ISBN-10:
0674005678
ISBN-13:
9780674005679
Pub. Date:
03/16/2001
Publisher:
Harvard
Restoring the Balance: Women Physicians and the Profession of Medicine, 1850-1995 / Edition 1

Restoring the Balance: Women Physicians and the Profession of Medicine, 1850-1995 / Edition 1

by Ellen S. More

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Overview

Restoring the Balance: Women Physicians and the Profession of Medicine, 1850-1995 / Edition 1

From about 1850, American women physicians won gradual acceptance from male colleagues and the general public, primarily as caregivers to women and children. By 1920, they represented approximately five percent of the profession. But within a decade, their niche in American medicine—women's medical schools and medical societies, dispensaries for women and children, women's hospitals, and settlement house clinics—had declined. The steady increase of women entering medical schools also halted, a trend not reversed until the 1960s. Yet, as women's traditional niche in the profession disappeared, a vanguard of women doctors slowly opened new paths to professional advancement and public health advocacy.

Drawing on rich archival sources and her own extensive interviews with women physicians, Ellen More shows how the Victorian ideal of balance influenced the practice of healing for women doctors in America over the past 150 years. She argues that the history of women practitioners throughout the twentieth century fulfills the expectations constructed within the Victorian culture of professionalism. Restoring the Balance demonstrates that women doctors—collectively and individually—sought to balance the distinctive interests and culture of women against the claims of disinterestedness, scientific objectivity, and specialization of modern medical professionalism. That goal, More writes, reaffirmed by each generation, lies at the heart of her central question: what does it mean to be a woman physician?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674005679
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 03/16/2001
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Ellen S. More is Head of the Office of Medical History and Archives at Lamar Soutter Library and Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Restoring the Balance?

The Professionalism of Sarah Dolley, M.D.

Gendered Practices: Late Victorian Medicine in the Women's Sphere

Maternalist Medicine: Women Physicians in the Progressive Era

Redefining the Margins: Women Physicians and American Hospitals,1900-1939

Getting Organized:The Medical Women's National Association and World War I

New Directions: The Eclipse of Maternalist Medicine

Resisting the "Feminine Mystique," 1938-1968

Medicine and the New Women's Movement

Conclusion: Reconciling Equality and Difference

Notes

Index

What People are Saying About This

Forget the sentimental claptrap of triumph, tragedy, or the impossibility of 'having it all' for women physicians. Ellen More provides us with a nuanced and fascinating chronicle that interweaves the individual life stories of a diverse sample of women doctors with the institution-building and cultural shifts that have shaped the histories of women physicians over the last century. At last, here is a book that brings the history of medicine and women physicians into the contemporary period, exploring the pressures for separatism, assimilation, maternalist medicine, the differences of racialized experiences, and the modern women's movement in one intriguing, thoughtful, and very readable account.

Judith Walzer Leavitt

Ellen More practices what she preaches. Just as she writes in this book that the history of women in medicine represents a constant search for balance, between personal, community, and professional interests, More balances her own account between wonderful individual stories of medical women's lives and a flowing narrative of the ups and downs of their collective professional history over 150 years. There is lots to learn in this highly readable and highly recommended book.
Judith Walzer Leavitt, University of Wisconsin Medical School

Regina Morantz-Sanchez

Intelligently conceived and elegantly written, Ellen More's fresh look at the history of women physicians makes an important contribution to the increasingly vibrant field of gender and health care studies. It will appeal to historians and the general reader alike.
Regina Morantz-Sanchez, University of Michigan

Gert H. Brieger

To tell the story of women in medicine in this country over the last century and a half, More focuses on a few physicians to say something in detail about their lives, work, and the obstacles they overcame. Her emphasis on balance between the roles of women in families and in their profession is a useful one and her focus on the Women's National Association, on women in hospital settings and on the Sheppard Towner Act all make Restoring the Balance stand out from previous books on this subject. Using well chosen examples from the lives of Sarah Dolley, Mary Calderone, and others, More shows how these women responded in different ways to varying personal and social needs. This book has a great deal to say about the process of professionalization of American medicine, from a personal or individual perspective and from an institutional one.
Gert H. Brieger, Johns Hopkins University

Susan M. Reverby

Forget the sentimental claptrap of triumph, tragedy, or the impossibility of 'having it all' for women physicians. Ellen More provides us with a nuanced and fascinating chronicle that interweaves the individual life stories of a diverse sample of women doctors with the institution-building and cultural shifts that have shaped the histories of women physicians over the last century. At last, here is a book that brings the history of medicine and women physicians into the contemporary period, exploring the pressures for separatism, assimilation, maternalist medicine, the differences of racialized experiences, and the modern women's movement in one intriguing, thoughtful, and very readable account.
Susan M. Reverby, Wellesley College

Kenneth M. Ludmerer

Restoring the Balance is an exceedingly important and needed study of the history of women in the American medical profession. What is particularly notable is its focus on broad cultural factors that have impeded the work of women physicians, not merely on explicit barriers of entry to the profession. The book also contains important lessons for those who wish to advance the cause of women in medicine today. This is a major contribution to the history of medicine that should prove enduring.
Kenneth M. Ludmerer, M.D., Washington University

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