“We called them our boys”: Primary Sources on WWI Caregiving

 Education and outreach, From the collections  Comments Off on “We called them our boys”: Primary Sources on WWI Caregiving
Nov 292016

The upcoming centennial of America’s entry into World War I  – April 6, 2017 – is yet another reminder that the Legacy Center’s collections on women in medicine document the broader themes in American history as seen through the eyes of women.

Last fall I participated in a colloquium at the University of Edinburgh titled The Hidden History of Caregiving in World War I, which took place during what is known in the UK as “Remembrance Week” and includes the annual commemoration of the Armistice on November 11. I might have chosen to talk about some of the lesser known stories of the American Women’s Hospitals (AWH), an organization born in reaction to World War I, and whose large and significant collection is here at the Legacy Center. There is a great deal of mining to do in that collection, revealing more about the AWH’s efforts to serve the wartime refugee population “over there” and to serve equally with male physicians – and other stories.


Nurse Diana Lewis, circa 1917.

But a single photo album from another source, acquired in recent years, was calling out to me. It holds a rich collection of photographs and a few items of ephemera. The album belonged to a nurse, Diana Lewis, who graduated from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania’s Nurse’s Training School in 1912. She served with the American Expeditionary Forces as a Base Hospital nurse in France. Along with the uniform jacket worn by its owner, the album was displayed in a university-wide “Highlights of the Collections” exhibition. The pages were scanned to document its original state and for easy sharing. But I still had not explored it fully and hoped there might be stories waiting to be told there, so I took a closer look.

Scattered throughout the album are three photographs of temporary grave sites – and I wanted to know why these images had been taken and preserved there.


One of the three gravesite photos in the Lewis album: Lt. Jefferson Healy was wounded at Chateau de Thierry and died three weeks later at Base Hospital 34.

Simultaneously, as I was poking around among the Center’s World War I material, I began thinking about the very few American women physicians who served as such in Europe. Fifty-six women physicians served in the American military, but were not permitted to serve as commissioned officers like their male counterparts. Instead, they were non-commissioned contract surgeons, and only eleven served at the front. Our collections are extremely thin on these women, but serendipitously, I stumbled upon an ebay auction that resulted in the acquisition of letters and some other materials by and to Dr. Elizabeth Hocker, one of the eleven, written during her tour of duty. There are only sixteen letters, but they cover a great deal – including death, dying, and what eventually became my project topic, supported by the photos in the Lewis album: emotional surrogacy for American soldiers in WWI.


Hocker correspondence: The grateful letter at the top is from the mother of Pvt. Paul Farnum to Dr. Hocker, who had sent Mrs. Farnum flowers from his gravesite.

The album and the letters inspired my exploration of end-of-life care during the war. The requirements of so many and with so few to serve, coupled with the concerns of distant families, created a new level of emphasis on emotional and logistical support. With an ocean between “our boys” and home, medical personnel began unexpectedly playing a significant role as surrogate family members and communicators. This type of caregiving was expanded for Americans because of distance – and because of an important related factor: Americans’ beliefs and rituals surrounding death and the ways in which those ideas, centering on “the good death”, had been affected by the American Civil War about fifty years earlier. The socially and politically charged history of care for the dying and dead in that conflict had a significant impact on the work of American caregivers in the first world war.

It was not easy to stay focused as I perused the photo album and correspondence collection. The images and letters document a wide variety of subjects, some more fully than others, including transportation, base hospital facilities, care of the wounded, camaraderie, attitudes toward “the Hun” and “our boys”, danger levels, wartime medicine, trenches, military exercises, holidays, French soldiers and civilians, valor, family, influenza, women, African-American troops, and of course, my particular interest: death, dying and emotional surrogacy.


Elizabeth Hocker, MD circa 1917.

I’ve developed a personal attachment to these materials, as archivists and historians do, and I’m eager to promote their use – especially now as opportunities arise to further examine the history of World War I and women’s roles in that conflict. As we commemorate the centennial of America’s entry into World War I, I think of Elizabeth Hocker’s words: “Our boys will have their praises sung for the next century.”

And we will, of course, remember what “our boys” did a hundred years ago. But it is also important to remember our caregivers, many of whom were women – those who worked ceaselessly to counterbalance acts of war and retain our humanity. The personal stories found in the Lewis and Hocker collections are waiting to be explored further and add to the body of knowledge on World War I – from the perspective of women in medicine.


If you would like to research any of these topics or items, please get in touch! archives@drexelmed.edu

Diana Lewis scrapbook, approximately 1917-1919

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Diana Lewis additional materials, approximately 1917

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Elizabeth Hocker papers, approximately 1917

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Tuberculosis Strikes the Class of 1944

 Education and outreach, From the collections, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Tuberculosis Strikes the Class of 1944
Feb 022015

by John Anderies, our marvelous volunteer

Members of the class of 1944 pose with Dr. Kuhlenbeck at Somerton Airport, Philadelphia. Drexel University College of Medicine, Legacy Center: Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine and Homeopathy.

Following their first demanding year at Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, the women of the class of 1944 were rewarded with a trip to Somerton Airport in northeast Philadelphia. There, Professor of Anatomy Hartwig Kuhlenbeck, himself a licensed pilot, took the young women on flights in his Challenger biplane. A German immigrant who later served in the United States Army Medical Corps during WWII, Kuhlenbeck kept a detailed Tagbuch or Daybook for much of his life:

Donnerstag, Freitag und Sonnabend, den 29., 30., und 31. Mai fliege ich zu Somerton in meinem Challenger zahlreiche kurze Passagierfluge fur meine Studentinnen vom Woman’s Medical College. Ich habe zum Schluss dieses akademischen Jahres die Klasse des ersten Studienjahres – die “freshman class” – zu einem Fluge eingeladen und wir haben diese Klasse von 39 Studentinnen hierzu in drei Gruppen auf drei aufeinanderfolgende Tage verteilt – ich kann bei jedem Fluge je zwei Passagiere im vorderen Cockpit unterbringen. Auch meine Assistentinnen und die Laborantin sind bei dieser Veranstaltung einbegriffen.1

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the 29th, 30th, and 31st of May, I’m flying many short passenger flights in my Challenger at Somerton for my students from the Woman’s Medical College. For the end of this academic year, I invited the first-year class (the “freshman class”) to take a flight, and we’ve divided this class of thirty-nine students into three groups on three successive days. I can accommodate two passengers in the front cockpit on each flight. My assistants and laboratory technician are also included in this event.

The class of 1944 was originally composed of 41 women. During this weekend of sailing through the skies, none would have expected the changes that were to come. According to an oral history interview conducted with one classmate, almost a third of the women had to drop out of medical school because they contracted tuberculosis. Most of these women did not make it back to finish their degrees. Sadly, at least two of the women died of the disease. Continue reading »

  1. Tagenbuchblaetter, 1938-1941. Hartwig Kuhlenbeck papers. Drexel University College of Medicine, Legacy Center: Archives and Special Collections on Women in Medicine and Homeopathy. 

“We give our vote for a lady physician here”:
Welcoming Doctor or Doctress

 Digital history, Education and outreach, Happenings  Comments Off on “We give our vote for a lady physician here”:
Welcoming Doctor or Doctress
Sep 232014

Our long-awaited (and worked upon) digital history project is finally what we can call “complete”!

Please welcome Doctor or Doctress: Exploring American history through the eyes of women physicians. Doctor or Doctress is not just a digital collections website or online exhibit; it is both, and something more.

Our original intention for Doctor or Doctress was “to enable students to become history detectives, conducting their own research in American history by exploring the stories of pioneering medical women.” We wanted to create a website that featured our collection material as ‘stories’; as a new way to discover, engage with, and interpret primary source documents. We wanted to create a site that would allow primary source material to reach and be interesting to high school students. High school students are generally underserved by resources like digital collections and online exhibits. Students don’t know to look for them, and if they find them, may not know how valuable and engaging they can be. Such sites don’t often market to high schools students; however, at least in the archives field, outreach to younger people is a hot discussion topic, and one that many repositories are acting upon.  But that’s another blog post.

Our ‘stories’ are created around primary source documents. These materials are put into a larger historical context, giving students a chance to place individual people in events during American history, and allowing them to connect with history in a more meaningful way.  The core documents of each story can be explored in several ways: a digital version of the original, through an excerpted typed transcript, or through an audio file (a huge hit with students!). Discussion questions help guide interpretation and give students a focus when interacting with historical documents.

Our development team customized the out-of-the-box Islandora software, allowing it to support this complex interpretive content and functionality that makes Doctor or Doctress stand out from standard collections management databases.  Islandora’s potential for an innovative collections management database and exhibit showcase had not been fully explored, so our work was new and, of course, quite challenging at times.  However, the end result meets our requirements, is attractive, and functions well, and because Islandora is open-source, others can learn from our project.

It’s hard to believe that the project formerly known as “the digital history toolkit” is now complete, and ready for Phase II development (which will include more content and possibly more interactive features).  From post-it notes to the web, it’s been a challenging, but satisfying, journey to Doctor or Doctress.

Constantine Hering: The Father of American Homeopathy

 Education and outreach, From the collections  Comments Off on Constantine Hering: The Father of American Homeopathy
Dec 102013

Constantine Hering, M.D., the father of homeopathy in America, was born on January 1, 1800 in Oschatz, Saxony, in Germany. In 1817, he began studying medicine at a surgical academy in Dresden. By 1820, he was enrolled at the University of Leipzig and during his studies there, he turned to homeopathy after injuring himself during a post-mortem examination. Refusing the traditional treatment of the time – amputation – he turned to homeopathy and was healed. Hering became a practitioner of homeopathy and was a great advocate for Samuel Hahnemann, the father of homeopathic medicine. In 1826, he graduated from the University of Wurzburg with a doctor of medicine. He then spent the next 7 years in South America researching zoology and botany on the orders of the King of Saxony. Hering, however, continued working in homeopathic medicine at hospitals and a leper colony. In 1833, he immigrated to the United States and opened his own medical practice.

A homeopathic medicine case, likely Hering's

Homeopathy is based on the principle that ‘like cures like’ – so a substance which causes symptoms in large doses will treat those same symptoms in small doses. Just as drinking several cups of coffee might make you stay up all night, taking the essence of coffee in small, highly diluted doses will help you sleep more easily. While this may sound counter-productive, the concept of ‘like cures like’ is sometimes used in traditional medicine, like using small amounts of pollen to de-sensitize a person allergic to it.

The idea of treating like with like dates as far back as Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician who lived from 460 to 377 B.C.E. He is known as the father of western medicine. When Samuel Hahnemann discovered this method of treatment in the 19th century, he embraced it as an alternative the harsh medical treatments of the time, which often included blood-letting and purging. It is not difficult to see why Constantine Hering turned to homeopathy when he was at risk of losing a limb.


Hering, ca. 1850s

Once in Philadelphia, Hering founded the Hahnemannian Society of Philadelphia. He promoted the use of homeopathic medicine and, in 1835, along with several other doctors, he founded the North American Academy of Homeopathic Medicine in Allentown, Pennsylvania – the first homeopathic medical school in the United States. The Allentown Academy remained open until 1842. In 1838, the Homeopathic Medical Society of Philadelphia was founded. The Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania opened in 1848 and in 1867, Hahnemann Medical College opened, both in Philadelphia. The two schools merged in 1871. Constantine Hering also published several scholarly journals, including the American Journal of Homeopathy (1835) and the Philadelphia Journal of Homeopathy (1852). He wrote several books as well, like his The Logic of Homeopathy (1860s). Hering continued practicing homeopathic medicine until his death in 1880.


Hering in his study, ca. 1870s

The Legacy Center holds Hering’s papers as well as those of his son-in-law, Calvin Knerr, who took over Hering’s practice after his death. The finding aid for this collection can be found here: Constantine Hering and Calvin B. Knerr Family Papers. In addition to the family papers, the Legacy Center has Hering’s collection of the works of Paracelsus, a 16th-century Swiss German physician who founded the discipline of toxicology. A PDF catalogue listing of the works in the collection can be found here: Paracelsus catalogue.

Mary Putnam Jacobi: Still famous after 150 years

 Education and outreach, From the collections  Comments Off on Mary Putnam Jacobi: Still famous after 150 years
Nov 132013

Mary Putnam Jacobi, undated


The New York Times ran a recent article entitled “Honoring Female Pioneers in Science” (see link below) – and one of Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania’s graduates was recognized. Although this woman graduated nearly 150 years ago, it seems that Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi is still highly regarded today for her work in the field of medicine.

Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi was born in 1842 in London, England, to American parents. She and her family returned to the United States in 1848 and she grew up in New York. She studied under Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to receive a medical degree (from Geneva Medical College in 1849), attended lectures at New York Medical College, and studied anatomy. In 1861, Dr. Jacobi became the first woman to earn a degree from the New York College of Pharmacy.

The matriculation book for Woman’s Med, October 14, 1863. Jacobi is the fifth name down, under her maiden name Putnam.



Thesis, 1864, “Theorae ad lienis officium”

She entered the Female (later Woman’s) Medical College of Pennsylvania in October of 1863, and after some conflict with Dean Edwin Fussell over the fulfillment of graduation requirements, Dr. Jacobi graduated in spring of 1864. Her thesis was written entirely in Latin – a great feat even back in the mid-nineteenth century, and certainly uncommon. It is titled “Theory on the Function of the Spleen” (or Theorae ad lienis officium) and can be viewed in our digital collection here.

After graduating from the Female Medical College, Dr. Jacobi worked for a brief time at the New England Hospital for Women and Children, and then set off for Paris, where she finally gained entrance to the École de Médecine of the University of Paris in order to further her studies. She was the first female student accepted into the school, and, in 1871, became the second woman to graduate. She then returned to the United States and opened her own medical practice in New York.

An 1883 newspaper clipping, praising women physicians


In 1872, Dr. Jacobi became the first woman to gain membership into the Academy of Medicine and also organized the Association for the Advancement of the Medical Education of Women, of which she was president from 1874 to 1903. In 1876, Harvard University awarded her the Boylston prize for her essay “The Question of Rest for Women during Menstruation.” Her essay argued against the belief that women were limited physically during menstruation, and provided scientific evidence to support her statements, including data on pulse rate and other statistics concerning the the stability of a woman’s health, strength, and agility throughout her monthly cycle. In 1886, she opened a children’s ward in the New York Infirmary. Her final essay, “Description of the Early Symptoms of the Meningeal Tumor Compressing the Cerebellum. From Which the Writer Died. Written by Herself,” was published in 1905, shortly before she died in June of 1906.

The Legacy Center holds not only historic photographs of Dr. Jacobi, but also her thesis, news clippings, biographical information, and publications by and about her. You can access our digital materials about Dr. Jacobi here.

The New York Times article, “Honoring Female Pioneers in Science: ‘Extraordinary Women in Science and Medicine’ Offers Up Little-Known Details,” can be viewed here.

Early Women in Homeopathy: A Resource Guide

 Education and outreach, From the collections  Comments Off on Early Women in Homeopathy: A Resource Guide
Oct 152013

– Chrissie Perella, Archives Assistant

Woman's Southern Homeopathic Hospital, 739 S Broad Street, Philadelphia. Founded 1896.

Just like any other profession in the 19th and early 20th centuries, women in medicine struggled for the right to formal education and recognition as professionals.  Even in the field of homeopathy, which was considered ‘eclectic,’ early women physicians had to put forth a great deal of effort if they wanted to be acknowledged as their male counterparts were.  In Philadelphia, the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania (later Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania) was the first school to grant women medical degrees; it was founded in 1850.  Several other medical colleges which awarded degrees to women soon followed, in Boston, New York, and Chicago. 

However, formal homeopathic training was even harder to come by – there were only two schools by 1870, one in New York and one in Cleveland, which allowed women to study homeopathy and earn degrees or certificates.  At the Homeopathic Medical College of Pennsylvania (which merged with Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia in 1871), women were repeatedly turned down for admission, although they were granted the right to attend lectures in 1865 – provided they sat behind screens.

It was common practice for women in the early days of homeopathy to receive medical degrees from schools such as the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) or New England Female Medical College (Boston), and then move to Chicago, Cleveland, Baltimore, or Boston, where they could receive formal training in homeopathic medicine. 

We have been working on compiling a list of resources from our collections – and some from elsewhere – about the brave early women homeopaths.  You can find our subject guide at Early Women in Homeopathy Resources.  And here’s a sneak peek of three women homeopaths who practiced in the Philadelphia area:


Dr. Mary Branson

Mary Branson, Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1873

Mary Branson studied homeopathy for several years after receiving her degree from Woman’s Med, although it is not known where.  She was a founding member and the president of the Woman’s Southern Homeopathic Hospital. She was also a member of the American Institute of Homeopathy, the Pennsylvania State and Philadelphia County Homeopathic Medical Societies, and the Woman’s Medical Club.



Dr. Harriet Schneider French

 Harriet Schneider French, Pennsylvania, 1864

Harriet French was born in Philadelphia and received her medical degree in 1864.  She was the president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union of Philadelphia as well as president of the Women’s Homeopathic Society of Pittsburgh.  She was also on the Board of Censors for the Homeopathic Medical Society of Pennsylvania.  Harriet French, along with Harriet Judd Sartain and Mercy Jackson, was one of the first women to be admitted to the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1871.



Dr. Harriet Judd Sartain

Harriet Judd Sartain, Philadelphia; Eclectic Medical Institute (Cincinnati, Ohio), 1854

Harriet Judd Sartain was born in Connecticut and studied medicine in both Philadelphia and Cincinnati.  She married Samuel Sartain (the son of the famous engraver, John Sartain) not long after graduating from Cincinnati and moved to Philadelphia.  She was the first woman member of the Homeopathic Medical Society in 1870, and in 1871 she was elected to the State Homeopathic Society.  Harriet Sartain, along with Harriet French and Mercy Jackson, was one of the first women to be admitted to the American Institute of Homeopathy in 1871.

Internship Experience

 Education and outreach, From the collections  Comments Off on Internship Experience
Jun 202013

by N. Robinson and T. Witherspoon, interns from Mastery High School

Mastery Interns with amputation kit

At Mastery Charter school all 10th graders have to complete a 16-week internship. Our internship coordinator set up three interviews for us to go on and Drexel was one of them. The interview went well for both of us and Drexel became our top placement choice.  In February we were told that we were placed at Drexel University College of Medicine for our internship site for the rest of the school year.

The time gap between the interview and being notified of our placement was very long and we forgot what our goal was. When we came to Drexel the first day of the internship we didn’t know what to expect. But when we arrived we were told that we would be working in the archives department and would soon be interviewing medical students as well as faculty members during the course of this internship.

As the weeks progressed we focused on our main project, which was to create a Google map of all the community service sites from 1996-2002. Through this project we learned new computer skills. (See the project map below.)

Mastery interns with interviewee Mary Ellen Bradley

Despite all of our computer work we began to branch out of the office and start our interviews. We interviewed Mary Ellen Bradley and Dr. Zarro first; the objective of these interviews was to learn about the history of community service at Drexel University College of Medicine. From these interviews we learned that community service wasn’t always a part of the curriculum.  We also received insight on the first community service projects that we set up. Weeks later we interviewed two medical students, Blake Bowden and Lola Adekunle, who are currently enrolled at Drexel University College of Medicine. The students gave us advice about our future careers as doctors by telling us the college courses they were required to take audio clip.

Mastery Interns with 19th century box of bones

Overall, this internship was a learning experience. We came into this not knowing what to expect but now we are leaving with new skills that we have acquired over these past week that can be applied later in life. For instance, we learned new computer skills, and added to our communication skills all because of this internship. We also found out information involving college that will be applied later in life. Before this experience we viewed an internship as something that had little to no meaning, but all of the things that we are leaving with proves that it actually has some significance.


Drexel University College of Medicine Community Service Map 1996 – 2002

View Drexel College of Medicine Community Service Map in a larger map

 Posted by on June 20, 2013

Is that Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler? Misidentification, copyright, and pesky historical details

 Education and outreach, From the collections  Comments Off on Is that Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler? Misidentification, copyright, and pesky historical details
Jun 182013
Is this Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler? Proably not.

Is this Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler? Probably not.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler is famous for being the first African American woman to earn a medical degree in the US — graduating in 1864 from the New England Female Medical College (which later merged with Boston University School of Medicine).

Understandably, people want to see a picture of this important historical figure, who lived from 1831 to 1895.  Unfortunately, as far as we know, there are no photographs of her, although we’ve talked to researchers who feel that there’s a decent chance that photos exist but without the benefit of Dr. Crumpler being identified in them.

If you search online for Crumpler images (Google or Bing), you come up with several possible images of Crumpler — looking today (in June 2013), in the first 10 results, I see photos and illustrations of individuals who are identified as Crumpler, but are in fact people like Mary Eliza Mahoney (first black nurse in the US), Rebecca Cole (the 2nd black woman physician in the US), Elizabeth Blackwell (first woman physician in the US and UK), Eliza Grier, and other individuals.

But dozens of websites identify this image (above left) as Dr. Rebecca Lee (Crumpler).  It is a popular choice because the medal includes a stamp actually identifying it as Rebecca Lee.  Several of the websites, including PBS and Time, also provide the source of the image, saying it comes from our collections.  Because of this, we receive a number of inquiries asking if people can use the image in publications, on websites, TV programs, etc.

I’ve developed a standard response that I tweak accordingly each time I receive a request to use this image:

  1. We do not hold the copyright on the image, so it would be up to you to either identify and contact the copyright holder (who may have been the Sun Oil Company, as of 1980…see #2 below) or accept the risk of using it without the copyright holder’s permission.  The risk is there, although it’s probably minimal.  The brochure and image might even be in the public domain and free to use, or it’s feasible that the copyright is held by the artist who created the medal.  But as with many copyright issues, it is hard to know for sure without a proper copyright search — and even then you still might not know.  It all comes down to the amount of risk you want to take on.
  2. This may be the biggest issue, historically speaking….  I believe that the image of the woman on the medal is not actually Rebecca Lee Crumpler.  That medal is 1 of 12 named medals that appear to have been created around 1980 as part of Sun Oil Company’s involvement in the Charles Drew Award.  I suspect that they were unable to find an actual image of Crumpler so they used or created a generic image of an African American woman appropriate to her time period.  Again, I’m not sure of this; it is more of a strong gut feeling.

After my barrage of caveats, it is always interesting to see who comes back to say that they want the image anyway.  For some users and some uses, the risk and uncertainty is not a problem.  For other users, they decide to not pursue the matter any further — although I always wonder if it because the copyright risk, because it may be a “generic” image, or a combination of these issues.

What will happen with search results because we posted this image here?  By the end of 2013, will people start seeing this when they search for Rebecca Lee Crumpler, branded with my question about the veracity of the image? What will be the effect of that?

What I’m really hoping is that someone will come forward to refute or verify my assumption that this is not Dr. Crumpler.  I’d love to find out that it is her and see the source for the image on the medal.

Ceci n’est pas Rebecca Lee Crumpler?

Gross Anatomy: Now and Then

 Education and outreach, From the collections  Comments Off on Gross Anatomy: Now and Then
Apr 222013

– by guest blogger, Chrissie Perella, iSchool grad student and intern extraordinaire

Woman's Med students in the gross anatomy lab, 1897

Several days ago, we were fortunate to get a tour of the gross anatomy lab here at Drexel University College of Medicine. And by gross, I don’t mean disgusting – I mean what the medical world terms macroscopic; that is, things that can be identified and measured with the naked eye.

Our tour guide was a gracious and knowledgeable first-year med student. The students are divided into groups of 5 or 6 and each group is assigned their own cadaver. The only information they receive on the body is the sex, age, profession, and cause of death. During the course of the fall and spring terms, the students carefully dissect their cadavers, all the while learning about the delicate nature of the human body – organs are removed, muscles examined, and arteries and veins followed. Students must be careful to keep their cadavers preserved by covering them with moist towels and a bag following every class. Our guide said she felt very fortunate to be able to learn in such a hands-on way. A little known (but nice) fact: An event honoring the donors and their families is held at the end of year. Read about the event on philly.com: “Students pay tribute to body donors: Honoring the ultimate gift,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 28 April 2010

The cadaver lab of Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1895

The cadaver lab at College of Medicine, 2011. Photo courtesy of the Drexel Med Emergency Medicine Residency Program

And all this left me wondering: what was dissection like for earlier students at the Woman’s Medical College? So, here’s a look back at Woman’s Med students in the gross anatomy (cadaver) lab:

Comparing anatomical drawings to real life, circa 1892.

No gloves needed for dissection in the early 1900s! (circa 1901)

A lesson being taught in the cadaver lab, 1903.

Two medical students working hard at learning anatomy, 1928.

Philadelphia: World’s Medical Centre

 Education and outreach, From the collections  Comments Off on Philadelphia: World’s Medical Centre
Mar 182013

– by guest blogger, Chrissie Perella, iSchool grad student and intern extraordinaire

In the 1930s, Philadelphia was home to over 63 hospitals and medical schools. A 1930 book entitled Philadelphia: World’s Medical Centre proudly proclaimed: “This book typifies the tremendous growth of Philadelphia’s institutions in the field of medical science and proves conclusively its right to the title – World’s Medical Centre.” The entire book can be browsed here (at Internet Archive) where one can read about the “history of the outstanding achievements of Philadelphia as a medical center.”

So what do some of these former hospitals and medical schools look like today? With the help of tools such as HistoryPin and Google Maps, we can explore the now and then. We’ve been plotting the hospitals and medical schools – it’s exciting to see how much buildings and neighborhoods have changed in 80 years! You can view our collection of hospitals on our HistoryPin channel drexelmedarchives and check it out – or view a map at drexelmedarchives on Google. Below you’ll find some very familiar buildings, the way they once were.

Rush Building, 1931
Photo source: Hess, Wenzel J. “Public Works-32150-0-.” 1931. Philadelphia City Archives. PhillyHistory.org. Philadelphia Department of Records. 1 Jan. 2006
Drexel University’s Rush Building was formerly known as the Rush Hospital for Consumption and Allied Diseases. The Rush Hospital was founded in 1890 and operated until 1961, when Drexel University acquired the building for its Institute of Technology.
See the then-and-now street view at HistoryPin
The famous Mütter Museum was once called the College of Physicians and Surgeons and is now known as the Museum and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. This was actually the sixth building the College occupied; it moved here in 1909. The College continues to educate the public and medical professionals through its Museum and Historical Medical Library.
See the then-and-now street view at HistoryPin
Mütter Museum, ca. 1930
Hahnemann Medical College, ca. 1930 Hahnemann Medical College was founded in 1848 and was the first to teach homeopathic medicine in the United States. Today, Hahnemann is a part of Drexel University College of Medicine and we hold the Hahnemann records since pre-founding. Still located on Broad Street above Race, the building is barely recognizable from its 1930 self.
See the then-and-now street view at HistoryPin
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania is still located at 3400 Spruce Street. But the hospital, founded in 1871, once accommodated only 587 patients!
See the then-and-now street view at HistoryPin
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, ca. 1930
St. Agnes Hospital, ca. 1930 St. Agnes Hospital at Broad and Mifflin was founded in 1879. Until recently it cared for patients requiring extended hospital stays. The building was bought in June 2012 and may soon include a branch of Children’s Hospital and an adult day care center.
See the then-and-now street view at HistoryPin


> Page through Philadelphia: World’s Medical Centre at Internet Archive

> View the plotted locations of all the hospitals at Google Maps

> Check out the past and present photos on HistoryPin