Girls Medical School - December 10, 1945 Life magazine
Excerpt from January 18, 1943 Life magazine
Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, Now 95 Years old, is the only one in the U.S.
In 1847 bright, persevering Elizabeth Blackwell wangled her way into the Geneva (N. Y.) Medical Institution. Two years later she graduated with distinction, becoming the first woman in the U. S. to obtain an M.D. degree. But when her sister sought to duplicate Elizabeth's feat she found the school doors closed to her. Mid-19th Century America felt that no nice girl should be interested in the study of medicine. In 1850 a group of six Philadelphians, feeling that girls like the Blackwell sisters should be encouraged, founded the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania a block from the house where Betsy Ross sewed together the first American flag. They too, encountered prim obduracy. The American Medical Association refused to recognize the “irregular" institution. No professional journal would print its announcements. The county medical society excommunicated its professors. But aspiring women flocked to the school, which in 1867 changed its name to the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania. Although it once had many imitators, it is now the only U.S. medical college solely for women. Its battle for acceptance is long past. Currently 160 students are studying medicine in its well-equipped modern building which stands on a high tract in Philadelphia on which, a legend has it, Thomas Jefferson once hoped to build the Capitol of the U. S. Its 2,000 graduates are no longer merely tolerated but are highly respected by the medical world. Many embark on the hard career of medical missionary. America's first woman medical missionary was a member of the W. M. C. of Pa. class of '69. During the war the school's dean, Dr. Margaret Craighill, became the first woman doctor ever to be commissioned in the Army Medical Corps.