The entrance of women into the medical profession next claims our attention, and even as we write comes the news that a woman has at length been elected a Fellow of the College of Surgeons. The Doctor who has secured this Triumph is Miss Eleanor Davies-colley.
Women, too, are entering the field of medical research, and Sir Henry Butlin has recently drawn attention to the fact that the qualities needed in this branch of investigation are the qualities possessed by women in a marked degree - dexterity and neatness, humanity, cleanliness, industry, patient extreme care, conscientiousness. " Women," said Sir Henry, " have done so many things in the last thirty years that I never thought they would do, that I would not, on any account, venture to predict what they will accomplish in research." He further pointed out that a woman has held the British
Medical Association Scholarship, and one Brown Scholarship, while three Beit Scholarships are held by women.* In Berlin University two women hold the post of demonstrator in Hertwig's Anatomical-biological Institute ; Rubner in his Physiological Institute has a woman assistant ; in the Pathological Institute a woman, a bacteriologist of repute, has her own rooms for special investigation. Frau Vogt co-operates with her husband in anatomical research, and in the Neurological Institute one of the assistants is a woman.
In the past we may recall that the first Materia Medica was compiled by a woman, the Abbess Hildegarde, in the twelfth century. In mediaeval times nuns and abbesses were skilled, according to the knowledge of their day, in medicine and performed minor surgery, while midwifery was for many centuries exclusively in the hands of women. When male practitioners first undertook midwifery cases there are instances on record of the doctor entering the patient's room on his hands and knees that he might not be too suddenly observed.
Yet, in spite of what appears to be the natural fitness of women to practise the healing art, the comic papers have only lately ceased to find a stock joke in the lady doctor. She is perfectly familiar to us now in our big towns and London suburbs. We see her, a quietly dressed, well-groomed figure, with instrument case or black bag in hand, step into her neat brougham or motor-car with a wise look and professional air which cannot be excelled in Harley Street,
In imagination we follow her to the bedside of some suffering woman or ailing child and know that she carries a peculiar insight and sympathy born of her woman's experience. Or she may be a visiting physician or surgeon at a hospital, or hold an appointment as medical inspector or medical officer. Well-paid public posts are now beginning to fall to the share of the lady doctor.
A white-haired lady with clever, kindly face, whom we know so well as Mrs. Garrett
Anderson, M.d., could tell us the story of the strenuous fight which she, the pioneer woman doctor of this country, faced, that women might enter the medical profession. She began to study medicine as a very young woman in 1860, encouraged by her father. Mr. Newson Garrett, of Aldeburgh, and started her plucky assault on the strongholds of medical monopoly. For five years she knocked successively at the doors of the nineteen colleges and halls in Great Britain which had the power of giving medical degrees and conferring the licence to practise. Not one would accept her as a medical student. She continued her studies under professors in London, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews, and at length found an unprotected chink in-the door of the Apothecaries Hall and entered for examination, and obtained a licence to practise in 1865. Five years later she obtained her M.d. from the University of Paris.
I recall a pleasing story of Dr. Garrett Anderson's student days when she. was studying on sufferance at the Middlesex Hospital. One night an infant died in one of the wards and two young medicals rushed in to diagnose, and the would-be woman doctor came too. But it was not so much the quickness and accuracy of her diagnosis which overcame the prejudice of her male fellow-
Dr. Garrett Anderson, whose strenuous efforts opened the doors of the medical profession in Great Britain to women Photo, 0. & K, Edis students as the way in which she handled the dead babe. All the inborn mother's love was in her touch, and for the first time those young men realised that a woman's sex is a qualification for dealing with sick children and suffering women.
We need not detail Dr. Garrett Anderson's long and successful medical career. Largely through her efforts the new Hospital for Women in the Euston Road, which is entirely officered by women, was established, and the London School of Medicine for Women founded. She had been a member of the British Medical Association since 1872, and is president of the East Anglican Branch of the Association. When, some few years ago, Dr. Garrett Anderson retired from general practice she was presented with a gift of silver candlesticks and candelabra by severity British medical women in recognition of the service she had rendered to the advancement of women in medical science. The deepest satisfaction to this great pioneer was that there were seventy medical women to make the presentation, a triumph which she could hardly have anticipated when she led the advance guard.
A tribute must also be paid to the pioneer work of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who obtained her degree in Geneva and started practice in New York while Dr. Garrett Anderson was storming the strongholds at home ; to the late Dr. Jex Blake for her fight for the admission of women to the Medical School of Edinburgh.
Women have triumphed, too, in the field of dentistry, and the diploma of dental surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons, England, and that of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh are open to women. Dr. Eva Handley, L.d.s., has secured the honour of being the first woman dentist on the honorary visiting staff of a general London hospital.