Over There: Hahnemann Medical College and Woman’s Medical College in World War I

Woman’s Medical College Bulletin, November 1917

The United States entered World War I on April 6, 1917. With the declaration of war, President Woodrow Wilson called for volunteers to serve in the United States Army and Navy – and this included doctors. Doctors who did not take the opportunity to volunteer for the Medical Reserve Corps as commissioned officers were not exempt from the draft.

However, women physicians were not permitted to serve in the military medical corps. The desire to advance in the medical profession and to relieve those suffering in post-war conditions prompted American women physicians to establish the first American Women’s Hospital (AWH) in France in 1918. Many faculty members of Woman’s Med, as well as former students, made the decision to serve with AWH in France.

This exhibit explores the roles of Hahnemann Medical College and Woman’s Medical College in World War I and how some faculty members and students of both colleges were involved.

View Over There: Woman’s Med and Hahnemann in World War I here.

Professors from the Past

Professor Rufus Weaver, M.D., and Harriet, undated

Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania and Hahnemann Medical College are two of the predecessor institutions of Drexel University College of Medicine. Over the years, the colleges have had hundreds of inspiring and well-loved professors – too many to name them all. This exhibit will ‘introduce’ you to four of these past professors: Doctors Anna Broomall, Alma Dea Morani, Rufus Weaver, and George Geckeler.

View Professors from the Past here.

Dr. Mary Walker: A Female Civil War Surgeon

In military dress, 1864

“Dr. Mary Walker is a remarkable woman. During the [Civil] war she rendered great service to the Union army in the hospitals of the West. She asked no compensation for her work and received none. It was during this period that she adopted the bloomer costume, which was the first step toward her investiture in men’s garments… Secretary Stanton had a commission issued to her as major and surgeon of the army. Of course the appointment was purely honorary… She succeeds, however, in making a complete nuisance of herself. She demands the rights accorded to those who wear the male costume, but insists upon her privileges as a woman.”

View Dr. Mary Walker: A Female Civil War Surgeon here.

Leading Women in Medicine: The Early Years of AMWA and AWH

Entrance to AWH Hospital No. 1 at Luzancy, 1918

The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) was founded in 1915 as the Medical Women’s National Association (MWNA). MWNA’s president, Dr. Bertha Van Hoosen, subsequently established the War Service Committee to register female medical workers, raise funds, and develop plans for service in Europe, adopting the name American Women’s Hospitals (AWH) in recognition of the work of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals.

This exhibit explores the start of AWH at the end of World War I to the establishment of American Women’s Hospital #1 in France.

View Leading Women in Medicine: The Early Years of AMWA and AWH here.

Martha Tracy: Medical Student to Dean

Martha Tracy as Dean, 1918

Martha Tracy as Dean, 1918

A 1904 graduate of Woman’s Medical College (WMC) of Pennsylvania, Martha Tracy was one of its longest and most influential deans, from 1917 to 1940.  This exhibit gives a broad overview of her life at WMC, from her time as a medical student to her years as Dean.  She was a dedicated force both at WMC and for women in medicine, steering the institution through a number of turbulent years before and during the Great Depression.  Among her many significant achievements, she oversaw a $1.5 million dollar fund raising campaign to erect the new hospital and College building here in East Falls in 1930.

View Martha Tracy: Medical Student to Dean here.