Sympathy and Science: Women Physicians in American Medicine

Sympathy and Science: Women Physicians in American Medicine

by Regina Morantz-Sanchez
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

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,

Overview

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.

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807876084
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
10/12/2005
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
504
File size:
1 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
An absorbing and richly detailed account. The author . . . is especially good at detailing the many currents and counter-currents that affected the course of women seeking professional careers. . . . More than a feminist/medical history, this is an excellent reflection on the changing scene of American culture and values.—Kirkus Reviews

This is the first study to examine these events in the proper context and to connect the masculinization of medicine with two other transformations, scientific and professional. It also tells a good story, with anecdotes as well as generalizations and with neither exaggeration nor simplification.—New York Times Book Review

A landmark in the field. . . . It will have perceptible impact on feminism, on historical scholarship, and on medicine itself.—Women's Review of Books

In this book, the author accomplishes what historians have attempted to do with only partial success: she delineates the intricate role of women physicians in America from Victorian times to the present without demeaning their struggles toward two ideals that often seem to be in conflict: feminism and femininity. In this elegant study, Morantz-Sanchez analyzes what made these women tick, as professionals, as doctors, and as women.—New England Journal of Medicine

This careful and well-documented study deserves to be read by historians and members of the medical profession. It raises important issues that absorbed women doctors in the past—separatism, balancing family and career, specialty choices, professionalism, uniqueness—most of which continue to challenge women in the profession today. It is thoughtful and scholarly, as well as very readable, and it is highly recommended.—Isis

An incisive history of the struggle of women to become doctors in this country. . . . Besides its feminist interest, [the book] opens out into general considerations of the medical profession today.—Newsweek

A work of major significance. It is an important contribution to what ought to continue to be a dynamic exploration into the history of women doctors in America.—Journal of American History

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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >