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Ainsworth, Mary (01 December 1913–21 March 1999), developmental psychologist, who devised an experimental procedure called the Strange Situation to investigate attachment patterns in young children, was born Mary Dinsmore Salter in Glendale, Ohio, the daughter of Charles Salter, a successful businessman, and Mary Dinsmore Salter. She spent most of her childhood in Toronto, Canada, where she attended the University of Toronto, which awarded her a B.A. (1935), an M.A. (1936), and a Ph.D. (1939), the last two for work at the Department of Psychology. She mainly worked with the child psychologist William E. Blatz, whose security theory, research on children's emotional development, and use of naturalistic observation methods inspired her subsequent work on attachment. Mary Salter was a lecturer at the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto from 1939 until 1942, when she was commissioned in the Canadian Women's Army Corps, attaining the rank of major. In 1946 she returned to the University of Toronto as assistant professor and further developed her psychodiagnostic skills (co-authoring a book on the evaluation of results obtained with the Rorschach inkblot test in the process). In 1950 she married Leonard Ainsworth, a graduate student in psychology, and moved with him to London, England. There, she worked with the psychoanalytically trained child psychiatrist John Bowlby at the Tavistock Institute. At that time, Bowlby was investigating the detrimental effects on young children of being placed in institutions providing foster care and of prolonged separation from primary caregivers in general. Breaking with then-prevalent psychoanalytic assumptions, Bowlby intended to investigate the effects of actual life events on the course of child development. Ainsworth and Bowbly initiated a lifelong collaborative association; Ainsworth contributed two chapters to Bowlby's seminal ...

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Alexander, Hattie Elizabeth (05 April 1901–24 June 1968), microbiologist and pediatrician, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of William Bain Alexander, a merchant, and Elsie May Townsend, both of Scottish ancestry. The family remained in Baltimore throughout Alexander’s relatively happy and comfortable childhood. She attended Baltimore’s Western High School for Girls prior to enrolling in Goucher College, to which she won a partial scholarship. While at Goucher, her enthusiasm for a variety of sports—hockey, baseball, basketball—exceeded that for academics, and she was an unimpressive student. Nevertheless, she exhibited marked, though largely unapplied, skill in Dr. Jessie King’s bacteriology class, and fellow students in the Goucher yearbook declared that “ambition fires her; hygiene claims her; kindness portrays her.”...

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Andersen, Dorothy Hansine (15 May 1901–03 March 1963), pediatrician and pathologist, was born in Asheville, North Carolina, the only child of Hans Peter Andersen, a secretary for the YMCA, and Mary Louise Mason. Andersen’s father died in 1914, leaving her alone to care for her invalid mother. The two moved to Saint Johnsbury, Vermont, where Louise Andersen died six years later. At the age of nineteen Andersen, with no close relatives, became fully responsible for her own upbringing....

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Andrews, Ludie (1875–1943?), black nursing educator, was born in Milledgeville, Georgia, the daughter of a poor family. Little is known about Andrews’s parents or early years, though something clearly happened to inspire in her a desire to become a nurse. In 1901 Andrews applied to Spelman College’s MacVicar Hospital School of Nursing. On her application, she asked for financial assistance, explaining that her family could not help her pay. Her mother had a large family to support and “an old flicted husband,” who was not Andrews’s father. Andrews also said that she had been married but did not currently live with her husband and expected no support from him. Letters praising Andrews and talking about her “good moral character” that came from the pillars of Milledgeville society proved instrumental in securing Andrews’s admission....

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Anthony, Sister (15 August 1814–08 December 1897), member of the Sisters of Charity and Civil War nurse, was born Mary O’Connell in Limerick, Ireland, the daughter of William O’Connell and Catherine Murphy. After her mother’s death in about 1825, Mary and a sister emigrated to the United States, where they lived with an aunt in Maine. While still quite young, both girls were enrolled in the Ursuline convent in Charlestown, Massachusetts....

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Apgar, Virginia (07 June 1909–07 August 1974), physician, anesthesiologist, and teratologist, was born in Westfield, New Jersey, the daughter of Charles Emory Apgar, an insurance executive, and Helen May Clarke. She had two brothers, one of whom died of tuberculosis at age three. Apgar’s father conducted amateur experiments in electricity and astronomy, which stimulated her interest in science and medicine. After schooling in Westfield, Apgar attended Mount Holyoke College, obtaining her A.B. degree in 1929. She completed her M.D. at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City, in 1933. Then followed two brilliant years in surgery at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, but the department chairman, Alan Whipple, discouraged her from surgical practice. He cited the depression and financial insecurities experienced by his previous female trainees and urged her instead to consider anesthesia, not yet a medical specialty but often done by women nurse practitioners. Apgar spent six months in anesthesia training at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and six months at Bellevue Hospital in New York City before returning to Columbia-Presbyterian in 1938 as director of the Division of Anesthesiology; she was the first woman to head a medical division in that institution....

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Margaret Arnstein. Right, with Secretary of HEW Oveta Culp Hobby. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (A018286).

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Arnstein, Margaret (27 October 1904–08 October 1972), public health nurse and educator, was born Margaret Gene Arnstein in New York City, the daughter of Leo Arnstein, a successful businessman, and Elsie Nathan, a volunteer social worker. She was exposed to public health nursing at an early age by her parents, both second-generation Jewish Americans of German heritage, who were involved with ...

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Austin, Harriet N. (1825–1891), hydropathic physician and health and dress reformer, was born in Connecticut but raised in Moravia, New York. Little is known about her parentage or early life. At age twenty-six she enrolled in the first class of the coeducational American Hydropathic Institute operated by ...

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Bacon, Georgeanna Muirson Woolsey (05 November 1833–27 January 1906), Civil War nurse and philanthropist, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Charles William Woolsey, a merchant, and Jane Eliza Newton. Raised on fashionable Sheafe Street in Boston, “Georgy” attended Misses Murdock’s School. After her father’s death on a river steamer, the ...

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Bagley, Sarah George (29 April 1806–?), millworker, reformer, and physician, was born in Candia, New Hampshire, the daughter of Nathan Bagley and Rhoda Witham, farmers.

Bagley grew up in a family whose economic situation became increasingly precarious during the course of the nineteenth century. Nathan Bagley originally farmed land in Candia, which he had inherited from his father, but he later moved on to farming land in Gilford, New Hampshire. After losing litigation in 1822, he sold his land in Gilford and eventually moved to Meredith Bridge, New Hampshire (now Laconia), where he became an incorporator of the Strafford Cotton Mill Company in 1833. However, Nathan Bagley did not own a home after 1824; it was Sarah Bagley who made the down payment on a house for her family in Meredith Bridge in the 1840s. She probably used money she had saved during her stints as a factory worker in Lowell, Massachusetts....

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S. Josephine Baker. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02220).

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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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Ballard, Martha Moore (20 February 1735–19 May 1812), midwife and diarist, was born in Oxford, Massachusetts, the daughter of Elijah Moore and Dorothy Learned, farmers and innkeepers. Nothing is known about her early life and education. Though the Learned and Moore families were moderately prosperous, Martha’s mother signed the only document bearing her name with a mark. Martha’s father and grandfathers were town selectmen and militia officers. Her younger brother, Jonathan Moore, was Oxford’s second college graduate and for a time served as librarian of Harvard College. Her uncle Abijah Moore, a graduate of Yale College, and her brother-in-law, Stephen Barton, were physicians. Presumably Martha learned her craft through working with an older midwife in Oxford....

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Barringer, Emily Dunning (27 September 1876–08 April 1961), physician, was born in Scarsdale, New York, the daughter of Edwin James Dunning, a broker, and Frances Gore Lang. Her father left her mother with five children while he tried to recoup the family fortune in Europe. They moved to New York City before the birth of Emily’s youngest brother, and while caring for her mother during his difficult birth, she developed a desire to enter the medical field....

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

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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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Mary E. Bass. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02453).

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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....