Sympathy and Science: Women Physicians in American Medicine / Edition 1

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When first published in 1985, Sympathy and Science was hailed as a groundbreaking study of women in medicine. It remains the most comprehensive history of American women physicians available. Tracing the participation of women in the medical profession from the colonial period to the present, Regina Morantz-Sanchez examines women's roles as nurses, midwives, and practitioners of folk medicine in early America; recounts their successful struggles in the nineteenth century to enter medical schools and found their own institutions and organizations; and follows female physicians into the twentieth century, exploring their efforts to sustain significant and rewarding professional lives without sacrificing the other privileges and opportunities of womanhood.

In a new preface, the author surveys recent scholarship and comments on the changing world of women in medicine over the past two decades. Despite extraordinary advances, she concludes, women physicians continue to grapple with many of the issues that troubled their predecessors.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Kathleen G. Rawls, RN, BA, MA (Irvine Valley College)
Description: This is a history of American women physicians and their struggle for acceptance in the patriarchal medical profession. First published in 1985, this book has been republished with a new preface reviewing subsequent scholarship on the subject.
Purpose: This book contributes to the field of women's history by using methodologies emerging from the new social history of medicine. It contains an invaluable bibliographic essay on secondary sources.
Audience: The intended audience is historians, women physicians, and the lay public.
Features: This remains an important work on women in medicine because it successfully combines "medicine as an artifact of culture" with "the relationship of women to public and private life." Beginning with colonial women in healthcare, the book outlines the history of the emerging medical profession within the context of changing gender roles in American society. Morantz-Sanchez uses her own experience in a male dominated academic profession to shape her inquiry into the challenges faced by women physicians. Through a study of institutional archives, as well as case studies of representative female doctors such as Elizabeth Blackwell and Mary Putnam Jacobi, the author discusses the strategies employed by women to gain entrance into medicine.
Assessment: Fifteen years after the original publication, some of the issues presented here reflect more "dated" aspects of analysis. For example, the author seems compelled to cast women doctors as "feminists" by virtue of their actions even if some of them eschew feminism. Why women physicians should be seen as feminists is not persuasively explored. Yet, this book ultimately succeeds in demonstrating ways in which women's history has moved beyond the search for feminist role models through a comprehensive analysis of power plays affecting women's advancement in a male dominated profession.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807848906
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 7.54 (w) x 6.68 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Regina Morantz-Sanchez is professor of history at the University of Michigan. Her books include Conduct Unbecoming a Woman: Medicine on Trial in Turn-of-the-Century Brooklyn and In Her Own Words: Oral Histories of Women Physicians.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Chapter 1: Colonial Beginnings: Public Men and Private Women 8
Chapter 2: The Middle-Class Woman Finds Health Reform 28
Chapter 3: Bringing Science into the Home: Women Enter the Medical Profession 47
Chapter 4: Separate but Equal: Medical Education for Women in the Nineteenth Century 64
Chapter 5: Women and the Profession: The Doctor as a Lady 90
Chapter 6: The Woman Professional: The Lady as a Doctor 144
Chapter 7: Science, Morality, and Women Doctors: Mary Putnam Jacobi and Elizabeth Blackwell as Representative Types 184
Chapter 8: Doctors and Patients: Gender and Medical Treatment in Nineteenth-Century America 203
Chapter 9: Hopes Unfulfilled: Women Physicians and the Social Transformation of American Medicine 232
Chapter 10: The Emergence of Social Medicine: Women's Work in the Profession 266
Chapter 11: Integration in Name Only 312
Chapter 12
Quo Vadis? 351
Appendix: Notes on Methodology 363
Bibliography 369
Notes 379
Index 449
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