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Byford, William Heath (20 March 1817–21 May 1890), gynecologist and advocate of medical education for women, was born in Eaton, Ohio, the son of Henry Byford, a mechanic, and Hannah Swain. Henry Byford moved his family to southwestern Indiana shortly after William’s birth and died there nine years later. Young William did odd jobs to help out, but about 1830 Hannah Byford had to move the family to her father’s farm in Crawford County, Illinois. During the next few years William often asked to be allowed to learn a trade to help support the family and improve his own prospects. He finally became apprenticed to a tailor, who moved away two years later. At this time William decided on medicine for his career, although he never mentioned the reason. His reading and studies in chemistry, physiology, and natural history may have steered him in this direction....

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Chadwick, James Read (02 November 1844–23 September 1905), gynecologist and medical librarian, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Christopher Champlin Chadwick and Louisa Read, the daughter of a well-to-do Boston merchant. James was named after his grandfather, with whom in 1844 his father entered into partnership as domestic goods commission merchants, the firm of Read and Chadwick then commencing a period of great prosperity. James Read Chadwick was educated in the Boston schools and at Harvard College, graduating with an A.B. in 1865. After an extended trip abroad, he entered the Harvard Medical School in 1867 and received an M.D. in 1871, submitting a thesis on tracheotomy, as illustrated by cases in the records of the Massachusetts General Hospital. That same year he married Katherine M. Lyman, daughter of Dr. George H. Lyman, one of the pioneers in Boston in treating the diseases of women, a field in which Chadwick then began to train. The couple had four children....

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Dickinson, Robert Latou (21 February 1861–29 November 1950), gynecologist and sexologist, was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Horace Dickinson, a hat manufacturer, and Jeannette Latou. During Dickinson’s childhood the family business was located in Brooklyn, New York, where the Dickinsons and Latous were civic and cultural leaders. Dickinson enjoyed a privileged childhood in Brooklyn Heights, with summers on an uncle’s Connecticut farm. When he was twelve, his father took the family to Europe for four years, during which the children were privately tutored and attended schools in Switzerland and Germany. The Dickinsons returned to the United States in 1876. Robert entered Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and completed the equivalent of the last years of high school in 1879....

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Hurd-Mead, Kate Campbell (06 April 1867–01 January 1941), gynecologist and women's historian, gynecologist and women’s historian, was born Kate Campbell Hurd in Danville, Quebec, Canada, the daughter of Edward Payson Hurd, a physician, and Sara Elizabeth Campbell. Hurd’s family moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1870; there her father, who served as an inspiration to her own medical career, established a medical practice, held a professorship in a Boston medical school, and served on the editorial board of two leading medical magazines. Hurd pursued two years of private tutorials after her 1883 high school graduation in Newburyport before enrolling in the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She received an M.D. in 1888, some thirty-seven years after the college awarded its first medical degree to a woman. She interned the following year at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston. This hospital, founded in 1862, had, by Hurd’s time, gained a national reputation for being what medical historian Regina Markell Morantz-Sanchez has dubbed the “showplace for quality medical care” administered by women. Under the leadership of ...