Martha Tracy, M.D., D.P.H., was born in Plainfield, New Jersey on April 10th, 1876, the youngest of nine children. Her mother was Martha Sherman Green Tracy, and her father was Jeremiah Evarts Tracy. She was descended from the colonial lawyer and politician, Roger Sherman (1721 – 1793), who had the unique distinction of being the only man to sign the four great American Charters: the Articles of the Confederation, the Call of Congress, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights.
After a preliminary education in the Plainfield Seminary for Young Ladies and Children, Dr. Tracy entered Bryn Mawr College just outside of Philadelphia. It was at Bryn Mawr that she served as the captain of the class basketball team while studying Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, English, Greek, Philosophy, and Economics.
From the beginning of her undergraduate career, and despite the fact that only a high school certificate was required to enter most medical schools at the time, Tracy studied with the express purpose of entering medical school after achieving her bachelor’s degree. And she did; in 1898, Tracy graduated from Bryn Mawr with a B.A., and after a year long bout of sickness, entered the Woman’s Medical College (WMC) of Pennsylvania. Tracy graduated with her degree of Doctor of Medicine from the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1904.
Martha Tracy with members of WMCP Class of 1903.
Sketch by Martha Tracy, executed in her sophomore year, circa 1902.
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