this hazy atmosphere in the form
 of a mysterious science, assisted and appropriated by the mysticism
 of the oracles and astrologers, until it found its devotees in the
 priesthood who pursued the practice upon the body in connection with
 their duties as priests for the soul.

 It is only since medicine has ceased to stand isolated from the other
 sciences that the erroneous belief that disease was produced by
 supernatural agency has waned. Nothing has more retarded the progress
 of medicine in becoming really scientific than its separation from
 general learning; and nothing could favor empiricism and superstition
 more than the promotion of this separation.

 That this separation produced an apparently inextricable confusion
 was very natural, just as it was natural that medical sects should
 have been formed of which the one renounced this, the other that, and
 the third something else--each individual sect being distinguished
 by its one-sidedness. The only sect--if we may thus term the regular
 physicians--which at no time could be accused of one-sidedness in
 its proclamations was that based upon the principles of Hippocrates
 and the Alexandrian School--these advising practical, experimenting
 science, a course of reasoning which Lord Bacon in his works has
 approved with such justice. And how necessary it was to follow this
 recommendation continually and in every particular is best illustrated
 by showing how one branch of medical practice could fall almost into
 oblivion by neglect to pursue it as an _experimental_ science.

 For instance, in the history of Obstetrics, we find that very little
 was done to promote its elevation from the times of Hippocrates and
 Celsus until within the last one hundred and twenty years, when
 Pareus, Mauriceau, De la Motte, Deventer, and Justina Siegesmundin and
 others began to investigate it and to raise it to its proper place as
 a science.

 Until this time, the obstetric art was so entirely neglected that
 it was considered beneath the dignity of an honorable man. Low and
 uneducated persons appropriated this practice to themselves, even in
 cases of the greatest emergency. The degradation of this branch alone
 proves the need of the introduction of new ideas formed by constant
 observation in science at large; it also proves that we cannot abandon
 speculations and experiments on the natural laws which pervade all
 organizations; and that it is a matter of great necessity that every
 student of medicine should be provided with ample opportunities for
 so doing. And how successful and beneficent, although difficult, such
 reforms are, I shall illustrate by speaking again of the resurrection
 of obstetrical science.

 New life had to be introduced into it before new light could be thrown
 upon this field; and this new life was finally introduced when the
 persons just named entered upon the study. They found that midwifery
 as it was then practiced must be reorganized. Observations on nature
 needed to be made and these were to be followed by scientific
 analysis, and the results introduced into practice.

 A new era for the studious was opened, and many young and brilliant
 minds now found their attention directed towards this branch of
 learning which before they had considered as a subject beneath their
 dignity. Very soon after the first attempt for improvement, an ardent
 enthusiasm was created in the subject, since in it a field for new
 investigations, and consequently for new honors, became apparent
 to the eyes of the ambitious or the learned. In a very short time,
 the practice of obstetrics was regulated in such a manner that not
 only had the horror towards the persons engaged in it entirely
 disappeared, but the terrible operations often practiced had also
 become lessened to an insignificant number, these latter belonging to
 the class of unavoidables.

 Every country produced authorities. England boasted her John Burns and
 Hunter, while France raised up her Baudeloque, her Madame Lachapelle,
 Madame Boivin and many others. But no country gave to the profession
 such thoroughly scientific investigators as did Germany, and of these
 a _woman_ took the lead. Justina Siegesmundin was the pioneer of
 this great reform, and her work, written upon the subject in 1741,
 came upon Europe like a thunderbolt. In every country, minds which had
 been preoccupied with a thousand other things, forgetting the most
 important, were awakened to an activity which would but a short time
 before have been deemed impossible. In Germany, therefore, the subject
 of obstetrics is still considered as of momentous importance, the
 foundation almost of all other practice ... and the statistics prove
 that in this branch of practice less loss of life occurs there than
 in any other country, though its proportion of difficult cases is the
 greatest of any.

 Reformations similar to this will be constantly demanded in all the
 different branches of medical science.... Every day brings results of
 new researches which are throwing fresh light upon subjects not yet

 And this is the position which a physician must assume to-day, and
 for which those who are entering upon this field of study should
 fit themselves. To be an honorable acquisition to the profession, a
 consoler to those who require assistance in overcoming disease, a
 public instructor in the art of preserving health, a reformer from
 the artificial to the natural--these are the aspirations which must
 animate every one who dares attempt to step forward to the platform of
 the benefactors of mankind.

 This is the aim which the beginner must have in her mind, and if she
 falls short of attaining it, she must be able to say that it was
 neither through indolence nor indifference, but through absolute
 powerlessness. If you doubt this to be the position which the student
 should take, then look around and ask yourself what you want of your

 If you are educated, you want your physician to be still more so; if
 you possess perception of conditions and circumstances, you demand
 this of your physician still more. You want of him that he shall not
 only perceive and penetrate into the secret relations and conditions
 of the body physically and psychically, but that he shall also explain
 to you those phenomena which are incomprehensible to you in spite of
 your great perceptive faculties.

 You further demand of your physician that he shall know everything
 belonging to medical science. If you understand physiology well,
 you demand that your physician shall explain in a moment every fact
 that is dark to you, while a lifetime may not be sufficient to prove
 a hypothesis. If you are at home in chemistry, you will certainly
 be greatly surprised if your physician makes a mistake in some
 combinations, and you will be ready to say that he is stupid. If you
 have great skill in nursing, you will expect your physician to teach
 you how to improve; if you are kind and agreeable and amiable, you
 demand the same qualities in him; if you are irritable, fretful and
 capricious so that you have been designated by your neighborhood as
 a fury, you want at least that your physician should comprehend your
 subtle nature. And in addition to all this, your physician must be
 sociable, entertaining, wise in every word, overflowing with great
 thoughts, and uttering new truths whenever you invite him to your

 All this is really demanded of the physician, but how far it may be
 justifiable, I leave it to the thinking ones to decide. But of this
 we may be sure--the physician of the present day occupies a higher
 station than ever before and greater qualifications for the study of
 medicine are increasingly demanded.

 I mentioned in the beginning that the motives for the study of
 medicine must be the right ones; now I have to add that these alone
 will not suffice to make a good physician such as we want to-day.
 These motives must be accompanied by certain qualifications. The
 latter are twofold, and may be divided into those belonging to the
 intellect, and those belonging to our personal and affectional nature.

 It is of infinite importance that the intellect should have been
 previously developed by a course of study which shall train the
 student in logic and reasoning and familiarize him with natural as
 well as with moral and mental philosophy. Observation and experiment
 are the two great auxiliaries to medical study. Those who possess
 the first as a natural gift and who have judgment enough to apply it
 whenever they have an opportunity will take the lead, but those in
 whom both must be developed will always limp behind unless they study
 most industriously and perseveringly.

 Foremost among the second group of qualifications stands the matter of
 age. The student ought to be mature enough to think and to reason, but
 not advanced beyond the time when the mind is naturally predisposed
 to acquiring knowledge. Physical health and prepossessing appearance
 are of the next importance; while cultivated manners and agreeable
 behavior, as well as talent in adapting himself or herself to all
 conditions, all circumstances and all persons, are by no means the
 last to be considered.

 In addition there are some qualifications yet to be mentioned
 which form a part of our affectional nature and without which
 no practitioner can succeed. Of these, the most essential is
 sympathy--not sentimentalizing sympathy, but the sympathy which never
 betrays weakness or timidity and which is firm and persevering,
 controlling every action that it may not become rashness. Modesty
 and reticence, sobriety and unselfishness are other virtues much
 desired in the practitioner. And I add here a word of warning against
 temptations into which physicians are constantly led because I know
 how often pecuniary gain or social position can be obtained by being
 untrue to one’s best self. I have also had occasion to see the
 consequences in those who have yielded to the temptation to abandon
 their principles.

 No greater misery can perhaps be imagined than contempt for one’s
 self; no greater punishment can be endured than the consciousness
 of having acted meanly and despicably. A man who when alone in
 his chamber is forced to blush for himself carries hell within
 him--the loss of a clear conscience is the source of much despair.
 Conscientiousness, so important for every man of whatever station
 in life, is still more important in a physician. To be scrupulously
 honest, to satisfy his own conscience even at the cost of material
 profit, is absolutely essential for him.

 It is human life--that most divine element in creation and
 irreplaceable when once lost, for which the practitioner is
 responsible; and no regrets, no penitence, no despair will be
 accepted by those who mourn or will reconcile them to their
 bereavement. The loss of a beloved wife and mother perhaps brings
 another life to the grave, or it may fix the unhappy fate of a dozen
 human beings of whom she was the guardian angel, and who now are left

 Pause and think for a moment, and try to appreciate the weight of
 misery which in lonely hours such a picture reveals to the mind of one
 who in a critical moment was made responsible for life and death, and
 who must confess that such victims fell a sacrifice to the ambition
 which prevented him from owning his inability for the work intrusted
 to his hands.

 I must leave the subject here and allow you to decide if I have
 pictured clearly enough what we want in a physician of to-day. If I
 have succeeded, you will certainly join with me in giving voice to
 your convictions that not only the very best method for instruction
 should be provided, but that every facility should be offered to
 the student to make him or her acquainted with the past history of
 medicine. Only those who are familiar with all that occurred before
 they stepped on the platform as public instructors or practitioners
 will thoroughly comprehend their duty. Great deeds stimulate to
 greater ones, and so much has already been done in the profession that
 in order to understand his or her own position the newcomer needs to
 have knowledge not only of to-day and yesterday but of all times.

[The foregoing definition of the medical profession paints a picture
far removed from that of Dr. Johnson, as quoted in one place by the
speaker--“The profession of physic is a melancholy attendance on
misery, a mean submission to peevishness and a continued interruption
of pleasure.”]

The men professors, of whom there were four, and the other woman
professor (teaching physiology) were in apparent harmony with my
plans. These were to devote my teaching--which was threefold, namely,
obstetrics, diseases of women and diseases of children--to only one of
these subjects at a time instead of giving two lessons a week on each.

This seemed to work very well; but as it left only four weeks for
treating the diseases of children, while obstetrical teaching ran
through the winter, the students of less intelligence began to be
dissatisfied and my college troubles had already begun before the
winter session had ended.

Meanwhile, I was not happy in my relations with my father, whose
letters disapproved of my having left New York, where he felt that
I was under the supervision of the Drs. Blackwell with whom all
responsibilities for the hospital enterprise rested. He now became
really distressing to me because his conviction was that whether I
succeeded or not I was disgracing the family, and German womanhood
in general, by accepting a position which caused my name to come
prominently before the public.

I finally felt that I must write a strong and decided letter to him,
requesting him either to stop writing to me altogether or else to
preserve silence as to his judgment of me and my actions. This letter
arrived in Berlin at a time when he was ill in bed and he died a few
days later.

I received the news of his death in November from his wife, he having
married again. But I never knew whether he read my letter or not. The
shock was very great and it upset my nerves, not only as the loss of
so near a relative naturally would but also from the fact that I had
written a letter which I had for several years hesitated to write, not
wishing to place myself in a hostile position to a father who, after
all, had been kind and had done the best he knew how to do for his

This news also added another care and responsibility, as my father left
two younger sisters unprovided for. Being a salaried civil officer in
the government, he had no opportunity to accumulate money, and both
these sisters were above the age when government pensions are allowed
to children. Although my sisters who were married and lived in New
York and Washington gladly joined in this financial care yet their own
family interests could not be sacrificed.

Thus ended the year 1859, and Christmas time was a rather _triste_
one, especially as that cheerful festival was not then celebrated in
New England, and schools and colleges continued in session as usual.

In looking back upon it, it seems to me that that year was one of
the most delightful as well as the most tragic, and one of the most
peaceful yet most conflicting, in emotion, in judgment and in making

Often have I meditated how differently would we act if we clearly saw
events a little before they occurred. And how utterly tales of fiction
fail when they describe how rightly instinctive wisdom decides at
a moment when emotions and intelligence oppose each other, always
leading the hero to do the right thing. The calm reasoning of the
author knows what aim he has in view and what will be the end. In real
life it is quite a different affair, and no one can judge the result
when in a condition of conflict between heart and head.


 _As part of her struggle to elevate the College standards,
 she insists the students must be trained practically as well as
 theoretically--Confirmation of her views by experience of Dr. J.
 Marion Sims--Persistence in her convictions and refusal to pass
 students whose work is below her standards make many enemies
 for her--Private practice increases--She applies for admission
 to the Massachusetts Medical Society--Is refused because she
 is a woman--Militant ostracism of women by the Philadelphia
 County Medical Society--Sketch of the Female Medical College of
 Pennsylvania--Appalled by the death rate among babies, Dr. Zakrzewska
 establishes a temporary asylum for infants--Continuing unable to
 elevate the standards of the College, she decides to resign--Her
 resignation is accepted, with the request that she relinquish her
 last year’s salary--The occurrence causes a split in the College,
 many of the men professors and trustees also resigning--The hospital
 is discontinued, and its furniture is bought by friends of Dr.
 Zakrzewska. (Thirty-two years of age: 1860-1862.)_

If the Christmastide were prosaic, the New Year’s Day (1860) was not
the less so. Business went on everywhere just the same, only that every
one shouted to each other without any kind of feeling, “Happy New Year!”

As the year progressed, lectures and dispensary work, as well as the
hospital department, went on; private practice increased, adding to
my income, which was small. As professor, I received three hundred
dollars, and as superintendent of the clinical department, an
additional three hundred dollars. Each of the gentlemen professors also
received three hundred dollars while the lady professor of physiology
had the benefit of an endowment of that chair and received five hundred
dollars. From this it must be admitted that it was not money that
induced these people to work hard every day, five times weekly, to
instruct the students, but a real interest in the cause of educating
professional women.

Had the originator of the school (Samuel Gregory), an ambitious man,
originally a missionary, been a man of higher education and broader
views, the school might have been taken up by the men standing highest
in the profession. The prevailing sentiment among these men seemed to
be that if women wanted to become physicians, the trial should be made
by giving them the same advantages as were offered to men students.

But in a monograph which had been published by this originator to
promote his plans, under the title of _Man-Midwifery_, he not
only challenged the prevailing method of practice but abused even the
best of physicians by intimating the grossest indelicacy, yes, even
criminality, in their relations with their patients. This was the
reason why no physician in Boston would openly acknowledge me as long
as I remained in connection with the New England Female Medical College.

Besides this handicap, the non-professional portion of the trustees
exercised a very fatal policy in trying to increase the number of
students regardless of their preparatory education, so that there
existed a great contrast among the students. Some had the best of
education, while others fell far below a proper standard in their
preparatory studies, to say nothing of the age of some of them. Thus,
we had a number of students over forty--one was fifty-six years old.

I admired the courage and persistency of these middle-aged women in
studying their lessons, often mechanically without understanding
their depth, yet I could not conscientiously consider them fit
subjects to enter upon the practice of a profession which requires so
much knowledge in various scientific directions as well as a broad
education, so as to enable one to comprehend the effects of all kinds
of environment upon the individual patient.

How absolutely necessary it is to cultivate in the student not only the
scientist but also the philanthropist, the humanitarian, yes, even the
philosopher, in order that one shall be fair and just in all situations
when consulted by persons morally, mentally or physically afflicted.

I constantly taught that the treatment of patients cannot be learned
from books but must be studied practically. This was a principle which
only a few of the students would admit. The idea which I emphasized,
that any other view of treating patients belongs in the realm of
quackery, was considered by these ignorant students as an insult when I
tried to explain it to them.

But it must be remembered that at this date such was the prevailing
custom in even the best medical schools for, as I have already
explained, students were expected to procure their practical training
at the hands of their private preceptors.

That this training was liable to be a will-o’-the-wisp even with male
students who had no difficulty in finding preceptors has been well
shown by the personal experiences related by Dr. J. Marion Sims in
his autobiography called _The Story of My Life_. Nowhere have I
seen the consistent results of such a method of medical education as
everywhere prevailed even at this time, so clearly described as in this
book which was published in 1884.

Dr. Sims had a preceptor and he was graduated from the Jefferson
Medical College, in Philadelphia, in March, 1835. He states that his
preceptor was a very great surgeon who was often unfitted for his
professional work by the habit of drinking. He also states that he was
very glad when he was able to leave the office of this preceptor and
attend medical lectures.

About two or three weeks after Dr. Sims opened his own office he was
called to his first patient, “a baby about eighteen months old who
had what we would call the summer complaint or chronic diarrhea.” He
continues his story, saying, “I examined the child minutely from head
to foot. I looked at its gums and, as I always carried a lancet with me
and had surgical propensities, as soon as I saw some swelling of the
gums I at once took out my lancet and cut the gums down to the teeth
... but when it came to making up a prescription I had no more idea
what ailed the child or what to do for it than if I had never studied

Telling the mother to send to his office for medicine, he continues,
“I hurried back to my office and took out one of my seven volumes
of Eberle, which comprised my library ... and turned quickly to
the subject of Cholera Infantum and read it through, over and over
again.... I knew no more what to prescribe for the sick babe than if
I had not read it all. But it was my only resource. I had nobody to
consult but Eberle.... He had a peculiar way of filling his book with
prescriptions, which was a very good thing for a young doctor.... At
the beginning of his article of twenty or thirty pages there was a
prescription.... So I compounded it as quickly as I knew how and had
everything in readiness for the arrival of Jennie.”

Speaking of his next visit, he continues: “As the medicine had done
no good, it was necessary to change it.” He once more returned to his
office and “turned to Eberle again and to a new leaf. I gave the baby
a prescription from the next chapter. Suffice it to say that I changed
leaves and prescriptions as often as once or twice a day. The baby
continued to grow weaker and weaker.” And in a short time it died,
although Dr. Sims says, “I never dreamed that it could die!”

About two weeks later, he was called to his second patient, another
baby which was ailing similarly to the first one. He writes, “I was
nonplussed. I had no authority to consult but Eberle; so I took up
Eberle again, and this time I read him backward. I thought I would
reverse the treatment I had instituted with the Mayer baby. So, instead
of beginning at the first of the chapter, I began at the last of the
chapter, and turned backward, and turned the leaves the same way, and
reversed the prescriptions. The baby got no better from the very first.
And soon this baby died.”

Dr. Sims was so disheartened, he decided to leave that town, and he did
so. But it is just to him to add that he further wrote, “Being obliged
to continue in the profession that I had started in, I was determined
to make up my deficiency by hard work; and this was not to come from
reading books, but from observation and from diligent attention to the

Thus it happened at the New England Female Medical College that,
feeling as strongly as I did as to the necessity for clinical training,
I made but few friends among my listeners, and I felt out of place
except with those few who had had superior educational training. This
difference in education naturally divided the students, and the feeling
of favoritism grew stronger with the majority, while my interest in
this majority naturally grew weaker. The clinical department was
frequented only by the few, as no rule of compulsion demanded of the
students a regular attendance.

My position became tedious in its teaching duties and unendurable in
its relation to the students, yet I had nothing to complain of which
could be corrected without changing the whole policy of the school and
eliminating the most active directors, in fact, starting a college on
college foundations.

My male co-workers, men of education and experience, fully agreed with
me and told me that indorsing my election, they had hoped I would
prevail upon the founders to elevate the standard of the school.

I, a foreigner who, as such, was not greeted with a cordial welcome by
two thirds of the directors! And the Know-Nothing spirit prevailing
strongly during those years in all strata of the community!

Besides, I did not feel called upon to condemn and to reform the part
of their enterprise which had been justly praised in speech and in
print, and which had been sustained for years by the efforts of regular
physicians in the capacity of professors and private preceptors.

So, when my first college year closed, in March, 1860, and I flatly
refused to agree to the bestowal of the degree of M.D. upon several
women who presented themselves, I had laid the foundation of a hatred
which rendered my work extremely trying and hard, and which to a
certain extent prevented the growth of our out-door dispensary practice.

However, my private practice steadily increased, and in it I had
the good will, as well as the assistance when in need, of the most
prominent physicians in Boston. Among these were Drs. S. Cotting,
Walter Channing, H. I. Bowditch, E. H. Clark and S. Cabot.

These men advised me to attempt to gain admission into the
Massachusetts Medical Society, of which they were prominent members.
After preparing for the necessary examination, I presented my claim but
was refused because I was a woman, their charter allowing only male
candidates for the examination.

This refusal on the ground of sex decided these men not to break the
rules of the Massachusetts Medical Society by consulting with me or by
assisting me when advising patients to seek my attendance.

To be sure, their friendliness had not been withal an admission of
the principle that women ought to be, or could be, physicians. On the
contrary, I was informed in private conversation by some of these men
that I was considered an “exception” to my sex; that such exceptions
had existed in ancient times and were honored, and that during all the
centuries such exceptions had continued to occur. Only one famous old
physician, Dr. James Jackson, told me frankly and politely and in the
kindest manner that it would be impossible for him to recognize as a
lady any woman who was outside “her sphere.”

A similar ostracism was practiced by the Philadelphia County Medical
Society against the other medical college for women, the Female Medical
College of Pennsylvania, which had been opened in 1850, two years after
the New England Female Medical College began under the name of the
Boston Female Medical School. But the Philadelphia college had taken
the precaution from the beginning to obtain the same legal authority as
the male medical colleges for conferring the medical degree.

Nevertheless, it led a precarious existence and had to be closed
for the session of 1861-1862, and Dr. Ann Preston feared that the
institution to which she had given so much time and strength was doomed
to succumb to the weight of opposition and the absolute refusal of the
male physicians to meet the women physicians in consultation. However,
a few of the ablest men disregarded the rules of their society and
stood by the women who had just then succeeded in opening their little
hospital for women and children.

It was not until 1867 that the Philadelphia College could be considered
as on a firm basis, but within ten years from that time it produced the
first woman ovariotomist in America, Dr. Emeline H. Cleveland, who was
resident physician of the Woman’s Hospital after her return from study
in Europe, principally in the Maternité in Paris.

Thus for me the year of 1860 ended. The college course which began in
October had not varied in kind from that of the previous year, though I
could note increased personal success in practice as well as in social

The year of 1861 began for me in no way differently from the first in
Boston. The dispensary practice increased in numbers of patients and
also in greater variety and interest.

There was an especially large increase in the practice among children
and infants, which gave me an insight into the neglect which the latter
had to endure when boarded out among ignorant, and often indifferent,
families, where the small sum received for the maintenance of these
little unfortunate beings was of more consequence than their health and

The frequency with which we were required to sign death certificates of
infants whom we had seen but a day or two before, and who were then in
an almost dying condition, was out of all relation with the number who
applied in the early stages of what was then called “cholera infantum.”

This led me to inquire how far the law protected such little beings,
and how far institutions gave relief either to poor mothers by boarding
their offspring, or to foundlings. This brought me in contact with one
of the greatest philanthropists to these little creatures, namely, Miss
Matilda Goddard, who had at that time provided good homes for about
eight hundred infants, keeping a record as well as an oversight of them
all. No public provision existed save a few places in connection with a
Roman Catholic institution.

I therefore proposed to a few friends of mine the establishment of a
temporary asylum for infants, and an apartment for this purpose was
secured at the corner of Washington and Oak streets. Small as was this
beginning, we having about eight babies, it drew the attention of a
large number of philanthropists to the need of looking after these poor
beings. And then the Massachusetts Infant Asylum, as well as other
provisions for these dependents upon the Commonwealth, were called
into existence. The result was the saving of many a valuable life and
the directing of the attention of the benevolent to the absolute need
of watchfulness over those helpless beings who are at the mercy of
strangers during the first days or years of their lives.

The work at the college continued to be unsatisfactory to me, and the
year 1862, which was to become of such great importance to womankind in
general and to me in special, opened in the usual prosaic custom then
prevailing, namely, with every day filled with routine work.

However, I felt very excited, as well as very uncertain how to shape
my plans and prospects, for I had decided to leave the college and its
little hospital at the close of the term in March. I had communicated
my intention to the directors of the college at the close of the year
of my engagement, in June, 1861.

One of the most interested of the directors was Mr. Samuel E. Sewall.
He asked me what my reasons were for giving up the position, and I
replied in a letter to him of which I here make a copy:

 About two years have passed since I became connected with the New
 England Female Medical College. Twice I have signed the diplomas of
 the graduating class, both times with reluctance and under protest.

 My work as teacher in the college and as physician in the medical
 department has not been performed with that ease which is the result
 of a mutual understanding of all engaged in the same purpose, nor has
 it given me satisfaction.

 Not one of my expectations for a thorough medical education for women
 has been realized; indeed, I could not even do what has been in my
 power heretofore, namely, discountenance as physicians those women who
 do not deserve that name. On the contrary, I am obliged by the resolve
 of the majority to put my name to diplomas which justify the holders
 in presenting themselves to the community as fitted to practice.

 If it were the intention of the trustees to supply the country with
 underbred, ill-educated women under the name of physicians in order
 to force the regular schools of medicine to open their doors for the
 few fitted to study, so as to bring an end to an institution from
 which are poured forth indiscriminately “Doctors of Medicine,” I think
 the New England Female Medical College is on the right track.

 Allow me to say a few words about the school in justification of this.
 To a critical observer, it will soon become apparent that the majority
 of the class of students could be made to be only good nurses; whilst
 some might become respectable midwives; and a very few, physicians.
 Yet we have to give the diploma of “Doctor of Medicine” to all, after
 they have passed the legal time in study.

 After the first year of my work here had expired, I hoped to effect a
 change by remonstrating in the faculty meeting against the admission
 of all sorts of women, old and young, with and without common sense,
 and the distribution of diplomas to them all.

 But I found very little support, and I was told that it would be hard
 to disappoint some women who had perseveringly labored for a diploma.
 According to my ideas, which agree, I know, with the ideas of the
 profession generally, perseverance alone does not entitle persons
 to receive a diploma. Even should a disappointment prove to be a
 deathblow to the student, it is better that one should die rather than
 receive permission to kill many.

 It will be perceived by you that these circumstances are not such
 as to make success possible, and consequently they cannot make me
 contented in my position. I therefore ask you to accept my resignation
 as soon as the time expires for which I agreed to remain.

 Knowing well how difficult it is to find a suitable professor for a
 college for women, I thought it well to inform you of my intention
 a full year in advance. Yet should you find a desirable person to
 fill my place before that time, I wish you to remember that I shall
 be thankful to be released from duties which are burdensome and
 unsatisfactory in result.

 I hope that you will not consider this an impulsive or rash step, and
 in order to convince you of the deliberation with which I have made
 this decision, and my firm determination not to alter it, I hope that
 you will allow me an opportunity to state to you personally, more
 fully, my views of the condition of the school under your patronage.


Mr. Sewall gave me this opportunity, especially because as a lawyer
he wished to explain to me that this letter could not be presented to
the directors and trustees of the college, as it suggested many points
which would necessarily lead to legal investigations and which would
involve us all in a notoriety absolutely fatal to the whole cause.

Yet I felt that no malicious intent was in me to injure the school or
any one. I simply expressed my opinion and the opinion of professional
men outside the college, who would not countenance the school nor
assist me personally so long as my connection with it lasted.

But in consequence of Mr. Sewall’s opinion, I resigned at the end of
the college term without giving any other reason than that I felt not
contented in my position.

This led to many meetings of the trustees as a number of them were
anxious to retain my services, especially as the hospital department
depended so largely upon my superintendence. On the other hand, a
number, under the leadership of the secretary, Samuel Gregory (who had
already pronounced against such innovations as microscope, thermometer,
test tubes, etc., as proof of incapacity to recognize the ailments of
patients), tried to convince the others that “foreigners” are not fit
for American institutions, as they invariably are pedants and too rude
to treat the free American woman with that courtesy to which she is

Mr. Gregory brought proof of this declaration by calling before the
meetings several of the women students who were opposed to me because I
had frankly told them that they might in time become good nurses.

He also tried to convince the directors, who were in great financial
straits, that the school had existed for ten years without such an
expensive experiment as a hospital department, and that, by my leaving,
this would be discontinued as a matter of course.

Thus my resignation was finally accepted, with the request that I
relinquish my last year’s salary of three hundred dollars, as the
treasury was empty. I therefore became a benefactor to the college for
that sum, though the treasurer did not acknowledge it in his report.

Besides this, an agreement was entered into between the college
directors and my friends (who now more than ever wished to establish a
hospital for women, managed by women physicians, and for the training
of women as physicians and nurses) that all the furniture and fittings
of the hospital department of the New England Female Medical College
should become the property of these friends of mine for the sum of one
hundred and fifty dollars.

[The Annual Reports of the New England Female Medical College during
Dr. Zakrzewska’s connection with it, from September, 1860, to
September, 1862, show total expenses for the Clinical Department of
$5,362.97, and total receipts for the same department of $5,024.13,
making a total deficit of $338.84. But it must be remembered that Dr.
Zakrzewska’s connection with the department ended six months before the
date of the last report.

Dr. Zakrzewska’s forced “donation” of her salary for her third and last
year, of three hundred dollars, brought the deficit down to $38.84;
and the receipt of one hundred and fifty dollars from her friends as
purchase price of the furniture left a net profit in the hands of the
college of $111.16.

The last Annual Report contains not only the interesting omission
of acknowledgment of Dr. Zakrzewska’s donation of her three hundred
dollars salary, but also the interesting acknowledgment of “donations”
of one hundred dollars each from the two men professors who retired
from the faculty at the same time.]

The whole occurrence brought about a split in the college and the most
intelligent men, among whom was the Hon. S. E. Sewall and some of the
men professors, also resigned. This was the beginning of the end of the
college which, in 1874, was merged into the Boston University Medical
College by an act of legislation which preserved to women as full
rights as students as if they were in a college by themselves.

Thus it came about that Boston had a medical school for both sexes,
though this then became a homeopathic school.

Dr. James R. Chadwick, in an article (“The Study and Practice of
Medicine by Women”), in the _International Review_, October, 1879,
states that

 “in 1874, while the proposition to transfer the New England Female
 Medical College to Harvard University was under consideration by that
 corporation, the trustees suddenly merged the college in the School of
 Medicine of Boston University, which is under the exclusive control of

And he adds the following comment:

 While this act may have involved no betrayal of trust in a legal
 sense on the part of the trustees, it certainly was an indefensible
 breach of trust toward those who had contributed funds to enable women
 to obtain a medical education in accordance with the tenets of the
 regular school.

During the three years of my life in Boston, from June, 1859, to 1862,
it was necessary to educate the laity to consider a woman doctor
a necessity in family life; to teach it that a woman can have the
endurance and fortitude of body and mind to meet the demands of the
profession, night or day, winter or summer, rain or shine. Also, to get
the profession accustomed to the thought that women will study and
practice medicine honorably and systematically. The attainment of these
ends was the real satisfaction of these first years.

Fortunately, the eyes of the laity were fully upon us and criticism was
not wanting. With watchful eagerness to grasp at the least mistake or
failure, this kind public kept us at the work.




 _A third American beginning--Founding of the New England Hospital
 for Women and Children--Incorporation for threefold object, to
 aid women as physicians, nurses and patients--Dr. Zakrzewska is
 resident, attending and dispensary physician, and in charge of the
 out-practice--Later, with the aid of paying guests, she is able to
 establish her home separate from the Hospital--The charitable policy
 of the Hospital. (1862-1863.)_

The quest approaches its goal. But the seeker knew it not, for she

 In 1862, after disconnecting myself from the New England Female
 Medical College in Boston, I stood alone once more, now for the third
 time, and still at the beginning of my life’s work, as it appeared to
 me. I was no longer needed in New York, yet nothing could I show as
 the result of my eight years’ labor.

Standing there alone as she felt herself, her soul filled only with
the vision and her movements directed only towards following the
gleam, she was all unknowingly already bound to Boston by constraining
bands, the weaving of which she had shared with Clotho who spins, and
with Lachesis who allots. And around her was gathering the atmosphere
towards which her spirit had been yearning, an atmosphere made by
kindred souls who needed her for their life’s satisfaction as she
needed them for hers.

Many men and women had upheld the New England Female Medical College
because they felt called to assist in the evolution of medicine as a
field for _human_ endeavor rather than one forbidden to all but
male workers. When Marie E. Zakrzewska appeared, some of these men and
women realized that they had mistaken the light of the torchbearers
for the chariot radiance, and when she concluded to leave the college
they decided to go with her and to uphold the determination which she
expressed when she said:

“I decided to work again on the old plan, namely, to establish the
education of female students on sound principles, that is, to educate
them in hospitals.”

She continues:

 Whoever is acquainted with the miraculous progress of medical science
 made in Europe, and especially in Germany, will know how far behind
 medical education in America had remained. This was chiefly owing
 to the want of well-organized hospitals. Clinical training and
 practical study can be had only at the bedside and in the deadhouse.
 No pathological or physiological discovery can be made in a college,
 behind the _cathedra_--it can only be proclaimed from this place.

 Therefore the lecture room for the study of medicine had become
 secondary to the hospital all over the continent of Europe, and our
 best-educated young men and women were all longing to go to that
 Eldorado of medical research and knowledge.

 It was the lack of this method in all medical schools here which
 we felt when starting the New York Infirmary, especially as the
 few existing hospitals remained--and still remain for the most
 part--closed to women students. It was our perception of this true
 method for educating a physician that determined us to establish a
 hospital prior to a college. We women decided to start from a sound
 and correct foundation, and to this principle we owe the great success
 so far attained, although it may appear small to those who now enter
 upon the work.

 Here let me remark that we willingly allow the newcomers to make their
 criticisms of the present conditions; we admit the truth when it is
 spoken, but we expect the newcomers to work as hard and to strive as
 untiringly and perseveringly as we pioneers have done, to improve and
 to complete what has been undertaken.

 A few friends--Mr. George William Bond, Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney, and Miss
 Lucy Goddard--true, firm friends of the education of women, stood
 beside me, with no other ready means than some remnants of hospital
 furniture, valued at one hundred and fifty dollars, which remained
 from our experiment in connection with the New England Female Medical
 College. On June 22, 1862, we hired, on our own responsibility, a
 sunny, airy house with a large yard, located at No. 60, Pleasant
 Street, corner of Porter Street, at a rent of six hundred dollars, and
 here we commenced operations.

 And thus was born the _New England Hospital for Women and
 Children_, which began its work on July 1, 1862, a few men
 physicians being willing to aid us by giving us their names as

 Other friends of women’s education soon joined us and became
 directors. Among these Samuel E. Sewall, the old friend of the
 college, and F. W. G. May, the ever-hopeful treasurer of a then empty
 purse, gave us their indefatigable aid and unremitting interest.[8]

 Thus in the midst of the Civil War we started our work. And many a
 soldier’s family thanked us for so doing, for just then the darkest
 days of the struggle gave us special opportunity to advise and comfort.

A Provisional Committee managed the new institution. Four of the
committee became responsible for the rent, and each of the ladies
pledged herself to obtain her proportion of the expenses from month to
month. As an example of the faith and courage of these supporters of
Dr. Zakrzewska, it is related that Mr. Bond met Mr. Abraham A. Call and
told him that a house on Pleasant Street had been rented for a hospital
but there was not a penny to pay the rent, whereupon Mr. Call handed
him a contribution of five dollars for that purpose and later became a
director of the Hospital, his daughter, Dr. Emma L. Call,[21] becoming
in time one of its leading physicians.

Meantime, Dr. Zakrzewska repeated the superhuman work which she had
already done at the New York Infirmary and again at the Clinical
Department of the New England Female Medical College--organizing
the details of the Hospital and Dispensary, serving as resident and
attending physician and responding to all calls in both out-patient and
private practice.[9]

The new institution began at once to grow and on March of the following
year (1863), it was incorporated, Miss Lucy Goddard and Mrs. Ednah D.
Cheney joining her as legal sponsors for the undertaking.

The name, the New England Hospital for Women and Children, was chosen
because Boston was considered as the center of this cluster of States
which seemed to have so generally the sentiments and relations of a
family group within the larger Union. But common usage has always been
to shorten the longer, detailed title and to call the institution
simply the New England Hospital, and by this latter title it has become
known all over the world.

The objects of the Hospital, as stated in the first by-laws, were
declared to be three:

 1. To provide for women medical aid by competent physicians of their
 own sex.

 2. To assist educated women in the practical study of medicine.

 3. To train nurses for the care of the sick.

During the first transitional year from 1862-1863, Dr. Zakrzewska’s
duties were again increased by the resignation of Dr. Breed as resident
physician, and this added care continued till September, 1863, when
Dr. Lucy E. Sewall returned from study in Europe and became the new
resident physician. As this year progressed the need for an attending
surgeon was felt and, as there appeared to be no sufficiently qualified
woman available, Dr. Horatio R. Storer was appointed.

This latter is the only instance in which a male physician has been
appointed on the attending staff of the New England Hospital. And this
cutting of the Gordian knot, which was made necessary by the lack of
opportunity for surgical training for women, is characteristic of Dr.
Zakrzewska’s attitude of mind. While her greatest interest was directed
toward developing women she was profoundly interested in all forms of
human activity, and she believed a balanced life required everywhere
the presence of both men and women. The New England Hospital was forced
to be limited to women physicians because all other hospitals denied
them entrance. Even when they were, later, grudgingly admitted to some
of these latter, it was only to the lower positions, and opportunities
for advancement were never, and are not to this day, equalized.

When the appointment of a resident physician no longer made it
necessary for her to live in the Hospital, though retaining her office
there, she rented a house in Roxbury and once more had the joy of
possessing a home of her own, sharing this with two of her sisters.
These were the youngest, who had been sent to her after her father’s
death, and another whom she was educating for self-support as a teacher.

However, as her financial condition was very precarious, she was
obliged to admit to her household as paying guests some friends and
patients. She thus found herself the head of quite an establishment,
and over this she presided with that executive ability and that
atmosphere of elder-sisterliness which we have already seen her
manifest in her first New York home.

The most notable members of this family circle were undoubtedly Miss
Julia A. Sprague, who became her faithful friend and home companion
for life, and Mr. and Mrs. Karl Heinzen. It is easy to understand how
such a personality as that of Karl Heinzen[10] would appeal to her,
especially as his name had been a household word in her home in Berlin.
She writes:

 From early childhood I had heard of Karl Heinzen as the pioneer of
 republicanism in Germany, whose writings my father read in secret.
 He was very poor and he published a paper which was unpopular, as it
 advocated not only the abolition of slavery but also “woman’s rights.”
 Our friendship was, therefore, based not simply on affinity by nature
 but also on principle; and we pledged ourselves to devote our strength
 and our means to furthering the realization of our convictions.

This friendship lasted as long as Karl Heinzen lived (he died in
November, 1880) and its influence on both of these independent thinkers
was profound and far-reaching.

In addition to her other work she increased the Hospital funds by
lecturing to the public; some of her private patients furnished greatly
needed assistance by holding a Fair in Roxbury; and an especial service
was rendered by Miss Sprague who gave three months of her time to serve
as matron of the Hospital.

An item of interest is the contribution given by the trustees of the
Boston Lying-In Hospital who had at that time no hospital of their own.
During the years of 1861 and 1862 this body gave to the New England
Female Medical College donations of twenty dollars and fifty-one
dollars, respectively, these donations being contributions for the care
of obstetric patients in the Clinical Department under Dr. Zakrzewska’s
management. During this first year of the existence of the New England
Hospital (now become the only lying-in hospital in the city) the
donation was made to this hospital, and it reached the sum of two
hundred dollars.

Striking evidence of the growth of her work and of the faith of her
supporters is shown in the formation, already in this first year of
the life of the New England Hospital, of a Building Committee and the
beginning of a Permanent Fund, the birth of this latter being marked by
a donation of three thousand dollars from Mrs. George G. Lee and by one
of one thousand dollars from a friend of Samuel E. Sewall.

The charitable policy of the Hospital was one which presented
great practical difficulties of administration, difficulties which
have always fallen to the lot of every one who has attempted any
philanthropic work. The point of view adopted by Dr. Zakrzewska and
her director associates is admirably shown in the first annual report
(1863) and its appendices. It is especially to be noted here because of
attacks which were later made upon it, as we shall presently see.


 _Extracts from letters to her first Boston student, Dr. Lucy E.
 Sewall, now studying in Europe--Lectures to public on “Hospitals:
 their history, designs and needs.” (1863.)_

The daughter of Samuel E. Sewall became an enthusiastic admirer of Dr.
Zakrzewska during one of the visits which the latter made to Boston in
the interest of the New York Infirmary, and a close friendship between
them resulted. An amusing incident of their first meeting has been
related in an earlier chapter.

This friendship led to Lucy E. Sewall’s decision to study medicine
and she entered the New England Female Medical College as soon as Dr.
Zakrzewska became connected with it, in 1859. She remained a student
there during the entire three years that Dr. Zakrzewska continued on
the faculty, being assistant student in the Clinical Department, and
being graduated in March, 1862. Following the advice of Dr. Zakrzewska,
she then went to Europe for clinical study and for the practical
training which was denied her in her own country.

From the correspondence which ensued many interesting sidelights are
thrown on Dr. Zakrzewska’s personality and activities during these
days. Thus, she writes:

  _October 16, 1862._


 I suppose you want long letters and in order to meet this want I will
 write as often as I find time, so as to fill the sheet as I go along.
 After that forlorn day yesterday, I am established again as usual this
 morning at the table writing.

 Now let me tell you that I consider you one of the greatest
 intriguants possible. You thought, I suppose, that you could catch
 two flies in one beating by providing me with inkstand and pens. Of
 course, I have to write if I have the materials; while the things will
 not get used up in so doing, and will even be ornamental next year
 after you have returned and we have an office together! But wait till
 you do come home, and then see whether your speculation turns out as
 you calculated.

 I gave the match box and tumbler to Mr. and Mrs. Heinzen who were
 greatly pleased with the little memento. Now this is all for one
 morning, only let me assure you that you sha’n’t leave me again behind
 you; or if you desire to do so, you shall not see me when you start.

        *       *       *       *       *

  _October 21._

 I have had two letters now from Dr. Morton, the one I told you about
 and one other, dated September 24, in which she spoke of her safe
 arrival and of her terrible homesickness. She calls Paris a cold city.
 She likes England very much and wants to hear from you, all about
 yourself and your experiences.

 ... Minna writes pleasantly about her life and wants to hear from you,
 too. I suppose I will have to send her your letter when you send me
 one that I can send about.

 ... Dr. Cabot called here the other day. He was very pleasant and
 accepted all as very good--arrangements as well as physicians and
 students. I asked him about consultation in forceps cases. He said
 it was not necessary to call him for such cases, as forceps when
 skillfully applied were without danger to either mother or child. You
 see, he rightly supposes we use the forceps “skillfully.”

 The student, Miss Cook, has left for the Philadelphia college. I
 really don’t know what else to write to you unless I tell you some of
 my domestic affairs, namely, that I got, all in all, eight barrels of
 pears and seven of apples; and I have any quantity of tomatoes pickled
 and barberry jelly made.... On the 12th of November, we shall have
 the Dress Party, which will be given by Miss Nichols in honor of Miss
 Sprague’s birthday.

        *       *       *       *       *

  _Boston, Pleasant Street,
  Saturday, November 29, at 9 P. M._

 I am in Miss G.’s (the matron of the hospital) room, which is my
 present abode during the nights. I have just arrived from the depot
 where I left Mrs. ---- (one of her home patients) and Mrs. Heinzen,
 who are going to New York. The first goes to see her son who is going
 to the war, and the latter accompanies her for safety’s sake. They
 both return day after to-morrow.

 Before starting for Roxbury, I read your letter to the whole company
 there. They all send love to you and say that it is Holiday when
 your letters arrive.... We read all your letters, even those to your
 father, and I assure you they are all much too short.

 ... Why don’t you tell me more about Miss B.’s nephew, or have you
 decided on a compromise? You remember that I don’t want you to marry a
 German, and your uncle forbids an Englishman; so you must try to find
 one who combines all the good points of German, English and American.

 ... I was very much amused at your descriptions of the English
 doctors. I hope they will be of use to you. What you say about
 Dr. ---- and Dr. ---- is, I am afraid, correct, for they have at
 times a special faculty for being haughty and making themselves as
 disagreeable as anybody can do. I should like to hear more about it
 because, from Mrs. ----’s expressions, I inferred the same. I am very
 sorry that she has left London. I know her; she spent an evening with
 me at the Infirmary and my acquaintance with her was interrupted by
 another matter which took my attention.

 ... What kind of a bonnet did you buy? And why did you not complete
 the last page of your letter by giving a description of it?

 ... There is no need to tell me not to forget to miss you. I am sure
 I never missed any person more than I do you. I almost had it in my
 heart to wish that you may not succeed in London and that you then
 make a visit to Paris during the rest of the winter, and then go along
 the River Seine and come home in June. I feel almost wicked to make
 you homesick yet certainly I do feel provoked when you say that you
 are not so; for I am homesick for you.

 It is very strange how you have grown yourself into my heart. I never
 before have felt such strong attachment for a woman, that is, so
 “tenderly” strong. I have always appreciated and loved women more
 intellectually. But you are my child. And I am going to have the
 first grandbaby all to myself as my well-deserved property.

 You see, I am not so very selfish. I want you to enjoy all happiness
 that exists for us poor mortals--which is by no means in the single

        *       *       *       *       *

  _Roxbury, Attic Room, Southeast Corner,
  Sunday Night, 10:30._

 I hope this is dated explanatorily enough to need no comments. But
 where under this wet heavens are you? We have plenty of water from
 above, have you still the same below you? I would almost envy you were
 I not so cosily covered.

 Henceforth, I fear we will have to pity you on Sundays in that pious
 England. I can appreciate your loneliness, for I often have a taste of
 it here on Sabbath evenings. For in spite of all the liberality of our
 inmates, we have to be stupid Sunday nights to please them, and I am
 always thankful when the day is over.

 Mr. Heinzen said to-day that I am a great talker, and he is not so
 very wrong, for it distresses me to see a whole company sitting
 together doing nothing, saying nothing, and thinking nothing,
 because it is Sunday and they can’t go to church, in order to hear
 nothing--but words and phrases.

 I often think I will make these latter myself, using innocent subjects
 for the sake of conversation. The presence of people disturbs me and
 prevents my thinking deeply, so I talk out what comes along. Have you
 ever found me so very talkative--unless I am with people who don’t
 interest me very much above a certain degree, say one above zero?

 I hope this letter and the one I wrote to Miss Morton will not be
 called belonging to this class. Still, I am writing to-night chiefly
 to let out some steam. Some people will not do this and therefore
 often burst when least desirable.

 ... My finger which became infected during the treatment of that
 little Mrs. ---- is now progressing so that I do not fear future
 trouble. It has been the most curious development of pathological
 changes that you can imagine. I am sorry that you could not watch
 nature in a small trouble and see her action in repairing damages.

 Be careful of yourself for you know that at the time when my finger
 became infected, it was apparently perfectly sound, yet there must
 have been some point of entrance for the infection which followed. I
 am glad that it proved to be so slight.

 I have not been to see your father as I was so very busy, but I shall
 go there to-morrow unless the storm continues too severely.

        *       *       *       *       *

  _Roxbury, December 28, 1862._

 Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I shall not tell you any more that
 I miss you at any time, for I don’t, not a bit. On the contrary, I am
 glad that you are gone.

 I just read this paragraph to our parlor assembly and they wanted to
 tear it up. Now, don’t you think that is quite a despotical sign of
 our regiment here? I am sure I don’t want to write anything else, for
 you shall not get too vain about yourself.

 We, that is, myself and Mrs. ---- and Miss Sprague, as well as Mr. and
 Mrs. Heinzen, feel quite proud of our little doctor in England, only
 we feel as if that little M.D. should write a little oftener.

 ... Mrs. W---- has a splendid little girl of nine and one-half pounds.
 She had a very hard time, thirty-six hours’ labor, and I finally
 delivered her with forceps, Miss Tyng officiating as assistant. Mother
 and child are doing well and send love to you.

 Christmas was a very pleasant day and evening with us. We had the
 parlors trimmed beautifully with laurel and holly, and when I came
 home in the evening, I covered the chandeliers with wreaths.

 Then we placed white cloths on the front parlor center table and on
 another small one, and set plates on them with German gingerbread and
 apples and nuts.

 Returning from supper, we found large baskets and bundles which Santa
 Claus had brought to the room and left for me to distribute.

 So after each one had appropriated a plate, I called out the names,
 and lots of handsome little things came out of the brown and white
 papers, by and by covering the tables completely, so that the room
 looked like a charming little fair, and we had ever so much fun, and
 many funny things, and I only wish that you had been here, too.

 Now, tell me how you are getting on in London, how your health is, how
 much you are learning and how you spent Christmas.

 I have been nonsensically busy, so much so that I am completely worn
 out, and to-day I proposed that I go to London to bring you back for
 the purpose of getting rested. Everything goes the same old, old way.
 Miss ---- is with me but she stays in the same old place and, although
 I like her very much, yet there is no mutual sympathy between us.

 Lucy, never marry a man with whom you do not agree on all points! I
 feel it more and more, the older I grow, that love grows stronger only
 towards those with whom we sympathize; and that we become more and
 more a burden to each other if we do not agree well. And although we
 may avoid quarreling yet coldness is sometimes harder to bear than an
 absolute quarrel. I feel all this with Miss ----, and yet she is far
 more agreeable to me than a good many other of my acquaintances. I
 really feel an attachment for her, perhaps for the very reason that I
 feel we will not be obliged to be always together.

 Miss ---- charged me with a great deal of love for you, and you may
 help yourself to as much as you want.... On the 20th, I am giving
 a lecture for our Hospital, at Chickering Hall, on the subject of
 “Hospitals.” I shall let you know how it comes off.... Write soon and
 put yourself into the letter, and I will send you back by the next

        *       *       *       *       *

  _Roxbury, January 25, 1863._

 It is Sunday morning, and I am tired and worn out. I felt miserable
 all last week, so miserable that I had to give up my work and my
 lessons for the last three days and rest. Yesterday afternoon we all
 went to the minstrels, and I am the only one who got used up by it.

 I have had a great deal of practice this winter, more than is good for
 me, yet I did not make so much money. People are all poor, everything
 being now so dear.

 Nevertheless, I am satisfied with my affairs if I can only keep strong
 under the strain. My sister Anna is again quite sick, and Rosalie will
 therefore come to live with me in April. Minna had everything arranged
 to go to Paris in April or May, but now that gold gets higher every
 day, she thinks she must give it up for another year. Would it not be
 nice if she could arrive in Paris when you do? I wish gold would come
 down again so that could come about.

 Now, a few words as to the talk in England about a medical college for
 women. Elizabeth Blackwell wrote to me about this as follows: “She
 may get a great deal of valuable knowledge there, but I can judge far
 better than she can of the value of their speeches. What they mean by
 a ‘college’ is a school for a better class of midwives. To the broad,
 true ground of admitting women to an equality in the profession, they
 are stubbornly opposed; and they hold the power of exclusion entirely
 in their own hands. The law in England makes medicine and surgery a
 close corporation, very different from the freedom here.”

 Miss Garrett seems to verify all this, and more. I know, myself,
 that the same talk and the same help would be extended to you should
 you go to Berlin. But all that means a different thing from native
 women taking the same work, as a general thing. There are _some_
 liberal men, to be sure, but they are so much in the minority that
 their voices cannot even be heard.

 The work for us is in America, and nowhere else. I therefore feel
 extremely glad to find that some of the most prominent men in New York
 have taken up the matter; they have published a circular asking the
 public to give fifty thousand dollars which is to be invested, and the
 interest of which is to go for scholarships in one of the great New
 York medical schools, for the use of such women as are able to meet
 all the demands for a preparatory education.

 This is the best plan after all, both here and abroad, and the best
 you can do is to learn all you can so as to come home well prepared to
 enter the ranks as a practitioner. Every well-educated woman works
 more for the cause of her fellow beings by doing well herself rather
 than by meddling and trying constantly to help others. For the next
 few years, I shall make this my working principle and after that, I
 shall see what is best to be done next.

 ... You are very much mistaken if you think Vienna or Berlin better
 than the Paris Maternité for real knowledge. For instance, in Berlin,
 no student, not even a male, is permitted to perform “version” or do
 anything in the way of an operation. In Paris, every midwife gets her
 case of “version.”

 In Vienna, only the male students get “versions.” And both there and
 in Berlin the men take the places close to the beds and the women have
 to stand on the outskirts; While in Paris no man stands in the woman’s

 ... I felt very sorry that you were so homesick during the holidays. I
 really missed you more than I ever missed anybody before. I hope you
 will be at home next Christmas.

 ... I sent Miss ---- on Christmas Eve a little ivory bookmark,
 beautifully cut, Swiss work; it can be used also as a paper cutter
 though it is very weak.

 ... I am not seeing Miss ---- since she came home. I think my
 friendship, or rather hers, is over, since she cannot convert me.

        *       *       *       *       *

  _Roxbury, February 20, 1863._

 It seems to me an eternity since I wrote to you last, and the cause
 of it is that I was very sick and unnaturally busy. I delivered my
 lecture on January 20th. and the Hospital got some fifty dollars

 I had been extraordinarily busy and had the house full of patients in
 Roxbury. Besides, I was short of help at the Hospital which worried
 me very much. The consequence was that I got really sick, gave up
 practice entirely for a week, and when I did not get better, I packed
 my bundle and went to New York on a “spree.” Now, is it not curious
 that what we wanted to do for so long, namely, to take a journey
 together, was realized with Miss ----. She volunteered to take care
 of me, and consequently went with me and we had a real good time, at
 least as far as I could have it, being really sick and blue.

 Since then I am a little better, but not very well, and so busy that
 I have had to disappoint Aunt Hannah three evenings, after I had
 appointed the day to take tea with her and to spend a lively hour. Yet
 I could not help it.

 So much for myself! Next thing is the Hospital. Dr. Breed has resigned
 her position, and I am therefore without a resident physician. Miss
 Tyng takes charge in my absence, while Miss Abbott stands second.
 She is resident student and also aids in the nursing. Miss Tyng is
 splendid in all mechanical work, and together they are very helpful to

 As to a resident physician, I am authorized, and appointed a
 committee, to ask “you” whether you will be willing to fill this post
 after your return. In case you accept, we shall go on as at present,
 and wait for you. Write me, therefore, at once what you think about it.

 My great desire is that we shall have an office together. Now, I
 do not like Pleasant Street at all, although it would not make any
 difference to you where you begin practice. Perhaps we can find a more
 suitable house for next fall. Ours is too small anyhow. However, this
 must be left to the future.

 So far, we are doing very well at the Hospital. And yesterday, Dr. H.
 R. Storer called upon me and invited me to call upon him, as he is
 anxious to extend colleague-ship to me. He was a student of Simpson,
 in Edinburgh, and a classmate of Priestley, and he studied with Dr. B.
 Brown. By the way, you must get certificates from all these men that
 you studied with them, or that you visited their respective hospitals.
 If it is nothing more than a simple recommendation, it will help you
 amazingly over here, and also do good to the general cause of women
 studying abroad. Therefore, try to get something written.

 I shall go to see Dr. Storer next week and show him some of your
 letters. I am sure you will find a good reception here, as I am
 preparing the way for you somewhat among the physicians. I also read
 some extracts from your letters in my lectures, reading especially
 loudly the one where Dr. Brown introduced you as “Dr. Sewall from

 ... I will send you a Philadelphia catalogue next week, but I would
 advise you not to encourage any students coming here at present. Dr.
 Blackwell is trying very hard to make arrangements for women to enter
 the New York University of Medicine. If she succeeds, it would be much
 better for any woman to go there rather than to Philadelphia.

[The Female Medical College of Pennsylvania was still struggling for
existence against the bitter opposition of the men, and especially of
the Philadelphia Medical Society. It had at this time just reopened
after being obliged to close for the session of 1861-1862.]

 Rather, let the English women fight their way in England. Don’t get
 too much interested in the establishment of a woman’s college in
 London. Dr. Blackwell is correct in her statement as to the position
 women would occupy there in case they study separately from the men.

 ... I have not yet seen either your father or the books as I can
 hardly find time for anything except my practice.

        *       *       *       *       *

  _Roxbury, May 7, 1863._

 ... I received your first letter from Paris on Saturday, May 2d. I am
 very glad to hear of your success and hope you will profit by it. We
 are going on beautifully here with our Hospital if only we had more

 ... We had five days of incessant storm, and now it pours down like a
 deluge. Spring has been very forward this season. Our cherries were in
 bloom and we sat on the hill on April 13th. What did you do on your
 birthday? We celebrated it by being out of doors all the morning and
 wishing for you.... I went to New York again for about four days....
 My health is tolerably good again, I think better than last spring....
 Miss Sprague is now in Minna’s place, and she heads the Roxbury house
 beautifully. I like her very much in this position, she takes such an
 interest in the whole affair. Rosalie is with me now and acts quite
 nicely as nurse.

 I don’t mean to have many patients this summer; everything is so dear,
 and besides it is a great burden. I would rather live by myself and
 pay more for the comfort of having a free home than to make a little

 ... In the Hospital we are so busy that the back parlor is turned into
 a ward for four beds.

 ... We have a fine Dispensary now--about one thousand patients this
 year and an interesting Hospital. Next week we shall have one great
 operation, and probably a second one.

 Don’t be alarmed about my health. I am as well as usual, and I think
 a little better than last spring. There are a good many things that
 worry and trouble me besides my work, things which I cannot control,
 and which have a good deal to do with my running down in health. At
 present I feel quiet and happy.... I got a fresh supply of young
 chickens this morning.... What buttons did you buy? I want to send you
 the money very much.

Elsewhere Dr. Zakrzewska, in speaking of her lecture mentioned in one
of the preceding letters, says that the founding of the New England
Hospital had given rise to so many inquiries as to the need for
hospitals that she was requested to give a lecture on the “History,
designs and needs of hospitals” in general and of special hospitals in
particular. She also corrects the figures for receipts, later returns
showing a net profit of one hundred dollars, although the admission fee
was only twenty-five cents. She continues:

 It is surprising how at that time hospitals were considered as places
 for merely the poor and the wretched, or for the victims of accidents
 in public streets or roads.

 We had to cultivate the feeling that such enterprises were something
 necessary and desirable, especially since the use of anesthetics and
 the great improvement in surgical antisepsis have tended to make the
 hospital the regular place for surgical treatment of the rich as well
 as of the poor.

 We had also to show the wisdom of isolation by the removal, even from
 the houses of the rich, of the patient afflicted with a contagious
 disease, in order to save the rest of the family as well as to offer a
 greater chance of recovery to the patient.


 _By resignation of the resident physician, Dr. Zakrzewska is
 obliged to resume entire charge of Hospital and Dispensary and she
 again shows symptoms of overfatigue and strain while awaiting Dr.
 Sewall’s return from Europe to fill the vacant position--Illustrations
 of the application of Dr. Zakrzewska’s humanitarian instincts and
 intellectual convictions to the treatment of her patients, in
 addition to technical medical care--“A Lesson”--“Another True Story.”

As Dr. Sewall accepted the offer of the position of resident physician
at the Hospital, to take effect on her return from Europe in September,
Dr. Zakrzewska continued to fill the duties of this position both at
the Hospital and on the two added days in the Dispensary.

The most robust health and endurance have their limits, and she has
already been noted as giving many symptoms which showed that she
had been presuming on hers ever since the over-strenuous days of
establishing the New York Infirmary. Repeated notes of overfatigue and
strain creep into these letters to Dr. Sewall.

Specializing largely, as she did, in that branch of medicine
(obstetrics) which is most regardless of convenience and most
inconsiderate as to sleeping hours, she worked literally day and night.
And feeling the whole burden of responding to the demand for the
trained woman physician which she had so largely helped in awakening,
she refused no patients.

Her humanitarian instincts and her admirable ability to enter into the
feelings of her patients, and to recognize their limitations and their
struggles, prompted her to send no bills until they were asked for. She

 If you could see my office day after day full of school-teachers,
 dressmakers, mill operatives and domestics, all too proud to go to the
 dispensary and yet not rich enough to pay a large fee, you would agree
 with me that the prescription for good meat, wine or beer would be a
 farce if I took the money with which they ought to buy these instead
 of taking the small fee which allows them to keep their self-respect.

Not content with reducing her fees to a minimum or to zero, she always
added the constructive work which from her point of view belonged
within the province of her profession. This was not done by giving
charity regarding which she had definite and very modern views. She

 It is not _Charity_ which we must cultivate and practice: it
 is _Justice_ to one another. Charity is what an opiate is to a
 patient: it soothes for the time but the same bad consequences result
 as follow the drug. We must teach ourselves that the Golden Rule must
 be actually practiced in order to reach and raise those who need to be

And again she emphasizes:

 The Golden Rule must be practiced every day and not merely formulated
 as a pious recital on Sunday.

Investigating the routine of the patient’s life, she would help her
to reorganize it along the lines of hygiene, of economics, and of a
balanced perspective; and then would follow a reëducation not only of
the patient but of the patient’s family and even friends. In this way,
her influence extended to the men of the family and of the community.
And these vied with the women in acknowledging their indebtedness to
what they called her “common sense.”

She depicts this aspect of her work so clearly in a couple of sketches
written in later years that they are inserted here to add to the
definiteness of the outlines of this phase of her history. The first of
these (_Souvenir of the New England Hospital Fair_, 1896) is:


  _I will a round unvarnish’d tale deliver._--SHAKESPEARE.

 Mary was the third child of five in a family in humble circumstances.
 The father, an industrious journeyman carpenter, aided by the thrifty
 mother, managed to keep all the children in attendance at the free
 public schools of Boston until they graduated at the age of about
 fifteen years. Soon after leaving school, Mary obtained a situation as
 child’s nurse in the house of a rich family, with whom she remained
 nine years in the varying capacity of nursemaid, chambermaid and
 seamstress. She then married a journeyman plumber twenty-six years
 of age, he being thus two years her senior. He had laid by from his
 earnings a sum of money about equal to what Mary had saved from her
 nine years’ wages, and these combined were amply sufficient to set
 them up in respectable housekeeping in a neatly furnished tenement
 having a kitchen, dining-room, living room and chamber, also a
 storeroom and bathroom.

 In due time, the baby made its appearance and found awaiting it a
 handsome cradle, and a wardrobe not only comfortable but pretty and
 plentiful. The young father with no small pride carried his son and
 heir, arrayed in a white cashmere cloak and suitable belongings,
 while by his side walked his prettily dressed wife, when on Sunday
 afternoons they went to visit friends and relatives. Thus far, all was

 After the lapse of five years and a half, four little ones formed the
 pride and the care of these young folks; and it was just seven years
 from the time of their marriage that I first entered their home as
 visiting doctor from the dispensary, the indigent being attended at
 their homes when illness prevented their coming to the free dispensary
 at the clinic hours.

 I found the family of six living in two rooms heated by the kitchen
 stove. The children were ill with scarlatina. All around was
 the evidence of poverty, although not destitution nor degrading
 squalor. By observation and subsequent inquiry, I soon learned the
 cause of this changed condition. It was simply this--Mary, who
 had gradually adapted herself with grace and intelligence to the
 comforts of the rich house in which she had lived from her fifteenth
 to her twenty-fourth year, could not now conform herself to the
 smaller means and ways of living of a wife and mother in moderate

 She had learned to cook delicate, expensive viands, had a sure belief
 that tenderloin is the only steak fit for eating, and had great
 skill in the pretty and dainty ornamentation of the babies. These
 tastes which she acquired in the rich merchant’s family could not be
 gratified with the workman’s means; she had unlearned the thrifty
 habits among which she had lived as a schoolgirl in her parents’ home
 and she became confused in her methods of work, while the steady
 increase in her family reduced her in strength and added to her cares
 and labors, a condition not inclined to promote the good temper of the
 naturally amiable woman.

 Ofter now, the husband, returning home from his work, found no table
 laid for dinner, and still oftener must he start out early in the
 morning to find a breakfast in a neighboring eating house, which is
 always the first step towards finding rest and companionship in the

 This was the condition as it unfolded itself to me during my brief
 attendance. The children recovered, and with the aid of cod-liver oil
 and tonics provided by the charity of the dispensary, soon regained
 full health.

 A little more than a year passed when one day in October, 1876, Mary
 presented herself in my private consulting room. She looked haggard
 and pale, was poorly clad and in a desperate frame of mind. Her
 husband had gone from bad to worse. He paid the rent for two shabby
 small rooms in an old house and provided weekly the coal for the
 kitchen stove. All the rest of his earnings he spent for his own
 meals. Often, if he came home at all at night, it was in a state of
 partial intoxication. Naturally, no firm dared give him regular
 employment and he supported himself by odd jobs.

 The poor woman had resorted to needlework for support, this being the
 only means for her to earn money and look after her children, whom she
 could not send to school for lack of shoes and decent clothing.

 It was Friday afternoon. She had just carried her work to her employer
 and received her pay of one dollar and sixty cents. She laid it on the
 table before me and said, “This is all I with my four children shall
 have to buy food with until next Friday--it is not enough to buy even
 bread and tea and that is all we have lived upon for the last three
 weeks.” She looked wan and hungry and cried bitterly. I sent for a
 little luncheon, and while she ate it, I devised the following plan:

 “Mrs. S----,” said I, “take this money and spend it as follows:

  Buy 7 lbs. corned beef  $0.35
     21  ”   potatoes       .25
     14  ”   cabbage        .28
      7  ”   Indian meal    .21
      1 qt. molasses        .15
      7 loaves bread        .35
     Salt                   .01

 “Boil the meat in twelve quarts of water until very tender. Divide the
 meat and broth in seven parts, also the potatoes and cabbage. Cook
 one portion of cabbage and potatoes each day in the portion of broth.
 Divide this stew into five equal parts for you and your four children.
 Do the same with the Indian meal, cooking one part every morning.
 Salt it well, and pour on it one-seventh part of the molasses--that is
 for your breakfasts. Use one loaf of bread each day for supper. Come
 again next Friday and let me know the result.”

 She promised to follow this written prescription, and did so. The
 ensuing Friday she again presented herself before me, looking less
 distressed having earned $1.70. She said she “was glad to have done
 so, as the children could eat more than the seventh part of the
 purchase, and it was hard for her to eat it herself and deny the
 children.” However, she had obeyed and was able to do more work
 having earned ten cents more that week, although she and the children
 “felt sorely the lack of tea.” I advised her to make a change in her
 purchases, spending the same amount of money for a fresh shin of beef
 and turnips or a salted shoulder of pork, and to use the ten cents for
 extra molasses.

 After two weeks, she came again to report to me. The change in her
 appearance was remarkable, and her account of her children’s condition
 was good. Also, she had been able to earn two dollars per week, which,
 however, was the utmost she could do in the time she could spare from
 the family work. At the end of another two weeks she came to me and
 asked permission to give to her husband a share of the dinner on the
 coming Sunday. He had smelled the stew when occasionally coming home
 and desired to partake of it. It was therefore agreed that he should
 add fifteen cents as his share for the cost of the dinner, which he
 did, and when Christmas came, she told me had done so regularly every
 day for the previous three weeks.

 I made them a Christmas present of a piece of roasting beef, fifty
 pounds weight of apples, and the same amount of potatoes, while
 former friends to whom I had spoken of their destitution, sent tea,
 sugar and milk, also shoes and stockings for the children.

 After this sumptuous holiday feast, severely cold weather followed.
 Careless housekeepers in all ranks of life allowed their water pipes
 to burst, and great was the demand for plumbers’ work, especially in
 the suburbs of Boston. Mary’s former friends were willing to employ
 her husband again, under his promise of strict sobriety, as they would
 not risk the danger of house-burning by the carelessness of a tipsy
 plumber. Mary cooked him substantial dinners of the description given
 above, and he felt like a man again in his home.

 Being skillful as a workman and very obliging in disposition, he
 gained friends while jobbing in the different houses. Those who had
 known him before encouraged him to persevere and finally persuaded him
 to remove to one of those suburban towns where his business would be
 in good demand and where he would escape from the temptation of eating
 house and drinking saloon. Meantime, Mary had learned good lessons
 during these sixteen weeks. She now knew how to provide and cook good,
 cheap and wholesome meals, and soon adapted herself entirely to such
 ways and means as his earnings would provide.

 It is now 1896, and the twenty years are completed since the beginning
 of that time of misery in that family, who now own three houses, in
 one of which Mary’s husband carries on a fine, thriving business, over
 the entrance door of which may be read the sign “John Smith & Son.”
 Another house is occupied by them as a dwelling, and the third, an
 investment of their earnings, is rented to their daughter’s husband
 who is foreman in their business.

 Their life is simple and plain but comfortable, and when I met Mary
 recently, she told me that she had taught all the children, two boys
 and two girls, how to cook and how to mend clothes, and with great
 pride she assured me that corned beef and cabbage is their favorite
 dish, “although the children will often make ice cream for Sunday

The second sketch alluded to (_The Woman’s Journal_, May 13, 1893)


 Some years ago, the wife of a farmer living not many miles from Boston
 came to my office to consult me, because she feared she was suffering
 from a disease such as can only befall a woman and which she fully
 believed was “killing her by inches.” With sunken cheeks, dull eyes,
 sallow complexion, pale lips and no more flesh on her limbs than was
 necessary to make locomotion possible, the woman sat there and told
 of her ailments--sleeplessness, utter lack of appetite, backache,
 depression of spirits, etc.

 After listening and taking notes of her story of misery, I made a
 careful examination and then told her that she was entirely free from
 all disease, but that she was simply worn out and needed six months of
 rest and good living.

 She sighed deeply and said it was impossible to follow such a
 prescription as their pecuniary means would not permit it. She said
 further that their two children had outgrown the district school
 of the town, and she had, with true Yankee ambition, persuaded her
 husband to send them to a relative in the city that they might have
 the advantage of came, she told me he had done so regularly every
 extra dollar of their earnings, although from motives of economy, the
 children spent Saturday and Sunday at home.

 She said she felt sure a tonic would restore her appetite, and that
 the relief to her mind in knowing that she was free from disease would
 aid in curing her. So, carrying in her hand the valuable recipe for a
 tonic which might or might not be of use, she left me, promising to
 report herself in ten days.

 At the end of that time she appeared, looking more dejected and
 forlorn than at her first visit, so much so that I was startled, and
 thought that I had made a mistake in my diagnosis as well as in my
 prognosis. With sobs, she informed me that a great misfortune had
 befallen them. This statement at once explained to me her appearance.

 It was at the time when the first Jersey cows were imported into this
 country from England, and they were held at a great price. She told
 me that her husband, about six months before, had invested all the
 money they had in the savings bank in the purchase of one of those
 valuable creatures. On the day following the woman’s visit to me,
 this precious cow had begun to be ailing. The trouble increasing, a
 veterinary surgeon had been consulted, and he told them if they would
 save the health and life of the cow, they must procure a faithful,
 intelligent man to take charge of her from morning to night. This sad
 event made it necessary for them to take for attendance on the cow the
 services of their best hired man, while the hiring of another man in
 his place would prevent their expending money for the charwoman who
 gave the good farmer’s wife an occasional lift with the housework. She
 sobbingly ended her story by saying, “I must work even harder than a
 week ago--you must give me a stronger tonic.”

 The case looked so sad and hopeless that I sat silently thinking for
 a moment, when suddenly a bright thought sprang into my mind, and I
 said, “Why don’t _you_ nurse that cow and let the charwoman do
 your work in house, kitchen and dairy?”

 As when a sunbeam bursts through heavy black clouds, so did a light
 flash over her face and into her eyes as I said these words; but in
 a moment it darkened down again as she began to think of all the
 objections to such a plan. But the idea was born; it grew; and with my
 vivid power of imagination, I overthrew all her objections one after
 another, until her conversation became really animated, and the plan
 appeared so plausible to both of us that the good woman went out of
 the office with no stronger tonic than hope and courage can bestow.

 The whole affair was forgotten by me in the pressure of business
 and in listening to more stories of moral and physical misery. The
 summer with all its joy and beauty slipped away, and brilliant October
 brought a new flood of professional business and cares.

 On one of these autumn days, a plump, sunburnt, cheerful-faced woman
 entered my sanctum, holding in one hand a huge bouquet of gorgeous
 dahlias, in the other a little jar of cream, and on her arm hung a
 small basket with a dozen fresh eggs.

 “Don’t you remember me?” she said. Of course I did not, although the
 voice was familiar.

 “Well, I am Mrs. F----, whom you advised to nurse her cow.”

 I could hardly believe my eyes, even after her repeated assurances
 of her identity with that miserable wreck of the May before. She gave
 me an animated description of what followed her leaving my office;
 of all her doubts and misgivings during her journey home as to what
 her husband would say to such a proposition for both a sick wife and
 a sick cow; and of how she had timidly introduced the subject to him
 by telling him that I was a queer doctor who did not believe much in

 All this prepared him for the account of my plan to which contrary to
 his usual habit when women proposed anything, he listened gravely, and
 then said thoughtfully, “Well, my dear, we might try it.” She at once
 called in the charwoman who had supplied her place that day and made
 arrangements with her to come daily.

 The next morning she went to the field, with her rubber waterproof,
 her husband and the cow. The latter was tied to a stake, and my
 patient seated herself near on the waterproof (as I had suggested
 to her) while she watched the cow and petted and talked to her. The
 two took kindly to each other. One day’s experiment proved that she
 could keep the cow in such subjection and quietness as the surgeon had
 ordered, plucking the fresh grass for her and feeding her as needed.
 All went well. Let me give a part of her story in her own words:

 “My husband was satisfied with the first day’s result, and made the
 few arrangements necessary. And you, Doctor, ought to have seen me as
 at sunrise, day after day, rain or shine, I walked to the pasture,
 with a big basket on my right arm full of my mending work; in my right
 hand a large white umbrella which my husband had bought for me; and in
 my left hand the rope to which my bossy was tied, and which, by the
 way, I did not need after a fortnight, she following me at my call
 and lying close beside me when not walking a few steps for a bite of
 the rich grass.

 “My charwoman brought me all my meals and a pail of water for bossy.
 I soon had a keen appetite, almost impossible to satisfy; even the
 abundant provisions brought me and eagerly eaten with such good relish
 still seemed to leave a hollow unfilled; and after my walk home at
 sundown, I slept sweetly as I had not done for months.

 “The cow got well; she is now followed by a strong, beautiful heifer
 six weeks old for which my husband has already had an offer of just
 half the money that he paid for the cow. And I--I feel strong, well
 and happy, can do all my work, and have taken none of the tonic.
 Besides all this, both my children are equally well, because when they
 came home for their weekly sojourn, they felt that they must spend
 Saturday and Sunday out in the field with poor mother who had no other
 diversion than the company of a cow. I really believe that their being
 with me out of doors has done them more good than they would have got
 from the change we had planned for vacation, a visit to relatives up
 in the mountains.

 “So I thought I had better come and tell you of all the good you have
 done to our whole family by your excellent advice, although it seemed
 so queer to us all and, you may well believe, to our neighbors too.”

 “How many months did you do this?” I asked. “Was it not tedious to be
 all day in such dull company?”

 “I did this same thing,” she replied, “every day, from the time that
 I left you until the calf was three days old. And as for tediousness
 or loneliness, I never felt it, for I have done a heap of sewing,
 old and new, which had been accumulating during the past year when I
 could not sew because I was so miserable. Besides, I always took some
 reading matter with me, especially on rainy days when I could not
 use my needle. And as my bossy liked to have me talk to her, I read
 aloud the Boston _Journal_ and our town paper. These she seemed
 to enjoy as much as my chatting with her, even when it came to the
 obituaries, death notices and quack medicine advertisements.”

 She assured me that she had not had a single cold, although she had
 several times been drenched by thunder showers that had overtaken her
 when she was unprotected. She said also that she had learned the great
 lesson of the folly of carrying self-neglect and self-sacrifice to
 such an extent as to bring trouble not only on one’s self but also on
 all the family.

 If this little tale should be read by the family described, I wish one
 of them would send name and address (which I have no right to betray)
 to the _Woman’s Journal_.


 _Question of escort in night practice--Expansion of Hospital
 by purchase of four houses on Warren (Warrenton) and Pleasant
 streets--Professional recognition slowly growing--She buys a horse
 and buggy--For first time in America the name of a woman is listed
 officially as specializing in surgery, Dr. Anita E. Tyng being
 appointed assistant surgeon--Resignation of the consulting surgeon
 (Dr. Samuel Cabot) and the attending surgeon (Dr. Horatio R. Storer),
 the latter the only man ever appointed on the attending staff--Dr.
 Cabot continues to act unofficially. (1863-1866.)_

Boston had already extended itself in all directions into suburbs
which still kept their dependence upon the center, but the means
of communication remained primitive, as already described in the
out-patient work which Dr. Zakrzewska established at the New England
Female Medical College. And the isolation was most complete at night,
the hour when the cry of suffering humanity rings most insistent.

So the Doctor was obliged to walk long distances to answer the calls
of those patients who could not afford to send a carriage for her. Her
familiar itinerary was from Roxbury to South Boston, to Dorchester, to
West Roxbury, to Brookline, to Cambridge, and so around the circle.
Temperatures of all degrees from below zero to up in the nineties were
never allowed to discourage her.

As in New York, she was unmolested in her travels. But she never took
unnecessary risks. She always went with the messenger who called her,
and who was generally a man. She writes:

 If he could not accompany me on my return home in the night, and no
 accommodation for me was possible in the little apartment, I walked
 with the policeman, and waited at the end of the different beats for
 the next one to take me to his limits. I was well known among them,
 and was not at all surprised when a Franklin Park policeman recently
 accosted me as a friend well remembered in the night walks of former

The second year (1863-1864) of the existence of the New England
Hospital, and of this phase of Dr. Zakrzewska’s life, was marked
by such increased growth of the institution that it was decided to
purchase the former residence of Rev. Charles F. Barnard, No. 14 Warren
Street (later Warrenton Street), to add to it three small dwelling
houses in its rear (Nos. 13, 15, 17 Pleasant Street), and to connect
them by a covered passage. The large house was described as “well built
and convenient, airy and sunny, with a pleasant outlook on the Chapel
yard and greenhouse” (p. 331). It seemed prudent to continue to lease
two of the Pleasant Street houses to tenants but even so the increase
in accommodations was marked.

 The result of this expansion [says Dr. Zakrzewska] was enabling us not
 only to enlarge our work, but also to divide it into three distinct
 departments--Hospital for medical and surgical cases; Lying-in
 Department and Dispensary.

 Had our work not been wanted [she continues], had our help not been
 needed, here and throughout the country, we should not have found so
 many patients asking for help and advice; nor have had so long a list
 of names of students waiting for a vacancy; nor have met with that
 response from the community which provided the means for carrying on
 our institution and enabling us to enlarge it.

Professional recognition was slowly growing, but even slight advances
helped to lighten the almost overpowering mental strain of isolation.
In such conditions, every slight word or act of indorsement, even
though with reservations, was like a ray of hope that at last the dawn
was breaking.

Referring to this period of professional loneliness, Dr. Zakrzewska
writes in a letter to the editor in 1900:

 In looking over these reports, there come back to me the many hours of
 fear and anxiety when I really was the only person who stood before
 the world responsible for our work in the Hospital.

 The few brave men who supported my efforts were advanced in years and
 had a large practice; they were often not available for consultation
 when requested to come, or they came too late, when the danger was
 over or had ended in death.

 My co-workers were young and inexperienced, looking up to me for
 wisdom and instruction, while the public in general watched with
 scrupulous zeal in order to stand ready for condemnation; this zeal
 being stimulated by the profession at large who wanted to find
 fault but did not dare to do so openly so long as the two or three
 professional men stood as a moral force behind me.

 I remember how twice--once in New York and once in Boston--a man
 colleague told me I was foolish to take to heart the death of a
 patient which I saw coming as a natural event. Such consolations
 helped to uphold me.


 This hospital was first housed in a dwelling house on Pleasant Street
 further along than the rear houses here seen (1862-1864). This was
 soon outgrown in favor of the one front and three rear houses here
 shown or indicated (1864-1872).]

This professional loneliness must have been peculiarly poignant to her,
since it contrasted so painfully with her recollections of the cordial
fellowship which she had enjoyed with Dr. Schmidt and other leading
medical men in Berlin.

An appeal issued by the directors in June, 1864, asking for funds for
the purchase of the new buildings, contains a letter by Dr. Horatio R.
Storer giving cogent reasons for the desirability of a special hospital
for women and noting the particular conditions which made the New
England Hospital peculiarly suitable for such purpose. This appeal was
signed also by Drs. Walter Channing, C. G. Putnam, Henry I. Bowditch,
and S. Cabot.

And about this time, Dr. Walter Channing writes to Dr. Zakrzewska:

 I regret I had not made my visit later as I was too early to have the
 pleasure of seeing you. I was desirous to do so to express to you
 my entire satisfaction in regard to the operation you performed the
 evening before. It was a very difficult operation and was done under
 circumstances most unpromising of success. I do not think it could
 have been done better.

 I write also to say that if at any time I can do anything to aid you
 in the performance of your important duties, I shall be always ready
 and happy to do so.

  Very respectfully & truly yrs.,

  _Boston, 39 Mt. Vernon Street,
  June 2, 1864._

Remembering the financial difficulties of both Dr. Zakrzewska herself
and this young, struggling enterprise of hers, one may well wonder at
the second annual report (1863-1864) stating:

 Half of our beds are always filled by patients who pay nothing, and
 the resident physician has the right to receive at half price those
 whose circumstances require this indulgence.

And realizing how the prices of the necessities of life must have
advanced with the continuance of the Civil War, one is not surprised to
read elsewhere:

 We have been reluctantly forced to double our price of board, placing
 it at eight dollars per week.

The third year (1864-1865) of Dr. Zakrzewska’s new life of freedom,
of the longed-for opportunity for expressing her ideals, and of the
attaining of sympathy and support for the forms of such expression,
found the Hospital continuing its growth, like a manifestation
incarnate of her soaring spirit.

This growth compelled the addition, with alterations, of the remaining
two houses on Pleasant Street; and the housewarming which dedicated
this further enlargement of its opportunities netted a precious six
hundred dollars.

The Legislature of Massachusetts now voted the Hospital five thousand
dollars for the purchase of the new site, on condition that a similar
amount should be raised by subscription. And the Boston Lying-in
Hospital Corporation increased its donation to one thousand dollars.

For the first time Dr. Zakrzewska, as attending physician, presented
to the board of directors a formal report which she thus introduces:

 Before this year I had never considered that a lengthy report given
 by me was a necessity. Hitherto our Hospital had been so small and
 so simple in its management that it was easily understood by the
 directors and friends.

 This is now changed: for after four years of exertion the Hospital
 has assumed from a simple ward the form of a complicated institution,
 with its resident and assistant physicians, its consulting, attending
 and assistant surgeons, and its attending and consulting physicians.
 Such an institution must necessarily attract the attention of the
 community; therefore inquiries are constantly being made as to how
 this institution is carried on. Nothing can answer all these different
 inquiries better than a minute report.

 The most striking feature in its character is that it is designed to
 give to educated medical women an equal chance with their professional
 brethren to prove their capacity as hospital physicians, and to admit
 only female students to its wards--all other hospitals closing their
 doors to women as physicians and students.

 The increase in the number of patients seeking daily advice soon gave
 a reputation to the institution, and the liberally inclined part of
 the community as well as of the profession began to look upon it as a
 test of female capability in professional life.

In this report Dr. Zakrzewska notes that the increase in the number
of patients had become so great that Dr. Storer offered to share the
dispensary work with her and Dr. Sewall, taking two mornings a week
and making an even division of the time.

Referring to the raising of the question as to whether it is not an
inconsistency to have a gentleman in attendance, as it has always
been stated that the advantage of our Dispensary is that women can be
attended by physicians of their own sex, she continues:

 In reply to this, I can only say that there is a distinct notice given
 on the Dispensary cards as well as in the waiting room, when Dr.
 Sewall or I, or when Dr. Storer is in attendance, so that patients can
 have their choice.

Interesting features of the annual meeting of the Hospital for this
year and of a levee which followed it, were an address by Dr. Elizabeth
Blackwell on “The Culture Necessary for a Physician,” and a reading of
some charming poems by Mrs. Julia Ward Howe.

Hand in hand with the growth of Dr. Zakrzewska’s Hospital work
progressed the growth of her private practice. And the year 1865 was
notable in that for the first time she felt able to set up a carriage
in proper medical style. She thus describes this felicitous occurrence:

 In 1865, I bought a second-hand buggy and a horse for two reasons: one
 was that I could not accomplish and do justice to my professional work
 by using public conveyances; the other, that it became a matter of
 necessity to uphold the professional etiquette and dignity of a woman
 physician on equality with men. The effect was marvelous. Even the
 newspapers took notice of the change.

At the Hospital further advance was made by the creation of the staff
position of assistant surgeon, Dr. Anita E. Tyng[11] receiving the
appointment. Thus for the first time in America the name of a woman
is listed officially as specializing in surgery. This year was also
notable for the addition of a second consulting physician, Dr. Henry I.
Bowditch accepting election.

Dr. Henry I. Bowditch was always an earnest supporter of the education
of women as physicians. He befriended Dr. Harriot K. Hunt and Dr.
Nancy Clark, and then Dr. Zakrzewska herself when the latter came to
Boston in 1856 soliciting money for opening the New York Infirmary.
He remained the steadfast champion of medical women and continued as
consulting physician to the New England Hospital until his death in

Dr. Zakrzewska realized the necessity of having on the consulting
staff of the Hospital men physicians of the highest standing in the
profession, such men serving as vouchers to the community for the
medical women and their hospital.

But aside from this vital consideration she also believed that the best
results follow when men and women work together. In this conviction she
was ably supported by Dr. Henry I. Bowditch, who wrote to her at one

 In regard to having a full corps of well-known experts, male and
 female, connected with the hospital, I still have no doubt. As I think
 there should be women physicians and surgeons in the other hospitals,
 so I think it important for the fullest success to have a joint
 corps at the women’s hospital. Also, I cannot but think it would be
 beneficial pecuniarily to all the hospitals if such arrangements were

Indeed, Dr. Bowditch was prepared to go even further, for in another
letter he expresses the opinion that all three hospitals--the New
England, the Massachusetts General and the City, should throw open
their clinical instruction to both men and women. Though he was still
conservative enough to advise that the clinics should be held at
different hours for the two sexes.

In spite of the increasing support given the Hospital, its financial
situation continued to cause anxiety. This was due to the need for
paying for the four buildings purchased, to the increased expenses of
the expanded institution, and to the disproportionately large amount of
service given free or at only nominal rates.

The acuteness of the problem continued to increase and in the following
year (1865-1866), although the mortgages had been paid off and the
general debt reduced, the institution was unable to pay its current

To meet this situation a more conservative course was felt to be
imperative, and it was decided, except in Maternity cases, temporarily
to discontinue receiving any patients at a reduced rate except in the
free beds, those which were endowed or definitely subscribed for.

Dr. Tyng continued as assistant surgeon, and her progress was so
satisfactory that Dr. Storer writes:

 During July and August, I shall be able to visit the Hospital only
 on Saturdays. During my absence, I wish Dr. Tyng, in accordance with
 her duties as assistant surgeon, to take my place as concerns both
 the Dispensary and the Surgical Wards. Of course, operations of any
 magnitude will be reserved until the days of my attendance.

In the midst of this peaceful development and orderly progress, clouds
suddenly gathered and a tempest broke forth, with much lightning
though with little thunder. This was followed by the clearing of the
air characteristic of the passing of tempests in this latitude but,
as sometimes happens, a marked change in the local landscape was the

The storm center seems to have been Dr. Storer. It is often difficult
to explain misunderstandings and disagreements. Frequently, no one
person seems to be definitely responsible. Electric conditions develop
from many causes; minor frictions occur; an accident produces a spark;
and an explosion follows.

Dr. Storer was connected with the Boston Lying-in Hospital before that
institution suspended operation. He later became connected with the New
England Hospital as already related, beginning then to specialize in
the diseases of women. He worked assiduously in his department, and he
accepted the letter of his obligations to the Hospital.

Subsequent history shows that this acceptance did not include the
convictions of the spirit. Perhaps a psychoanalyst of to-day would
trace the ultimate explosion to the “complex” resulting from conflict
between this letter and spirit.

Or, perhaps (as suggested by the primary resignation of Dr. Cabot) it
was a technical disagreement as to the limits of the respective domains
of attending and consulting staffs--always a subject filled with
delicate potentialities.

Or, perhaps, as claimed by Dr. Mary Putnam-Jacobi (_Woman’s Work
in America_, published in 1891), a most careful and conscientious
observer with the true scientific spirit, it was because the successful
outcome of Dr. Storer’s operations fell too often below the boldness
of his conceptions of them. (Dr. Sewall in this year says in her
report as resident physician, “Only three deaths have occurred among
our patients, and all these took place in the surgical wards after
hazardous operations.”)

Be the explanations--one or all--as they may, the first outward
manifestation of the storm was the receipt by the board of directors of
the following letter from Dr. Samuel Cabot, the early and long-tried
friend of the Hospital who had from the beginning served as consulting

  _Boston, June 2, 1866._

 _To the Board of Directors of the New England Hospital For Women and


 Feeling as I do the very warmest interest in the cause of female
 education and advancement, and believing as I do that the path of
 medicine and surgery, as well as every other path to honor and profit,
 should be open to women as well as to men--still, I feel constrained
 to send you my resignation of the office of Consulting Surgeon to
 the New England Hospital for Women and Children with which you have
 honored me, and to request you at your earliest convenience to accept
 it and to appoint my successor.

 I cannot enter into any explanation of my reasons for this step, and
 can only ask you to believe that it is from no loss of interest in
 the cause you represent nor from any dissatisfaction with the ladies
 connected with the Hospital.

  Very respectfully
  Your obedient servant,

This resignation was accepted with great regret when after consultation
it was found to be irrevocable.

This letter having brought the subject of consulting physicians to
the attention of the directors, after much thought and inquiry the
following preamble and resolutions were unanimously passed at their
regular meeting on August 13:

 WHEREAS, the confidence of the public in the management of
 the Hospital rests not only on the character of the medical attendants
 having its immediate charge but also on the high reputation of its
 Consulting Physicians and Surgeons, and

 WHEREAS, we cannot allow them to be responsible for cases
 over which they have no control, therefore,

 _Resolved_, that in all unusual or difficult cases in medicine,
 or where a capital operation in surgery is proposed, the Attending
 and Resident Physicians and Surgeons shall hold mutual consultation,
 and if any one of them shall have doubt as to the propriety of the
 proposed treatment or operation, one or more of the Consulting
 Physicians or Surgeons shall be invited to examine and decide upon
 the case.

 _Voted_, that a copy of this resolve be sent to all medical
 officers connected with this Hospital

On September 10, the board of directors received from Dr. Storer a
letter containing his resignation as attending surgeon, and on this
letter the report comments, “Its tenor left the Board no alternative
but its acceptance, which was unanimously voted.”

The report then continues,

 The Directors would, however, take this first public occasion to
 express their sense of the value of Dr. Storer’s professional services
 and of the aid which he has rendered to the Treasury of the Hospital.
 Cheerfully bearing witness to his talent and active zeal in his
 profession, they offer him their best wishes for his future success.

Dr. Storer’s letter containing his resignation was remarkable for its
expressions of misunderstanding of the resolutions quoted above and for
its misrepresentation of the general charitable policy of the Hospital.
But it was chiefly remarkable for the needlessly offensive manner in
which the writer revealed his personal disapproval of the study of
medicine by women. Yet he condescended on second thought to qualify the
latter statement, by adding:

 For certain of the professional ladies whom I have met, I have
 personally the highest respect and esteem. Miss Zakrzewska, the
 beauty and purity of whose life as already published to the world I
 have long seen verified, may well challenge comparison in practice
 with a certain percentage of my own sex. Miss Tyng, now for two
 years my assistant in private practice, has such natural tastes and
 inclinations as fit her, more than I should have supposed any woman
 could have become fitted, for the anxieties, the nervous strain and
 the shocks of the practice of surgery. And there are others not now
 officially connected with the Hospital whose names I would mention in
 terms of similar commendation.

 Such are, however, at the best, but very exceptional cases, and I am
 driven back to my old belief, the same that is entertained by the mass
 of mankind, that in claiming this especial work of medicine women have
 mistaken their calling.

An interesting by-action of the writer was his concurrent sending of
this extraordinary letter of resignation to the _Boston Medical and
Surgical Journal_ for publication. This journal has already been
quoted as being opposed to the entrance of women into the medical
profession, and at this time and for many subsequent years, it still
continued its attitude of opposition.

It is of a certain interest to note here that Dr. Storer once more
emerged in public to express his sex-peculiar views regarding women
physicians. This was in San Francisco in 1871, when, at the annual
meeting of the American Medical Association, the question of women
as delegates and members was brought into the debate upon a related
subject. In the discussion, Dr. Storer spoke in opposition, saying:

 ... We will grant that some exceptional women are as interested in
 our science as ourselves; that some of them have those peculiar
 qualities, that especial temperament, that gives them not merely a
 taste for anatomy and surgery but courage to face the greatest dangers
 and anxiety in surgery; and that there are some women who are able
 to go out in inclement weather and brave the storm. We may grant
 that women, some of them, may have had peculiar means or favorable
 opportunities which allow them to get this same education that men
 have. We may grant, and grant it freely, that in some matters, women
 intellectually, are as completely mistresses of their subject as we
 are masters of ours.

 But, beyond this there is a point that is fundamental to the whole
 matter ... and that is, this inherent quality in their sex, that
 uncertain equilibrium, that varying from month to month according to
 the time of the month in each woman that unfits her for taking these
 responsibilities of judgment which are to control the question often
 of life and death ... women from month to month and week to week vary
 up and down; they are not the same one time that they are another.

To this, Dr. Gibbons of San Francisco replied:

 If we are to judge of this proposition by the arguments of my friend
 from Boston, I think it would prove conclusively the weakness of his
 side of the question.... Is it not a fact that a large majority of
 male practitioners fluctuate in their judgment, not once a month with
 the moon, but every day with the movement of the sun....

Thus are some of the humorous pages of history made.

However, this seems to have been the last time that the subject of
women as members was discussed in that Association. In 1876, the
first woman delegate (Dr. Sarah Hackett Stevenson, from the Illinois
State Medical Society) was seated amid cheers. And in 1877, Dr. Henry
I. Bowditch of Boston, in his presidential address, congratulated the
Association that women physicians had been invited to assist in the


 _New England Hospital students granted the privilege of visiting
 Massachusetts General Hospital--Letter from University of Zurich
 stating women are admitted on equal terms with men--Extracts from
 letter by Dr. Zakrzewska to Dr. Sewall on vacation in Europe--Sophia
 Jex-Blake collects endowment for four free beds--Dr. Samuel Cabot
 resumes his position of consulting surgeon--Dr. Zakrzewska resigns
 from service at the Dispensary, being succeeded by Dr. Helen
 Morton--Dr. Zakrzewska shares her service at the Hospital with Dr.
 Sewall who is appointed second attending physician--Land bought in
 Roxbury for new Hospital buildings. (1866-1871.)_

Returning to our chronicle of 1866, the immediate consequence of the
foregoing tempest was that the Hospital remained for the rest of the
year without either attending or consulting surgeon, the surgical
cases being treated by the assistant surgeon, with the aid of Dr.
Samuel Cabot (acting unofficially), and by the attending and resident
physicians--Dr. Zakrzewska and Dr. Sewall.

The annual report of this year notes the receipt of the first annual
report of the Chicago Hospital for Women and Children, founded by Dr.
Mary Harris Thompson.[12] This institution may be called the oldest
hospital daughter of Dr. Zakrzewska, a previous attempt by Dr. C.
Annette Buckel[13] to open a woman’s hospital being obliged to yield in
its infancy to the greater interests excited by the outbreak of the
Civil War, Dr. Buckel giving her services to the Sanitary Commission.

An important event of the year 1866-1867 was the granting to the
New England Hospital students of the privilege of visiting the
Massachusetts General Hospital under certain restrictions.

The house at 14 Warren Street (changed to Warrenton Street the
following year) was now used for the medical and surgical wards and
for the offices of the assistant physician and the matron. Of the
Pleasant Street houses, No. 13 was the house of the resident physician,
No. 15 contained the Lying-in Wards, and No. 17 was given over to the

Once more the course of the Hospital becomes the uneventful one of
quiet, continuous growth, and Dr. Zakrzewska as attending physician
concludes her report for 1867-1868, as follows:

 The Hospital and Dispensary are established; many physicians who a few
 years ago were opposed to female practitioners have not only become
 convinced of their professional capability, but several have been
 willing to give instruction and aid in any way possible.

 The Massachusetts General Hospital has been admitting the few students
 whom we consider under our guidance and instruction. We have good
 reason to hope that this friendly relation will continue. Harvard
 College is still closed against us for theoretical instruction, but
 I do not think that free, liberal America will remain long behind
 another republic across the ocean--I mean Switzerland.

 One of our students who made application to the University of Zurich,
 received the following reply:

  _Zurich, May 6, 1868._


 I reply to your letter of March 17 which has just come to hand. I have
 the honor to inform you that there exists in this University no lawful
 impediment to the matriculation of female students, and that female
 students enjoy equal advantages with male students.

 _There is here full liberty_, and every one may attend the
 lectures as long as he may desire. The majority of the students need
 from five to five and a half years’ course before taking their degree.

 In answer to other questions of yours, I send you some printed
 regulations of the University.

 I am, with great esteem,

  Professor and Dean of Medical Faculty.

 The University of Zurich is known as one where only men of the highest
 standing in the profession are employed to instruct the students.
 Such names as Moleschott, Griesinger, Breslau, von Graefe, Horner,
 Mayer, and Billroth are familiar as authorities in the medical world,
 and these men have been, and still are, the most influential teachers

 In Paris, also, women can have the same advantages as men. And in
 America the time is rapidly approaching when through the deeds and
 words of women the profession at large will be convinced of the wisdom
 of following the same course.

A breath of encouragement was at this time wafted from New York in
a speech by Dr. Willard Parker, this noted physician saying at the
opening of the Woman’s College of the New York Infirmary, which took
place on November 2, 1868:

 Woman has always been a helpmeet to man and to a great extent is a
 co-worker with him, and as such in medicine, I bid her Godspeed. If
 it is charged that women who study medicine are sometimes unfit for
 practice, I would answer--so are many men. A doctor is born, not made,
 and is, naturally, found in both sexes.

In the summer of 1868, Dr. Lucy E. Sewall, who was continuing as
resident physician, took a vacation of three months in England and
France for recreation and study. In a letter to her, dated July 16, Dr.
Zakrzewska writing from her new address, No. 1041 Washington Street,

 I have hardly anything to report except that we have had intensely hot
 weather since you left, such as I have not experienced since the first
 year of my arrival in America. The thermometer stood at ninety-six
 degrees in our parlor in Roxbury, and we felt that we were cooling
 ourselves when we entered there. Yesterday, it was one hundred and
 three in the shade out of doors.... I envied you very much when I read
 how cool you were in Halifax and thereabouts. I am sure I would have
 been very glad to play the lady with you. You will now understand how
 pleasant it is to be away from business for a while.

 Dr. Buckel will write you all about the Hospital. You need not worry
 in the least as all is going on well. At our last Hospital meeting
 Mrs. Cheney reported, “I feared very much for the Hospital when I saw
 how heartbroken the patients were after Dr. Sewall’s departure. But a
 day after they sang the praises of Dr. Buckel as loudly as if they had
 never known Dr. Sewall.”

 To this report I added, “It is the old story although a very
 unsatisfactory one. Our places are filled just as soon as we leave
 them. And we all have to learn that lesson and feel comforted by it
 because it is thus that the world does not get off its hinges.”

 The day before yesterday, we had our housewarming--I missed you very
 much.... The heat has prevented me from going to Melrose [Dr. Sewall’s
 home] so far; all we can do is to live and to fan....

Within the two years just closing, the financial pressure began to be
relieved and four free beds were established in the medical wards.
About the same time, it was decided to charge at the Dispensary a
fee of twenty-five cents to such of the patients as were able to pay
this amount. The results exceeded all expectations. The patients
acknowledged the fairness of the rule and yet the really poor were not
shut out.

Nevertheless, it was at the close of this year, as already noted, that
the Hospital was obliged to borrow money to meet its outstanding debts.

This was truly the darkest hour and it was followed by the dawn of
which the proverb speaks. As the sunshine of help from the community
grew stronger, it was possible steadily to extend the ministrations of
the Hospital to the more dependent, so the report of 1898-1899 was able
to state:

 Nearly (if not quite) two thirds of all our work is given in charity
 ... though we are slow to give charity indiscriminately but would
 have each one make some return, however small, for benefits received,
 thereby aiding her to keep her self-respect.

The treasurer’s report for the year of 1868 notes the receipt of one
thousand dollars which was collected by Miss Sophia Jex-Blake for
supporting four free beds. Sophia Jex-Blake came to this country as a
student of Dr. Sewall and was a resident student at the Hospital. She
went later to the newly opened Woman’s Medical College of the New York
Infirmary, and still later she returned to Great Britain and became the
leader in the struggle which attended the attempt to open to women the
medical course at the University of Edinburgh--reference to which has
been made by Dr. Zakrzewska in a previous chapter. The attempt failed
and she went to Switzerland where the men students at the University
of Berne seemed to find no difficulty in permitting women to study
medicine with them.[14]

The year of 1869 was especially noteworthy for the burden which was
lifted from Dr. Zakrzewska’s mind by the official return of Dr. Samuel
Cabot to the consulting staff of the Hospital, though ever since his
formal resignation in June, 1866, he had continued to advise the women
who, against almost insurmountable obstacles, were struggling to
give the surgical help called for by the increasing numbers of their

If one requires expert teaching and constant practice to learn to
diagnosticate and prescribe for medical ailments, it is much more
difficult for one to learn to diagnosticate and prescribe for surgical
ailments, since a surgical prescription demands trained skill of the
hands as well as of the brain. And opportunities for acquiring this
trained skill of the hands are at the best very limited in number and
very expensive in detail, while they also require a very exacting
environment and an entourage trained to the highest degree. And they
are, further, beset on all sides by dangers which are momentous and
immediate as well as more remote.

It is a fine index of the essential quality of these earlier women that
they were not daunted by the difficulties of the situation, and that
the conservative spirit of the sex was not too much affrighted by the
dangers which on every hand confronted them and their patients.

Under the necessities of the situation, a friendly surgeon of the
eminence of Dr. Samuel Cabot was a veritable tower of strength.
Well might Dr. Zakrzewska, with gratitude that failed of words to
express itself, say year after year in her annual report as attending
physician, “To Dr. Samuel Cabot, we are again indebted for advice and
instruction in all the important surgical cases which have occurred
during the year.”

Dr. Anita E. Tyng who had spent her apprenticeship as assistant surgeon
to the Hospital, had been obliged to resign her position there, but Dr.
Zakrzewska and Dr. Sewall were ably assisted in this branch of practice
by Dr. C. Annette Buckel who had been assistant physician for the past
three years and who, having particular ability for surgery, desired
to specialize in that direction. They were now aided also by Dr. Helen
Morton[15] who had returned from Paris and had become connected with
the Dispensary.

With the arrival of such capable assistants among the younger
women who had all been her students, Dr. Zakrzewska felt justified
in relinquishing some of her arduous duties. And now her leading
assistant, Dr. Lucy E. Sewall, resigned as resident physician (a
position which she had held since 1863) and was appointed second
attending physician. She thus divided the Hospital service with Dr.
Zakrzewska, each being on duty every alternate three months.

[Illustration: MARIE E. ZAKRZEWSKA, M.D. (About 1870)]

Dr. Zakrzewska continued to serve on the board of directors as she had
done since the beginning of the Hospital, but the added freedom gained
by being released from work at the Dispensary and in being able to
share her Hospital duties, gave her greater opportunity to elaborate
and press forward her plans for building a hospital which should be
more suitable for its purposes than any altered dwelling houses could
possibly be. Writing of the successes achieved by the Hospital and of
the satisfactions derived from its possession of the four houses in
Warrenton and Pleasant streets, she continues:

 But after a few years, we found that even these accommodations were
 becoming too small. Also, the character of the neighborhood was
 changing from private residences to retail trading stores, and it was
 easy to foresee that the time was coming when this location would be
 entirely unsuitable for the sick.

 As it was neither my intention nor that of the Directors to carry
 on simply a charity, but rather to make this charity at the same
 time a school for educating women physicians on the European plan
 before mentioned and for the training of nurses for the benefit of
 the community, we felt that confidence in the value and need of our
 work had now been sufficiently established to warrant our erecting
 a building which would serve all these purposes and which in its
 arrangement might become a model hospital among the charitable
 institutions of the country.

About this time an especially interesting bequest of two thousand
dollars was received by the Hospital from the estate of Mrs. Robert G.
Shaw, the language of the bequest stating that the money was “to be
used by Dr. Zakrzewska in aid of any Hospital or Infirmary for the poor
and sick which may be under her superintendence in the City of Boston
at the time of my decease.”

The accumulating demand for a children’s ward in the Hospital was
so strongly felt this year that one of the physicians took into her
own household for care and treatment a child patient whose case was
particularly urgent.

This pressure for a children’s ward was an additional factor in making
Dr. Zakrzewska and her associates begin a still more definite campaign
for the erection of new hospital buildings which should be especially
suitable for the varied demands made upon them. Alterations in the
streets and increase of business in that part of the city had enhanced
the pecuniary value of land in that vicinity, so it was hoped that the
sale of the present property would supply the money needed for building
the new structure. It was planned to hold a Fair in December in order
to raise the money needed for the purchase of the new land.

And one may judge of the courage required to attempt to carry such
ambitions into execution when it is noted that the institution had just
held its own financially, the year closing with the same amount of debt
as that with which it began.

The Fair in December, 1870, justified the ardent hopes which breathed
through every detail of its preparation and completion, and over twelve
thousand dollars was realized.

A committee was immediately appointed to select a site, and after much
investigation this committee recommended the purchase of an estate in
Boston Highlands (now Roxbury), on Codman Avenue (now Dimock Street),
between Shawmut Avenue (now Washington Street) and Amory Street (now
Columbus Avenue).

With the formation of a building committee (which included all the
medical officers) the new venture was definitely launched. The skies
were lifting, favoring breezes prevailed, and the year closed with
all running expenses met, all debts paid, and only the new building
expenses to confront the treasurer--but it must be admitted that these
were formidable enough, since they were on such an expanded scale.

The report of the resident physician, Dr. Buckel, for the year of
1870-1871 reflects so clearly her association with Dr. Zakrzewska
and contains such interesting pictures of some phases of the social
life of the period that a few paragraphs may be quoted, especially as
some of them bear upon variations of a question which to-day is still
perplexing our community, and which has at last reached legislators all
over the United States in a concrete and radical form.[16]


 _New Hospital buildings completed--Description of buildings and
 interior arrangements--Children’s Department established--First
 general Training School for Nurses in America definitely organized
 under the direction of Dr. Susan Dimock; one of the graduates of
 its first class (Miss Linda A. Richards) later helping to organize
 the training schools of the Bellevue Hospital of New York, the
 Massachusetts General Hospital and the Boston City Hospital--New
 England Hospital medical women invited to attend some of the Clinics
 at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary--Though delayed by the
 epizoötic epidemic and the great Boston Fire, the new Hospital
 buildings are finally formally dedicated--First Hospital Social
 Service in America organized in connection with the Maternity.

Architects, contractors, builders and workmen, all took a personal
interest in the plans of the new Hospital buildings, and all made
larger or smaller contributions to the enterprise. With such a spirit
the structure grew apace, and even early in the spring of 1872 a few
patients were moved in--some who especially needed the advantages of
the good air, sunlight and almost country quiet. But all the patients
were transferred before the end of September.


The main building was later named in honor of Dr. Marie E. Zakrzewska.]

Dr. Zakrzewska writes:

 At last we were able definitely to inaugurate the work for which we
 had been preparing during the previous ten years, namely, to dedicate
 our own building to our threefold object--a clinical school for women
 physicians and students; a training school for nurses; and a charity,
 especially for lying-in patients.

 For this latter purpose a cottage, the “Maternity,” was expressly
 built, while the medical and surgical patients occupied the main
 building. Some rooms were reserved for private patients, who paid
 fully for all they received. This latter department is very desirable
 in all hospitals, not only for the accommodation of travelers who
 may be taken ill while sojourning in a strange city, but also for
 those who when boarding cannot have the comforts of a home; while it
 likewise gives to our nurses a fair chance to be trained in attendance
 upon the sick of all classes and conditions of life.

 Thus we had arrived nearly at the point at which we aimed, only that
 the means needed to carry on the work were not yet secured. We had no
 endowed wards and we had only a few endowed beds in the Maternity;
 therefore, we had no _Funds_ but must depend upon the daily
 interest of the public to sustain the institution.

 We now offered to the public not only the idea of reform, as we
 comprehended it, but also the visible embodiment of it in brick and
 mortar. Our vision had become materialized, and the work done within
 its walls spread the tidings of its success among the suffering and
 the needy.

 The Drs. Blackwell, Ann Preston and myself stood no longer alone as
 the bearers of an idea--hundreds of young women had joined us. The
 path had been broken, and the profession had been obliged to yield,
 and to acknowledge the capacity of women as physicians. The argument
 that we few were exceptions to our sex has ceased; medical societies
 in different parts of the country admit women as members; hospitals
 begin to open their doors to women; men physicians endeavor to be
 polite towards their women colleagues; and their women colleagues
 certainly stand on a level with the men as regards good education.

 And last but not least, society admits that it is highly respectable
 for a woman to become legally a physician, and offices and houses are
 now rented to medical women without fear of injury to the reputation
 of the neighborhood.

 Thus, the world does move! But I am sorry to be forced to say that it
 is not the Republic of America which has given the proof that “science
 has no sex,” only in so far as that it has furnished the largest
 number of women students. But it is the Republic of Switzerland which
 has verified this maxim. Our best women physicians have been educated
 there as well as in Germany and in France--for even these two latter
 countries have received women into their schools more on an equality
 with men than has America. And not less than six of our pupils from
 Boston are at present receiving the benefits which the opportunities
 for medical study and research offer in Vienna.

 The United States still hesitate to allow to their women that
 education which they offer to their men. The result will be that
 talented women will go abroad and seek for the better medical
 education which Europe offers them and, returning with a higher
 standard of scientific learning, the men here will not only be obliged
 to acknowledge such women as their equals but they will be compelled
 to raise their own professional standards.

 So far as my knowledge extends, this will be the first instance in
 history where through injustice to women, men themselves will be

The plan was to have one large brick building which should contain all
the administrative offices of the Hospital as well as a small number
of medical and surgical wards, the intention being to add later a wing
entirely devoted to wards. But the Lying-in Department was to be housed
in an entirely separate structure.[17]

Quite as essential and desired a policy of expansion, but one which had
waited on the new building, was that of the training of nurses.

We have seen the importance which Dr. Zakrzewska attached to this
question ever since her first hospital control, back in the days when
she organized the practical details of the New York Infirmary. And we
have noticed the recurring references to the difficulties which delayed
the full development of her plans. But she continued to exercise her
choice of individuals as best she might, and she endeavored to give
the most thorough training for as long periods as she could make

Thus, writing of the opening of the New York Infirmary on May 1, 1857,
she says:

 We kept true to our promise to begin at once a system for training
 nurses although the time specified for that purpose was only six

She began with two nurses, one of whom remained for several years,
becoming invaluable as head nurse. But she was evidently not satisfied
with the success of this first system for, eight months later, she

 We now began to make more positive plans for the education and
 training of nurses. The first two who presented herself and who after
 four months’ superior women, one a German, the other an American, but
 neither was willing to give a longer time than four months. During
 this time they received no compensation except their keeping and one
 weekly lesson from me on the different branches of nursing.

 After these left, it was again a German woman who presented herself
 and who after four months’ training remained for several years. The
 second pupil nurse was sometimes of American, sometimes of Irish,
 descent and nothing remarkable.

When she removed to Boston and opened the hospital (Clinical
Department) in connection with the New England Female Medical College,
she there also attempted to carry into execution her conviction of the
necessity for training nurses. But in Boston as in New York, women
who wished to be nurses were unwilling to give time for training, and
applications were few. Nevertheless, she succeeded in training six

When she founded the New England Hospital, the act of incorporation
expressly stated that the training of nurses was one of the fundamental
purposes of the new institution. And the first annual report says:

 We offer peculiar advantages for training nurses for their important
 duties, under the superintendence of a physician.

In 1865, the term of six months is again emphasized. In 1868, it is
stated that the Hospital offers to candidates board, washing and
low wages after the first month of probation but it insists on an
attendance of six months. And it adds that few women are willing to
give the requisite time.

But now, at last, she found the desired opportunities opening before
her. Aside from the influence of European experience, and especially
that of Florence Nightingale and of the subsequent writings and
utterances of the latter, undoubtedly the agitation which demonstrated
the necessity for practical hospital training for the medical
profession, had its effect in preparing the minds of both men and women
for the realization of the fact that the same necessity existed for the
training of members of the sister profession of nursing.

And the lectures to the New England Hospital nurses (which, under
certain conditions, were open to women from outside) were steadily
attracting women who were better and better prepared to study a
profession rather than merely to practice an art.

But Dr. Zakrzewska had still found herself hampered by the narrow
quarters which restricted her plans for nurses as well as for doctors,
students and patients. She had been still further limited by the human
impossibility of even her vigorous strength and endurance being equal
to the superhuman demands developed by the successful materialization
of her vision. And the training of assistants and colleagues required
primarily a sacrifice of the time and energy already imperatively

Now, not only was the material building ready for the Hospital, but
also there was there incarnated the spirit of a common purpose, a
spirit into the creation of which she had so literally incorporated her
own self.

Hence, as the executive Head, she now had at her command not only a
commodious structure but also director associates; a corps of younger
physicians, trained theoretically and practically in both medicine
and surgery; a supply of patients, always beyond the possibilities of
accommodation; and a promising reservoir of aspiring women accepting
and demanding training in nursing.

Immediately then, upon the opening of the new building, steps were
taken for the expansion of the New England Hospital Training School for
Nurses, and for its establishment as the “first general training school
for nurses in America,” organized and equipped to give general training
along the then most modern practical lines, with a full corps of
instructors in all branches, and with a hospital service that included
medicine, surgery and obstetrics. This change was described in the
annual reports of the year of 1871-1872, by Dr. Sewall in the medical
report and by Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney as secretary of the corporation.

In addition to performing her duties at the Hospital and attending
to her continually expanding private practice, Dr. Zakrzewska served
on both the building committee and the furnishing committee for the
new hospital. But while, among the staff of medical instructors, she
delivered the greatest number of lectures, the details of organizing
the new Training School for Nurses were delegated to Dr. Susan
Dimock,[18] who became resident physician in August when Dr. Buckel
received leave of absence to go to Europe for rest and study.

During the first year of the new Training School for Nurses ten
applicants were accepted after probation, two of these completing
the year and being graduated. One of these first graduates was Miss
Linda A. Richards who later helped to organize the Bellevue Hospital
(New York) Training School, and still later that of the Massachusetts
General Hospital and that of the Boston City Hospital.

During this eventful year, two important financial losses shadowed the
high light thrown upon the foregoing successful working out of the
far-reaching plans which Dr. Zakrzewska had for so long labored to
develop. These were the loss of the annual donations of one thousand
dollars each from the Legislature of Massachusetts and from the Boston
Lying-in Hospital Corporation--the former having voted against any
appropriation to private charities, and the latter having decided to
reopen a hospital under its own control, in the overcrowded part of the
city. Hence, it was again considered expedient to plan for a December
Fair. But many days of doubt and hesitancy were to precede the opening
of this Fair.

It had been planned to have the formal dedication of the new building
take place at the time of the annual meeting of the board of directors.
As this day approached it was found that it would be impossible for the
friends of the enterprise to reach the new location of the Hospital.
The great epizootic epidemic was prevailing; horses were everywhere
succumbing to its virulence, and all the activities of the city which
depended upon these necessary animals were almost paralyzed.

A fortnight later traffic was more controllable, but in the meantime
every one had passed through the calamity of the great “Boston Fire,”
and Mrs. Cheney spoke the language of restraint when she said, “It was
not easy to go to men whose warehouses and offices were in ashes, or to
women who had lost their investments in insurance, and ask them to give
us the money that we needed to complete our building and to carry on
our work.”

Under such circumstances it redounded to the credit of both the
hospital workers and the community of Boston that the formal opening of
the Hospital was not longer delayed, that the Fair was held in December
as planned, and that it resulted in a sum exceeding five thousand

It is important to note that it was also during this year that the
first Hospital Social Service work in America was begun. This was
organized in connection with the Maternity--Dr. Dimock, Miss Lilian
Freeman Clarke, Miss Elizabeth Greene and Miss Mary Parkman coöperating.

And this year was further marked by the opening to the New England
Hospital medical women of some of the clinics of the Massachusetts Eye
and Ear Infirmary.


 _Dr. Zakrzewska goes to Europe for her first vacation in fifteen
 years--Letter to Dr. Sewall from Switzerland--Dr. Helen Morton is
 appointed third attending physician to the Hospital (in charge of
 the Maternity)--Tragic death of Dr. Dimock--For the first time the
 Hospital has a woman on the staff as attending surgeon, Dr. C. Annette
 Buckel being thus appointed--The Hospital is represented by exhibits
 at the Centennial International Exhibition, the plans and elevations
 of the new buildings receiving an award--Mrs. Cheney writes from
 Europe of the interest taken over there in the Hospital, and the
 looking toward it from England, Scotland and Germany for encouragement
 and help. (1872-1877.)_

The addition of a third attending physician at the Hospital (Dr. Helen
Morton who took charge of the Maternity) and the continued increase in
the number of younger doctors still further relieved Dr. Zakrzewska and
enabled her in the summer of 1874 to go to Europe for a long-deferred
but much-needed vacation. The constantly growing demands in both
Hospital and private practice upon her professional skill, and in the
community at large upon the many gifts of her broad personality, became
at last a breaking strain upon the vitality so grievously depleted by
the pioneer work of these first fifteen years in Boston.

Midway in this resting time (August 19, 1874) she writes to Dr. Sewall:

 My vacation is half over, and just now I am enjoying a short stay in
 the queerest little old town and ditto hotel between the Bernese and
 Wallis Alps. Such a rest from work and care I have never had in all
 my life! My head is getting steady once more and, although I am not
 yet as quiet in my upper regions as I ought to be if I want again to
 work hard, I am certainly very, very much better than I was at the
 time I started from Boston. I have had only slight headaches, never
 sufficient to lie down, and I am much less confused, in spite of the
 three languages around me.

 We travel in a very leisurely way, different from tourists, for we
 stop and sojourn wherever the fancy happens to take us. In this way,
 we have seen a great deal of Switzerland, and have enjoyed the usual
 places of interest as well as the out-of-the-way places such as where
 we are now.

 I have so often thought of you and of what you are doing and have
 followed you in your summer’s work. I suppose just now you are away on
 your vacation. What I am most curious about is whether you succeeded
 in selling your present house, and whether you bought that nice one on
 Boylston Street. It would be such a beautiful situation that I wish I
 could find you settled there on my return.

 ... However beautiful all around me is here, I long for home and my
 friends. My home in Roxbury is, after all, the most desirable spot for
 me, and the few but true and kind friends I have made in America are
 far dearer to me than all I could possibly find here in Europe.

 After this journey, I shall be more positive in my love for my
 American home than I ever was before. The very freedom one breathes in
 the air there is refreshing and stimulating compared with the air of
 servility, destitution and depravity which an observing person sees
 everywhere here. How Americans can prefer to live over here is to me

 ... Miss Sprague has hardly yet got over the effects of her
 seasickness, and in four and a half weeks we shall undertake the
 journey again. We hope to be in Boston by the 2d of October ready for
 work. Please tell Dr. Dimock of the very pleasant call I had from
 Professor Meyer and that he gave me his picture to bring home to her.
 I hope she is doing well and can wait for my help till October.

 I have little time for letter writing, as I am too tired to write at
 night and, besides, my eyes have given out. For the past few weeks, I
 can neither read nor thread a needle by candlelight, and often even by
 daylight everything is in a blur.

 But tell Dr. Dimock I am thinking a good deal about her and hope
 she will not work too hard, so that she can bear the winter’s
 responsibility and have her turn here in Europe next summer.

In the spring of 1875 as planned in this letter, Dr. Dimock who was
acting as attending surgeon, in addition to her duties as resident and
attending physician, obtained leave of absence and sailed for Europe
to undertake additional surgical study, but she had the misfortune
to be a passenger on the steamer _Schiller_ which was wrecked
on the Scilly rocks early in May. Her loss was felt keenly, not only
because of the charm of her personality but also because she had been
a representative of the hopes of the Hospital for a woman who would be
broadly fitted and trained to serve as attending surgeon. The name of
Codman Avenue, a street which ran through the hospital grounds, was
later in her memory changed to Dimock Street.

Later in the year, Dr. C. Annette Buckel, newly returned from two years
of study of surgery in Vienna and Paris, was regularly appointed as
attending surgeon. This was an important event for both Dr. Zakrzewska
and the New England Hospital because now for the first time since 1866
an attending surgeon reappears in the annual report as a member of the
staff. And this event was especially noteworthy because for the first
time the name of such staff member was that of a woman.

Although Dr. Buckel did not retain her position beyond that first year
(removing to California on account of ill health), yet her appointment
seemed to end the surgical vicissitudes of the Hospital. Never since
then has there been a time when the position of attending surgeon has
been omitted from the annual report. And never has there been lacking a
qualified woman to carry on this work. Indeed, it soon became necessary
to appoint a second attending surgeon, then a third, and then a fourth.
And to these have been added from time to time one or more assistant
surgeons. And with this conquest of the surgical field was surmounted
the last difficulty in filling staff positions with qualified women.

Dr. Zakrzewska’s vacation in Europe had lasted only a few months,
though it should have been a year or even more. Recuperation from brain
and nerve fatigue is much slower than from muscle fatigue, a lesson we
all learn only by bitter experience. Her wonderful physique once more
drew upon its vital reserves and responded to the spur of her call to
duty, and she returned to work with apparently renewed vigor.

Fortunate it was that she was able to resume the helm at the Hospital
in this eventful year of 1875, following Dr. Dimock’s untimely loss and
the necessity which had arisen for Dr. Sewall’s taking a long vacation.

For eight months it must have seemed to her almost like a reversion to
earlier days. But there was the incomparable difference that Dr. Helen
Morton now took entire charge of the Maternity, having developed at
the Paris Maternité, according to Dr. Zakrzewska, “unusual skill and
special fitness for difficult and surgical obstetric cases.” And later
Dr. Elizabeth C. Keller[19] came from Philadelphia to serve as resident
physician, she succeeding Dr. Buckel the following year as attending
surgeon and occupying this latter position for many years.

Writing of this time to Dr. Sewall in Europe, Dr. Zakrzewska says:

 I think we shall all like Dr. Keller. And it is a very good thing to
 have a fresh and new element come into Boston, as we tend to renew
 ourselves too much from and through ourselves.

In the autumn the return of Dr. Sewall and the arrival of Dr. Keller
once more released Dr. Zakrzewska and permitted her to resume the wide
relations which she held outside the Hospital. She was constantly
called upon to express her views on the questions regarding women,
questions which were more and more appealing to the increasing number
of medical women as well as to the community at large. She responded to
these calls both in speech and in writing.

Realizing how much the interior arrangements of the new buildings were
due to the advice and planning of the medical women, it was a great
satisfaction to her that in the following year (1876) at the Centennial
International Exhibition held in Philadelphia, the plans and elevations
of the new buildings of the Hospital, together with photographic
interior views of the wards, etc., were exhibited in the names of the
architects, Messrs. Cummings and Sears, and received an award for
“well-studied design securing economy of service, good distribution of
various parts for ventilation and cheerful accommodation.”

Also that at the Centennial, a history and description of the Hospital
was displayed in the Massachusetts Exhibit in the Department of
Education and Science, and in the Woman’s Department.

In 1877 Mrs. Cheney writes to her from Europe:

 All that I have seen and heard of the work of medical education
 for women in Europe has deepened my sense of the importance of our
 Hospital work. It is known in every circle that I have entered where
 there is any interest in woman’s progress, and in England and Scotland
 and Germany they look to us for encouragement and help.

There was a great improvement in the financial condition of the
Hospital during this year (1877); and among other items in the
treasurer’s report occurs the following which speaks for itself as
an interesting commentary on the policy developed by Dr. Zakrzewska
in the Hospital, as we have already seen it developed in her private

 The executors of the late Mr. Augustus Hemenway devoted to us the
 liberal sum of fifteen thousand dollars from the sum left by his will
 to charities not promoting pauperism.


 _Dr. Zakrzewska and the other pioneer medical women find a new foe
 in an increasing number of medical women who are poorly educated and
 otherwise unfitted--She addresses the New England Women’s Club on the
 “Medical Education of Women”--Unsuccessful attempt to persuade the
 New York medical colleges for men to accept scholarships for properly
 prepared women--Opening of the Woman’s Medical College of the New York
 Infirmary--Further movement to open for women one of the great medical
 colleges for men--Dr. Zakrzewska’s comment on this proposition,
 with special reference to Harvard--The New England Hospital Medical
 Society--Action taken by Harvard University in 1879 on the question of
 admitting women students of medicine. (1865-1880.)_

The pioneer medical women (Drs. Elizabeth Blackwell, Marie E.
Zakrzewska, Emily Blackwell, and Ann Preston) to whose successful
struggles are due, for the first time in the history of the world, the
real opening of the profession of medicine to women equally with men,
had no sooner begun to take breath after their first stupendous battle,
than they found themselves confronted with a new foe.

This foe was within the ranks of their own sex, and its development
threatened an undermining campaign which seemed almost more
disheartening than the militant one from which they had just emerged.
This new foe was the increasing number of women doctors, poorly
educated and otherwise unfitted, who began to appear all over the

Because the evil was so insidious and was cloaked by the necessity and
the desire for competent medical women which had been demonstrated and
aroused throughout the country, it was most difficult to meet.

The Philadelphia women met it by striving even harder to bring up the
standard of the Woman’s Medical College and to expand the field of the
Woman’s Hospital.

The more eastern women, meaning those of New York and Boston at the
New York Infirmary and the New England Hospital, met it by trying to
establish a standard and by trying to educate both the profession and
the laity to accept nothing lower than such a standard.

To these women, the simplest as well as the wisest procedure seemed
to be an attempt to persuade some of the best of the already existing
medical colleges to accept a number of properly prepared women students.

To this end, it was proposed to inform the community at large of the
situation (the subject being really as vital to the laity as to the
profession, since doctors can practice only through patients), and to
collect a large sum of money which might serve to endow a number of
scholarships for women in some of the leading medical colleges of the

As early as 1865, a fund of fifty thousand dollars had been collected
for this purpose, but all the colleges refused to accept women as
students, even under such auspices. As the situation was particularly
pressing in New York, the Drs. Blackwell were then so urged to take the
next best step (the best having proved to be beyond their power) that
they consented to add a college to their Hospital. And thus, in 1868,
was opened the Woman’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary.

This college set a standard which was never surpassed by any of the
colleges for men. But one small college insisting on a high standard
could not compete numerically with rivals offering apparently equally
desirable advantages and with standards easier of attainment. So the
campaign continued!

In 1877, Dr. Zakrzewska being invited to address a body of leading
nonmedical women (the _New England Women’s Club_), brought this
problem to them for conference. She said in part:

 At first the study of medicine appealed only to earnest women who felt
 a decided calling in that direction and who really thought to benefit
 their sex by acquiring information which would serve others through
 their advice. Very few, if any, of these first women combined with
 this idea that of vindicating their rights as Women.

 It was no easy matter at that time to become a doctor of medicine. The
 great obstacle, want of schools, sifted out the weaker elements; and
 those who succeeded in obtaining teachers and in being admitted into
 the colleges then open to women were, as you will conceive, possessed
 of unusual perseverance and firmness of purpose.

 But soon there appeared among the candidates for medical honors
 another purpose, the desire to gain these honors through simple study
 during a prescribed course without any laborious work.

 The first suggestion of this came through some men physicians who,
 becoming alarmed at the movement and perhaps conscious of their
 own mediocrity, felt instinctively that there was danger of their
 being overshadowed by women, who are by nature sympathetic and more
 caretaking in sickness.

 These raised the cry of “competition.” Many women believed the cry
 was caused by alarm at a real danger, that of the women making money
 of which the men desired to retain a monopoly, and they imagined
 that a new field especially adapted to their sex was opened--one in
 which, with a short course of technical study, they could more easily
 and rapidly than in other vocations open to them acquire a name and
 abundant means of support, if not a fortune.

 The laity then awoke to this movement, and that portion of them whose
 head and heart were interested in the “rights” of women began to
 establish schools and colleges for the purpose of educating women
 physicians. And in a short time such institutions sprang up in several

 After years of struggle and gradual improvement, the Philadelphia
 medical school for women (Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania) has
 acquired deserved value when judged by the standard of men’s schools.

 And the Drs. Blackwell were later compelled to open a medical school
 in connection with the Infirmary (Woman’s Medical College of the New
 York Infirmary), in order to stem the flood of inferior physicians
 which was pouring forth, especially in New York, from schools which
 were far below mediocrity.

 Thus to-day, of all the institutions open to women for medical study,
 only these two and the University of Michigan even try to reach the
 standard of medical education necessary to compare favorably with that
 of the men.

 I say, _try_ to reach that standard. By this, I do not wish to
 imply that the teachers and professors in these schools are always
 less capable than those in the male schools. No, the fault is in the
 students themselves, and so it will be for some time to come. Here,
 allow me to state why this is so and has been so for many years.

 As I have said before, in the beginning of this movement women who
 persisted in the study needed uncommon perseverance and firmness of
 purpose. For the acquisition of these qualities, a certain amount
 of educational training and concentration of thought and will were

 At present, such uncommon perseverance and determination are not so
 indispensable. It is now very easy to become a physician. If the
 higher and better medical schools will not admit women, the lower and
 the less strict are willing to do so. Socially, the woman doctor is
 respected and in some circles even lionized and ranked far above the
 teacher; therefore, two great obstacles are removed.

 All that a young woman needs is the permission of her parents and the
 means of support while studying. Both of these are now more easily
 attained, since her social position is likely to improve rather than
 to decline as it formerly did.

 Also, the number of schools and colleges has increased and they
 require a certain number of students in order to exist. Hence arises
 a rivalry among these institutions, and instead of elevating their
 standard to make good women physicians some lower it in order to fill
 their classes.

 The effect of this sort of education is that the country is rapidly
 being swarmed with women physicians of very doubtful ability as
 regards either preparatory or medical education.

 At the same time, the need for well-educated women physicians becomes
 the more pressing, as is manifested by the ready employment they all
 find, though there is no chance for discrimination between the real
 and the sham article denoted by the sign “Doctor.”

 Hence, in many places the movement is beginning to be again viewed
 with distrust by communities which have again and again been
 disappointed when hoping to find scientific education and practical
 talent among the women practitioners who were offering their services
 to the public.

 In a word, the so hopefully sown good seeds are in danger of being
 suffocated by the still more thickly sown weeds.

 It is against this danger that I feel I must warn you. And I wish to
 call upon every educated woman within my reach to aid in destroying
 this evil.

 Every individual can assist in this great reform; first, by trying to
 get clear ideas on the subject in order to discriminate and to judge;
 and then, to assist in every possible way those who are striving to
 elevate the educational and moral standards in medicine.

 Some highly educated physicians have said to me, “We see no reason
 why a woman should not study medicine. If she can become wiser and
 her practice better, then we _must_ have her, for our aim is the
 _better_; if she cannot do this or cannot even do as well as men,
 she will work her own destruction in her endeavors.”

 Women should be willing to accept this or any other just test, but
 in order that the experiment shall be a fair one, they must have
 preparation and education and subsequent opportunity, equal to those
 given to the men.

The continued refusal of the larger medical colleges to admit women,
under endowed scholarships or in any other way, led to the development
of a more ambitious plan, this being the idea of purchasing direct
partnership rights for women in one of these colleges.

But this required the raising of a much larger amount of money. In
this direction there was made in 1880, a tentative proposition which
involved the formation of a central organization with State branches,
for the purpose of collecting such large fund and then arranging for
its wise use.

The statement was made:

 All sectional jealousy must be laid aside. Neither Boston, nor New
 York, nor Philadelphia must insist upon being the seat of the medical
 school. If Harvard would accept our conditions, it might possibly
 present certain guaranties which would give it a first claim in spite
 of the greater clinical advantages of the larger cities. But the
 College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, and the University of
 Pennsylvania and the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, must
 also be considered.

 In making the large united effort which seems desirable in order to
 take an advance step in the education of American medical women, we
 must secure that great impersonal enthusiasm for a cause which shall
 be far above purely sectional pride.

When this proposition was submitted to Dr. Zakrzewska for
consideration, she replied as follows:

 In order to answer your letter of July 27 carefully, I must dictate it
 because an affliction of my eyes prevents me from writing myself. My
 health is pretty good, and the very best of oculists declare my eyes
 to be good, still the least use of them for reading or writing gives
 me so much pain that it prevents sleep and unfits me for thinking

 The proposed crusade against the mediocre medical colleges has been
 recognized as necessary, not only by myself but by all the physicians
 connected with the New England Hospital. Perhaps the fact that we are
 working independently of all colleges has given us a more impartial
 opinion in regard to these schools. We have, I think, the best chance
 to judge of the results which these schools produce because we receive
 the young graduates for the practical training.

 Perhaps you will remember that I wrote you four or five years ago
 how discouraged I felt about the manner in which the different
 female medical colleges educated and inspired their students and how
 derogatory the result was to the whole movement.

 ... The proposition to raise one hundred thousand dollars for the
 purpose of securing admission into a male college could be carried
 out quite easily, comparatively speaking. In Massachusetts alone,
 it could be done if Harvard would consent to add a small class of
 women to its medical department. The fact is that when a few years
 ago the New England Female Medical College here in Boston was broken
 up, there came unofficially from some one in authority in Harvard the
 proposition to take it, provided the public would endow it with one
 hundred thousand dollars.

 In such case, the female students would be educated in their own
 building which was two miles from the building for men. However, the
 examinations of the women students for entrance into the college
 were to be the same as those for the men, and the instruction was to
 be given by the same professors--in fact, Harvard Medical College
 repeated for the benefit of women alone.

 I did not favor such an arrangement but actually discouraged it,
 because it seemed to me disastrous to the whole spirit of woman’s work
 in the profession.

 I feared that after trial professors of acknowledged rank might
 declare that teaching six or twelve women was not satisfactory,
 although it might recompense them financially, and that therefore
 they would either give it up entirely or leave the instruction to the
 younger teachers.

 I could not advocate a school exposed to such a risk because if the
 instructors of Harvard Medical College should become more prominent
 in the woman’s branch while the professors took the lead in the men’s
 branch, it would give both the students and the public the impression
 that the women were of secondary importance.

 Another attempt to open Harvard to women has been made within a year
 or two by a lady who proposed to give ten thousand dollars towards a
 fund which would pay for a class of women in the medical department.

 Many discussions concerning this proposition came up in the different
 meetings which were held in consequence of this offer. The result
 was always the same, namely, divided opinions--entirely against the
 admission of women at all; against their admission with men; and
 against the formation of a small class of women alone.

 The only encouraging part of the discussion was that those who were
 entirely opposed to women’s studying were a very small minority, while
 those against coeducation were less firm in their opposition. Besides,
 I am perfectly sure that if the younger men who now hold positions as
 instructors at the College could cast their votes and could influence
 the Directors’ decisions, there would be more chance for the admission
 of women.

 The New England Female Medical College was absorbed into the Boston
 University Medical Department, an inferior school and a homeopathic
 one, which has no other merit than that it admits men and women on
 equal terms to all its advantages; therefore, it does not injure the
 movement for women any more than it does the profession at large.

 Our Hospital does as good a work as any hospital carried on by medical
 men. We have now two good women surgeons, and all kinds of operations
 are performed as a matter of course, without being considered
 extraordinary occurrences, as was formerly the case.

 I can safely say that the Hospital work, which we enlarge as fast as
 our means will permit, has become a power throughout the country, and
 the Hospital in all its appointments is more or less acknowledged as
 the most complete of any under the control of women physicians.

 This is as good a picture of the situation here in Boston as I am able
 to give you. If we had gained admission into the Massachusetts Medical
 Society, we would stand on equal footing with the best part of the

 In some of the smaller towns of Massachusetts, young women physicians
 have been admitted into the county societies, and these being a part
 of the Massachusetts Medical Society have thus opened a discussion
 which will eventually lead to the admission of women into the parent
 society, which is another step towards getting admission into Harvard
 Medical Department.

 On October 1, Dr. Smith who was graduated in Zurich will take the
 position of resident physician with us, and we shall try to persuade
 other educated women to study in Zurich so that we can fill this post
 with such graduates and thus overcome little by little the opposition
 to coeducation.

 Can you not see from these statements that the raising of money alone
 will not suffice to bring about the equally good education of women
 and men? To be sure, if I had a sum large enough to endow a medical
 college, I could bring about coeducation and thorough scientific
 study by getting men of the best talent from both Europe and America,
 but one hundred thousand dollars would be only a drop in the bucket
 towards such an enterprise.

 Meanwhile, we have another bright prospect in the admission of women
 to the University of Michigan, at Ann Arbor. Although the medical
 students are not in the same classrooms, yet the lectures and the
 opportunities for women are precisely the same as those for men.

 The lectures are given in separate lecture rooms, except in chemistry.
 The students of both sexes work together in the laboratory and are
 present at most of the clinics. The work in the dissecting-rooms is
 quite separate, and occasionally the women are not present at some
 special operations.

 The movement for educating women as physicians has become so
 widespread that I think it impossible to work for the elevation of the
 standard of their medical education in any other way than by having
 the leading women of each state keep in view as their final aim the
 opening on the basis of coeducation of the best medical colleges.

 The number of persons now interested in the whole movement is so great
 and the labor to raise money to maintain the institutions, even such
 as they are, has required so much nerve and strength that even to hint
 at their abolition or their absorption in male colleges might have a
 detrimental effect in dispiriting the public who, taken as a whole,
 are not yet settled on the question of coeducation.

 The American people, both men and women, have to work out the
 different problems of advancing their interests without having them
 favored or opposed by a fixed social class whose prerogative it is to
 exercise a controlling influence on any standard set up.

 The medical education of women must now take its chance for growth
 like all the other questions of woman’s rights, yes, even of men’s
 rights, politically speaking. We are, with all the rest, passing
 through the phase of crystallization, and only the merit or the
 capacity of the individual can act to bring about a good and lasting

 We must grow at present by every one of us doing her utmost best from
 day to day; and if the principle is a correct one that it is within
 women to exercise their faculties according to their inclinations the
 same as men do, it cannot be overthrown. I do not want to give you
 the impression that I wish to be pessimistically indolent; on the
 contrary, I want you to understand that I include in that “utmost
 best” criticism as well as denunciation of the imperfect or mediocre
 and readiness for any crusade for the better, for the higher, and for
 the perfect ideal.

 The physicians connected with our Hospital have formed a Society,[20]
 and have framed a constitution which admits to membership both men and
 women. So far we have only women members, and there are only a very
 few in the society who are not connected with the Hospital, because we
 mean to be as careful and as stringent as possible.

 I wish I could visit you this winter and talk all these matters over,
 as I really need a rest of a year, not because I am sick but because
 I feel that I may be, as the strain upon my nerve power has been so
 intense for thirty years that relaxation is needed if I want to end my
 life in usefulness.

 For the present, I cannot do anything more than to plan for such a
 recreation, but when the moment comes to carry out this plan, I shall
 write to you in order to make arrangements for us to meet in a way
 which will give us time and comfort.

The ten thousand dollars referred to in the above letter was offered
in 1878 by Miss Marian Hovey toward the new building which Harvard was
about to erect, she making the condition that women should be admitted
as students.

According to Dr. Chadwick, the Corporation referred the communication
to the Board of Overseers who in turn referred it to a committee
consisting of President Eliot, Alexander Agassiz, Dr. Morrill Wyman, J.
Elliot Cabot and Dr. LeBaron Russell. In 1879, majority and minority
reports were presented, the latter by Dr. Russell alone.

The majority report recommended acceptance of the trust offered by Miss
Hovey, and presented an outline of conditions which were thought to be
desirable to govern the admission of women students.

It further stated that of twenty-one members of the Medical Faculty who
expressed their views in writing, six were in favor, with restrictions;
three were in favor of making the experiment but had strong doubts
of its expediency or success; five were opposed, but were willing
to try the experiment under certain conditions; seven were strongly
opposed. Thus, fourteen were at least willing to try the experiment
conditionally, while seven were unconditionally opposed.

The minority report opposed acceptance of the trust and advised that
the medical women should establish their own school, modeling it upon
the Harvard school.

A vote of the Board of Overseers was immediately taken upon the
adoption of the majority report, the vote standing seven to nine. It
was then voted to reconsider the motion two weeks later.

Meantime, a meeting of the Medical Faculty was held and the admission
of women was negatived in _two_ resolutions, one by a vote of
thirteen to five and one of fourteen to four.

Following this action of the Medical Faculty, the Board of Overseers at
their next meeting voted (17 to 7):

 That the Board of Overseers find themselves unable to advise the
 President and Fellows to accept the generous proposal of Miss Hovey.

It then voted (16 to 10) for the following motion which was proposed by
the President:

 That in the opinion of the Board of Overseers it is expedient that,
 under suitable restrictions, women be instructed by Harvard University
 in its Medical School.


 _Opening of the Massachusetts Medical Society to women--Letter on
 the subject to Dr. Zakrzewska from Dr. Henry I. Bowditch--She declines
 to present herself for examination for admission, having already
 twice prepared herself and been refused examination because she was
 a woman--Dr. Zakrzewska’s reply to the question “whether to enforce
 obedience medicines should be administered to refractory prisoners in
 reformatories and prisons.” (1879-1884.)_

It was in this same year of 1879, however, that the cause was heartened
by the beginning of the tardy capitulation of the Massachusetts Medical
Society, the council of which following in the wake of ten or a dozen
of the other State medical societies, finally voted to admit women to
membership on equal terms with men.

This society differs from most of the other State medical societies
in that its membership does not consist, as does theirs, of delegates
from the constituent county societies. Members join the Massachusetts
Medical Society as individuals, and it aims to include all reputable
members of the profession.

It had previously refused to recognize homeopathic and eclectic
physicians, holding these latter as “irregular” practitioners of
medicine, even though their diplomas were legalized by the same
authority as that which had legalized those of its own members.

Its refusal to admit women to membership showed its intention to
classify women also as “irregulars,” even women who had received their
diplomas as regular classmates of men who were acceptable.

The _Boston Medical and Surgical Journal_, of October 9, 1879,
expressed itself characteristically in an editorial:

 We regret to be obliged to announce that at a meeting of the
 councilors, held on October 1, it was voted to admit women to the
 Massachusetts Medical Society.... Enshrouded in her mantle of science,
 woman is supposed to be endowed with power to descend from that high
 pedestal upon which we men have always placed her, and to mingle with
 us unscathed in scenes from which her own modesty and the esteem of
 the other sex has hitherto protected her.

The editor seems to have forgotten that women had long mingled in those
“scenes” as patients and as nurses; it was only as physicians that they
were being “protected” from them.

However, the “protectors” were loath to discontinue their gallant
services and, following the protest of the Suffolk District branch of
the State Society, the Council rescinded its vote, thus relegating the
medical women to their pedestals.

But the Society continued in a state of unrest, friends of the
admission of women gaining in strength and their opponents losing
proportionately, though by-issues were also injected. Eventually, the
inevitable was foreseen; the question remained only as to the form
which it would take.

The handwriting on the wall was visible when in 1883 the Pennsylvania
State Medical Society (!) sent a woman (Dr. Alice Bennett) as delegate
to the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Medical Society. She was
accepted officially, and she sat through the proceedings, and nothing

At the annual meeting of the following year, 1884, the By-Laws were
amended so as to permit of the admission of women on an equality with
men; and then that storm center cleared.

An editorial in the _Boston Medical and Surgical Journal_, June
19, 1884, loyally accepts the action of the Society but it cannot
forbear a little overflow of emotion in the following words:

 ... We believe that women in this particular community are already
 aided and abetted in too many foolish fads and fancies. There is too
 much bad piano playing and too little good cooking and sewing taught

[Many years later, the editor of this book met the editor of the
_Boston Medical and Surgical Journal_, and in discussing the
subject of medical women, she is glad to say he admitted that he had
“readjusted” his “point of view.”]

Dr. Henry I. Bowditch viewed the action of the Society in a different
light, as is shown in a letter written to Dr. Zakrzewska after the
details of this advanced step had been arranged and the women were
preparing to take the Society examinations:

  _Boston, June 15, 1884._


 I thank you for the letter received yesterday. The result was entirely
 unexpected, and I can only thank God and take courage for the future
 days and for opportunities to fight for simple right and justice.

 For I assure you that all through these years since I have advocated
 the examination of women by the Massachusetts Medical Society, I
 have myself stood upon the eternal foundations of justice to every
 human being. My old anti-slavery warfare and its principles, with
 the experience gained in that fight against prejudice, have been of
 immense support to me.

 ... I have always consulted with honorable, educated women, in spite
 of all By-Laws. At first I believe some of the bigots thought I ought
 to be punished. But I cared not a farthing for the dark hints of
 discipline impending, feeling sure as I did that light would appear
 the next day and that with the element of Time and simple justice on
 my side, Right would certainly prevail.

 But as I now look back upon this final victory, and mark the various
 tyrannical rulings of our presidents and the stupid arguments urged
 by the opponents and their victories up to the present hour, with
 their final and, if not graceful, certainly good-natured and boorish
 submission to the fact of being in a hopeless minority themselves--I
 marvel, and, as I said above, take courage for any future fight for
 the True and Right.

 Some of the arguments by our opponents in the council were so weak
 that I think they injured their own cause.

 For example, Dr. ---- says: “Our fathers never meant that women should
 be members, and how absurd it would be for us to admit them! They
 are different from men and cannot properly become our associates in
 medicine, etc.”

 Dr. ----, with becoming pompousness of manner after duly twirling
 his gray mustaches, said: “I am not in favor of women being admitted
 because they have never done anything original.”

 Dr. Wyman suggested that the names of Mrs. Somerville, Mesdames Boivin
 and Lachapelle in France and Jacobi in America certainly proved that
 women were capable of high intellectual work.

 “_I_ do not admit that they are exceptions,” replied Dr. ----.

 I was fool enough to forget to ask what original work had ever been
 done by members of the Massachusetts Medical Society, and especially
 by the speaker himself. That would have floored our antagonist very

 But let us not think of the past, but prepare ourselves for the future
 that is opening so brightly before us.

 I am glad that the young students are preparing for the race. As for
 yourself, I do not wonder at your decision. You do as I think I should

 Your “pioneer” race and energy will always command the respect of the
 community and of the professional men who know you and who are not
 bigots to a “Code.”

  I remain
  Very truly yours,

The reference at the end of Dr. Bowditch’s letter is to the course upon
which Dr. Zakrzewska had decided, after mature consideration of the
question of taking the examination for admission to the Massachusetts
Medical Society. She expresses this decision and the reasons for
reaching it, as follows:

 The Massachusetts Medical Society has within the last three months
 decided to admit women. The perseverance of women in the practice of
 medicine and surgery, their professional competency, the increase in
 their numbers, and the impossibility of ignoring them any longer,
 have led to the result that physicians of this Society acknowledge
 women in daily practice and have thus broken the rule which binds them
 to friendliness and coöperation with members only. Necessity, not
 acknowledgment of the principle of the right of woman to practice, has
 finally conquered, and the Massachusetts Medical Society is willing
 to allow women to present themselves for examination with the view of

 On the other hand, the regular women practitioners have found it
 necessary to protect themselves against being confounded with
 charlatans of every description, and have formed themselves into a
 society which adopts the name of the Hospital in which their practice
 started and now centers.

 Besides the physicians living in Boston, a few scattered over the New
 England States are members of this society. Thus a union of reliable
 women practitioners is begun and promises to be of interest and
 usefulness. If a union with the Massachusetts Medical Society can be
 effected by them, it would be beneficial to both and, no doubt, to the
 profession at large.

 The obstacles to such a union consist chiefly in the fact that any one
 wishing to become a member of the Massachusetts Medical Society has to
 present himself or herself for examination before a number of censors
 chosen by the Society, and at present in the Suffolk District Medical
 Society consisting of five of its youngest members, who have to
 examine the candidate in Obstetrics, Histology, Anatomy, Physiology,
 Pathology, Materia Medica, and Chemistry, that is to say, precisely in
 those branches for proficiency in which the candidate has received a
 diploma years ago.

 It is well known that wisdom and experience acquired in practice push
 into the background textbook knowledge, and that most physicians after
 ten years of practicing life have gained a great deal of knowledge
 which is not in the textbooks and have forgotten a great deal which is.

 It is therefore a question whether the amount of benefit gained by
 admission into the Massachusetts Medical Society is worth the waste of
 time necessary for reading and studying books which we have long laid
 aside and simply use occasionally for reference.

 To young beginners, I would advise the seeking of this privilege but
 as for myself, I feel constrained to make the following statement:

 When I came to Boston in 1859, eight years after my graduation in
 Berlin as _accoucheuse_ and three years after graduation as
 physician from the Western Reserve Medical College of Cleveland, Ohio,
 and having been regularly employed in teaching classes and private
 pupils in medicine, consequently, in the full life of a student--I
 made application for examination to be admitted into this society and
 was refused.

 Again, five years later, that is, in 1864, I made the same
 application, and was not so decidedly refused. Thinking there was a
 possibility of my being admitted, I set myself to work reviewing some
 of my studies in order to prepare myself to meet the high dignitaries
 in the shape of the young men members and censors of that venerable
 society; but after several months of discussion, I again received a

 This last refusal I met with the declaration that “when the time comes
 for women to be received into this Society--and I know it will come
 before I have passed out of this existence--this venerable Society
 cannot have me as a candidate for examination but must give me an
 honorary membership if it wants me at all.”

 To-day, its condescending proposal for my examination for admission
 has been made, and I am only a little more than fifty years old. But
 after twenty-six and one-half years of practice (that is, nearly
 at the end of my career), my only personal interest in this affair
 is that I am happy that the younger women can have the benefit of
 an association which is very desirable for all beginners, and most
 desirable in assisting women to gain the position for which they

 I have done my part, and I feel satisfied with the results achieved. I
 have aided the women of this country by word and deed, by example and
 sacrifice, and I am willing to retire, leaving them the field in which
 to sow and to reap where I have helped to plow, associated as I have
 been with the pioneer women of the medical profession.

It was about this time that, at one of the meetings of the New
England Hospital Society, that body was asked to give an opinion upon
a question which had arisen in reformatories and prisons, that is,
“whether medicines which cause anesthesia, emesis or prostration should
ever be administered to refractory prisoners to enforce obedience
through their action.”

A unanimous “No” expressed the instinctive feeling among all members
present of the absolute wrong in the use of such remedies to compel
obedience. The discussion of this subject was continued to a subsequent
meeting, and Dr. Zakrzewska was requested to prepare a written
statement of her views upon this point. She writes:

 I. From the medical standpoint, the administering of a pharmaceutical
 preparation for any other purpose than to aid in the restoration of
 health is malpractice. An emetic or an opiate might be easily given to
 a culprit who is in perfect health but who refuses obedience to the
 prison regulations; this could be done by deceiving the offender. But
 the administration of ether or chloroform would meet with opposition
 for the overcoming of which an application of force would be needed,
 which would be as much in the nature of corporal punishment as would
 the use of the rod.

 No physician could sanction the use of remedies for any other than
 their legitimate purpose and must refuse such demand from the prison
 superintendent or warden.

 II. From the legal standpoint, no prison official has a right to order
 for the purpose of enforcing obedience the administration of powerful
 medicines to a healthy individual, thus rendering her ill for hours or
 days, shocking a system otherwise in harmonious action, and thereby
 also possibly producing bodily injuries, internally or externally,
 which may after the release of the prisoner easily lead to a
 complaint in a court of law, a complaint which could well be sustained.

 III. From the moral standpoint, the deception which is necessary
 either by disguising the medicine in some usual beverage or by false
 statement, pretending a necessity for some medical remedy, such as
 hypodermic injection of morphine, would at once awaken distrust of the
 whole official management and would thereby destroy the very principle
 upon which all prisons should be conducted, that is, the reformation
 of those intrusted to their care.

 If we once admit that medical remedies can be used by the physician
 under the orders of the superintendent in order to enforce obedience
 or as punishment, where shall we stop? The physician and the
 superintendent can become in time accomplices in such practices as may
 lead to even fatal results, for such officials have almost absolute
 power in these institutions which are subjected to only occasional
 examinations by State committees.


 _Association for the Advancement of the Medical Education of
 Women--Coeducation or segregation--Dr. Zakrzewska leads another
 attempt to persuade Harvard to admit women to its Medical School
 (1881-1882)--Failure takes from Harvard final opportunity to be first
 great medical school to admit women on equal terms with men, this
 honor passing to the Johns Hopkins in 1890--Massachusetts Legislature
 directs that a woman physician be appointed in each State Hospital for
 insane patients--Dr. Zakrzewska takes a vacation in Europe--Letter to
 Mrs. Cheney and others--The New England Hospital requires all resident
 students to possess the degree of M.D., and changes their status to
 that of internes--The Hospital establishes District Nursing in its
 out-practice--Letter from Dr. Zakrzewska to Dr. Sewall who is on
 vacation in Europe--Dr. Zakrzewska compares earlier and later women
 medical students. (1879-1886.)_

As a further move in the campaign for opening the larger colleges
to women, there was formed the Association for the Advancement of
the Medical Education of Women. This association had a membership of
medical and lay men and women from different parts of the country, and
Dr. Mary Putnam-Jacobi was its president for many years.

Mary Putnam, one of the earlier students of the New England Hospital,
and a graduate of the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, was the
first woman to be admitted to the _École de Médicine_ of the
University of Paris, from which she was graduated in 1871. Later, she
married the noted Dr. Abraham Jacobi of New York, becoming herself one
of the most brilliant members of the profession in America. It will be
remembered that in 1876 she was awarded the Boylston Prize of Harvard
University, the identity, and consequently the sex, of the competitors
for this honor remaining unknown to the judges until after the verdict
was rendered.

The above association not only carried on an educational campaign, but
for several years it assisted the Woman’s Medical College of the New
York Infirmary by paying part of the faculty’s salaries and by helping
to enlarge the College and the Hospital.

Although continuing the support of such separate women’s colleges as
maintained their high standards, the leading medical women and the
well-informed men and women of the laity still realized that these were
(and in the nature of things, must be) only the lamps which are kept
trimmed and burning as additional guaranties that the sacred fire shall
never be extinguished.

The main temples and the central fires are found in the large medical
schools which were then monopolized by men, and the struggle must
continue till these temples and fires are acknowledged to be human
possessions, and hence open to women equally with men. Only then will
it be possible to maintain the high standards to which both men and
women physicians should be held, and which are required for the safety
of the communities in which they practice.

Hence the persistence in seeking entrance to the men’s colleges. Not
because they are colleges of men, no, but because this is still so
largely a man’s world, with men so often holding possession of the Best.

And it is the Best in their chosen profession that medical women have
always been seeking--the best teaching; the best laboratories; the best
libraries; the best facilities for training all their faculties; the
best clinical opportunities; the best hospital advantages.

Aside from valid reasons for not segregating women students and
physicians as a separate group, all the conditions enumerated above
have an economic basis. They require money as well as scholarship--and
scholarship itself requires money or it will starve--and no community
can afford to duplicate the expensive plants required for proper
medical education, so as to have twin institutions in which medical men
and medical women shall be separated.

The answer and the advice always given by the men who happen to be
in possession of these legacies of the ages and of the race--for the
great medical schools owe their continued existence to the money and
the help of the women as well as of the men who have gone before--has
always been, “No, we cannot let you enter our colleges. Build your own

It is as though the great universities of the country should decline to
admit any but their local students, telling all others to build their
own universities. Do Harvard and Yale Universities refuse students
outside of Cambridge and New Haven, or even outside of Massachusetts
and Connecticut, saying, “No, you cannot enter here. Build Harvards
and Yales for yourselves!”

Illogical as has been this advice, women have been driven by
desperation to attempt to follow it for both academic and professional
studies. A certain measure of success has been attained in the academic
institutions, owing to the large number of women desiring education
of the kind there given. In the field of medicine, as well as in that
of the other technical professions, the situation is far different.
The number of women desiring such education is small when compared
with the number of those desiring academic education and, as has been
well-established, the expense for properly equipping professional
schools is much greater proportionately as the number of students is

So, in 1881, another attempt was made toward persuading Harvard to
admit women to its medical department. The New England Hospital
Medical Society, through a committee of which Dr. Emma L. Call was
chairman, had asked the assistance of the leading medical colleges for
women toward making a combined appeal for the opening to women of the
medical school of Harvard University. And in September, the following
communication was formally presented:

 To the President and Overseers of Harvard University:


 Would you accept the sum of fifty thousand dollars for the purpose of
 providing such medical education for women as will entitle them to the
 degree of Doctor of Medicine from your University?

 This sum to be held by you in trust, and the interest of the same to
 be added to the principal, until the income of the fund can be used
 for such medical education of women.

 If such an arrangement cannot be made within ten years, the fund to be
 returned to the donors.

This letter was signed by Drs. Zakrzewska, Emily Blackwell, Lucy
E. Sewall, Helen Morton, Mary Putnam-Jacobi, Elizabeth M. Cushier,
Alice Bennett, and Eliza M. Mosher--the Woman’s Medical College of
Pennsylvania feeling unable to join, but writing:

 ... While we are in hearty sympathy with the object of your efforts,
 it seems impracticable at present to offer any active coöperation.

After a delay of several months, the following reply was received from
Harvard University:

  Treasurer’s Office, Harvard College,
  No. 70 Water Street, Boston, May 2, 1882.


 I have the honor to enclose a copy of a vote recently passed by the
 President and Fellows of Harvard College, in relation to the Medical
 Education of Women in Harvard University.

  Yours very respectfully,
  E. W. HOOPER, Secy.

  Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D.


 At a meeting of the President and Fellows of Harvard College in
 Boston, April 24, 1882.

 Upon the question of accepting the proposal contained in the
 communication received by this Board on September 26, 1881, from Marie
 E. Zakrzewska, M.D., and others, in relation to the medical education
 of women in Harvard University.

 Voted, that while the President and Fellows of Harvard College
 recognize the importance of thorough medical education for women they
 do not find themselves able to accept the proposal contained in the
 communication above referred to.

  A true copy of Record
  Attest: E. W. Hooper, Secy.

  To Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D.,
  for herself and others.

Thus did Harvard lose its last opportunity to become the leader in
the opening to women of the great medical schools of America, its
misfortune in this respect being due to what appears to have been a
certain indecisiveness.

It showed the perception and the conviction of the justice of the
women’s claim as early as 1850, or even 1847 (away back when Oliver
Wendell Holmes was dean of the medical school), and it seems to have
had, then and afterwards (1879), the desire for performance but it
appears to have failed in resolution, and so it was at the mercy of
minor cross-purposes.

At any rate, the result of its vacillation was that eight years later
the honor was taken by the Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore.

Meantime, Dr. Zakrzewska had in 1881 spent another vacation in Europe,
and this time she particularly inquired into the progress of medical
women in England. On May 28, she writes:


 I shall mail this letter eventually to Mrs. Cheney, but I intend it to
 be of the same interest to Miss Lucy Goddard and Miss Peabody.

 After a very rough passage, we arrived in London on the 17th of May
 at 4 A. M. My companions desired to begin sight-seeing at once and
 so, as is customary, we proceeded to Westminster Abbey. You all know
 how little appreciation I have for Fame; but whenever I go to places
 like this Abbey, Fame presents to me another aspect. It is entirely
 impersonal--names are of no consequence, but the reasons why these
 landmarks of civilization are placed there for the beholder are of
 intense interest.

 You all know that every shade of greatness is here represented in the
 monuments to men. There are some to women also, but only because these
 women happened to be queens or wives of royalty, though a few have
 been erected to high-stationed philanthropists. In no other capacity
 could I discover the name of a woman.

 Query: Before long, will there be erected a monument to a woman
 physician? We find the names of men physicians here, for no other
 reason than that they were eminent in their profession. Will there
 ever be a monument to the first woman physician because she was the
 leader of the movement; because she had the energy, will and talent,
 as well as the education, which would make her worthy of imitation;
 and because she is a landmark of the era marked by women’s freeing
 themselves from the bondage of prejudice and from the belief that they
 are the lower being when compared with men?

 These are the speculations which follow me wherever I go and wherever
 I find the monumental display to and for talent. I did not find Mrs.
 Somerville’s name on even a tablet in the Abbey. Why is it that women
 do not start a movement for placing one there and in other significant

 We need such landmarks of civilization not because those who died
 have lived for fame, no, but because the now-living, as well as
 those who will live long afterward, need encouragement for utilizing
 their capabilities, and monuments of this sort suggest to them the
 possibility of their so doing. The person who is covered by a monument
 is of no consequence, but the fact that a “woman” can work and make
 an impression upon civilization needs to be made known and to be

 Apropos, the word “woman” reminds me of the custom of speaking here in
 London. I have not heard a single time the word “lady” used as we use
 it in America. The Queen is spoken of as “a good woman,” the Princess
 Louise as “a sickly woman,” Mrs. Somerville as “an eminent woman,”
 the Duchess of Blank as “a fashionable woman.” Nowhere do we hear a
 dressed-up cook or chambermaid mentioned in the streets as “that lady
 there,” but as “the woman in the velvet gown,” etc. I wish some of our
 prominent women in America would make a crusade against the habit of
 applying the word “lady” to every woman under every condition.

 But now I must speak to you of what interests us most of all, namely,
 the work of the medical women in London. There is no doubt but that
 the position here of the woman physician is, professionally and
 legally, a far better one than with us in the United States. By the
 indomitable will and energy of Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake, the women who
 study medicine have been placed fundamentally on the same level with
 men. The method of study, theoretical and practical, is precisely that
 of the men.

 And although the Royal Free Hospital has only one hundred and fifty
 beds for the medical school of women, while the medical school for men
 of St. Bartholomew’s Hospital has six hundred and that of St. Thomas’
 Hospital has one thousand, five hundred, that makes no difference
 in the mode of study nor in the amount of knowledge which the woman
 student can acquire. One reason is that the number of women is only
 about forty while at either of the other hospitals, the number of men
 runs as high as seven hundred. Besides, I am told that women are more
 ready to gain knowledge through dispensary practice, which is entirely
 outside of the hospitals.

 There is, however, one branch which is very much neglected, both
 theoretically and in clinical instruction, Dr. Charles Drysdale being
 my authority for the statement that this neglect is just as great in
 the men’s course, namely, the instruction in higher midwifery and
 obstetrics as taught in France and Germany. He assures me that if
 there are English men of eminence in this branch, they have laid the
 foundation by going to Germany to study. Alas, these opportunities are
 not open as freely to English medical women.

 Dr. Drysdale, as well as some of the most prominent women
 practitioners here, expressed the wish that Boston or some other large
 city in the United States which has a hospital for women would so
 develop this particular branch as to induce the educated medical women
 of England to go thither in order to perfect themselves therein. The
 opinion of those who express such a wish is that money would gladly
 be paid to its full value for such opportunity for study.

 Such an opening for the English student would react very beneficially
 upon our American medical student, for there is no doubt but that the
 English medical women and students have in every respect a higher
 average education than we have. And the standards of education and
 civilization can best be raised through international intercourse.

 We now have in Boston decidedly good women surgeons and the beginning
 of a good department in surgery. This is of momentous importance for
 the reason that surgical work tells best both in the profession and
 among the laity. We also have in Boston excellent women obstetricians
 who do a great deal of obstetric surgery, but who give instruction to
 only the few privileged students of our Hospital.

 This branch could easily be enlarged and developed by our Hospital
 Staff if through larger means, greater opportunity for practice could
 be afforded them, and thus make it worth her while for the attending
 physician to give more thorough instruction both to our own students
 and to students from abroad. By saying making it worth her while, I
 mean allowing her compensation for time and labor.

 On the whole, we must begin to think of compensating our staff of
 women physicians. Now that the woman physician is an accepted fact
 in America, it becomes our duty to compensate those who have spent
 time and money in study (and especially those who have gone to the
 continent of Europe) for the labor which they expend upon the students
 not able to follow such a course.

 After introducing the woman into society as a physician, we must
 now take the next step, namely, see that those who follow are
 well-educated; and, therefore, we must utilize the knowledge of the
 former by giving her the chance to spread it among the new disciples.
 In other words, every physician with a good education who comes to us
 must be well paid, so that her time and strength will belong to our
 patients and to the students of the Hospital. And if other students
 who are not inmates of the Hospital wish to avail themselves of our
 instruction, they must be made to pay for it, whether this instruction
 be given by the resident physician or by one of the attending

 This has been my view for some years, and I am now very much confirmed
 in it through talk with the friends of medical education here, where
 I see most clearly that work without money value set upon it is not
 expected nor is it considered to be of the first class.

 The students here pay £80 for the theoretical instruction and £40
 for the hospital instruction, besides paying for their board outside
 of school and hospital, for they do not reside in either. Our
 institutions in the United States would not permit such a rate, nor do
 I wish to suggest it, but I wish that the friends of the movement for
 the medical education of women would come forward, as have those here
 in England, and provide us with means so that we can afford to pay an
 ample salary to our physicians, or at least to our resident physician,
 and thus secure her services for some years to come for the benefit of
 all concerned.

 The English generosity in this respect seems marvelous to me. For
 instance, the Royal Free Hospital would not connect the medical school
 for women with its work, saying that it had not room for them. The
 governors of the hospital were asked how much money was needed, and
 the enormous sum of £5,000 was set for a limited number of years,
 namely, five. At the expiration of this time, a similar sum, or even
 more, or perhaps nothing at all, might be needed. In a very short time
 the sum was raised, the money being used to build another wing to give
 room to the women for study.

 Out of the funds of the school, towards which the student contributes
 £40 for three years’ study, a large sum is paid to the physician who
 gives the instruction in this hospital. The funds of the school are
 raised by private subscription, and the fees charged to the students,
 although high, do not suffice to pay for the instruction given. In so
 far as the fees do not suffice, the situation is similar to that in
 our American colleges and schools; it differs in that the instructors
 are fully paid for the time and knowledge given to the students.
 The result is a higher education in medicine and a higher grade of
 individual physician than in the United States.

 In the two branches, surgery and the medical treatment of general
 diseases, the woman student has now in London ample opportunity.
 Plenty of material is provided, not only by the Royal Free Hospital
 but also by the New Hospital for Women, as well as by the dispensary
 attached to the latter. The latter hospital is carried on precisely
 as is our New England Hospital for Women and Children except that it
 has no maternity department. It admits patients for as little as four
 shillings a week but only a few are entirely free.

 The attending physicians are all married women of high social
 position, mothers and housekeepers and quite rich. It is thought by
 the English women that these prominent women should work in order to
 live down the prejudice, which seems to be very strong, that if women
 study or do anything they will cease to be willing to become mothers
 and housekeepers. This explained why in the medical school the “Mrs.”
 was always introduced to me before the “Miss” was spoken of.

 I think this is all I have to communicate to you about the work which
 lies so near to our hearts, and as my London visit closes to-morrow I
 think I shall have nothing more to add, but shall see what the women
 in Germany are doing.

 But I may tell you that I attended a small, public, woman suffrage
 meeting held to consider Mr. Hugh Mason’s proposition in the House
 of Commons to give the franchise to women. The meeting was a rather
 select one. The audience was admitted only by cards, which, to be
 sure, any one could procure beforehand, but which forms more or less
 of a hindrance to attendance.

 The speakers were all women and in favor of the measure. They were
 seven in number and each spoke for about ten minutes. They were
 fluent, eloquent, concise and modest. Their dignity was superb. There
 was a great deal of applause, and happiness over what had been gained
 was expressed in many a face. But the whole affair lacked vitality,
 enthusiasm, and breadth of feeling and fellowship. And, compared with
 even our smallest meetings, no matter whether held by women alone or
 by both men and women, it made me homesick for Boston--for America!

 Should you see any of our Doctors (for instance, Dr. Morton), ask
 them whether they care to read this epistle. Perhaps Dr. Smith will
 decipher it and read it at one of their meetings. But let Miss G. have
 it first, and tell me in a few words what you think of it, and how you
 are doing and whether your health and that of our friends is good and
 strong and ready to carry our work a little farther on.

 I am getting rested, and while my two companions are going sightseeing
 I am writing this. If you want to recommend our lodgings here, do so.
 They are in every respect desirable and recommendable. Be sure to
 give my love to all inquiring friends--Miss Farnham, Miss Cary, Mrs.
 Boardman, and a number of others whom I have no more paper to mention.

  Faithfully yours,

In 1880-1881, the New England Hospital took the important step of
requiring all resident students to be the possessors of the degree of
M.D., and of changing their status to that of _internes_.

In 1881, plans were made for having a nurse always on duty at the
Dispensary to respond to calls in the out-practice, but these plans did
not materialize until 1883, the New England Hospital thereby becoming
the leader in establishing the service of District Nursing. This form
of service has since additionally expanded, under other auspices, into
an organization which on a large scale renders valuable assistance to
patients at their homes.

The year 1884 was marked by the setting up of another milestone along
the upward path of the medical woman, this being that the Massachusetts
Legislature not only permitted but directed the appointment of medical
women in the State Hospitals for insane patients.

In February, 1886, Dr. Zakrzewska writes to Dr. Sewall, who was then in

 ... In ten weeks from to-day, I shall start on my Western tour, and I
 suppose you will start by that time for the United States.

 My health is very good. I am better than I have been for thirty years
 and a great deal better than when I went to Europe five years ago.
 Nevertheless, I look forward to a five months’ vacation with a great
 deal of pleasure and feel sure that it will add years of health to my

 The Hospital work goes on well. I suppose Dr. Call informs you of the
 different legacies we have received. Even if they are not yet handed
 over to the treasurer, we can now be sure of the solidity of the
 institution as far as money is concerned.

 Now comes the professional standard and the question as to whether in
 the course of time women as physicians will prove themselves to be
 organizers and creators or simply handmaids. So far we cannot boast of
 much originality among our corps of women. However, we can feel sure
 that all the women physicians of the Hospital are above the average of
 the men physicians. Genius, after all, is rare.

 Apropos of sister Rosalie. It occurred to me that you with your usual
 generosity might think of her and bring with you some present for her.
 Now I honestly beg of you not to do any such thing, because the poor
 thing is sick and tired of all the bric-a-brac and vases which she has
 received, in spite of our not sending out invitations.

 Last Sunday morning when I called, she showed me a whole closet full
 of stuff which she had packed away in the attic because it is beyond
 human thought and possibility to place these things and take care of
 them in her little house. When I told her in consolation that she
 might use these things as presents again in the course of time, she
 replied in her usual way, “No, I shall never inflict them on people.
 If I make presents, I shall give flatirons.”

 My nephew Herman is engaged to be married to a young German-American
 lady who visited me for a week. She is handsome, an accomplished
 singer and pianist, a good housekeeper, and a sensible woman. We are
 very happy about his choice and feel grateful to her that she selected

 On the 22d at twelve o’clock, I shall give a great lunch party to
 the students and doctors. About fifty people will come, I hope. The
 snowdrops in Washington Street are in bloom since the 9th.

In line with her questioning in this letter of the achievements of
medical women of the then present date, is her estimate of the quality
of the women students of the later times as compared with those of the
earlier days. She writes:

 I am frequently asked whether the quality of medical students among
 women is not much better now than formerly. This question is a
 very subtle one to reply to justly. There is no doubt but that the
 educational standard among all youths, female and male, has been
 greatly raised; that accomplishments are not so universally considered
 all the education that girls need; that the increase of colleges for
 women alone, as well as the coeducational institutions, has promoted
 a thoroughness of training which was unknown fifty years ago in the
 schooling of young girls; and that all these advantages have promoted
 thought and earnestness of purpose in deciding upon a profession.

 But that the student of either sex is in consequence of this education
 of a better quality and promising more marked ability, especially in
 the medical profession, by no means follows.

 In the early decade of this movement, the woman who entered upon
 professional study had to possess qualities which no school, college
 or university can bestow. Originality, perseverance, persistency,
 self-abnegation, industry in study, and a certain amount of practical
 knowledge, as well as perception of human nature and social
 conditions, were absolutely necessary for each and every woman student
 in order to succeed even in going through the medical colleges then at
 their disposal, to say nothing of later attempts to enter into general

 The help then offered by professional men was not based at all upon
 the principle of right nor on the suitability of the woman to become
 a physician. No, it was offered only by such men as stood head and
 shoulders above their colleagues in the professions. They were men who
 could afford to make enemies in and out of professional circles and
 who could afford to be pleased with a talented “exceptional woman”;
 intellectually to pet her, as it were; to teach her; to indulge her;
 yes, to speak in high terms of her and compare her with historic women
 of the past, feeling even proud that they had discovered such an
 exception to womankind.

 They seemed entirely unaware that the woman student perceived their
 delusions but nurtured in the depth of her heart the conviction,
 “What I am able to do now, hundreds, yes, thousands, will be able
 to accomplish after me.” Meanwhile, the women were grateful for all
 favors, advantages and teachings, utilizing them but industriously
 aiming higher and higher so as to gain all that could be gained
 through the qualities enumerated above.

 Such a schooling trained the women far better than all the colleges
 do now, in spite of their excellence; on the other hand, the
 complaints of the women students of to-day as to the disadvantages yet
 to be overcome are greater than they were then. Yet at this present
 time, almost every chance exists for women if it is in them, to become
 original investigators, workers and practitioners.


 _Twenty-fifth anniversary of the New England Hospital--Drs.
 Zakrzewska, Sewall and Morton resign as attending physicians and
 are appointed advisory physicians--Presentation to the Hospital of
 portrait of Dr. Zakrzewska painted by Miss Ellen E. Hale--Address by
 Dr. Zakrzewska before the Moral Education Association--Her reply to
 the question “Should Women Study Medicine?”--Her opinion on “What’s in
 a Name?” (1887-1890.)_

In 1887, the Hospital celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary, a
pleasant feature of the event being the presentation to the Hospital
by the graduates and internes of the portrait of Dr. Zakrzewska. This
was painted by Miss Ellen E. Hale and was placed in the directors’
parlor. The occasion was also marked by the resignation of all three
of the attending physicians, Drs. Zakrzewska, Sewall, and Morton. So
many qualified women were becoming available for hospital service and
were asking for opportunities, that these three women who had borne the
burden and heat of the earlier years felt they could now stand aside
and make room for their younger sisters.

Their resignations were accepted and they were immediately appointed
advisory physicians, thus remaining in a position where their knowledge
and skill continued to be available to the Hospital and to their
successors, those immediately following them being Dr. Emma L.
Call[21] and the Drs. Augusta and Emily Pope.[22]

The additional time thus available to Dr. Zakrzewska gave her greater
opportunity to respond to the many demands upon her for public speaking
and writing.

An address delivered before the “Moral Education Association of
Massachusetts” about this date is so timely, and so pertinent to the
problems which still beset us to-day, that it is here inserted:

 The question is often asked me by persons not attending these
 meetings, What is this Moral Education Association? and What does it
 intend to accomplish?

 When I reply, I always construct my explanation as I myself comprehend
 the motives of this Association and the purposes toward which we
 intend to work.

 I am naturally an optimist. I fully believe that the world--by which I
 mean the human beings on this mighty planet--is constantly improving;
 that we, as a people of to-day, are progressing; and that we have
 reached a condition of physical, mental and moral improvement such as
 has never before been attained by the inhabitants of this globe. Yet I
 feel that we are far from being what we might become if each one of us
 would carry out fully, all the time, daily and hourly, the precepts of
 the Golden Rule.

 In order to attain such a state of perfection, workers are constantly
 needed who, with deeper insight or stronger convictions or warmer
 hearts, shall lift the banner high over all our heads, and thus summon
 followers from all directions.

 Now I call this Moral Education Association such a banner.

 During the thirteenth century, after the knights of Middle and Western
 Europe returned from their crusading expeditions in the Holy Land and
 settled again in their homes, they formed an association, the chief
 object of which was to raise the “standard of honor.” A spoken word
 was an inviolable contract; an ignoble deed, however slight, was
 considered so dishonorable as to relegate the perpetrator from the
 order of knighthood.

 To many, it may seem to have been an unmeaning pastime, this
 cultivation by these men of an ideal honor in themselves and in
 others. Yet this movement ushered in a grand era of poetry, both lyric
 and dramatic, of chivalry, and of learning. It formed the nucleus of
 right in many directions and created a new code of morals.

 In this same sense, and applying it to the elevation of the honor of
 woman, I joined this Association because I know that it is a good
 field in which women can work by helping to create a code of morals
 befitting our enlightened age, a code which shall govern our relations
 to all mankind, to our children, to each other as women, and to the

 The increase of wealth and the increase of an intelligent population
 producing more and more wealth--this is the bright side of our
 progressive age. But there is also the dark side of the picture--the
 increase of luxury and its twin brother, sensuality.

 In nature, as a rule, it is the female who nurses the young into
 maturity; in this case, it is the female who must stifle these twin
 brothers while they are yet in their infancy, so that they may never
 reach their dangerous maturity.

 Luxury carried beyond a reasonable degree of comfort vitiates human
 strength and thus enervates both body and mind; then temporary
 stimulation and relief are sought in the excitements of sensuality.
 By sensuality, I understand all indulgences which carry to excess the
 natural physical appetites. Man, with his greater physical force, is
 the aggressive element in this strife for gratification, and woman
 with her slighter physique, the passive.

 If we first make these points clear to ourselves, it will be easy to
 make them clear to others and to show to every woman the necessity
 of being on the defensive against these twin brothers, Luxury and
 Sensuality. All history teaches us that they have been the destroyers
 of nations in ancient times. Let us not deem that we are proof against
 their omnipotence. The defensive weapon can be none other than a code
 of morals as high and as idealistic as our present state of education
 and development will produce.

 Further, this code ought to be in accordance with the political form
 of life in our country. We cannot afford to imitate any other people,
 any other nation. The women of this continent, and especially of the
 United States, enjoy a place in social life such as no women of any
 nation ever held before, or hold now. They can have all the power they
 want if they will simply take it, and if they will make themselves
 equal to all the responsibilities such a power involves.

 Especially do I wish to speak of a danger to be avoided. We need to
 create and to foster among women a realizing sense that we _are all
 alike_ and that the _worst_ women belong to _us_ as much
 as do the best. We cannot feel proud of the virtues and talents of one
 woman without feeling an equal degree of shame at the vices and the
 degradation of another.

 There is no _third sex_; and we must see to it that this
 feeling--I cannot call it an opinion--that there exists a class of
 _animal women_, shall never take root in this country. In order
 to effect this, we must create a code of morals in accordance with our
 free institutions. Never should we look across the ocean for a guiding
 rod. Nowhere has woman been so poetized and so idealized, nowhere have
 music and the plastic arts so celebrated her as on the continent of
 Europe--yet everywhere there woman can be bought! She is legalized
 merchandise, and is inspected as such for the purpose of purchase,
 _which is prostitution_.

 Among the nobility and the aristocracy the men hold it below their
 dignity and honor to be traders or even merchants because they
 consider that all commercial enterprise tends to make men mercenary,
 so lowering their character. Yet these same men do not hesitate to
 purchase women; while the aristocratic and noble lady thinks it right
 and just that there should be a special class of women for this

 This is no exaggerated statement; it is a fact that women of
 education and of high standing speak of a certain class of women as
 if there were a third sex--a creature resembling woman in all outward
 appearance but sterile in propagation, sterile in morals, and sterile
 in intellectual capacity, a slave to men, and a creature of contempt
 in the eyes of women.

 The word by which these women are designated when spoken of is
 “creature.” In Europe, in common conversation and in everyday
 literature, this word “creature” has become a legitimatized
 designation for prostitutes. It is therefore deplorable to hear women
 in their superior position as employers speak thoughtlessly of honest,
 virtuous women--their nurses, seamstresses, servants and the like--as
 “these creatures.”

 I say, therefore, that one of the laws of our moral code should be,
 “Respect the _woman_ in every woman.”

 This respect for all womankind leads us to consider next the moral
 relations to children. The highest ideal code cannot be too high here,
 and example should take precedence of teaching.

 I would advise a whole code, explanatory of modesty, purity, chastity,
 truthfulness, obedience, self-denial, and self-control, clearly to be
 comprehended and strictly to be practiced by every woman--married and
 unmarried, mothers and grandmothers--so that example shall teach the
 virtues to the boy as well as to the girl.

 Moral precepts and admonitions, repeated daily in words are listened
 to with indifference; but from a living example are drawn good
 draughts of healthful moral strength. For instance, speak before a
 boy, no matter how small (in fact, the smaller the more dangerous),
 with contempt of a woman, and you may be sure the seed of contempt
 toward all womanhood is sown and will grow and mature and bear fruit
 for another generation. The same is true if, in the hearing of girls,
 contempt for men is expressed; yet here the effect is less bad for, as
 I said before, the girl is the passive, not the aggressive, element in

 Next, we need a moral code in relation to men. Here, the first
 principle should be, what is wrong in woman is wrong in man. There
 is no special right for the man. Although we cannot demonstrate an
 absolute Right, yet the Golden Rule will always serve as a test where
 there is doubt. Men are born as pure and innocent and good as women.
 _We develop_ qualities in them from a false conception of the
 aggressive impulses inherent in the masculine constitution. This
 is the point which we must bear in mind--man is not willfully nor
 intentionally vicious; but we allow him to practice a pernicious code
 of morals from early childhood, when we begin to say, “Oh, a boy will
 be a boy.”

 Of course, we want a man to be a man, but we also want a woman to
 be a woman. And we cannot make any advance toward the standard of a
 true man and a true woman if we give one set of morals to the man and
 another to the woman. Our constitution should be alike for both sexes,
 although from natural causes some of the by-laws must differ. This is
 the only way by which we can establish such relations of men to women
 and of women to men as shall be honorable to both and elevating to
 mankind in general.

 Let us now consider the last but not the least point in our code of
 morals, that which concerns our relation to the State. This is, of
 course, the broadest and the most comprehensive theme with which moral
 education has to deal. Here again we shall see that we have our own
 code to make. For by “State” we mean in this country a different thing
 from that which Europe so designates. We do not mean a government
 given to a people by an aristocracy established centuries ago. We must
 learn to understand that when we speak of “the State,” we mean the
 voluntary association of a free people which governs itself through
 and by the individual exercise of both intellectual and physical
 powers. Hence, there arises at once the need of a full comprehension
 of our duties as members of such a State.

 These duties are of two kinds--the duty of the normally endowed
 members (those having moderate or superior physical and mental
 qualities) toward each other; and, secondly, the duty of this
 fortunate class toward the less favored--the weak, the feeble in mind
 or in body and the crippled--those born or later afflicted with less
 capacity to take up the struggle for existence. We have all seen
 how the man born rich may become poor; and on the other hand, how
 the child born a pauper may yet lift himself to the position of the
 millionaire or to the highest office.

 Here, then, lies our duty. Especially must we women educate ourselves
 and the young in regard to our relations to all humanity--particularly
 to the suffering, to the frail, and to the poor near our own doors. We
 have to create a code of morals strong enough to be just toward all
 the unfortunate--men, women and children; yet it must be free from
 that sentimentalism which cannot discriminate between an honest poor
 person and a criminal. On this point, endless illustrations could be
 given to show our lack of moral education. How difficult it is to
 preserve the righteous balance without being harsh to the criminal,
 the drunkard and the female vagrant! We have this great lesson to
 learn--that the poorest, the lowest, even the most degraded, when
 honestly striving to keep out of the almshouse or the prison, stands
 far higher in the scale of humanity than the reformed or the reforming
 prisoner; and that justice ought first to be done toward these poor
 degraded ones before sentimental charity is bestowed upon the criminal.

 For here comes another part of this code as regards the State. What
 is charity? What is benevolence? What is the best way for their
 application? What is justice?

 I would advise that all the members of this Moral Education
 Association, and nonmembers too, form classes where these subjects
 may be discussed, not simply where morality is preached to the moral,
 but where we enlighten ourselves by an interchange of opinion and by
 faithful investigation of moral questions. We need to know what is the
 real moral requirement in our peculiar state of American society.

 We are a State which has not been produced by propagation of one and
 the same race, so we have thus formed a nation with its own peculiar
 characteristics. We are an aggregate in a free country of many races
 and of many nations, a country where it is possible for the slave to
 step at once into self-sovereignty, or for the pauper from any foreign
 race to rise in a few years to the position of a well-to-do trader or
 merchant or artist, according to the intellectual capacity which he
 possesses. On the other hand, even with us these people may go down
 and form the center of a proletarianism unless they are prevented by
 education both of the intellect and of the morals.

A similar opportuneness characterizes her answer to the question which
continues to be asked to-day as it has been asked down the ages:


 So many women, both young and of mature age, appeal to me for
 information concerning the profession of medicine that I have thought
 it desirable to express my opinion thus publicly. The principal points
 inquired about are How to study medicine? and What are the prospects
 in practice?

 There are so many medical schools now open to women, both in the
 East and in the West, that the selection of one for the purpose of
 study need depend only upon individual convenience and the pecuniary
 resources of the student. A student needs to have means for her
 support during three full years of college life and, if possible, for
 an additional year’s residence in some hospital before entering upon

 Next comes the question, What can she expect in practice? Many young
 women enter the profession because it seems to them a lucrative
 business. Yet for a young person to choose this path in life because
 she thinks it leads invariably to success--by which she means a
 plentiful purse--is a mistake.

 Success in the practice of medicine may coexist with small pecuniary
 gains; the money gain should be incidental, not primary, in the
 thought of the physician. A well-educated physician, who has passed
 through the regular course of study and who conscientiously works
 within the legitimate sphere of her knowledge, must allow about ten
 years of indefatigable labor before her practice brings a competency
 worthy the name of independence, by which I mean a comfortable living
 free from the anxieties of petty economies and allowing occasional
 relaxations from duty. Many a young woman has gone out of my office
 excited and indignant because I have expressed doubt that the medical
 profession would be the best career for her to choose, and her final
 exclamation as she left me is very significant, “You have been
 successful; why should not I be so?”

 This “why not” is just the hard point to explain. On April 5, 1888,
 it was just thirty-six years since I began to seek practice.
 Young (twenty-two and one-half years old), full of enthusiasm and
 self-reliance, willing to work, ready for self-abnegation in every
 direction, I felt sure that I should succeed in life, but this success
 never presented itself before my mind in the shape of a plentiful

 Besides the moral qualities I have mentioned, I started with another
 great advantage, namely, a good physical constitution. In no
 profession is sound steady health so requisite as in the medical, for
 the practitioner must be ready night and day, and at the beck and call
 of patients--whether paying or charity. Thus this profession demands
 a body free from annoyances of all kinds and a clear, sound head, to
 enable one to be decisive in judgment, firm in advice, and kind in

 Another step in the ladder of success is a good business training from
 early youth. By this I mean correctness in listening to every word
 spoken, accuracy of observation, and logical deduction. Every faculty
 must be, as it were, on the alert and yet kept under the control of

 Yet there may be sound health, good education, and carefully trained
 faculties, and still a something lacking for success in life as
 physician. I call it a power of adaptation to the various temperaments
 and conditions of humanity; a moral courage; an ability to step
 forward and seek opportunities for practice; a kind of self-confidence
 and fearlessness in entering every class of life.

 Thus equipped, and backed by friends or pecuniary means to sustain
 the respectability of the beginner during the first few years of
 her attempts to seek practice, a young woman has still to overcome
 prejudices and obstacles which are not easily described, for they are
 of an intangible nature, relating sometimes to personal appearance
 and oftener to that indefinable quality--tact.

 Yet notwithstanding all these difficulties, it is far easier to-day
 for a woman to establish herself as physician than it was thirty
 years ago. The annoyance and tribulations which we pioneers had to
 endure were far greater than the natural ones which have always to
 be overcome. For women physicians were then looked upon not only as
 intruders upon the field hitherto occupied by men alone, but also as
 disreputable persons and they were constantly confounded with the
 women who, prefixing “Dr.” to their names, carried on a foul and
 illegal practice.

 So great was the prejudice against the first women physicians that
 friends and acquaintances hesitated to invite them into their social
 circles. Yet in spite of this hostility, I was inclined to encourage
 other women to study medicine; for, inexperienced like all young
 people and more enthusiastic than most, I imagined that every one who
 expressed a desire for some active work was as willing and as well
 prepared to undergo hardships and privations as I myself was. Years
 have made me wiser and, consequently, more cautious in advising these
 young seekers.

 Every physician, man or woman, who has acquired prominence through
 ability, finds himself or herself placed in the position of adviser
 to youth. No one claims infallibility in judgment; great talent is
 not always recognizable to the wisest counselor; but the duty is the
 same for all--a conscientious statement of what the medical profession
 demands. Its difficulties and the various obstacles should be stated
 clearly to the young man or woman who is so often dazzled by the
 brilliant success of the few, forgetting the many who are plodding
 along in economical, modest paths or have retired entirely, and who
 are therefore unknown.

 Yet while I have thus shown the darker side, I can see that the study
 of medicine is full of opportunities for women, and that there are so
 many ways of becoming useful, if not as practitioners then as teachers
 and resident physicians in female schools and colleges, that no
 truly talented woman need fear want of success in some branch of the
 profession.--_The Woman’s Journal, June 23, 1888._

Less weighty but not less serious, and again as though a response to
another question which is agitating us to-day, is the following article
reprinted from _The Woman’s Journal_ of April 5, 1890:


 It may be true that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
 But even Shakespeare does not convince us that a Montague would
 not still be a Montague though called by another name. No, the
 name becomes a part of the individuality. A name has two distinct
 qualities--the lighter, social and emotional; and the graver, legal
 and representative. Pet names denote affection and are usually applied
 to infants as expressive of their helplessness or diminutiveness in
 contrast to our superiority to their small persons. The continued use
 of these pet names when their bearers fill active and responsible
 positions in life, indicates thoughtlessness if not real inferiority
 of intellect.

 To explain my meaning fully, I will illustrate from my own experience
 both conditions--the social and the legal value of names. Quite
 recently I was asked whether I knew a Dr. Carrie S----, of ----town,
 whom the inquirer wished to consult on arriving there. Instinctively
 I replied that I should not care to know a “Dr. Carrie” or “Hattie”
 or “Maggie,” etc., and I certainly would not ask the advice of any
 physician who had not more sense than to advertise herself by sign
 or word as a diminutive person. How can a woman think deeply on any
 subject who has not brains enough to object to such pet names?

 A short time ago, a friend who was visiting me handed me two letters
 to be posted. One was addressed “Mr. C. Albert ----” and the other,
 “Miss Nellie ----.” Glancing at the addresses, I remarked, “I thought
 your son’s name was Bert as I have always heard him called so, and why
 has your sister changed her name from Ellen?” This sister was then
 forty years old and had been teacher to her sister’s sons who lived in
 the country where there was a lack of schools suitable to prepare lads
 for the Latin school. Yet my friend said in reply to my remark, “No,
 my son’s name is Albert and we called him Bert or Bertie, but since
 he entered Harvard College, he has forbidden our using those names,
 because,” she added, “boys, you know, have more pride than girls. My
 sister likes to be addressed as Nellie.” Thus the teacher, twenty-two
 years older than her nephew, was denoted by spoken and written word
 “a girl” without “pride.” I wish all girls and women would comprehend
 this fact--that as long as they are pleased with a diminutive name, so
 long will they be classed in the category of diminutive human beings.

 Again, consider the ludicrous side. Here enters a woman twenty years
 old, six feet tall, addressed as Maggie. Now, must such a woman
 reach a height of eighteen feet before she attains the dignity of
 “Margaret”--that is, the name of a full-grown woman?

 I once had under my medical care a girl whose face was greatly
 disfigured by an eruption. She had a dark complexion and dark hair,
 yet her name was Lily. When a little more than fourteen years old,
 she came to me, her eyes sparkling with delight. “Oh,” she said, “I
 have found out that my real name is Lucy; I was called so for an aunt
 who died last week and who left me one thousand dollars in her will
 because I am her namesake. I cried for joy, not about the money,
 but because I have got rid of that horrid name of Lily.” Seeing my
 astonishment at her excitement, she added, “You do not know how I
 have suffered from my schoolmates; they nicknamed me Tiger Lily on
 account of my face, and now, see, Lily was only a pet name; it is not
 my real name!” Her mind was relieved, she was at ease and happy to
 assert her dignity by an appropriate name. She soon recovered from the
 torment of the eruption, and I have no doubt that the mental relief
 of having a sensible name aided in her recovery. Again, how would a
 woman with the dignified name of Margaret feel if she read in the
 newspaper the notice of her marriage with “Tommy” Smith? A certain
 amount of etiquette is essential in life--it gives weight and dignity
 to everyday occurrences, and is, as it were, an expression of a sense
 of social responsibilities.

 The second question is the legal and representative quality. To
 understand the full importance of this, let us recall the fact that
 throughout the whole civilized globe, it is customary to give to the
 child the father’s name. It is not necessary to discuss here whether
 it would be better to change this custom and give to the child the
 name of both father and mother. The fact is established that the
 child receives a personal name prefixed to that of the family of
 which it is the offspring. By this latter name it becomes known, and
 in the course of years this name becomes a part of the individual,
 belongs to the character itself, and can no more be got rid of than
 the blood which flows in the veins and had its origin in the parents.
 It is a rare thing for a man to admit even the thought of changing his
 name; if it were Smith, he is and remains Smith, simply denoting his
 individuality by the prefix _A_, _B_, _C_, or whatever
 the initial may be. He cannot be addressed by any other name, and he
 can receipt bills and sign legal papers by no other name without being
 considered guilty of misrepresentation.

 The importance of this individuality of name is nowhere better
 recognized than in Germany. A girl named at birth Anna Eleanora Miller
 is and remains Anna Eleanora Miller all her lifetime, no matter
 whether she marries once or six times in the course of her career. By
 no other name can she sign a deed or contract; thus only can she bear
 witness; and she is not summoned by the courts as witness under any
 other name than that of Anna Eleanora Miller.

 If she has a husband, she is addressed in law by her name, Anna
 Eleanora (or, if she has ten given names, then by all of them) Miller,
 wife of Brown, or wife of Baron Ketzow, or von Alden. If she becomes
 a widow and marries again, she is addressed in law (of course not in
 social intercourse) as Anna Eleanora Miller, widow of Brown, wife of
 Baron von Ketzow.

 To make this clearer, let me illustrate still further by giving the
 name of a well-known lady who, after she became a widow, studied
 medicine and now practices dentistry in Berlin, having been dentist
 to all the children of the Empress Friedrich. Her diploma would be
 utterly valueless had it been given to her with the name of her
 first husband; only by her maiden name could she be authorized as a
 practitioner. Her sign at the door reads, “Dr. Henriette Pagelson,
 widow of Hirschfeld, wife of Tiburtius,” she having, after a few
 years of practice, contracted a marriage with Dr. Tiburtius. Thus she
 is, and remains, Henriette Pagelson, and by this name only is she
 professionally and legally responsible; this stamps her individuality,
 and the other names of Mrs. Hirschfeld and Mrs. Tiburtius become
 merely social and conventional designations.

 The question of changing names will and ought to become of grave
 importance before the law in this country. As we now have women
 lawyers, it should be their special charge to bring up at once this
 neglected matter--the question of the legality of diplomas as regards
 the names thereon--before the legislatures in their respective states.

 Let me suppose a case in order to show the gravity of this subject.
 A young woman who has studied medicine receives a diploma under the
 name of Anna Elizabeth Brown. In a few years she marries, removes the
 sign from her door and puts up a new one reading “Dr. A. E. Stone.”
 Soon after this she has to sign a death certificate, which she does
 by writing “Anna Elizabeth Stone, M.D.” Such a document has no legal
 truth in it. Again, suppose the relatives of a patient sue this doctor
 for malpractice, cannot the lawyer make a good case from the fact
 that her diploma certifies to the ability of “Anna E. Brown,” and
 that a “Dr. Stone” does not exist? Does not this create a flaw or an
 irregularity in the indictment executed by the complainants? Still
 further, the husband “Stone” dies, and in a year the widow marries
 McIntosh and again changes sign and signature to “Dr. A. E. McIntosh,”
 while no diploma, and therefore no such doctor of that name exists,
 but only the original “Anna Elizabeth Brown, M.D.”

 What is thus true in the medical profession is true in commercial
 pursuits and in all professions. Annoyances also arise in social
 relations. A short time ago, I was asked if I knew a Dr. Alice
 Smith of a certain city, she having referred to me for professional
 recommendation. I at once declared the woman to be a fraud. A few
 months later, Dr. Alice Smith, having been informed of my not very
 complimentary appellation, sent me a letter expressive of much injured
 feeling. In this letter, she gave her maiden name under which she had
 served as interne in our New England Hospital where we had valued her
 as one of our best assistants.

 Now, if men cannot see the importance of this demand for a settlement
 of the question of women’s names, I wish that our women lawyers would
 bring the subject before the legislatures, requesting some decision on
 the legal qualifications as to names for any professional or business
 relation of women, whether they are single, married or widowed. If the
 woman cannot call her name her own and will not drop the diminutive
 pet name, she does not deserve to be considered a full human being.

 Let me be understood--I do not mean to say that in social life a
 woman should not accept the name of her husband. I do not desire to
 overturn existing customs, and I think it is far more sensible to
 be “Mrs. Smith” in common social life than to be “Dr. Brown,” which
 may be the title on the diploma, but all this could easily be left
 to personal decision. Princess Louise of England will not be called
 Marchioness of Lorne. Baroness von Essmarsch prefers to be called Frau
 Doctor (having married Dr. von Essmarsch), and objects to the title
 of Princess Mecklenberg to which she is entitled, and by which she is
 addressed, as aunt of the present Empress of Germany. Here love casts
 aside all titles; nevertheless, it is only as Princess Mecklenberg
 that she can legally be addressed, or legally be empowered to sell or
 to give away even a few feet of land. The only signature valid in law
 is “Princess Mecklenberg, wife of Dr. von Essmarsch.”

 Throughout Europe, the women in all classes cling more closely to
 their family names than we do. On visiting cards, one commonly sees
 “Mrs. Brown, _née_ Miller.” If one wishes to be specially
 respectful, one addresses in the same way, mentioning both names, the
 envelope which incloses even a friendly letter to a married woman.
 And, finally, on the gravestone placed above a deceased married woman,
 the maiden name is always conspicuously inscribed before the married


 _Opening of the Medical School of the Johns Hopkins University to
 women on equal terms with men--Consultations with Dr. Zakrzewska by
 women interested in the event--Her report of the attitude of the
 community towards women surgeons--New building for the Maternity
 Department of the Hospital (the Sewall Maternity and, later, the Helen
 Morton Wing)--Opening of the Goddard Home for Nurses--Because of
 misbehavior of men students, Columbia University of Georgetown closes
 its doors to women--Dr. Zakrzewska writes on “the Emancipation of
 Woman: Will it be a Success?” (1888-1894.)_

These were eventful days (1888-1890) for all friends of the advancement
of the medical education of women, leading up as they did to the
opening to women of the medical school of the Johns Hopkins University
in 1890.

The same fear of beguilement and subsequent disillusionment which Dr.
Zakrzewska had felt regarding the proposed opening to women of the
Medical School of Harvard University, away back at the time when the
future of the New England Female Medical College hung in the balance,
haunted the minds of all workers for the cause of medical women.

So many colleges had been opened to women and had then been closed to
them, in response to the storm raised by one or another protesting
group, that experience had made women feel they must always be on their

One of the prominent women of Worcester wrote to Dr. Zakrzewska in 1890:

 Our Women’s Club has been urged to contribute to assist the Medical
 School of the Johns Hopkins University, with the idea that women shall
 have there all the advantages which men have, and as I have seen your
 name with other well-known names, I desire to ask if you really think
 that they will act in good faith if the $100,000 should be given them.

 We are told by parties in Baltimore who ought to know that the whole
 policy of Johns Hopkins is conservative in spite of its high rank, and
 that women would never be admitted on the same terms as men.

 As one of an investigating committee, I am to report on October 22d.
 Will you be so kind as to tell me what you think of the scheme? If
 the money is raised and offered on condition that women shall be so
 received, we are told that it will be refused. In that case, it would
 not seem worth while to give anything towards it.

 This must be a matter which would greatly interest you, and I venture
 to hope that you will find a moment to reply.

In the course of her correspondence with Dr. Zakrzewska, a leading
woman of Baltimore who was one of those foremost in the present
movement, writes:

 I will bear your cautions in mind and watch very carefully. I myself
 have not much confidence in the willingness of many men to give
 women a fair chance, but since out of the four women who began this
 movement, three of them have fathers on the two boards who are deeply
 convinced of the righteousness of the cause, I cannot help feeling
 hopeful. Moreover, the physicians at the Hospital have been most
 cordial and helpful to every well-qualified woman who has sought its

 I inclose a copy of the trustees’ resolutions. I do not see how,
 although they reserve the right of making “such rules and regulations
 as they may deem necessary for the government of its School of
 Medicine,” they can possibly ignore the paragraph that “in making
 such rules and regulations, the terms of this minute shall always be
 respected and observed”--and these terms we insisted should be _the
 same_, not equal.

 However, I agree with you that we must watch carefully, and if there
 should ever be a sign of trying to evade it you may depend on us to
 fight it out.

It is interesting to note that half of the $100,000 was given by one
woman, Miss Mary Garrett, daughter of one of the original trustees of
the Johns Hopkins University. Also, that the $10,000 previously offered
by Miss Hovey to Harvard, on condition of its admitting women and which
was declined by its medical faculty, was transferred to the Johns

When, in 1888, Dr. Zakrzewska and her two earliest co-workers on
the Hospital staff, Drs. Sewall and Morton, resigned as attending
physicians and became advisory physicians, Dr. Sewall had in the state
of her health an additional reason for relinquishing her arduous
duties. And Dr. Zakrzewska suffered keenly during the next few years in
realizing the approaching loss of this particularly dear colleague,
who had always been to her as her own child though her junior by only a
few years. Dr. Sewall died in February, 1890.

At the annual meeting at the close of the Hospital year, 1890, Dr.
Zakrzewska again was called upon to present the report from the
resident physician--this position being temporarily vacant.

Referring especially to the increasing work of the Hospital under women
surgeons, she says:

 The results thus far are so satisfactory that no other hospital can
 show a greater percentage of recoveries. Our reputation for successful
 operations increases; and the request is often made by patients that
 no men shall be present.

 An old lady of seventy-nine years, the prolongation of whose life
 depended upon the immediate removal of a large ovarian tumor--an
 accidental fall having caused inflammation--insisted upon having
 even no consultation with men, nor any men present at the operation,
 saying, “I am old enough anyway to die, only I don’t want to suffer
 as I do now; and if the women can save my life for a while longer, I
 shall be grateful.” She was saved, and went home well in just four
 weeks from the day of operation.

 Another change has come with this advance in the medical women’s
 world. Women now express the strongest confidence in women’s skill,
 entirely refuting the fears and opinions of former years that “women
 would never have confidence in their own sex.” The opposite condition
 has now become so manifest that when in a first consultation a patient
 decides at once and unreservedly to employ a woman surgeon, we are
 frequently obliged to remind her that her friends or her family may
 prefer to have a man perform the operation.

 A patient was brought into my office from the carriage before the
 door. She seemed so weak and exhausted that I did not venture to
 speak frankly to her but called the friends into an outer room and
 informed them of the need of the removal of a large abdominal tumor
 without delay. After a short deliberation, they considered it best
 for me to inform the patient. I did so. A few moments of silence
 ensued, and then came the response, “Where can it be done? Will you do
 it?” Answering the latter question in the negative and the former by
 proposing our Hospital, she replied, “Well, take me there and I will
 have it done to-morrow.”

 We did take her there, but the case was too grave for an operation
 on the morrow as important preparations were necessary. But in a few
 months the patient left the Hospital well, and when a half year later
 she came into my office, I did not recognize the changed woman.

 Such cases are not infrequent now, and the gratitude of many a mother,
 wife, and daughter spreads throughout our land the fame of our
 Hospital, the skill of our surgeons, and the kindness of our nurses.
 The number of women surgeons is but few as yet, but I do not care to
 compete numerically with men. I simply repeat the claim which I made
 thirty-five years ago when pleading the cause of women physicians,
 namely, give to women whose qualifications and tastes lead them to
 study the healing art, the opportunity to develop such talents to the
 utmost on an equality with men.

 It is due to the perseverance of woman’s nature and to the freedom
 of this country that such comparatively great results have been
 achieved in so few years. I, who saw at most a possibility in the
 dim future, am permitted to behold an idea realized--an idea for the
 materialization of which I expected simply to plow the ground before
 I passed away from this life, leaving it for others to cultivate. But
 see! Already, under the sunshine of free institutions and the favoring
 breezes of universal progress, we reap the fruits of our labor.

In June, 1892, a new Maternity Building was completed and dedicated.
It was named the Sewall Maternity, in memory of that early and devoted
friend of Dr. Zakrzewska and the Hospital, Hon. Samuel E. Sewall,
and of his daughter, Dr. Lucy E. Sewall, who was, successively, Dr.
Zakrzewska’s first student, assistant, and staff colleague.

The old Maternity was renovated and transformed into a home for the
nurses, and it served this purpose until replaced by a new building in
1909. It was named the Goddard Home for Nurses in honor of the Goddard
family--Miss Lucy Goddard, one of the incorporators of the Hospital and
first president of the board of directors; George A. Goddard, for many
years the devoted treasurer of the Hospital; and his mother, Mrs. M. Le
B. Goddard, one of the earlier directors.

Some years later (1906), a wing was added to the Sewall Maternity,
the Helen Morton Wing. This was named in honor of Dr. Helen Morton,
classmate of Dr. Sewall and Dr. Zakrzewska’s second student, assistant,
and staff colleague.

In the midst of the congratulations and rejoicings which followed the
opening to women of the Johns Hopkins Medical School, the distrust
which Dr. Zakrzewska had already voiced was, in 1893, given another
justification by the action of the Columbian University of Georgetown,
D. C. (now the George Washington University Medical School), which
decided to close the doors that it had opened to women.

For at least ten years the medical department had been graduating
women on equal terms with men. But there had always been three members
of the faculty who were bitterly opposed to allowing women to study
medicine on any terms. These three professors made the path of the
women students as rough and stony as possible; and the male students,
taking the cue from these professors, added discourtesies and affronts
to hostility.

Finally, in the dissecting room, some of these students so debased
themselves by offering insult, not only to the women medical students
but also to the helpless bodies of their fellow beings who had been
given to them for scientific study, that the faculty and trustees were
obliged to take official notice of the occurrence.

Now, mark the administration of justice. The male students committed
the offense which no one attempted to condone. Were the offenders
punished? No. Neither were the innocent victims of the offense, the
women medical students. But the whole sex of the innocent victims was
selected to make vicarious atonement. The verdict was that the women
then in the Medical School should be permitted to complete their
course, but after that no more women should be admitted to the school.

After this demonstration can any one doubt that the story of Adam and
Eve and the Garden of Eden has biologic foundation and, as the good
old books say, “is in the nature of man.” But we can rejoice that this
is a nature which man is steadily moving upward to modify and correct,
hence the increasing number of men who are willing to do justice to

It remains to add that the trustees were said to have been almost
unanimous in their opposition to the exclusion of women but to have
been overborne by the financial control exerted by the three professors

The indignation of a large portion of the lay community was aroused
by the injustice thus done to women, and an appeal for advice was
made to Dr. Zakrzewska, whose views on such a situation have already
been stated. Fortunately, the Johns Hopkins Medical School is not far
removed from Washington.

The era of the “emancipation” of woman as an all-inclusive phrase had
not yet passed, though it was approaching its eclipse by more specific
terms. Using it as an antithesis of “oppression,” Dr. Zakrzewska writes
in _The Open Court_, June 21, 1894, on “The Emancipation of Woman:
Will it be a Success?”

This article was in reply to one on “The Oppression of Woman,”
evidently written by a man who voiced his protest against the
subjection from which women have suffered for so many centuries, and
who claimed for women freedom to develop along their own lines. His
plea was apparently similar to Tennyson’s when the latter sings:

  ... “Leave her space to burgeon out of all
  Within her--let her make herself her own
  To give or keep, to live and learn and be
  All that not harms distinctive womanhood.
  For woman is not undevelopt man,
  But diverse.”

Perhaps, as is so often the case, an undercurrent of masculine
patronage had crept into the plea of the advocate. Or perhaps Dr.
Zakrzewska merely felt the weariness that comes to all normal grown-up
women when their normality and growth are commented upon as phenomena,
instead of being accepted as the thing to be expected. On a very
hot day, the chirr of even a friendly katydid may seem too obvious,
repeating (what should be) “an undisputed thing in such a solemn way.”
At any rate, she responds:

 I admit that the writer of this article is right, positively right,
 logically right, sentimentally right, to the end of these reasonings
 which are lucid and clearly stated.

 Then I ask, What is the value of this new point, this proving that the
 evolution of woman’s activity cannot be otherwise than feminine? If
 twice two make four, no exertion of either man or woman can make it
 five. Let us leave it as a positive fact, and not worry when we see
 any individual trying to prove that twice two make five.

 Why are all these mental somersaults and caprioles in men’s writings
 needed? Will their attempts at prophesying or illustrating the future
 effects arising from the activity of a yet unknown quantity alter or
 check the present phenomenal awakening of woman’s ambition?

 Allow me to elucidate my meaning by a true story of what happened in
 my native city, Berlin, about fifty years ago.

 In a courtyard lived a poor family. The father was a locksmith by
 trade. His eldest son, a boy of twelve, bright, industrious and smart,
 spent all his time either in the schoolroom or in his father’s shop.
 Not even on Sundays could this poor family enjoy rest but worked in
 the dreary shop. The boy was very fond of eating string beans which
 the mother could seldom afford to buy.

 He therefore decided to raise them in a box before his window. He used
 some old pieces of boards for the construction of his window-garden,
 and all the inmates of the front as well as of the rear houses became
 interested in his experiment, everybody feeling it to be his or her
 duty to express opinions on the subject.

 Thus it came to pass that the boy was told that the beans planted
 would rot because the boards were not porous enough to allow air to
 pass; that the soil in the box could not be regulated as regarded the
 daily moisture needed; that the rain could not be discharged after
 flooding the window garden; that the heat of the sun reflected from
 the window glass would burn the tender growths; that not more than two
 stalks of beans could be raised if the seed turned out to be dwarf
 beans, and if pole beans, he could not fasten them high enough; that
 no good growth could be expected if there were not a flow of air all
 around to favor the plant; that the already dark room (this being
 the only window) would be darkened too much by the growing plants
 and thus the three children who slept in it would not awaken in time
 for school, which commenced at seven o’clock; that the health of the
 children would be injured by the exhalation of the plants and the
 moisture of the earth in the box; that his mother should be warned not
 to allow such an experiment as it would be a moral injury to the boy
 when he found himself disappointed in the success of his plan, as the
 most valuable of emotions--hope--would thus be destroyed; that the
 father ought to realize that he would lose at least half an hour daily
 of the boy’s help in the shop; in fact, all the arguments and all the
 prophesying were that a complete failure would be the result and that
 the boy would be crushed under the weight of it.

 However, the boy prepared his box, took note of the many suggestions
 and obviated some of them, as by perforating his box with small holes,
 by opening the windows when the sun shone from ten in the morning to
 three in the afternoon, etc.

 The twelve beans which he had planted grew and proved to be pole
 beans, so he tied strings for them to climb up on as high as the
 tenant above his room allowed him to do. He watered and nursed his
 plantation with care and love, and lo and behold, the beans flourished
 and blossomed and bore fruit relatively plentifully.

 During this time of growth, an old and wise tenant of the front house,
 also a professor, joined the group who for eight weeks had watched
 and discussed in the yard this willful boy’s experiment. This critic
 remarked that he observed a new phase of which nobody had thus far
 taken notice and which might have both good and bad effects, namely,
 that a hailstorm might yet come and destroy this garden, although
 there might also be a good result as the plants would protect the
 window panes if the storm should occur when the windows were closed.

 All admitted that this was true, and all admired the wisdom of the
 Herr Professor, and went to their respective abodes a little mortified
 that they had not thought before of this neglected point of the

 The boy had the satisfaction of gathering a mess of well-grown beans,
 sufficient for a hearty meal for the whole family. But while eating
 his favorite dish, he said, “Well, mother, I did succeed; but to tell
 the truth, the beans don’t taste so good as those which grow in the
 fields. So next year, I will not try again but I shall sow nasturtium
 seeds for you to enjoy.”

 He did so, and his window was a perfect delight and source of cheer
 to him, to his mother, and to the tenants of the little court. He
 continued to do this until he had to enter the army, at eighteen years
 of age. His younger brothers (he had no sisters) followed in his
 footsteps, and when I left Berlin my last look was at the nasturtium

 Let me ask, did it matter much which the boy raised, beans or
 nasturtiums? What use was it to him, or to his family, or to the
 tenants when the latter all joined in the chorus, “I thought so” or “I
 told him he could not raise beans”? Let each one try nature’s forces
 and take his chance! And twice two will always remain four.


 _Dr. Zakrzewska’s own description of her attitude as a critic--Her
 judgments on various details of Hospital policy: Against the admission
 to the Hospital of women students of the Boston University Medical
 School (that being then a school of homeopathy); On the reciprocal
 relation of the medical staff and the board of directors of the
 Hospital; On a question of Hospital discipline; Letter to an ambitious
 colleague whose feelings have been hurt._

Matters of Hospital policy were continually being referred to her for
decision. Before noting details, it will be illuminating to read what
she says as to her mental attitude when making criticisms:

 If I praise, it is hardly ever the person or the relation in
 which this person stands to me of which I think--it is simply the
 praiseworthy thing or deed which I eulogize.

 These very same persons may do or say something which, according to my
 comprehension, is not praiseworthy but the contrary, and I criticize
 and blame just as strongly as I praised before when many did not see
 the praiseworthiness until I drew attention to it.

 For the praise, I receive thanks, for human nature likes far better to
 hear agreeable things than disagreeable ones.

 For the blame, where I pointed out the fault, I receive double
 reproach, for human nature likes to defend, it is vexed because
 its attention has been drawn to the fact of imperfection and its
 displeasure tends to fall upon the person who points out this

 I am fully aware that gratitude and warm friendships are easily
 gained by speaking well of everything and everybody. Hence it is that
 secondary, yes, even very mediocre, talents receive a certain amount
 of fame and appreciation by the multitude.

 But to a true nature such kind of appreciation is humbling; and
 that, too, in just such a degree as to him or her, praise or blame,
 appreciation or censure, are equally sacred. One who is satisfied with
 the recognition of the few can calmly wait till the multitude find out
 for themselves how much of the seed sown among them will grow.

 Therefore, when I mention names to you, pray do not believe I speak
 of them because they are either friends or foes to me, or that I wish
 either to please or to hurt. Both are far from me--I do not care to
 please, nor do I want to hurt, anybody.

In answer to a proposal in earlier years to admit to the New England
Hospital the women students of the Medical Department of the Boston
University (then a school of homeopathy), she decided in the negative.
In this connection, she says:

 It is my opinion that if we do not intend to lower our aims or to
 descend from the position which we have taken and which we should
 uphold, we cannot form any connection, through the admission of its
 students to our Hospital, with a school which holds itself strictly
 sectarian and which claims a one-sided knowledge--a faith in medicine
 which has no warrant, and an advancement in science which neither
 here in America nor abroad is approved by natural scientists, by
 chemists, or by microscopists. And which in reality possesses no sound
 foundation other than that which exists in all new ideas, namely,
 that of experiment. But this experiment is just as permissible to the
 regular practitioner who is educated on the broadest terms and who has
 a perfect right to administer any remedy for the restoration of health.

 In stating this opinion, to which I have given thoughtful
 consideration, I regret personally that I thus exclude women of a
 school with which I agree as to the great principle of equality in
 education of the sexes.

At one time, there seemed to be in the minds of some of the later
members a question as to the reciprocal relation of the medical staff
and the board of directors. On this occasion, she writes:

 Our Hospital is utterly different from all hospitals carried on by the
 City or the State or by private individuals and endowments.

 In these latter there exists either a need to provide for the
 helpless who are dependent on the Commonwealth, or benevolent persons
 wish to provide a charity and so they establish hospitals. In both
 conditions, the staff of physicians is employed by those who manage
 the institutions and, consequently, either money or thanks are due to
 such physicians as serve.

 With us, it is entirely different. None of our original directors
 wanted a hospital; none of them was inspired by charity or had the
 means to provide such charity. I, the representative of an idea in its
 earliest evolution--I sought those Directors that they might serve
 the purpose of carrying out that idea.

 They served then and in the future the women physicians connected with
 the Hospital. They never dictated as to the number of physicians or
 internes; they never proposed to enlarge the work; this has always
 been done by the professional staff. _We_ thank _them_ for
 their generous aid, but they cannot thank us for doing much or little.

 Of course, the Directors are the corporate body, and they represent
 us legally before the public; but they carry out our ideas, not we
 theirs. They simply stand ready to support the principle of giving to
 women physicians full opportunity to manifest their skill and judgment.

In this connection it is interesting to refer to a letter regarding
another matter, which Mrs. Cheney wrote to Dr. Zakrzewska in 1888. Mrs.
Cheney says:

 I hope you will not think me ungrateful for your inestimable frank
 criticism, which has been one of the greatest helps in my life even
 if I cannot adopt all your suggestions, as I must speak my own
 language--but I am most thankful for the matter you have supplied.

 I never know what to say about my relation to the Hospital work. It is
 not to me what it is to you.... I accepted it as blessed work ... and
 have thanked you all my life for bringing it to me, but it has never
 been mine as it is yours.

Other aspects of her mind appear in connection with special
experiences, as when she writes to one of the other doctors regarding
a question of hospital discipline:


 I enclose the letter you handed to me and one from Dr. ----. Allow
 me to tell you how I have managed such letters. I have had precisely
 three similar experiences. Dr. ----’s patients left in the same way as
 Mrs. ----, and to this day their relatives are not satisfied that the
 patients were treated rightly. Still, they are good friends with me in
 spite of my having acted as I did. This was what I did.

 When I received the first letter, I said to myself:

 1. There are always two sides to every story.

 2. I cannot act at all if I keep this letter secret, as I am requested
 to do.

 3. If there is an accusation, I must have the excuse unless I want to
 ignore the whole concern and burn the letter.

 4. I will not talk, so as not to run the risk of losing my temper.

 Therefore, I sat down, wrote a note to the doctor and enclosed the
 letter of accusation, but requested her not to let either the patient
 or the student know about it but to tell me what she thought was best
 to be done.

 Now this action seemed right to me, because

 1. I investigated the other side.

 2. I tried to put things to rights.

 3. I gave a chance for explanations.

 4. I could not become impatient, because both parties are always more
 careful when things are put on paper.

 After I received the doctor’s reply, I took the letters, the patient
 and the doctor into a private room, and informed them why and how
 I had acted in the affair. Then I read both letters, and this was
 followed by an apology on both sides and the matter was ended.

 Then, although the patient left the Hospital, she could not say that
 the doctor was not courteously treated by me. Nor could she say that
 justice was not done to her.

 After this, the doctor and I together had an interview with the
 student, and we said as little or as much as was necessary to make her
 more careful, and that was ended.

 As it happened, Dr. ----’s patient was one of more education and she
 saw that she was in the wrong, so she apologized and remained until
 the doctor discharged her.

 I don’t think that either you or I are the last authority on such
 questions. They should be settled with all concerned in harmony and
 even with polite treatment of the culprit, should there be one.

 If you lose your temper with a coworker, it lowers you in the eyes of
 patients or of others a great deal more than it hurts her. Everybody
 feels with or for the punished one, and nobody with the one who
 punishes or condemns.

 I find that in going through the wards now, all the patients feel
 attached to the doctor and are full of her praise, and they hope she
 will have a good time and come back to her arduous duties with her
 usual strength, fine spirits and cheerfulness.

 As soon as Dr. ---- comes home, we shall work out rules for the
 physicians so that these will be ready for our next meeting. And if
 they are then properly discussed, I think it might be a good plan
 to have them printed in our report so that patients may learn their
 extent and on whom they depend.

Again, one of the doctors was evidently suffering from a wounded
_amour propre_, feeling that she had not been treated with
sufficient consideration. She had apparently expressed her grievance
to Dr. Zakrzewska, and then being dissatisfied with the result of her
interview, had tried to express herself more definitely in a letter.
Dr. Zakrzewska replies:

  MY DEAR DR. ----:

 I will answer the last paragraph of your letter first, because this
 is the straw which shows how the wind blows, and it also confirms my
 impression concerning the cause of your manner. I have nothing to
 forgive in your manner because, personally, you have never offended
 me. I therefore have nothing to forget either.

 But forgetting that we are colleagues and professional women
 interested in the same work and in the same great cause where harmony
 is so desirable, you seem to think, or rather you assert, that I
 should remember your years and your condition of health, which is to
 account for your speaking without thinking....

 Now about your age, I never have thought of you as young even when
 you were young. At the time we met, I recognized in the instant the
 genuine talent and fervor of purpose of which you were possessed, and
 I accepted you not as an inferior but as an equal.

 Do you think that I could now make an attempt to throw the mature
 woman from a past and from a place in my estimation which I let her
 occupy when she was really a young girl of no experience? Would not
 this be silly and mean? Do you admit that I am either, or both?

 I always saw your weaknesses and faults as clearly as I see them now,
 and I often spoke plainly of them to you, but I never, never thought
 of putting you lower on account of them, because weaknesses we all
 have, and I am glad to bear and forbear with these in people who have
 something of worth to counterbalance, or else to place these faults
 entirely in the background.

 You say you wish to preserve an opinion of your own on all Hospital
 matters. Who has ever wished more than I have that you would do this?
 How often have I said to you when you wished to make changes and have
 told me that you put these on me and my orders, that my shoulders were
 broad enough to carry all, but that I thought you should do things
 on your own authority as this seemed simply right. How often have I
 referred to you as being a more efficient authority on those points
 regarding which I thought you were.

 And even when you did not agree with my propositions, when did you
 ever hear that I complained? On the contrary, have I not the more
 readily yielded and tried to investigate honestly which way would be
 best? “Do as you please,” “suit yourself,” “work in your own way”--are
 not these standing phrases which I have used to every physician?

 I am ready to give up the Hospital work at any moment that you all
 think you can do without me. I have no ambition to _work_ in
 it; I had only the ambition to help women into the position where
 _they_ could work. And this I have accomplished.

 In New York I did well, and I am remembered in an honorable and
 friendly way. And here in Boston I have certainly done my best. And
 if there are now a hundred women who differ from me and a thousand
 who know better than I do, I have nothing to say against it. On
 the contrary, I am glad and happy about it because this is just the
 condition which I strove for. My teachings have always been--you must
 all do better, far better, than I have done, because you have far
 better opportunities than I had. I helped to make those opportunities
 and shame upon you if you do not come out better than your present

 No, no, my dear Doctor, it is not at all anything of this that is in
 your manner. In some way you have got it into your head and heart that
 you must play the first fiddle, or still better, be the conductor and
 show your importance in every way, small and big. You want the incense
 of having everybody look up to you as the most important person in the
 concern; you like to patronize, and so on.

 And I, to tell the truth, am very willing that you should have all
 this pleasure because I do not care at all for these things. To me,
 the answer to one of the great questions of the time is to assist
 women into their right position whether or not they know me or my name
 (which, luckily, is so hard that they won’t even take the trouble to
 learn it).

 Now, this will be the last time that I shall write on this subject.
 There is no use in trying to make artificially a harmony which does
 not any more come spontaneously. I am very willing, yes, even too
 willing, to allow myself to be overruled, because I do not care at all
 for the particular minutæ.

 You know that I carried on the Hospital quite differently from Dr.
 ---- or Dr. ----, yes, even from what you did, but I never tried,
 nor wanted to try, to interfere, because it is far better that each
 individual should do her work in her individual way. Otherwise, it
 must fail to be done well. Imitations are always inferior to the
 genuine article. But agreeing to a thing is not always liking it.

 As for my having wounded your feelings, this is possible--but I
 daresay it was only in hospital matters when forced out by your
 hostile manner. I hope I never was rude in my social relations, and if
 I have been let me assure you that if you will tell me when and where
 I was so, I will certainly beg your pardon.


 _Dr. Zakrzewska’s private life--Her home--Her friends--Her keeping
 in touch with the Hospital doctors, students and internes--Her
 “boys”--Her ethics--Her reading--Men physicians who served as
 consultants at the New England Hospital._

Concurrently with the public manifestations of Dr. Zakrzewska’s life,
as recorded in the preceding pages, proceeded her more intimate life
of home, family and friends. Allusions to these happy possessions have
been made from time to time, but a particular word should be given to
one feature which she brought with her from the old world to the new--a
feature which enriches life over there, and which would add so much to
our American life could we adopt it as generally and as simply.

Reference is here made to the custom of European people of all grades
of circumstance in incorporating the outdoors into the daily life of
the household, especially for the hour or moment of social relaxation.

Poor indeed the family that has not at least a tiny arbor, or shelter,
or shaded spot, where the glass of sirup or other beverage of the
country, or the cup of coffee or tea, or the incense of the friendly
pipe or the more exclusive cigar, draws the curtain upon the workaday
world and releases the spirit for a few moments’ dream of content.

“Rock Garden” was the name of her most blessed retreat--a large garden
with terraces and with the rocks for which Roxbury is famous. There
were trees and shrubs, fruits and flowers, tables and seats, and the
air was filled with memories of happy hours, hospitable days and
friendly meetings. And many groups of Hospital directors, doctors and
internes, as well as other friends, gathered there at various times,
carefree and festive.

“Rock Garden has always been the Garden of Paradise,” comes a voice
borne upon the breeze, “but wherever you are or wherever you make your
home, that place will soon be ideal to your friends.”

Dr. Buckel writes from the gardens of California, her thoughts turned
back to Rock Garden:

 Oh, what has it not been! You know what it has been to you, but you do
 not know how dear it is to other hearts. I almost feel as if it ought
 to be set apart as a place sacred to friendship and to all the sweet
 memories associated with it.

 ... Christmas at Rock Garden always comes to me as a beautiful memory
 of generous hearts and joyous greetings. How plainly I can see
 you holding up the packages and reading off the names in your own
 inimitable manner, while the big stocking stands yearning to give up
 its treasures.

And again:

 ... I always think of Rock Garden and the Christmas tree there and how
 much I enjoyed it, and how dear are the memories. All the Heinzens,
 Miss Sprague, Dr. Morton, the Prangs, Dr. Berlin, the Drs. Pope, and
 others, are all fresh in my mind, and I send them kind greetings,
 with love to Santa and your own dear self.

William Lloyd Garrison at one time described this home which Dr.
Zakrzewska had there created for herself and for the friends and
patients who were her paying guests. He said:

 Dr. Zakrzewska was already settled in her attractive home in Cedar
 Street, Roxbury, when, in 1864, my father moved to Highland Street
 near by, and the two families became intimate. Although unmarried, the
 Doctor rarely failed to have a house full of friends and relatives,
 making of her home a social center for her German and American

 She was a woman of decided opinions and the frankest speech, a
 circumstance which gave zest and animation to any group in which she
 mingled. She held firmly to the conviction that personal consciousness
 ends with death; that so-called spiritual communications are a
 delusion, that prohibition laws infringe upon individual rights; that
 homeopathy has no claim to science; and that armed resistance to
 tyrants is justifiable.

 My father held diametrically opposite views, but as both were
 believers in the utmost freedom of speech, the social clash of arms
 never engendered a moment’s ill feeling. They were closely united upon
 the questions of anti-slavery and woman’s rights, and they were drawn
 by a common impulse to progressive and philanthropic movements.

 Karl Heinzen, who with his wife and son made a part of the Doctor’s
 household, was a striking and remarkable figure. He was a man of
 massive intellect, possessing a high reputation in Germany as a writer
 of both prose and verse. His intense love of liberty and hatred
 of shams had made him an exile in America in the tumultuous years
 preceding the Civil War. He was of noble stature and frame, a spacious
 temple for a great soul, his rugged face betraying his indomitable and
 fearless character. Boston never realized the value or distinction of
 this moral hero, for the reason that the English language was more
 formidable to him than despots and monarchies. But in Dr. Zakrzewska
 he had a friend who appreciated his noble talents and virtues.

 ... I have dwelt upon this conjunction of the Doctor with Karl Heinzen
 because his influence upon her life was deep and abiding. To see him
 working about the ample grounds, trimming the grapevines and attending
 to the fruit trees--his recreation and pleasure--and, when the weather
 permitted, to behold the afternoon table-gathering under the leafy
 shade at the back of the grounds which rose above the house, was to
 receive the impression of a bit of the Fatherland--a German grafting
 on a Yankee hillside. The glimpse was often through or over the board
 fence which separated my own house on the hilltop when, in 1868, I
 became the Doctor’s closely adjacent neighbor. What animated talk
 enlivened the coffee, and how many friends enjoyed first and last the
 retirement and refreshment!

 In the early days, sweet Mrs. Severance and her interesting family
 lived also on Cedar Street; the Prangs were near at hand on Center
 Street; the Koehlers and the Elsons were in the vicinity. The
 beautiful suburb of Roxbury was then full of natural charm, an object
 of interest to strangers visiting Boston and at that date untouched
 and unspoiled.

 I remember a traveled friend pointing down Cedar Street towards the
 Doctor’s house and asking, “Have you ever been to Versailles?” adding,
 “The arches of these glorious elms are a reminder of it.”

For many years Dr. Zakrzewska had a summer cottage at York Harbor but
it is of her busy city homes that her friends wrote most often.

One of the former internes writes to her in later days:

 The year spent by me in the Hospital will always be remembered with
 great pleasure, particularly that part of it when I was quarantined
 at the Maternity and you used to ask me down to dinner at your house
 nearly every evening.

She kept in touch with all the doctors and students who had been at
any time connected with the Hospital, if writing only at notable times
such as the big anniversaries or when some special report or Fair
souvenir was published. She always inquired how they were getting on,
and whether they received the annual reports of the Hospital which were
always sent to their latest address. And so she was kept informed of
their changing circumstances, their successes or discouragements, their
marriages, their husbands, their children, and their problems of many

In beginning practice they had the varied fortunes which might be
expected from differing individualities, equipment, resources and
environment. Some found doors already opened to welcome them; some had
to make places for themselves. One of the latter group writes to her:

 I am now doing very satisfactorily but I often think how prophetic
 you were when you used to warn us, saying, “Five years of waiting and
 starvation are before every one of you.”

Their addresses were scattered all over the world--over the United
States from Maine south to Florida and west to California; on the north
to Canada; and east and west to England, Scotland, France, Germany,
Switzerland, Italy, India,[23] Persia, Japan, China.

In keeping with the breadth of view which characterized her and her
director associates, no discrimination has ever been made at the New
England Hospital regarding sects, races or nationalities in students,
doctors, nurses or patients.

As we have already seen, Dr. Zakrzewska had always a large circle of
friends among the famous and high-minded men of her time, and her
influence with the men in the families of her patients has also been

It remains to add a word as to the number who were proud to call
themselves her “boys.” A specimen letter from one of these latter,
signed by a name well known in Boston, says:


 As no person in the world outside of my own immediate family is dearer
 to me than yourself, I want you to be one of the first to know of my
 engagement to ---- ----, and I am sure you will approve of my choice.

 Trusting that we may meet before long, I am as ever one of your boys.

She had no theologic affiliations. Her clear vision and her keen
reasoning powers were unsatisfied with any form of dogma, creed or
ritual yet elaborated. And she found these latter unnecessary to
the development of a rule of life which reconciled the untrammeled
intellect and the highest ethics yet evolved by an upward-struggling

She was able to organize instinct, training, reason, observation,
experience and personal association, and to add to these the communion
with the great minds of the race which is to be derived from
reading--each continually checking up and correcting all the others. So
she developed a mind which she kept in a wholesome state of flux, ready
to modify any conclusion as new light rose above the horizon.

She held her course and steered her life as a skilled navigator holds
his course, who while he steers by compass and chart yet makes myriad
adjustments as required by continually varying conditions of wind and
wave and sky.

And pursuers of high ideals in ethics and philosophy were always on
her list of friends. This list always included clergymen, and in this
connection we may note the observations at a later date of Rev. Charles
G. Ames. He says:

 Dr. Zakrzewska in speaking of the class of unfortunate women with
 whom she was often brought in contact in her medical work, once said
 to me, “I cannot give them money but I always give them my friendship
 in order to keep them morally alive.” It made me think of Fichte’s
 words, “No honest mind is without communication with God, whether so
 called or not.” After hearing that remark of the Doctor’s, I never had
 any difficulty in giving her my fellowship on the deepest spiritual

Reverend James Freeman Clarke[24] was one of her earliest friends in
Boston, their acquaintance beginning back in the days when she came
soliciting help for opening the New York Infirmary.

In her address at the opening of the Sewall Maternity new building, in
1892, Dr. Zakrzewska alludes to this episode, saying:

 Let me express the gratitude we owe for our existence to a man whose
 influence secured to us the noble friends who in the spirit of justice
 to women gave invaluable assistance with their labors and their
 financial help--I mean, Reverend James Freeman Clarke.

 I feel justified in saying that it was among the members of his church
 that the idea was materialized and that funds for the beginning of the
 experiment were provided.

We have referred above to Dr. Zakrzewska’s wide reading. One of the
friends of her Cleveland days, Rev. A. D. Mayo, says:

 By an intuitive grasp of what was best for herself in books, she
 realized the saying of the historian, George Bancroft, “I should as
 soon think of eating all the apples on the big tree in my garden as
 to read the whole of any good book. I pluck and eat the best apple
 and leave the rest.” She always knew the best apple on every tree of
 knowledge, and her mind was stored with the condensed wisdom of many

And he tells of the renewal in Boston of his friendship with her, some
twenty years after its beginning in Cleveland:

 Having made Boston my family headquarters, we were brought together in
 her generously appointed home in Union Park, almost under the eaves of
 the great church of Dr. Edward Everett Hale. I then verified anew the
 old truth that a genuine friendship grows even during absence.

Writing at this same date about Dr. Zakrzewska’s personality, Dr.
Buckel says:

 I cannot measure how much I owe to her skillful, energetic, practical
 instruction as a physician when I was a student in the New York
 Infirmary; neither can I measure the strength, courage and hope which
 her bright example has given me throughout my life.

 I think, however, that her genuine respect for even the very poorest
 of the poor immigrants who crowded the most wretched quarters of
 New York made the deepest and most lasting impression. Others
 showed sympathy and pity, but she entered into their lives with an
 appreciation of their difficulties and a coöperation in their honest
 efforts that stimulated their courage and gave them strength to work
 on until success finally rewarded them.

 She considered the husband, father, son, and brother equally worthy of
 regard with the women of the family in all her plans for improvement.
 Although devoted to women’s best interests, she never worked for
 women alone. Her influence over the men in these poor families was
 most remarkable, considering their supposed opinions as to the proper
 sphere of woman.

 Not a few educated, intelligent men owe their first start in the world
 to her suggestive counsel. The spirit of comradeship she felt with
 high-minded, intellectual men greatly strengthened my own convictions
 as to the true relations of men and women to each other and helped me
 to enjoy more freely the friendship of men whom I honored and admired.

 In her social life, gentlemen were always most cordially welcomed,
 and they seemed sincerely to appreciate her kindness and highly value
 her esteem. The picnics and excursions she planned to the suburbs
 and parks of New York, which were then easily accessible, are among
 the most delightful memories of my life. Grave professors, exiled
 philosophers and learned doctors ran with us in our merry games and
 forgot for the moment all but the gladsome spirit of the play.

 During my long association with Dr. Zakrzewska in hospital life,
 both in Boston and in New York, I do not remember a single
 misunderstanding. I always had her cordial support in the hospital
 and a bright, warm welcome in her home. And I knew that any of our
 students whom I might take to her house would also receive a cordial
 welcome and realize that she was their friend.

For so many years after its beginning the New England Hospital was so
largely regarded as a personal expression of Dr. Zakrzewska, and its
place in the estimation of the profession was so largely based upon
appreciation of the standards of which she stood as a representative,
that the acceptance by a man physician of a position on the consulting
staff was really a personal tribute to her.

For this reason it seems desirable to publish here the names of all
the men who during her life served the Hospital in a consulting
capacity--whether as physician, surgeon or other specialist--the names
being placed in chronological order.[25]


 _Opening of the new Dispensary building (the Pope Dispensary)--Dr.
 Zakrzewska speaks of the relation of the Dispensary to confidence
 in women surgeons--The new surgical building (the Ednah D. Cheney
 Surgical Building)--Dr. Zakrzewska’s remarks on the progress of
 the woman physician as demonstrated by these added new buildings
 (made more complete later by the Kimball Cottage for the Children’s
 Department)--Celebration of her seventieth birthday by a reception
 and by the naming of the original main building “The Zakrzewska
 Building”--Fatigue of this reception emphasized the failing health
 which had already caused her retirement from private practice--Her
 characteristic acceptance of the inevitable--Her death--Her funeral
 services--Her farewell message. (1896-1902.)_

[Illustration: MARIE E. ZAKRZEWSKA, M.D. (1896)]

In 1896, Dr. Zakrzewska again refers to the confidence of the community
in women surgeons, illustrating it by an experience which she relates
in her address at the opening of the new Dispensary building (Pope
Dispensary--donated by Colonel Albert A. Pope and named for the donor
and his twin sisters, Drs. Augusta and Emily Pope) which was located on
the site of the old one at No. 29 Fayette Street. She says:

 Our Dispensary in especial serves another purpose, namely, to
 convince rich and poor, educated and uneducated, professionals and
 nonprofessionals that women physicians can serve the community at
 large as well as can men physicians.

 Said an Irishman to me a few weeks ago, when I pronounced it necessary
 for a member of his family to undergo a serious operation and advised
 further consultation with other physicians, “Can’t we have one of the
 women surgeons from your Hospital?”

 Seeing my surprise at this proposition, as the man was by no means an
 educated person, he said, “Well, Doctor, when I came to this country
 with my wife, we were very poor and knew nothing. The good women of
 the Pleasant Street Dispensary attended to us and taught us to take
 care of ourselves. All our children were born under their care, and
 they watched that we did right by them, all without any charge. Now
 that we can afford good pay, I am sure we want the same, for I swear
 by the women doctors.” This speech, delivered in good broad Irish
 brogue, made me laugh most heartily. I soon had the case in the hands
 of the proper attendant, and all went well.

 So, friends, let us be proud of all we have done, with the promise to
 do more and better work as science advances.

In June, 1899, on Mrs. Cheney’s seventy-fifth birthday, the cornerstone
of the new surgical building (the Ednah D. Cheney Surgical Building)
was laid. In an address made at that time, Dr. Zakrzewska says:

 After fifty years of experimental agitation and practical work, we
 now are completing the third department of the medical art in laying
 the cornerstone for this building. The medical pavilion,[26] the
 maternity, and now the surgical pavilion are the proofs in brick and
 mortar of woman’s independent and faithful performances in the medical

 The confidence of the public which generously provided the means for
 this cause, the confidence of the sick who sought relief at the hands
 of the women physicians, and the attitude of the profession in general
 towards the woman practitioner--all these have been acquired through
 skillful and patient labor.

 It would be affectation if we women physicians did not feel proud
 of the result which we now see materialized, grateful as we are to
 all those who in earlier years bore with us not only the doubt and
 opposition but also the ridicule of our attempts. While we remember
 those who have done their part so valiantly, we do not forget those
 who have passed away without having had the satisfaction which we now
 enjoy in the success of our early effort.

On September 6, 1899, she celebrated her seventieth birthday, and on
October 24, as stated in the annual report:

 The Hospital tried to do honor to the one who, more than all others,
 deserves to be honored--its senior physician, Dr. Zakrzewska. In her
 thought, the New England Hospital was born. Because of her zeal and
 untiring energy and the aid of a few earnest friends, it became a
 fact. And from that day to the present one, as wise woman, skillful
 physician, and faithful friend, she has been an inspiration to all.

 A reception was tendered her by the Hospital at the home of Mrs.
 Thomas Mack and there, with Mrs. Cheney to assist, she greeted her
 many friends, old and new.

 That the Hospital shall always bear an evident sign of its originator,
 it has been decided to name the main building which was the first one
 built, “The Zakrzewska Building,” and to have it suitably marked by a

The exhausting excitement of this celebration aggravated the nerve
fatigue which had been hanging out warning signals for many years,
and to which attention has been called in these pages. At last these
admonitions had become peremptory, and at last the high-spirited
physician was obliged to confess herself subject to the laws regarding
which she had so often cautioned her patients.

A study of her symptoms would in these days lead to a diagnosis of
arteriosclerosis, that sad, sure reaction that waits inevitably upon
the over-strenuous life, whether this follows the spur of the inward
urge or the whip of circumstance. In the earlier days of medical
practice, when symptoms of this condition were most in evidence through
cerebral manifestations, the diagnosis of an obscure and fatal nervous
disease was made, and so it was in this case.

The keen-sighted patient realized that her ailment was progressive,
that it might be palliated though not cured, and that the imperative
treatment lay in a simplified mode of life with avoidance of care,
anxiety and excitement.

So she retired from the last detail of private practice, put her
affairs in order, even arranging her funeral service, and then she
cheerfully turned her mind to bearing her discomforts philosophically
and to making the best of the time which remained.

When the realization of the finality of her situation came to her,
she was undoubtedly shaken (when the final summons comes, every
normal-minded human being quivers, even if it be only for the moment),
but she was not dismayed. Subconsciously her physical condition must
have aroused compensatory instincts, as it does with all of us, for at
one time she wrote:

 Death is to me a good friend. Whenever it comes, it is welcome. So
 many of my contemporaries have gone and are going into Nirvana, the
 world becomes young daily and new to me, into which newness I can
 hardly find myself. So that, when I say, “I have enough,” I say the

But additional acceptance of her position was favored by the serenity
which comes to a mind which had long recognized the inevitable
limitations which time would some time bring, for she writes:

 For some years I have been saving money for old age, and in fact, I
 have done what I have so often encouraged other women to do--become
 independent of friends and charity. I have arranged to be independent
 until eighty years--to which age I sincerely hope not to live.

She seldom spoke of herself or of her feelings, but at one time she

 If it were not for my poor head, I would say I was in better health
 than for years. But, alas! the nervous centers refuse to recuperate
 and the least excitement renders me sleepless, and a host of regrets,
 reproaches and condemnations rise up like demons to torment me.

Then, in one of the characteristic remissions of the condition, she
writes, with one of her customary glints of humor:

 I intend to live another seventy years because life seems so well
 worth living.

Once she wrote more in detail to Mrs. Cheney, because, as she said:

 ... It seems to me right that my dearest and oldest friend should
 understand me and not misjudge my actions.... Years ago some confusion
 of mind warned me of trouble to come, and it finally set in in the
 form of noises in my head. I scolded myself for being so nervous in my
 behavior while being irritated by these sounds, and I went gladly to
 California, hoping to get benefit by diversion.

 However, the two distinct noises on the top of my head kept increasing
 so that even the noise of the cars did not drown them. Still I forced
 myself to act cheerfully and was determined not to be hopeless. Little
 by little, however, indifference toward events, then toward people,
 and now toward the beauty of nature, has crept upon me.

 I have spoken to Dr. Berlin about this noise and described it as a
 steady sound of falling rain which prevented my falling asleep, to
 which she replied, “Well, we do fall asleep even if it rains hard,
 and so will you.” I do not care to talk with other physicians, as I
 have made a study of brain trouble more than anything else and can
 therefore advise myself. Besides, talking about it increases the
 nervous irritation. So please take this as it is written, in cool
 reason--it is an inevitable condition which must be braved.

Less than three years were left to test her fortitude. She grew
steadily weaker and on May 12, 1902, her release came. After a night of
restlessness and intense discomfort she fell asleep, never waking again
but passing at sunset into the Silence.

On a beautiful afternoon, the closing scene was laid in the chapel of
the Forest Hills Crematory, and the details were as she had arranged.
She had requested that no flowers should be used--she who so loved
Nature and all the lovely growing things--and in this her friends
respected her wishes. But they could not be denied the tribute of green
palms and wreaths of laurel.

There was no music, no service in the ordinary terms. Her older
friend--William Lloyd Garrison--having gone before, his son of the same
name and her younger friend, made a short introductory address. And
then Mrs. Emma E. Butler, secretary of the board of directors of the
Hospital, read the farewell letter which Dr. Zakrzewska had written for
the occasion:

 During my whole lifetime, I have had my own way as much as any
 human being can have it without entirely neglecting social rules or
 trespassing upon the comfort of others more than is necessary for

 And now, upon this occasion, I wish to have my own way in taking leave
 of those who shall come for the last time to pay such respect as
 custom, inclination and friendship shall prompt, asking them to accept
 the assurance that I am sorry to pass from them, this time never to

 While these words are being read to you, I shall be sleeping a
 peaceful, well-deserved sleep--a sleep from which I shall never arise.
 My body will go back to that earthly rest whence it came. My soul will
 live among you, even among those who will come after you.

 I am not speaking of fame, nor do I think that my name, difficult
 though it be, will be remembered. Yet the idea for which I have
 worked, the seeds which I have tried to sow here and there, must live
 and spread and bear fruit. And after all, what matters it who prepared
 the way wherein we walk? We only know that great and good men and
 women have always lived and worked for an idea which favored progress.
 And so I have honestly tried to live out my nature--not actuated by an
 ambition to be somebody or to be remembered especially, but because I
 could not help it.

 The pressure which in head and heart compelled me to see and to think
 ahead, compelled me to love to work for the benefit of womankind in
 general, irrespective of country or of race. By this, I do not wish
 to assert that I thought of all women before I thought of myself. Oh,
 no! It was just as much in me to provide liberally for my tastes, for
 my wishes, for my needs. I had about as many egotistical wants to be
 supplied as has the average of womankind.

 To look out for self and for those necessary to my happiness, I always
 considered not only a pleasure but a duty. I despised the weakness of
 characters who could not say “No” at any time, and thus gave away
 and sacrificed all their strength of body and mind, as well as their
 money, with that soft sentimentality which finds assurance in the
 belief that others will take care of them as they have taken care of

 But, in taking leave, I cannot pass by those who, in every possible
 way in which human beings can assist one another, have assisted me by
 giving me their true friendship. Of my earliest career in America, Dr.
 Elizabeth Blackwell has been the most powerful agent in strengthening
 what was weak in me; while shortly afterward, my acquaintance with
 Miss Mary L. Booth fed the enthusiasm kindled by Dr. Blackwell and
 strengthened me in my uphill path. The friendship of these two women
 formed the corner stone upon which I have built all my life long.

 To many valuable friends in New York I owe a deep gratitude, and
 especially to Mrs. Robert G. Shaw of Staten Island. In Boston, I
 leave a great number of friends, without whom I never could have
 accomplished anything and who have developed my character as well as
 faculties dormant within me of which I was unaware. It is the contact
 with people of worth which develops and polishes us and illuminates
 our every thought and action.

 To me the most valuable of these early friends were Miss Lucy Goddard,
 Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney, Mrs. George W. Bond, Mrs. James Freeman Clarke,
 Mrs. George R. Russell, Dr. Lucy E. Sewall and Dr. Helen Morton--not
 that I give to them a place higher than to others, but because I am
 fully conscious how deeply they affected my innermost life and how
 each one made its deep imprint upon my character.

 I feel that whatever work may be ascribed to my hand could not have
 been done without them. Although I could not number them in the list
 of other friends who, in a special sense, formed a greater part of my
 life’s affections, still I owe to each and every one a great debt. And
 I wish now, whether they be still alive or in simple tribute to their
 memory, to tell them of my appreciation of their kindness.

 To those who formed the closer family circle in my affections--Mr.
 Karl Heinzen, Miss Julia A. Sprague, and my sisters--I have tried to
 show my gratitude during the whole of my life, on the principle of
 Freiligrath’s beautiful poem:

  O Lieb, so lang du lieben kannst;
  O Lieb, so lang du lieben magst;
  Die Stunde kommt, die Stunde kommt,
  Wo du an Grabern stehst und klagst.

 And now, in closing, I wish to say farewell to all those who thought
 of me as a friend, to all those who were kind to me, assuring them
 all that the deep conviction that there can be no further life is an
 immense rest and peace to me. I desire no hereafter. I was born; I
 lived; I used my life to the best of my ability for the uplifting of
 my fellow creatures; and I enjoyed it daily in a thousand ways. I had
 many a pang, many a joy, every day of my life; and I am satisfied now
 to fall a victim to the laws of nature, never to rise again, never to
 see and know again what I have seen and known in my life.

 As deeply sorry as I always have been when a friend left me, just so
 deeply sorry shall I be to leave those whom I loved. Yet I know that
 I must submit to the inevitable, and submit I do--as cheerfully as a
 fatal illness will allow. I have already gone in spirit, and now I am
 going in body. All that I leave behind is my memory in the hearts of
 the few who always remember those whom they have loved. Farewell.

       *       *       *       *       *

Perhaps she is right. Perhaps in the ordinary egoistic sense in
which the word is used, there is no such thing as Immortality.
Nevertheless--_the spirit of Marie E. Zakrzewska still lives_.


The personal quest of Marie E. Zakrzewska is ended. The land of
dispossession and refusal has been penetrated by many small parties
under her and other leadership, and many outposts have been established
and are being valiantly held.

But the battle which she faced and fought is not ended. It remains for
all lovers of justice to sustain the impulsion which carried her on and
so to continue the fight till the truth of her watchword, “Science has
no sex,” is acknowledged. Then, and only then, will her life’s work be

In medicine, many doors of opportunity have been opened as the result
of her life and the lives of her sister pioneers. But as with her and
with them, the struggle persists around the hospitals. Many if not most
of the great medical schools are now open to women but to-day, even as
in Dr. Zakrzewska’s day, the attainment of the degree of M.D. is only
the beginning of medical knowledge.

Opportunities for hospital study and training are needed not only
for the subsequent year of interneship, but as a constant resource
all through the professional life. With a few exceptions, these
opportunities are not yet open to women, and women are to-day hampered
by this exclusion even more than they were in the past.

With the modern expansion of the science and art of medicine and the
increasing elaboration of the required appliances and methods of
examination, hospitals have become great centers of laboratory and
clinical investigation and research. And the physician who is not able
to form contact with some such center is crippled and is compelled to
do his work either imperfectly or at the cost of tremendous additional

This is the reason why we have just said that the opening of all
hospital opportunities to women on equal terms with men is yet more
imperative to-day than it was when Dr. Zakrzewska made such valiant
battle for her sisters.

At the same time, when women seem to have attained opportunities, they
still find it necessary to remember Dr. Zakrzewska’s distrust and fear
of beguilement, to remain on guard and to take all possible steps to
keep secure all that has been so painfully achieved.

Even among nonmedical students and in circles that are supposed to be
the most broadly educated, here and there the tolerances and amenities
of civilized life develop slowly. Thus as late as October 20, 1921,
the students of the University of Cambridge (England) express their
disapproval of even “limited membership” for women by the old, worn-out
methods of mobbing and rioting--battering down and smashing the
valuable memorial gates of the women’s college, Newnham. The arrival of
the police prevented their further progress there, but at Peile Hall,
they reached the doors and tried to force entrance into the college
itself, which further outrage was again prevented by the police.[28]

In 1922 the London Hospital decided to exclude women from the classes
and services to which they had been admitted since 1908. The story
has a familiar sound--“... the chairman emphasizes the fact that the
step has not been brought about by any failure of the women students
... who have done very well in every way, in work, in conduct, and in

Notwithstanding all the handicaps imposed on woman, she has
demonstrated that “science has no sex.” Do not her opponents now need
to demonstrate that they themselves are worthy followers of science by
accepting truth wherever it may be found and by rendering impartial
justice to every one?

As some of these pages are being written (June 21, 1921), Madame Marie
Curie is in Boston.

The morning papers report that she was yesterday given a reception
by Harvard University. President Lowell presided, and in his address
he ranked Madame Curie with “Sir Isaac Newton and other epoch-making
discoverers.” He then introduced Professor Richards of the Department
of Chemistry, who said, “The discovery of Madame Curie gave the world
new ideas concerning the structure of the universe, and opened a new
path of thought to scientists.”

The highest mark of distinction which a college or university can
bestow upon a person whom it desires to honor is an honorary degree.
At its Commencement, three days later, Harvard did not confer an
honorary degree on Madame Curie. Would it have conferred one on Sir
Isaac Newton?

Is scholarship, then, the ideal of a college or university? Or is it
scholarship which happens to be attained by a sex?

But humanity is neither male nor female: it is both. And both possess
all human faculties _plus_ the specialized qualities of the sex
of the individual. The nonrecognition of this basic fact impedes the
progress of the race. And the subjection of either sex to the other
impedes both.

Hence, an appeal for justice to women, such as is embodied in this life
of Marie E. Zakrzewska, is equally an appeal for justice to men. The
man who would hold woman in subjection is himself held in subjection.

  “The woman’s cause is man’s: they rise or sink
  Together, dwarf’d or godlike, bond or free:
  For she that out of Lethe scales with man
  The shining steps of Nature, shares with man
  His nights, his days, moves with him to one goal,
  Stays all the fair young planet in her hands--
  If she be small, slight-natured, miserable,
  How shall men grow?”


[1] This statement and related ones throughout the autobiographical
chapters are the only references to her family history made in this
connection by Dr. Zakrzewska.

A “Memoir of Dr. Marie Elizabeth Zakrzewska, issued by the New England
Hospital for Women and Children, Boston, 1903,” quotes her as writing
to a friend, “I am in reality as family-proud as any aristocrat can
possibly be, but I prefer to be remembered only as a woman who was
willing to work for the elevation of Woman.” This Memoir further says:

 The Polish family of Zakrzewski of which her father and grandfather
 were in the line of direct descendants, is one of the most ancient in
 Europe and traces its history back to 911. It is named among the most
 powerful aristocratic “republican families of agitators” of Poland,
 and fell with Poland’s downfall.

 The princely family property--which consisted according to some
 accounts of ninety-nine villages--was confiscated, the main portion
 falling into Russia’s hands in 1793. At that time Marie’s grandfather
 saved his life by flight beyond the border, having seen his father
 fall on the field of battle and his mother and other members of the
 family perish in the flames of their castle.

 Writing of the family history, a brother of Marie states: “Ludovico
 was the name written under the coat of arms which I often held in my
 hands as a boy, and Ludwig was the name borne by every eldest son of
 the family until 1802. When our father was born on November 11--St.
 Martin’s Day--his mother, a good Catholic, added Martin to the name
 of Ludwig.” His father (Marie’s grandfather) was, however, the first
 one of the Zakrzewski family to leave the Catholic church. He became
 not only a Protestant but a very liberal thinker.

 The family history on the mother’s side is traced back only to the
 middle of the eighteenth century.

 Marie Elizabeth Sauer, the great-grandmother of Marie, for whom she
 was named, was a Gypsy Queen of the Lombardi family. She was said
 to be “the most lovely of women, very beautiful and energetic.” Her
 father was a surgeon and was attached to the army of Frederick the
 Great during the Seven Years’ War. His daughter accompanied him in his
 work as assistant surgeon. Among those whom she attended was a Captain
 Urban. He had been wounded in the chest and she removed the ball. Upon
 his recovery they were married, much to the delight of her father,
 as Captain Urban belonged to the same Gypsy tribe of the Lombardi.
 Nine children were born to them, five daughters and four sons. They
 were all of unusual size, the daughters almost six feet tall, with
 hair flowing down to their feet; the sons seven feet tall and of
 perfect stature. Marie’s grandmother was the middle one of these nine
 children, and became a veterinary surgeon. She had three daughters one
 of whom was the mother of Marie.

[2] “The undersigned, Secretary of Legation of the United States
of America, certifies that Miss Marie Elizabeth Zakrzewska has
exhibited to him very strong recommendations from the highest
professional authorities of Prussia, as a scientific, practical,
experienced _accoucheuse_ of unusual talent and skill. She has been
chief _accoucheuse_ in the Royal Hospital of Berlin, and possesses a
certificate of her superiority from the Board of Directors of that
institution. She has not only manifested great talent as a practitioner
but also as a teacher; and enjoys the advantage of a moral and
irreproachable private character. She has attained this high rank over
many female competitors in the same branch; there being more than fifty
in the city of Berlin who threaten by their acknowledged excellence to
monopolize the obstetric art.


  Legation United States, Berlin, Jan. 26, 1853.

 Upon inquiry I find that instead of fifty there are one hundred and
 ten female _accoucheuses_ in Berlin.


[3] Apparently Dr. Zakrzewska had no information as to the details of
raising the money which was loaned to her for defraying her living
expenses while at the medical college.

In _Glances and Glimpses_, the source of such financial assistance
is suggested by Dr. Harriot K. Hunt, who visited Cleveland in 1854.
She speaks of the first Medical Loan Fund Association. She also speaks
of the Ohio Female Medical Education Society, and quotes from the
constitution of this latter an article referring to the repayment of

Dr. Hunt further speaks of traveling to other towns in Ohio, lecturing
on the study of medicine by women, and “establishing loan fund
associations auxiliary to the Cleveland association.” She particularly
mentions Elyria (where Mrs. Severance also spoke), Tiffin, Columbus,
Cincinnati, and Yellow Springs.

[4] Elsewhere, Dr. Zakrzewska says:

 In the beginning of the first winter I was the only woman; after the
 first month another was admitted; and during the second winter there
 were three besides myself who attended the lectures and graduated in
 the spring.

[5] This attitude of the clerical profession, persisting at least as
late as 1857, is also referred to by Professor Joseph P. Remington
in the report of an address published in the _American Journal of
Pharmacy_, January, 1911.

[6] Speaking of the visit made to Cleveland at this time, Dr. Hunt
states in _Glances and Glimpses_:

 In December, 1854, I started for Ohio, being desirous to understand
 the medical question in that State.... I had only heard that Marie was
 a student at the Cleveland College; but when I met her I felt that
 here was a combination of head and heart which was as uncommon as it
 was beautiful.... Further acquaintance has but deepened my interest
 in Marie, and Dr. Blackwell of New York must feel it a privilege to
 have been the means of her introduction at Cleveland as a medical
 student, where her noble bearing and scientific mind are perceived and
 acknowledged by the faculty....

 I attended lectures one day on a class of diseases peculiar to women,
 and not one shade of levity or impropriety diminished the interest of
 the occasion. Men and women studying together at a medical college
 of high standing was prophetic. I spoke with the professor after the
 lecture and he remarked, “We are more democratic in Ohio than you
 are in Massachusetts.” I felt like hanging my head. The Athens of
 America was eclipsed by a younger sister; yet I rejoiced greatly that
 as the elder was unprepared to advance, the junior tripped her up
 triumphantly, stepped over her, and took the first prize.

 ... I thought it best to visit the towns in the northern part of Ohio
 and try to elicit interest in the medical question by establishing
 loan fund associations.

[7] Mary L. Booth later earned a reputation as historian and as
translator, and was the editor of _Harper’s Bazar_ from its
beginning in 1867.

[8] The first Board of Directors (nineteen in number) was made up
almost entirely of women who were serving on the Board of Lady Managers
for the Clinical Department of the New England Female Medical College
in 1861-1862, the last year of Dr. Zakrzewska’s connection with that
college. Her resignation at the end of that year caused that department
to be discontinued and the services of the Lady Managers to be no
longer in request by the college.

To the number of Lady Managers who transferred their interest to the
new Hospital were added on the Board of Directors several men, one
being the former leading trustee of the college, Hon. Samuel E. Sewall.

This historic first Board of Directors was finally constituted as

  Mrs. Mary C. E. Barnard
  Miss Sarah P. Beck
  Geo. Wm. Bond
  Mrs. Louisa C. Bond
  Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney
  Mrs. Anna H. Clarke
  Miss Mary J. Ellis
  Mrs. Lucretia G. French
  Miss Lucy Goddard
  Fred. W. G. May
  Mrs. Joanna L. Merriam
  Mrs. Mary A. S. Palmer
  Thomas Russell
  Mrs. Caroline M. Severance
  Samuel E. Sewall
  John H. Stephenson
  James Tolman
  Mrs. Mary G. White
  Dr. Marie E. Zakrzewska

[9] Later, Dr. Mary E. Breed, who was graduated from the New England
Female Medical College and had been a student under Dr. Zakrzewska at
the New York Infirmary, became resident physician, and Miss Anita E.
Tyng and Miss Lucy M. Abbott, who had been her students at the New
England Female Medical College, were student assistants. Dr. John Ware
consented to serve as consulting physician and Dr. Samuel Cabot as
consulting surgeon.

[10] Karl Heinzen is thus described by the Boston _Evening

 He was a native of Prussia and came to America in January, 1848, as an
 exile, having been banished from Germany on account of a book which
 he published on the _Civil Service of the Prussian Government_,
 which showed that, instead of the promised constitutional government,
 a complete net of absolutism was extending over every province of

 On the breaking out of the revolution of 1848 in France and Germany,
 he left America in May to participate in the movement in Europe; after
 its suppression he was again exiled, going first to Switzerland and
 afterwards to England. But in 1850 he again came to America which has
 since been the scene of his labors.

 On his arrival he found almost the entire German population in the
 Democratic and pro-slavery party; he therefore established here the
 first anti-slavery German newspaper. This exposed him to severe
 persecutions by the Democrats, so that his life was threatened in New
 York City and in Toledo, Ohio.

 He was also the first among the German-Americans to advocate woman

 Since 1858 he has lived in Boston, and during this time he has stood
 on terms of firm friendship with William Lloyd Garrison who frequently
 translated Mr. Heinzen’s articles for the _Liberator_.

 Mr. Heinzen was the most radical thinker whom the Germans in America
 possess. Besides editing for more than twenty-five years a newspaper,
 _The Pioneer_, he has published a number of valuable books on
 political, philosophical and social subjects.

[11] Dr. Tyng had been a student at the New England Female Medical
College under Dr. Zakrzewska, later a resident student at the New
England Hospital and then a graduate of the Philadelphia medical
school--this school now becoming established on a more stable
foundation and having changed its name from the Female Medical College
of Pennsylvania to the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.

[12] Dr. Thompson was a graduate of the New England Female Medical
College, studying for two years under Dr. Zakrzewska. Later she
received an honorary degree from the Woman’s Medical College of
Pennsylvania. The Chicago Hospital for Women and Children which she
founded was afterwards named the Mary Thompson Chicago Hospital for
Women and Children.

In an affectionate letter to Dr. Zakrzewska in later years, Dr.
Thompson rallies this former teacher on her frank remarks when trying
to goad the students of the New England Female Medical College to
better work, saying:

 I wished to tell you of our work here that you might know that we
 are doing something more than “the ordinary run of nurses,” I having
 heard it remarked in times past that that was all we would amount
 to. That did not stimulate me in the least to this kind of work. But
 I will tell you what did--it was the actual love of surgery and the
 witnessing many men operate when I felt that I could do quite as well
 as they did. Since writing you, my third case of ovariotomy has done

[13] Dr. Buckel was graduated in Philadelphia and then served under
Dr. Zakrzewska as resident student at the New York Infirmary. During
the last two years of the Civil War she rendered efficient service in
the United States military hospitals of the Southwest, earning the
soubriquet of “The Little Major.” _The Survey_, May 17, 1913,
says: “She selected and supervised the nurses, kept records in the
absence of clerks, wrote letters for sick soldiers, obtained furloughs
for convalescents, and comforted the dying.” In the year 1865-1866, she
succeeded Dr. Ruth A. Gerry as assistant physician at the New England
Hospital, the latter returning to the practice which she had already
started at Ypsilanti, and beginning to share in the long fight for the
admission of women to the University of Michigan.

[14] After receiving her degree of M.D. at Berne, Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake
returned to Great Britain and was largely instrumental in establishing
the London School of Medicine for Women and in obtaining hospital
facilities for it. She has reported her experience in _Medicine as
a Profession for Women_ and in _Medical Education of Women_.
Charles Reade makes extensive use of both of these articles in writing
his novel _The Woman Hater_.

[15] Dr. Morton was a classmate of Dr. Sewall when both were students
of Dr. Zakrzewska at the New England Female Medical College. She had
spent four years in study at the Paris Maternité during the last two of
which she had served as assistant teacher.

She returned to Boston in 1867 to begin the practice of her profession.
She then became connected with the New England Hospital, her first
appointment being on the staff of the Dispensary. Here she became the
successor of Dr. Zakrzewska, the latter resigning from this branch of
the work and leaving it entirely to the constantly growing number of
younger medical women.

[16] (p. 355) There are two great causes of sickness in our lying-in
wards. First, mental distress during pregnancy, caused by poverty or
neglect; second, the exposure and fatigue which many endure before
coming to us.

One young girl, late last fall, had been sleeping for a week in
outhouses. Another came in the cold winter weather, after wandering
in a bewildered condition in the streets with wet skirts and no
stockings, searching for some place of shelter in her distress. Another
when she entered was very sick with acute pleurisy and pneumonia, so
that even before her delivery her life was threatened. Several cases
of intermittent fever and one of typhus fever were admitted under
such circumstances that we could not avoid taking them without being
guilty of inhumanity. Two women in a comatose condition from puerperal
convulsions were also taken in. One of these last was restored to
health, while the other never recovered consciousness.

We have taken in several babies who were so poisoned with patented
nostrums that only the most vigorous treatment with antidotes could
rouse them, and weeks of the most assiduous nursing were necessary to
restore their enfeebled vitality.

Some of you saw in one of the wards the wretched little creature who
was brought by its mother to us in a comatose state, with the skin
drawn loosely over its bones and its half-closed glassy eyes sunk
deeply in their sockets. This child had been boarded out by its mother
while she worked at service, and it had been gradually declining until
at the age of three and one-half months, it weighed but seven and
one-half pounds.

This was an extreme case, but frequently a practiced eye will detect
the same process going on. Often when I am called to a sick child, I
recognize in the ashy hue, sunken eyes and other well-known symptoms,
the work of some “soothing syrup” or other equally pernicious drug.
Pitiful indeed is the fate of babies deprived of their natural
guardians and subjected to the influence of these infamous nostrums.

Can we not find some means to secure to infants a mother’s care and
love for at least the first year of their lives, by furnishing these
mothers with some honest means of support, and thus saving both mothers
and children? I leave this important question for you to consider, for
even if it is not strictly part of our work, it is a sequel to one
department of our Hospital.

A young woman, who in her childhood lost her mother and whose
stepmother not only kept a house of ill-fame but sent this daughter to
another, has now a beautiful baby to which she is so strongly attached
that, in spite of the evil influences of all her past life, she is
willing to do even the hardest work for the sake of keeping her baby
with her. Yet, only a few evenings ago she came, with her blue-eyed
baby sweetly smiling in the soft wrappings provided by its fond mother,
and said that she must give it up. “Nobody,” she said, “would take
_her_ with her baby,” and I saw the hard look in her eyes and the
bitter smile that made me tremble for her future, though I am confident
that she had the will and the strength to earn her living honestly.

Last winter we were called to attend a woman in a difficult and
complicated labor. She lived in a dark basement with floor wet and
broken, the scanty bedcovering eked out by her husband’s old coat
(which he himself needed) and the small pile of coal on the floor being
the only comforts visible except the stove. Cold, faint and hungry,
this woman had suffered for hours. When she was safely delivered,
public charity could not make her comfortable--it was private
benevolence that gave her blankets, sheets, clothing and care.

Another case of recent occurrence shows how insufficient is the law to
take care of the sick. A woman in one of the worst localities in the
city who was beaten by her drunken husband and turned out of doors,
was seized with premature labor in the streets and found her way into
the house of a neighbor. This neighbor, Mrs. M., who was nearly blind,
supported by her daily earnings herself and an interesting little boy
whom she had taken from the city crier’s to nurse and whom she had kept
with her rather than send him to Tewksbury.

Mrs. M. allowed the woman to stay, and on the third day I was sent
for and found her in an almost dying condition. It was late Saturday
evening, and there was neither food nor fuel in the house. The woman
was too ill to be removed, no aid could be obtained from the city
before Monday, and then the legal allowance would be only two dollars
in groceries and one dollar in money. Clothing, a bed and a nurse were
absolutely needed. These were provided by private charity and the
woman recovered, though it was said that three different physicians
who were called in by the neighbors had declined to attend her as they
considered it useless under such adverse circumstances to attempt to
save her.

The first time this woman stepped out of doors she walked from the
North End to the Hospital to see if we could not get work for her.
Her husband, who had been released from the jail where he had been
kept awaiting the result of her illness, had visited her and told her
he should do nothing more for her. Also, Mrs. M., who had given her
shelter, was about to be turned out of her rooms because she had not
been able to work as usual to earn her rent.

It is true that all these sufferers were drunkards, but I mention their
cases to show how the Hospital leads us into every path of reform.

In order to accomplish permanent good, it is necessary to remove
the causes of evil. For this reason, we are deeply interested in
every effort to dispel ignorance, promote temperance, and banish
licentiousness and other vices, for all these have a direct influence
on health or disease. We frequently find it necessary not only to watch
over the individual case of illness but to see that the whole tenement
is cleaned and ventilated; or, when this is impossible, we sometimes
succeed in removing the whole family to a more healthful locality away
from their old associates and the low, drinking saloons.

Thus it will be seen that our students have a large field of labor open
to them--every woman whom we help to educate not only adds one to the
band of workers but strengthens our position and enlarges our means
of usefulness. Hence, it is all-important that we gain every possible
advantage for our students, and it is hard to see denied to them the
valuable opportunities so freely offered to young men in this city, for
we feel that the very best America affords comes far short of our wants.

[17] The new Hospital is described in the annual report:

 Although within the bounds of the city, thus giving the advantages of
 water, gas and the other conveniences of city life, the land is very
 high and commands an extensive and beautiful view of Jamaica Plain,
 Roxbury and Brookline. It is also easily accessible both by horse and
 steam cars, and seems to combine all the important requisites of good
 air, light and easy access at a moderate price.

 The beautiful exterior of the building is due to the taste and skill
 of our architects, Messrs. Cummings and Sears, who have successfully
 grappled with the problem of designing a hospital which shall be
 beautiful in proportion, form and color, and so contribute to the
 pleasure of all connected with it, without sacrificing either interior
 comfort or economy of means.

 The excellence of the interior arrangements, especially of the wards
 and the nurses’ rooms (which differ from those of any hospital known
 to the Committee), is due to the Women Physicians who, having learned
 from long experience the needs of their patients, have striven to meet
 them by arrangements at once simple and ingenious.

 Our first object was to secure an entire isolation of the lying-in
 patients from those of the medical and the surgical wards, so as to
 guard against all possible danger of infection passing from one to
 the other. This has been effected by a separate house, called the
 “Maternity Cottage” for the lying-in patients.

 In this building, the two stories are so arranged that one can be
 thoroughly cleansed and aired while the other is in use. Our plan
 contemplates a second similar building as soon as our means will
 enable us to construct it. Then, in case of any threatened danger, one
 house can be entirely isolated, while all new patients are taken to
 the other. In this way, we can increase our Lying-in Department to any
 desirable extent without incurring the dangers attendant upon large

 The next consideration was to get as much sunlight as possible into
 the patients’ rooms and to give the nurses, who are all human beings
 and need to be cared for as well as others, good airy rooms in which
 to take their rest when rest is possible to them. For this reason, all
 the medical wards have been placed on the back of the house, which
 looks nearly south.

 Each ward consists of two rooms--one for two beds and one for
 four--with a nurse’s room between. The nurse can thus often have the
 benefit of the solitude and quiet of her own room and yet be so close
 to her patients that nothing can escape her notice. A bathroom, also
 enjoying the sunshine, separates the two wards and can be used by the
 patients of either. These light, airy, sunny wards with their open
 fireplaces seem more like the rooms of a pleasant home than the dreary
 apartments of a hospital.

 The house does not square exactly with the points of the compass, and
 the northern side is touched by the sun during some part of the day,
 thereby securing it from dampness. The eastern surgical ward projects
 beyond the other part of the house, and so gains a southern window for
 light and cheerful sunshine. A similar projection on the western side
 makes a pleasant parlor for the patients.

 The rest of this side of the house is occupied by the patients’
 admission room, tea kitchen, etc., in which sunshine is not so

 The Children’s Ward, in the upper story, is a new feature of which we
 have long felt the want. It is large, airy and convenient.

 The furniture of the wards was mainly provided by individuals and by
 various churches and societies in the city and vicinity. The wards
 were named after the donors, who promised to keep them in order and
 in repair, the names to be retained as long as the rooms were thus

[18] Dr. Dimock had been a student in the Hospital in 1867. As was
the case with several other students, she thus at the beginning of
her medical life came under the teachings of Dr. Zakrzewska. We may
judge of the trend of these teachings from what Dr. Zakrzewska writes
elsewhere as to her advice to Dr. Sewall when the latter wished to
begin the study of medicine. She says:

“I advised her to lay a foundation by first studying natural
history--biology, comparative physiology and microscopical anatomy.”
And we are already familiar with the convictions of Dr. Zakrzewska that
Europe at that time offered both to men and women better opportunities
for a medical education than did the United States.

Susan Dimock differed from these other students in that she had more
initiative, or more self-dependence, or less fear of circumstance and
convention, or some other temperamental quality. Or perhaps it was
the financial situation--that great lion in the path of women not
trained in self-support--that she felt she could control, through Dr.
Zakrzewska and other friends.

At any rate, the resulting reaction of Dr. Zakrzewska’s teaching upon
this temperament was such that Susan Dimock decided to go abroad
for her entire medical course, to study there and to be graduated
there--almost the first American woman to take such a radical step, and
one of a lengthening procession of women from many countries who were
driven into temporary exile by their ambition to qualify themselves for
their chosen profession, having found the best opportunities at home
reserved for the exclusive use of their brothers.

She entered the University of Zurich, and after completing the required
five years of study, received her degree, returning to Boston as the
new building of the Hospital was in course of erection. She had paid
particular attention to surgery and was intending to specialize in that

[19] Dr. Keller was a graduate of the Woman’s Medical College of
Pennsylvania and she had been attending physician at the Woman’s
Hospital in Philadelphia. She had also had considerable surgical
experience in hospital and private practice.

[20] The New England Hospital Medical Society, later the New England
Women’s Medical Society.

[21] Dr. Call was a student of the Hospital and later was graduated at
the head of her class in the University of Michigan. She then spent a
year studying in Europe before beginning work at the Dispensary.

[22] The twin sisters, Drs. Augusta and Emily Pope, after being
graduated at the New England Female Medical College, went to Europe to
study for an additional year, becoming connected with the Dispensary on
their return. Both later received an honorary degree of M.D. from the
Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.

[23] Among the internes whose address in India was, unfortunately, not
for long, was the charming Dr. Anandabai Joshee, the first Hindoo woman
to seek medical education in America, and who had been graduated at the
Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.

Coming to Boston in the summer of 1886, she served only a short time
when her health failed. She returned to India to become physician in
charge of the Female Ward of the Albert Edward Hospital in Kolhapur,
but she died from tuberculosis a few months later, before reaching her
twenty-second birthday.

[24] Dr. Clarke was a member of the board of trustees of the New
England Female Medical College when Dr. Zakrzewska became a member
of the faculty. He resigned this trusteeship when she resigned from
the faculty, and his wife, Mrs. Anna H. Clarke, became a member of
the board of directors of the New England Hospital which was founded
immediately thereafter.

Mrs. Clarke remained a member of the board of directors until her
death in 1897. Their daughter, Miss Lilian Freeman Clarke, was always
interested in the Hospital and, as already stated, she assisted in
organizing in connection with the Maternity the first hospital social
service work in America.

[25] (p. 467)

   1. John Ware.
   2. Samuel Cabot.
   3. Walter Channing.
   4. Henry I. Bowditch.
   5. E. C. Rolfe.
   6. Edward Jarvis.
   7. Edward H. Clarke.
   8. Francis Minot.
   9. B. Joy Jeffries.
  10. Reginald H. Fitz.
  11. C. H. Osgood.
  12. G. G. Tarbell.
  13 Arthur T. Cabot.
  14. W. W. Gannett.
  15. James R. Chadwick.
  16. Geo. F. Jelly.
  17. J. J. Putnam.
  18. Maurice H. Richardson.
  19. Clarence J. Blake.
  20. F. B. Mallory.
  21. Vincent Y. Bowditch.
  22. W. F. Whitney.
  23. G. A. Leland.
  24. F. C. Shattuck.
  25. C. F. Withington.
  26. J. E. Goldthwait.
  27. Richard C. Cabot.

[26] In 1910, the Children’s Department obtained a building of its
own in the Kimball Cottage. This was named for Miss Helen Kimball and
for her father, Moses K. Kimball, who was a staunch supporter of the
Hospital. Mrs. Cheney became president in 1887, upon the resignation of
Miss Lucy Goddard, the first president, and continued in office till
1902 when she resigned and was succeeded by Miss Kimball.

[27] An interesting note in connection with the new Surgical Building
was the receipt through Dr. Zakrzewska of a contribution of five
hundred dollars towards its construction, from one of her classmates at
the Cleveland Medical College, Dr. Cordelia A. Greene, then established
at Castile, N. Y.

[28] Boston _Herald_, October 21, 1921.

[29] Boston _Evening Transcript_, March 30, 1922, quoting the
Springfield _Republican_.


 BLACKWELL, ELIZABETH, M.D., _Pioneer Work in Opening the
 Medical Profession to Women_.

 CHADWICK, JAMES R., M.D., “The Study and Practice of Medicine
 by Women” (_International Review_, October, 1879).

 DALL, MRS. CAROLINE H., _A Practical Illustration of
 Woman’s Right to Labor, or A Letter from Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D.,
 late of Berlin, Prussia_, 1860.

 GREGORY, SAMUEL, _Man-Midwifery_. Reports of the Boston
 Female Medical School; the Female Medical Education Society; and the
 New England Female Medical College.

 HUNT, DR. HARRIOT KEZIA, _Glances and Glimpses_, 1856.

 JEX-BLAKE, SOPHIA, M.D., _Medicine as a Profession for
 Women; Medical Education of Women_.

 LIVERMORE, MRS. MARY A., _The Business Folio_, Boston,
 March, 1895.

 Marie E. Zakrzewska, M.D._, 1903.

 PUTNAM-JACOBI, MARY, M.D., “Women in Medicine” (_Woman’s
 Work in America_, 1891).

 READE, CHARLES, _The Woman Hater_.

 SIMS, J. MARION, M.D., _The Story of my Life_, 1884.


  Abbott, Lucy M., 253

  Agassiz, Alexander, 385

  Aigner, Dr., 182, 222, 223

  Albert Edward Hospital, Kolhapur, India, 497

  Alcott, Mr., 200

  Alexander, Mrs. Janet, 136

  Alexandrian School, 261

  Alpha, The, 198, 203

  American Journal of Pharmacy, 485

  American Medical Association, 342, 344

  Ames, Rev. Charles G., 463

  Andrews, Stephen Pearl, 200

  Anti-Slavery Movement, 110, 138, 146, 152, 153, 154, 193, 198, 202,
  245, 297, 391, 459

  A Practical Illustration of Woman’s Right to Labor, or A Letter from
  Marie E. Zakrzewska, M. D., late of Berlin, Prussia, by Caroline H.
  Dall, xi, 59, 256

  Association for the Advancement of the Medical Education of Women, 398

  Asylum for Infants, Temporary, 280

  Atlee, Dr., 129

  Bacon, Lord, 261

  Barnard, Mrs. Mary C. E., 487

  Barnard, Rev. Charles F., 329

  Baudeloque, 263

  Beck, Miss Sarah P., 487

  Beecher, Rev. Henry Ward, 189, 203, 211

  Bellevue Hospital (New York), 222

  Bellevue Hospital (N. Y.) Training School for Nurses, 364

  Bellows, Rev. Mr., 203, 207

  Bennett, Dr. Alice, 390, 402

  Berlin, Dr. Fanny, 458, 473

  Berne, University of (Switzerland), 350

  Bigelow, Dr. Jacob, 136

  Billroth, Prof., 347

  Blackwell, Dr. Elizabeth, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114,
  115, 119, 121, 123, 124, 130, 134, 143, 148, 149, 155, 156, 178, 180,
  181, 182, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197,
  202, 206, 208, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 222, 225, 226, 236, 237, 238,
  240, 268, 307, 310, 311, 335, 358, 373, 375, 376, 476

  Blackwell, Dr. Emily, 112, 113, 130, 195, 206, 211, 214, 225, 226,
  236, 237, 238, 240, 268, 358, 373, 375, 376, 402

  Blackwell, Henry, 181

  Blackwell, Mrs. Antoinette Brown (Rev. Dr. Antoinette Brown
  Blackwell), 181, 198, 202

  Blackwell, Mrs. Lucy Stone, _see_ Mrs. Lucy Stone

  Blackwell, Mrs., Sr., 181, 203

  Blake, Dr. Clarence J., 498

  Boardman, Mrs., 411

  Boivin, Madame, 111, 263, 392

  Bologna, University of, 111

  Bond, George William, 244, 293, 294, 487

  Bond, Louisa (Mrs. George William), 244, 487

  Bond, Rev. Henry, 153

  Booth, Mary L., xi, 184, 185, 198, 203, 210, 230, 235, 239, 240, 476,

  Boston City Hospital, 337, 364

  Boston Evening Transcript, 127, 481, 487

  Boston Female Medical School, _see_ New England Female Medical College

  Boston Herald, 481

  Boston Lying-in Hospital, 243, 297, 334, 338, 364

  Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, 224, 342, 389, 390

  Boston University Medical College, 285, 286, 382, 448

  Bowditch, Dr. Henry I., 256, 277, 332, 336, 337, 344, 390, 392, 498

  Bowditch, Dr. Vincent Y., 498

  Boylston Prize (Harvard University), won by a woman, Dr. Mary Putnam
  Jacobi, 399

  Brace, Charles, 201

  Bradburn, Mrs. George, 152

  Breed, Dr. Mary E., 216, 217, 295, 309, 487

  Breslau, Prof., 347

  Brignoli, 215

  Brisbane, Albert, 200

  Brook Farm Movement, 201

  Brown, Dr. B., 310

  Browne, Mrs., 226

  Buck, Dr., 222

  Buckel, Dr. C. Annette, 345, 346, 348, 349, 351, 354, 364, 369, 370,
  458, 465, 489

  Burns, Dr. John, 263

  Busch, Dr., 44

  Business, Folio, The, 129

  Butler, Mrs. Emma E., 474

  Cabot, Dr. Arthur T., 498

  Cabot, Dr. Richard C., 498

  Cabot, Dr. Samuel, 244, 256, 277, 301, 332, 339, 340, 345, 350, 351,
  487, 498

  Cabot, J. Elliot, 385

  Call, Abraham A., 294

  Call, Dr. Emma L., 294, 401, 412, 417, 497

  Cambridge (England), University of, 480

  Carey, Miss Susan, 244

  Cary, Alice and Phœbe, 198, 215

  Cary, Miss, 411

  Celsus, 261

  Centennial International Exhibition, 371

  Chadwick, Dr. James R., 286, 385, 498

  Chadwick, Mrs. (M.D.), 126, 139

  Channing, Dr. Walter, 277, 332, 333, 498

  Channing, Dr. W. H., 185

  Channing, Dr. William F., 151, 244

  Channing, Rev. William Ellery, 133

  Chapin, Rev. Mr., 153, 203

  Chase, Salmon, 153

  Cheney, Mrs. Ednah D., 186, 193, 194, 244, 245, 293, 348, 363, 365,
  371, 404, 450, 469, 471, 473, 476

  Cherokee Indians, 142, 173

  Chicago Hospital for Women and Children, 253, 345, 488

  Christian Science, 166

  Clairvoyance, 30, 31, 166, 179

  Clark, Dr. E. H., 244, 277

  Clark, Dr. Henry E., 254

  Clark, (Clarke), Dr. Nancy, 149, 150, 336

  Clarke, Anna H. (Mrs. James Freeman), 194, 244, 476, 497

  Clarke, Dr. Edward H., 498

  Clarke, Miss Lilian Freeman, 365, 497

  Clarke, Miss Sarah, 194

  Clarke, Rev. James Freeman, 244, 464, 497

  Cleveland, Dr. Emeline H., 279

  Cleveland Medical College, _see_ Western Reserve University

  Cleveland, Mrs., 201

  Cole, Mrs., 215

  Colfax, Speaker, 153, 199

  College of Physicians and Surgeons (New York), 379

  Columbian University (Georgetown, D. C.), 441

  Cook, Miss, 301

  Cooper, Peter, 201

  Cotting, Dr. S., 256, 277

  Cummings & Sears, 371, 494

  Curie, Madame Marie, 481, 482

  Curtis, George W., 203

  Cushier, Dr. Elizabeth M., 402

  Cushman, Charlotte, 200

  Dall, Mrs. Caroline H., xi, 59, 60

  Davis, Andrew Jackson, 200

  Delamater, Dr. John J., 123, 125, 126, 168, 169, 170, 171, 174, 178

  De la Motte, 261

  Deventer, 261

  Dimock, Dr. Susan, 238, 364, 365, 368, 370, 495

  Ditrichin, Justina, _see_ Siegemund

  Douglass, Frederick, 153

  Drysdale, Dr. Charles, 406

  Eagleswood (N. J.), Phalanstery, 201

  Eastern Dispensary (N. Y.), 223

  Eberle, Dr., 275

  Ebert, Dr., 58, 69, 70

  École de Médecine, University of Paris, 398

  Edinburgh, University of, 130, 350

  Elder, Dr. William, 153, 211

  Eliot, President Charles W., 385, 386, 387

  Ellis, Miss Mary J., 487

  Elson family, 460

  Emerson, Professor and Mrs., 160, 161, 162, 180

  Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 153, 159, 160, 161, 162, 180

  Farnham, Miss, 411

  Fay, Theodore S., 69, 134, 485

  Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, _see_ Pennsylvania, Woman’s
  Medical College of

  Female Medical Education Society (Boston), _see_ New England Female
  Medical College

  Fichte, 464

  First in America--
    Woman listed officially as specializing in surgery, 336
    Woman appointed as attending surgeon on a hospital staff, 369
    District Nursing service, 411
    Hospital Social Service, 365
    Regularly organized general Training School for Nurses, 363
    Regularly trained nurse graduated, 364

  Fitz, Dr. Reginald H., 498

  Fliedner, Pastor, 57

  Florence, University of, 111

  Formes, Karl, 215

  Fourier Movement, The, 138, 201

  Fox Sisters, The, 201

  Free Lovers Circle, 138, 200

  Free Soil Movement, The, 146, 152, 153, 154

  Freeman, Miss, 200

  Freiligrath, 477

  French, Mrs. Lucretia G., 487

  Frothingham, Rev. O. B., 203

  Gannett, Dr. W. W., 49

  Garrett, Miss (England), 307

  Garrett, Miss Mary (Baltimore, Md.), 437

  Garrison, William Lloyd, 151, 153, 199, 244, 459, 474, 488

  Geneva (N. Y.), Medical College, 112

  George Washington University Medical School, _see_ Columbian
  University, Georgetown, D. C.

  Gerry, Dr. Ruth A., 489

  Gibbons, Dr., 343

  Giessen, University of, 111

  Giles, John, 153

  Glances and Glimpses, Autobiography of Dr. Harriot K. Hunt, 112,
  126, 127, 149

  Goddard, George A., 440

  Goddard, Miss Lucy, 186, 244, 293, 295, 404, 410, 440, 476, 487

  Goddard, Miss Matilda, 151, 280

  Goddard, Mrs. M. LeB., 440

  Goldthwait, Dr. J. E., 498

  Goodrich, Miss, 105, 107

  Gottschalk, 200

  Graefe, von, Prof., 347

  Greeley, Horace, 199, 200, 204

  Greeley, Mrs. Horace, 201

  Greene, Dr. Cordelia A., 126, 142, 498

  Greene, Miss Elizabeth, 365

  Greenwood, Grace (Mrs. Leander Lippincott), 146, 153

  Gregory, Samuel, 272, 284

  Griesinger, Prof., 347

  Grimké, Miss Angelina, _see_ Mrs. Theodore Weld

  Grimké, Miss Sarah, 149, 150, 198, 201

  Grissell, Dr. Elizabeth, 126

  Grosvenor, Mrs., 200

  Hahnemann, Dr., 32

  Hale, Dr. Edward Everett, 465

  Hale, Miss Ellen E., 416

  Harper’s Bazar, 230, 486

  Harvard University Medical School, 126, 136, 249, 286, 346, 380, 381,
  383, 385, 386, 387, 399, 400, 401, 402, 403, 435, 437, 481, 482

  Hasenfuss, (Hassenfuss), Mrs., 246

  Haydock, Mr. and Mrs. Robert, 207

  Haynes, Miss, 199

  Heinzen, Karl, 297, 300, 303, 304, 458, 459, 460, 477, 487, 488

  Heinzen, Mrs. Karl, 297, 300, 301, 304, 458, 459

  Hemenway, Augustus, 372

  Hildreth, Mr. and Mrs. George (N. Y.), 152, 200, 215

  Hildreth, Mrs. George (Boston), 194

  Hilliard, Mrs. George, 194

  Hippocrates, 261

  Hirschfeld, Dr. Henriette P., _see_ Dr. Henriette Pagelson

  Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 403

  Home for Aged Men, 243

  Homeopathy, 32, 33, 105, 286, 448, 459

  Hooper, E. W., 402

  Horn, Director, 64, 68, 69

  Horner, Prof., 347

  Hospital Social Service in America begun, First, 365

  Hovey, Miss Marian, 385, 386, 437

  Howe, Julia Ward, 335

  Howland, Mrs., 203

  Hunt, Dr. Harriot Kezia, 112, 126, 127, 134, 135, 136, 137, 149, 150,
  152, 185, 186, 192, 197, 224, 336,485, 486

  Hunt, Sarah Augusta, 135, 136

  Hunter, Dr., 263

  Hydropathy, 179

  Hypnotism, 166

  Illinois State Medical Society, 344

  Infant asylum in Boston, Temporary, 280

  Insane asylums of Massachusetts, Women physicians on staffs of, 411

  International Review, 286

  Jackson, Francis, 244

  Jackson, Dr. James, 136, 278

  Jacobi, Dr. Abraham, 399

  Jacobi, Dr. Mary Putnam, 136, 392, 398, 402

  Jarvis, Dr. Edward, 498

  Jefferson, Joseph, 215

  Jefferson Medical College (Philadelphia), 274, 379

  Jeffries, Dr. B. Joy, 498

  Jelly, Dr. George F., 498

  Jex-Blake, Dr. Sophia, 130, 350, 405, 489

  Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Md.), 403, 435, 436, 437, 442

  Johnson, Dr., 267

  Joshee, Dr. Anandabai, 497

  Kaiserswerth Institute, 57, 101, 197

  Keene, Laura, 215

  Keller, Dr. Elizabeth C., 370, 496

  Kemble, Fanny, 197

  Kilian, Dr., 44

  Kimball, Miss Helen, 498

  Kimball, Moses K., 498

  King, Rev. Starr, 153

  Kirtland, Dr. J. P., 124, 174

  Kirtland, Mrs., 199

  Kissam, Dr., 203, 211, 222, 227

  Know-Nothing Party, 133, 277

  Koehler Family, 460

  Kölliker’s Comparative Anatomy, 175

  Lachapelle, Madame, 42, 52, 263, 392

  Lee, Mrs. George G., 298

  Leland, Dr. G. A., 498

  Liberator, The, 488

  Lippincott, Mrs. Leander, _see_ Grace Greenwood

  Livermore, Mrs. Mary A., 129

  London (England) School of Medicine for Women, 490

  London (England) Hospital, 481

  Lowell, Miss Anna, 194, 245

  Lowell, President, 481

  Lutze, Dr. Arthur, 31, 32, 33

  Lyons, Mrs., 203

  Lyceum System, 152

  Mack, Mrs. Thomas, 470

  Magnetism, 33, 138, 166

  Mallory, Dr. F. B., 498

  Man-Midwifery, Samuel Gregory, 272

  Mann, Mrs. Horace, 201

  Marburg, University of, 111

  Mary Thompson Chicago Hospital for Women and Children, 253, 345, 488,

  Mason, Hugh, 410

  Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 365

  Massachusetts Infant Asylum, 280

  Massachusetts General Hospital, 337, 346, 364

  Massachusetts Hospitals for Insane, Women Physicians on staffs of, 411

  Massachusetts, Legislature of, 334, 411

  Massachusetts Medical Society, 277, 382, 383, 388, 389, 390, 391, 392,
  393, 394

  Maternité, Paris, 279, 308, 370, 490

  Mauriceau, 261

  May, Miss Abby, 186, 244, 245

  May, F. W. G., 244, 294

  Mayer, Prof., 347

  Mayo, Rev. A. D., and family, 131, 137, 138, 139, 142, 144, 145, 146,
  148, 151, 152, 154, 176, 464

  McCready, Dr., 182, 203, 222

  Medical Education of Women, by Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake, 490

  Medical Loan Fund Associations in Ohio, 485, 486

  Medicine as a Profession for Women, Dr. Sophia Jex-Blake, 490

  Merriam, Mrs. Joanna L., 487

  Mesmerism, 33, 165, 166

  Meyer, Professor, 368

  Michigan (Ann Arbor), University of, 383, 489

  Minot, Dr. Francis, 498

  Moleschott, Prof., 347

  Moral Education Association of Massachusetts, 417, 418

  Morton, Dr. Helen, 253, 300, 352, 366, 370, 402, 410, 416, 437, 440,
  458, 476

  Mosher, Dr. Eliza M., 402

  Mott, Lucretia, 192

  Mott, Mr. and Mrs., 135

  Müller, Dr., 17, 18, 19, 42, 44

  Müller, Dr. Johannes, 44

  Müller, Prof., 58, 68, 69, 70, 124

  Mumford, Rev. Mr., 153

  Murdock, James, 153

  New England Female Medical College, 150, 236-286, 291, 292, 293
    Boston Female Medical School, 247, 248, 249
    Female Medical Education Society, Boston, 248, 249
    Clinical Department of, 243-285
    Opened, 244, 252
    Training for nurses, 361
    Closed, 285
    College merged with Boston University Medical College, 285

  New England Hospital for Women and Children,
    Founded, 293
    Incorporated, 294, 295
    First board of directors, 486, 487
    First location, 293; Second location, 329
    First woman in America listed officially as specializing in surgery
    (being appointed assistant surgeon), 336
    First General Training
    School for Nurses regularly organized in America, 363
    First Hospital Social Service in America established, 365
    First woman in America appointed as attending surgeon on a hospital
    staff, 369
    First District Nursing Service in America established, 411
    Graduation of first regularly trained nurse in America, 364
    List of medical men on the consulting staff during the lifetime of
    Dr. Zakrzewska, 498
    Main building of Hospital named “The Zakrzewska Building,” 471
    New buildings (third location) opened, 356
    Plans receive award at Centennial International Exhibition, 371
    Purposes, 295
    Resident students required to have degree of M.D., 411

  New England Hospital Medical Society, 385, 395, 401, 496

  New England Women’s Club, 375

  New England Woman’s Medical Society, 496

  New Hospital for Women (London), 409

  Newton, Sir Isaac, 481, 482

  New York Infirmary for Women and Children, 109, 112, 114, 130, 149,
  182-190, 193, 196, 206-219, 227-229, 233, 234, 238, 239, 257, 293,
  360, 374, 487, 489
    Woman’s Medical College of the, 348, 350, 375, 376, 399

  New York Times, 184, 203, 230

  New York Tribune, 204

  New York University of Medicine, 310

  New York “Woman’s Hospital,” 225

  Nichols, Miss, 301

  Nightingale, Florence, 57, 197, 206

  Nurses, first regularly organized Training School in America for, 363

  Ohio Female Medical Education Society (Cleveland), 485

  Open Court, The, 442

  Osgood, Dr. C. H., 498

  Pagelson (Tiburtius), Dr. Henriette, 432

  Palmer, Mrs. Mary A. S. (Mrs. J. K.), 487

  Pareus, 261

  Paris Maternité, 279, 308, 370, 490

  Parker, Theodore, 133, 151, 153, 244

  Parker, Dr. Willard, 222, 347

  Parkman, Miss Mary Jane, 186, 244, 365

  Peabody, Miss Elizabeth P., 197, 201

  Peile Hall, Cambridge (England), 480

  Pennsylvania, Female Medical College of, _see_ Pennsylvania, Woman’s
  Medical College of

  Pennsylvania State Medical Society, 129, 390

  Pennsylvania, University of, 379

  Pennsylvania, Woman’s Medical College of (Philadelphia), 67, 69, 105,
  126, 128, 137, 191, 195, 224, 278, 279, 310, 374, 376, 402, 488, 489,
  496, 497

  Phalanstery (Eagleswood, N. J.), 201

  Philadelphia County Medical Society, 128, 278, 310

  Philadelphia Woman’s Medical College, _see_ Pennsylvania, Woman’s
  Medical College of

  Philadelphia, Woman’s Hospital of, 192, 279, 374, 496

  Phillips, Wendell, 151, 153, 244

  Physiological Society (Cleveland), 121, 124, 125

  Pioneer, The, 488

  Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women, by Dr.
  Elizabeth Blackwell, 111

  Pope, Colonel A. A., 468

  Pope, Drs. Augusta and Emily, 417, 458, 468, 497

  Porter, Dr., 203

  Prang family, 458, 460

  Preston, Dr. Ann, 191, 240, 278, 358, 373

  Priestley, Dr., 310

  Putnam, Dr. C. G., 332

  Putnam, Dr. J. J ., 498

  Putnam Jacobi, Dr. Mary, _see_ Jacobi, Dr. Mary Putnam

  Quaker friends of the New York Infirmary, The, 185, 210

  Reade, Charles, 490

  Reisig, Dr., 84

  Remington, Professor Joseph P., 485

  Restelle, Madame, 180

  Richards, Miss Linda A., 364

  Richards, Professor, 481

  Richardson, Dr. Maurice H., 498

  Ripley, George, 199, 200, 204

  Rock Garden, 458

  Rolfe, Dr. E. C., 498

  Rose, Mrs. Ernestine L., 202

  Royal Free Hospital (London), 406, 408, 409

  Royal Hospital Charité (Berlin), 36, 40, 43, 100, 172, 254, 484

  Russell, Dr. LeBaron, 385

  Russell, Mrs. George R., 476

  Russell, Mrs. Sarah Shaw, 244, 245

  Russell, Thomas, 487

  Schmidt, Dr. Joseph Hermann, 36, 37, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46,
  48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 67, 69, 107, 332

  Schmidt, Mrs. Joseph Hermann, 40, 53, 54, 62, 69, 70

  School for Midwives (Berlin), 36, 38, 43, 56

  Sedgwick, Miss Catherine, 107, 201, 203

  Sedgwick, Theodore, 108

  Seelye, Dr., 142, 143

  Severance, Mrs. Caroline M., 121, 122, 123, 124, 125, 134, 137, 138,
  142, 154, 186, 190, 460, 485, 487

  Sewall, Dr. Lucy E., 192, 253, 295, 299, 314, 335, 339, 345, 348, 349,
  350, 351, 352, 363, 366, 370, 402, 416, 437, 440, 476

  Sewall, Hon. Samuel E., 192, 236, 244, 250, 281, 283, 285, 294, 298,
  299, 440

  Sewall, Joseph, 192

  Shattuck, Dr. F. C., 498

  Shaw, Mrs. Robert G., 203, 244, 353, 476

  Shepard, Mrs., 125, 131, 142

  Siegemund, Justina Ditrichin, 36, 37, 261, 263

  Simpson, Dr., 310

  Sims, Dr. J. Marion, 224, 225, 226, 274, 275, 276

  Sister Catherine, 41, 43, 44, 56, 57, 58, 100, 101, 102, 103, 105

  Smith, Dr. Mary A., 383, 410

  Smith, Mrs. Elizabeth Oakes, 199, 215

  Social Service in America, First Hospital, 365

  Somerville, Mrs., 392, 405

  Somnambulism, 30, 31, 166

  Spiritualism, 31, 138, 166, 179, 201

  Sprague, Miss Julia A., 296, 297, 301, 304, 311, 368, 458, 477

  Spring, Marcus, 201

  Spring, Mrs. Marcus, 198, 203

  Springfield Republican, The, 481

  Stephenson, John H., 487

  Stevens, Miss Hannah, 151

  Stevenson, Dr. Sarah Hackett, 344

  St. Bartholomew’s Hospital (London), 406

  St. Thomas’ Hospital (London), 406

  Stone, Mrs. Lucy, 181, 198, 202

  Storer, Dr. Horatio R., 295, 310, 332, 335, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343

  Story of My Life, The, by Dr. J. Marion Sims, 225, 274

  Stowe, Mrs. Harriet Beecher, 244

  Stuart, Henri L., 226

  Suffolk District Medical Society (Boston), 389, 394

  Survey, The, 489

  Tarbell, Dr. G. G., 498

  Taylor, Bayard, 153

  Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, 442, 482

  Thompson, Chicago Hospital for Women and Children, Mary, 345, 488, 489

  Thompson, Dr. Mary Harris, 253, 345, 488, 489

  Tiburtius, Dr. Henriette P., _see_ Dr. Henriette Pagelson

  Tolman, James, 487

  Trained nurses in America, _see_ Nurses

  Training School for Nurses in America, first regularly organized
  general, 363

  Transcendentalism, 132, 198

  Tudor, Mrs. F. Fenno, 244

  Tuthill, Dr. and Mrs., 203

  Tuthill, Miss Sarah, 203

  Tyng, Dr. Anita E., 253, 309, 336, 338, 351, 487, 488

  Unitarians, 138, 146

  Universalists, 138, 146

  University, Harvard, 400, 401

  University, Johns Hopkins, _see_ Johns Hopkins University

  University Medical School, Harvard, _see_ Harvard University Medical

  University of Berne, 350, 489
    Bologna, 111
    Cambridge (Eng.), 480
    Edinburgh, 130, 350
    Florence, 111
    Giessen, 111
    Marburg, 111
    Michigan, 383, 497
    Paris, 399
    Pennsylvania, 379
    Zurich, 346, 347, 383, 496

  Vaughan, Miss Virginia, 159, 160

  Vaughan, Mrs. C., 152, 153, 154

  Virchow’s Cellular Pathology, 175

  von Graefe, Prof., 347

  von Raumer, Minister, 68

  Ware, Dr. John, 254, 255, 256, 498

  Weld, Angelina Grimké (Mrs. Theodore), 149, 150, 198, 201

  Weld, Theodore, 201

  Western Reserve University Medical School (Cleveland Medical College),
  115, 121, 123, 124, 125, 126, 127, 131, 134, 163, 168-170, 171, 174,
  175, 394

  White, Mrs. Mary G., 487

  Whitman, Walt, 167

  Whitney, Dr. W. F., 498

  Whitney, Miss Anne, 197

  Willey, Mr. and Mrs. G., 152, 177

  Withington, Dr. C. F., 498

  Woman, First in America listed officially as specializing in surgery,
    First in America appointed as attending surgeon on a hospital staff,

  Woman Hater, The, Charles Reade, 490

  Woman in Medicine, Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi, 339

  Woman’s Hospital, New York, _see_ New York Woman’s Hospital

  Woman’s Hospital, Philadelphia, _see_ Philadelphia, Woman’s Hospital

  Woman’s Journal, The, 322, 428

  Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, _see_ Pennsylvania, Woman’s
  Medical College of

  Woman’s Medical College of the New York Infirmary, 348, 350, 375, 376,

  Woman’s Medical Society, New England, _see_ New England Woman’s
  Medical Society

  Woman’s Rights Movement, 47, 131, 134, 138, 153, 156, 157, 202, 212,
  245, 297, 459, 488

  Woman’s Rights Movement in London, 410

  Woman’s Right to Labor, A Practical Illustration of, by Caroline H.
  Dall, xi, 59, 60, 256

  Women and Children, Chicago Hospital for, _see_ Chicago Hospital for
  Women and Children

  Women and Children, New England Hospital for, _see_ New England
  Hospital for Women and Children

  Women and Children, New York Infirmary for, _see_ New York Infirmary
  for Women and Children

  Women of attainment, Why not monuments in Westminster Abbey to
  English, 404

  Women physicians in England, Training of, compared with that in
  America, 405-409

  Women’s Club, New England, _see_ New England Women’s Club

  Women’s, Club, Worcester (Mass.), 436

  Women’s College, Newnham (Cambridge, Eng.), 480

  Worcester (Mass.), Women’s Club, _see_ Women’s Club, Worcester

  Wright, Mrs., 134

  Würtzer, Dr., 224

  Wyman, Dr. Morrill, 385, 392

  Zakrzewska, Marie E., M.D.
    birth, 4
    ancestry, 483
    recollections of early childhood, 3-7
    beginning of school life,
      conflicts, friendships, prizes,
      contacts with mental and physical illness, her mother begins
       training as midwife,
      begins to read medical books, 8-25
    end of school life, resorts to father’s library, 26
    training in housework, dressmaking, nursing, French, housekeeping
     and assisting in mother’s practice, 26-34
    studies midwifery privately under Professor Schmidt, 36
    enters school at Royal Hospital Charité as student and assistant
     teacher, 42
    repeatedly declines father’s choice for marriage, 51, 66
    appointed _Accoucheuse en chef_, 52, 65
    resigns position and emigrates to America to organize a woman’s
     hospital, 66-72
    arrives in New York, 73-83
    disappointed in professional plans she becomes self-supporting in
     business, 83-105, 115-118
    her meeting with Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell reopens the medical path,
     108-110, 114
    assists Dr. Blackwell in dispensary of New York Infirmary, 114-115
    enters Western Reserve Medical College (Cleveland), 123
      learns details of the professional and social opposition to women
       physicians, students and practitioners, 125-131
      meets men and women noted in all phases of advanced thought, 134,
       138, 146, 149-153, 160
      first visit to Boston, 149
      receives degree of M.D., 168
      returns to New York where no one is willing to rent her an office,
        begins practice in Dr. Blackwell’s house, 181;
        and finds the Infirmary dispensary closed, 182
      successful visit to Boston to seek money to reopen the dispensary
       and to establish the hospital department, 190-191
    visit to Philadelphia decides those interested in the Woman’s
     Medical College to establish also a hospital, 191, 192
    entrée into the varied social circles of New York, 196-204, 220-222
      becomes resident physician and superintendent of the finally
       opened New York Infirmary, 209-211
        incidents in hospital management, in teaching and in practice,
        experiences in mobbing of Infirmary and in neighborhood fires,
         218-219, 227, 233
        meeting with Dr. J. Marion Sims and observation of his
         interpretation of the New York Woman’s Hospital’s by-law
         calling for the appointment of a woman physician on the staff,
        definitely begins training of nurses, 212, 228
        health begins to show effect of overstrain, 230, 234, 239, 244
    removes to Boston to become a member of the faculty of the New
     England Female Medical College, 239
      is appointed professor of obstetrics and diseases of women and
       children, 238, 259
      establishes the Clinical Department (hospital) of which she
       becomes the head, and in which she continues the definite
       training of nurses, 243, 252, 361
      tries to elevate the standards of the college and insists students
       must be trained practically as well as theoretically, 250-252,
      is refused admission to the Massachusetts Medical Society because
       of her sex, 277, 394
      establishes a temporary asylum for infants, 280
      continuing unable to raise the standards of the college, she
       resigns from the faculty and the hospital is discontinued,
    founds the New England Hospital for Women and Children and becomes
     resident, attending and dispensary physician and in charge of the
     out-practice, 293, 294
      details of out-practice; night calls, 328, 329
      continuous growth of this hospital and addition of assisting and
       coöperating medical women necessitate moving to larger quarters
       and favor her plans for specially designed buildings, 329, 333,
       334, 352-354, 356-360, 493-495
      she buys a horse and carriage, 335
      for a second time she is refused admission to the Massachusetts
       Medical Society because of her sex, 394
      opening of the new hospital buildings enables her to expand her
       already existing training school into the first general training
       school for nurses regularly organized in America, this school
       being under the direction of Dr. Susan A. Dimock, 360-364
      serious effects of overwork oblige her to take first vacation in
       fifteen years; goes to Europe, 366-368
      joins in the movement to check tendency towards the lowering of
       standards for the medical education of women, and towards opening
       to women the great medical schools of America, 373-387, 398-399,
       401-403, 424-428, 435-437, 448
      assists in forming the New England Hospital Medical Society and
       becomes its first president, 385
      declines to apply a third time for admission to the Massachusetts
       Medical Society, this society now deciding to admit women,
      goes to Europe again for vacation and investigates the progress of
       medical women in England, 404-411
      resigns as attending physician, becoming advisory physician, 416
    her private life, 457-466
      celebrates her seventieth birthday, 470
      her acceptance of the inevitable, 471-474
      her death, 474
      her farewell message, 474-478
    addresses, letters and writings,
      The Study of Medicine, 259
      Hospitals; Their History, Designs and Needs, 312
      On the Problem of the Doctor in Charging Fees, 315
      On Charity, 315
      On the Golden Rule, 316
      A Lesson, 316
      Another True Story, 322
      The Medical Education of Women, 375
      A Moral Code for Women, 417
      Should Women Study Medicine?, 424
      What’s in a Name?, 428
      The Emancipation of Woman: Will It Be a Success?, 442
      Letters to Dr. Lucy E. Sewall, 300-312, 348, 367, 412
      On the opening of the new buildings of the New England Hospital,
      On the question of Harvard University opening a separate medical
       school for women, 380
      Declining to apply a third time for admission to the Massachusetts
       Medical Society, having been refused twice on account of her sex,
      Should medicines which cause anesthesia, emesis or prostration
       ever be administered to refractory prisoners to enforce obedience
       through their action?, 396
      Letter to Mrs. Cheney and others, 404
      On the absence in Westminster Abbey of any monument to a woman
       of attainment, 405
      On the abuse of the word “lady,” 405
      On the progress of medical women in England, 405
      Comparison between earlier and later women medical students, 413
      On the increasing work of the Hospital under women surgeons, 438
      On her attitude as a critic, 447
      Against the admission to the New England Hospital of women
       students of the Boston University Medical School (that being then
       a school of homeopathy), 448
      On the reciprocal relation of the medical staff and the board of
       directors of the New England Hospital, 449
      On a question of hospital discipline, 451
      Letter to an ambitious colleague whose feelings have been hurt,
      On the relation of the Dispensary to confidence in women surgeons,
      On the laying of the corner stone of the Ednah D. Cheney surgical
       building, 469
      Farewell message to be read at her funeral service, 474

  Zurich, University of, _see_ University of Zurich


Transcriber’s Notes

Page 120: “to lecures in 1851” changed to “to lectures in 1851”

Page 327: “especially on rainly days” changed to “especially on rainy

Missing period were added at the end of a few sentences.

The index reference for Dr. Elder was corrected to 211 (instead of 21).

Footnotes 28 and 29 were numbered and moved to the Notes section with
the other footnotes. All other footnote numbers have been retained as
in the original, though they appear out of sequence in the original

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