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Pulse - Summer 2017 American Women Physicians in World War I

Elizabeth Van Cortlandt Hocker, MD

Elizabeth Van Cortlandt Hocker, MD

April 6 marked the centennial of the United States' entry into World War I, and the American Medical Women's Association has launched an online exhibition, American Women Physicians in World War I, to highlight the contributions of women physicians during that period.

Many of the images in the exhibition were provided by the College of Medicine's Legacy Center: Archives and Special Collections, particularly from the American Women's Hospitals Collection. An alumna, Rosalie Slaughter Morton, MD, WMC 1897, was instrumental in organizing and raising money for the American Women's Hospitals Service, which provided medical care to civilians devastated by the war in Europe.

The Legacy Center's collections on women in medicine include a rich variety of resources on women's caregiving during the war. Although 56 women physicians served in the military, they were not commissioned officers as men were. Instead they worked as "contract surgeons," and only 11 of them served at the front.

The Archives has the letters of one of those 11 women, Elizabeth Hocker, MD. Read the blog post by Legacy Center Director Joanne Murray ("We called them our boys": Primary Sources on WWI Caregiving) to learn more and explore the photo album of Diana Lewis, who graduated from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania's Nurse's Training School in 1912.

Letters to and from Elizabeth Van Cortlandt Hocker, one of the rare women physicians to serve in the U.S. military in World War I, are archived in the College of Medicine's Legacy Center.

Letters to and from Elizabeth Van Cortlandt Hocker, one of the rare women physicians to serve in the U.S. military in World War I, are archived in the College of Medicine's Legacy Center.

There is also a World War I story, about the American Women's Hospitals in France, on the Legacy Center's Doctor or Doctress? student/teacher resource site (The American Women's Hospitals in World War I France: "Across Battlefields and into Villages").

 
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Pulse is published five times a year for students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the College, highlighting innovations in research, clinical practice and education; key events; and accomplishments. News, professional and academic achievements, calendar items and story ideas may be submitted by email to pulse@drexelmed.edu.