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Clara Barrus. At Woodchuck Lodge. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103953).


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” ( ...


Jacobi, Mary Corinna Putnam (31 August 1842–10 June 1906), physician, medical educator, and writer, was born in London, England, the daughter of George Palmer Putnam, a publisher, and Victorine Haven. George Putnam was in London to establish a British office for his firm. The family returned to New York in 1847 when Putnam’s partnership ended, and he started his own company. First of eleven children, Jacobi was a precocious child who determined early that she would be a physician, even though few women physicians existed. Her early education was primarily at home, although two years at the new school for girls on Twelfth Street, from which she graduated in 1859, stimulated her writing. Already an accomplished writer at seventeen, she had a story, “Found and Lost,” published in the ...


Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth (08 July 1926–24 August 2004), psychiatrist and writer on death and dying, was born in Zurich, Switzerland, to Ernst Kübler, a business executive, and Emmy Villiger Kübler. The eldest of triplet sisters, she also had an older brother. The household was conservative and rigorously Protestant, and the children were raised to be self-disciplined and obedient. Elisabeth had a sickly childhood, and frequent hospitalizations, as well as exposure to dying friends and neighbors, gave her an early acquaintance with mortality, a fact she later cited to explain the inception of her professional interest in death....