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Barrows, Isabel (17 April 1845–25 October 1913), ophthalmologist, stenographer, and reformer, was born Katharine Isabel Hayes in Irasburg, Vermont, the daughter of Scottish immigrants Henry Hayes, a physician, and Anna Gibb, a schoolteacher. The family moved to Hartland and then Derry, New Hampshire, where Isabel Hayes graduated from Adams Academy. In 1863 she married William Wilberforce Chapin, a Congregational minister. The following year the couple traveled to India for a missionary assignment. Less than a year after arriving in India, William Chapin died of diphtheria. Six months later Isabel Chapin returned to the United States. She moved to Dansville, New York, where she worked as a bath assistant at a water-cure sanatorium....

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Harry Benjamin. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02717).

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Benjamin, Harry (12 January 1885–24 August 1986), physician, endocrinologist, and sex researcher, was born in Berlin, Germany, the son of Julius Benjamin, a banker, and Bertha Hoffman. He became interested in human sexuality at the age of twenty, when he read August Forel’s ...

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Coit, Henry Leber (16 March 1854–12 March 1917), pediatrician, was born in Peapack, New Jersey, the son of John Summerfield Coit, a Methodist minister, and Ellen Neafie. He received his early education in Newark public schools. In 1876 he graduated class valedictorian from the College of Pharmacy in New York and then went to work as a chemist for Tarrant & Company in New York City. He worked as a chemist and taught at the College of Pharmacy while he attended the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, from which he graduated with a degree in medicine in 1883....

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Eliot, Martha May (07 April 1891–14 February 1978), pediatrician, advocate for maternal and child health, and teacher, was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, the daughter of Christopher Rhodes Eliot, a Unitarian minister, and Mary Jackson May. Eliot attended the Prince School and Miss Windsor’s School in Boston, going on to Radcliffe College, where she majored in classical literature. Having developed an interest in medicine, she also completed premedical requirements, graduating in 1913. She then applied to Harvard Medical School, which did not then admit women; having made her attempt and her point, she entered Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1914, receiving the M.D. with honors in 1918. Following an internship in medicine at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, she completed a residency in pediatrics at St. Louis Children’s Hospital (1919–1920)....

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Gradle, Henry (17 August 1855–04 April 1911), ophthalmologist and early proponent of bacteriology, was born in Friedburg, a suburb of Frankfurt-am-Main, Prussia, the son of Bernard Gradle and Rose Schottenfels Groedel. In 1859 Bernard Gradle emigrated to the United States and eventually established himself in the tobacco business in Chicago. Rose Gradle and her son moved to Darmstadt where Henry received his early education; she died in 1866 and two years later, when Henry had finished his elementary education, he joined his father in Chicago....

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Kenyon, Josephine Hemenway (10 May 1880–10 January 1965), pediatrician and health educator, was born in Auburn, New York, the daughter of Charles Carroll Hemenway, a Presbyterian minister, and Ida Eliza Shackelford. When Kenyon was eleven, the family moved to Glasgow, Missouri, where her father accepted a position as president of Pritchett College. Later she studied at Pritchett, receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1898 and a master’s degree the following year....

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Koplik, Henry (28 October 1858–30 April 1927), pediatrician, educator, and microbiologist, was born in New York City, the son of Abraham S. Koplik and Rosalie K. Prager. Koplik received his undergraduate education at the City College of New York, where he obtained his bachelor of arts degree in 1878. In 1881 Koplik completed his medical school studies at the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons in the City of New York. The following year, 1882, he served his internship at the Bellevue Hospital of New York City....

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Levi-Montalcini, Rita (22 April 1909–30 December 2012), Nobel Prize–winning neuroembryologist, was born Rita Levi in Turin, Italy, the youngest of four children of Adamo Levi, an electrical engineer and mathematician, and Adele Montalcini, a painter. She later added her mother’s maiden name to her surname. Born into a Jewish middle-class family, young Rita was aware of the different roles men and women played in the family and in society. Her caring but domineering father made all the household decisions, while her submissive mother would willingly accept her husband’s decisions without challenges. However, Rita had several women as role models or sources of inspiration. Her two aunts had doctoral degrees in literature and in mathematics, respectively, and helped foster her confidence in women’s intellectual capacity. When her governess’s tragic death from cancer inspired Rita to go into medicine, her cousin Eugenia enthusiastically supported and joined her to take up medical studies. She also had the backing of her mother and her twin sister, Paola....

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Morrow, Prince Albert (19 December 1846–17 March 1913), dermatologist, syphilologist, and reformer, was born at Mount Vernon, Kentucky, the son of William Morrow, a planter, and Mary Ann Cox. Morrow attended Cumberland College and graduated from Princeton College, Kentucky, in 1864. New York University conferred a medical degree on him in 1873. Morrow continued his studies at the École de Médicine, Paris, and in London, Berlin, and Vienna. He began his practice of dermatology and syphilology in New York in 1874. That same year he married Lucy B. Slaughter of New York City. They had six children....