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The Will

By 1915, women physicians recognized the need to organize and create a place for themselves in medicine. Through organization they affected educational practices and standards, developed institutions in which to learn and practice and created a powerful collective voice.

Dr. Eliza Mosher (The Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections)

A charter member of AMWA, Dr. Mosher was its honorary president, a position she held until her death in 1928. At that time, she was the best-known woman physician in the country and was fondly known as “the dean of medical women.” While her AMWA title was honorary, Dr. Mosher was tireless in her activity to galvanize the organization and move it forward.

Dr. Mosher graduated from the medical school at the University of Michigan in 1875. She returned to her alma mater in 1896 as the first dean of women and its first woman faculty member with a full professorship in hygiene. She was an active member of the War Services Committee and the resultant organization, AWHS.

By the early 19th century, Dr. Eliza Mosher had risen to prominence as one of the nation’s premiere woman physicians. Referred to as the dean of medical women, she was a strong advocate for medical women organizing.

The Woman’s Medical Journal was founded and being published before the foundation of AMWA. It later became the mouthpiece of the Medical Women’s National Association. Margaret Rockhill was the founder, publisher, and editor of the Woman’s Medical Journal in the early 20th century (later the Medical Woman’s Journal). Because of her role with the Journal and other women’s advocacy work, she was asked to assist in the founding of AMWA in 1915. She worked and maintained the publication for over 40 years. The Journal became the official publication of the Association shortly after its founding, and Mrs. Rockhill served as AMWA’s Corresponding Secretary.

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