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Baker, Sara Josephine (15 November 1873–22 February 1945), physician and public health administrator, was born in Poughkeepsie, New York, the daughter of Orlando Daniel Mosher Baker, an eminent lawyer, and Jenny Harwood Brown, one of the first Vassar College graduates. In her autobiography Baker described her father, who came from Quaker stock, as a sober, quiet man who “never uttered an unnecessary word,” while her mother, “gay, social and ambitious,” traced her ancestry back to Samuel Danforth, one of the founders of Harvard College. A happy child, Baker drew inspiration from both parents. Wishing to make it up to her father for not being born a boy, she became an enthusiastic baseball player and trout-fisher and read ...

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Barrus, Clara (08 August 1864–04 April 1931), physician and author, was born in Port Byron, New York, the daughter of John William Barrus, a traveling salesman, and Sarah Randall, a schoolteacher. She began her education at the Port Byron Academy, where three years before her graduation she decided to become a physician. She felt women physicians were scarce and were needed to “treat modest girls who refused treatment from a man” ( ...

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Bass, Mary Elizabeth (05 April 1876–26 January 1956), physician, medical educator, and historian, was born in Carley, Mississippi, the daughter of Isaac Esau Bass and Mary Eliza Wilkes. She grew up in Marion County, where her father operated a gristmill and dry goods store. The 1890s economic depression bankrupted Isaac Bass, and the family moved to Lumberton, Mississippi, to invest in pecan orchards. The Basses were pious Baptists and active in civic concerns....

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Cleaves, Margaret Abigail (25 November 1848–13 November 1917), physician, was born in Columbus City, Iowa, the daughter of John Trow Cleaves, a and Elizabeth Stronach. As a child, Margaret often accompanied her father on his rounds. She attended the University of Iowa in Iowa City but was unable to complete her baccalaureate degree for financial reasons. Alternately, she taught school and attended classes until she began reading medicine and entered the medical department of the University of Iowa in 1870. She received her medical degree in 1873, graduating at the head of her class....

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Leverton, Ruth M. (23 March 1908–14 September 1982), scientist and dietitian, was born Ruth Mandeville Leverton in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the daughter of Ernest Richard Leverton, an engineer, and Helen Ruth Mandeville Leverton. The family moved often because of her father's career. After her high school senior year in Deadwood, South Dakota, they moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, where she began studying at the University of Nebraska....

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Lozier, Clemence Sophia (11 December 1813–26 April 1888), physician and reformer, was born Clemence Sophia Harned in Plainfield, New Jersey, the daughter of David Harned, a farmer and Methodist, and Hannah Walker, an informal medical practitioner and Quaker. As a child Clemence acquired an interest in medicine from her physician brother and from her mother, who had learned traditional healing practices from American Indians. Her mother, realizing that her daughter had a quick mind, began teaching her healing skills. The lessons ended when her mother died and eleven-year-old Clemence was sent to school at Plainfield Academy....

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Macfarlane, Catharine (07 April 1877–27 May 1969), physician and educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John James Macfarlane and Henrietta Ottinger Huston, educators. Macfarlane was encouraged by her mother to pursue a career in science: “My choice of medicine as a profession was influenced almost entirely by my mother, a woman of rare wisdom and judgment,” she wrote in 1947. At the age of fifteen Macfarlane was sent to Germany to attend the Girls’ School in Leipzig. Upon her return to Philadelphia in 1893, she entered the University of Pennsylvania, from which she received a certificate in biology in 1895. In 1898 Macfarlane earned her M.D. from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP) in Philadelphia, after which she served a one-year internship at the Woman’s Hospital of Philadelphia, followed by postgraduate study in gynecological urology at Johns Hopkins University. Further education included study with several of the most prominent figures in obstetrics and gynecology of her time at the Royal Charité, Berlin (obstetrics); Frauenklinik, University of Vienna (gynecology); and Radium Hemmet, Stockholm (radiology)....

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McLean, Mary Hancock (28 February 1861–17 May 1930), physician and missionary, was born in Washington, Missouri, the daughter of Elijah McLean, a physician, and Mary Stafford. She enjoyed a privileged childhood. Her father wanted her to succeed academically; he hired a private tutor and provided Mary with an ample allowance throughout her life. At age thirteen she enrolled at Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri. In 1878 she transferred to Vassar College, from which she graduated two years later. McLean aspired to be a physician like her father and was accepted at the University of Michigan Medical School, an institution then more receptive than others to female students....

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Mosher, Eliza Maria (02 October 1846–16 October 1928), physician and health educator, was born in Cayuga County, New York, the daughter of Augustus Mosher, a farmer, and Maria Sutton. Her parents were educated Quakers who were interested in antebellum reform. An early penchant for nursing, resulting from rather harrowing experiences with family sickness and death, convinced Mosher, while still a teenager, to become a doctor. Her enthusiasm, coupled with the fact that three women schoolmates entered medicine, softened her mother’s initial opposition. Mosher began reading medicine with her family physician and in 1868 became one of five intern-apprentices at the female-run New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston. A year later she returned to Boston for a six-month term as assistant to Dr. ...

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Picotte, Susan La Flesche (17 June 1866–18 September 1915), physician, was born on the Omaha reservation in Nebraska, the daughter of Joseph La Flesche, a half French chief of the Omahas, and Mary Gale, who was half British. In keeping with her parents’ “progressive” ideas, Susan was educated at mission schools on the reservation, at a women’s seminary in New Jersey, and at Hampton Institute, the famous industrial school for freed slaves, then experimenting with providing education for Indians....