Sympathy and Science by Regina Markell Morantz-Sanchez
Women Physicians in American Medicine

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This book is not only a groundbreaking study of the role of women in the American medical profession, but a fascinating glimpse into how medicine was taught and practiced in the last century.
Proceeding from the colonial period--when women participated in healing as nurses, midwives, and practitioners of folk medicine--to their struggle in the 19th-century to enter medical schools, the book charts the emergence in our own time of women as full-fledged medical professionals. The author analyzes the contributions of pioneers in medical education such as Mary Putnam Jacobi and Elizabeth Blackwell as well as prominent researchers such as Florence Sabin and Anna Wessel Williams (who isolated a strain of diptheria named for her male superior despite the fact that he was on vacation at the time). Yet also of crucial interest to both scholars and the general reader are the stories of dozens of ordinary, everyday physicians told through extensive quotation from letters, diaries and memoirs.
Equally compelling is the way in which this book overturns many typical assumptions about women in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The author reveals that some parents were remarkably even-handed in their treatment of sons and daughters, and were actually quite supportive of their daughters' professional ambitions. Also significant was the help that women doctors were married, some quite happily. Three times as many female doctors married as compared with other generally employed women of their day. And in what may be the most controversial aspect of the study, the author argues that many women physicians trained as professionals were guided by prevailing professional values, even when those included traditional attitudes towards women's bodies. At the same time others were able to draw on their unique social perspective as women to see the incongruity between male-defined belief systems and female experience.
About the Author:
Regina Markell Morantz-Sanchez is Associate Professor of History at the University of Kansas and author of In Her Own Words: Oral Histories of Women Physicians.

About Regina Markell Morantz-Sanchez

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Published August 28, 2000 by The University of North Carolina Press. 504 pages
Genres: History, Professional & Technical, Education & Reference, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction