Tag Archives: women

Women surgeons

Moustapha Abousamra Ventura, California, United States   Cactus flower with buds. Image courtesy of the author. Last spring, I spent three months in the Texas Hill Country. It is a place that at once can be beautiful and hostile. The fields of blue bonnets in full bloom are breathtaking. The cacti that abound around barbed wire […]

Creating a race of orphans: Lebensborn, the “spring of life”

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Lebensborn birth house, nurse in Lebensborn home. 1943. German Federal Archives. Via Wikimedia Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1973-010-11 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 Nazi Germany was a racial state. People of “pure” Aryan or Nordic heritage were believed to have superior physical, intellectual, and moral qualities. People from other ethnic or racial groups were […]

Men, women, and idioms of distress

Mary Seeman Toronto, Ontario, Canada   What pedisyon may feel like. Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels. In all cultures there is a place for illness that is not easily explained by individual pathology. It is usually attributed to larger societal unrest, with some individuals responding to that unrest with somatic or psychological symptoms. When […]

Salernitan women

Vicent Rodilla Alicia López-Castellano Valencia, Spain   Figure 1. A miniature from Avicenna’s Canon representing the Salernitan Medical School. Source The first medical school in the Western world is thought to be the Schola Medica Salernitana (Figure 1), which traces its origins to the dispensary of an early medieval monastery.1 The medical school at Salerno […]

Bloodletting and the treatment of menstrual disorders in early modern England

Rhianna Elliott Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom   Figure 1. Title page: Culpeper’s school of physick (London, 1659). Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY. Source Bloodletting, also known as “phlebotomy,” was a common preventive and therapeutic medical practice in early modern England. Its theoretical foundation was in humorism, the ancient medical system where bodily health depended on the […]

Red Cross humanitarianism and female volunteers in Australia

Ian Willis Camden, NSW, Austalia   Red Cross volunteers assist people who were evacuated from Mallacoota to Hastings by Naval ship. Mallacoota was cut off by the bushfires that have been ravaging the east coast if Australia since late 2019. Source: Australian Red Cross with permission “There were a lot of people who had lost everything,” […]

Bloody women

M.K.K. Hague-Yearl Montréal, Québec, Canada   Calendar depicting scenes relating to health. Both bloodletting scenes show a woman being bled. Bibliotheca Osleriana 7424A, Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University. Source Sitting with little fanfare inside a twentieth-century red hardcover binding is a single leaf whose bibliographic record contains brackets of uncertainty: “[Calendar […]

A history of blood: hysteria, taboos, and evil

Danielle Dalechek Norfolk, Virginia, United States   The witch no. 1. Joseph E Baker. c1892. Library of Congress. No known restrictions on publication. “Who has fully realized that history is not contained in thick books but lives in our very blood?”  —Carl Jung   Historically, the opposite of purity was often viewed and represented as […]

Theme

WOMEN IN MEDICINE Published in November, 2019 H E K T O R A M A     .     ALICE HAMILTON     The squalid streets of working-class Chicago in the late nineteenth century would have been something of a shock to the girl who grew up in a sheltered but educated household […]

Muslim women healers of the medieval and early modern Ottoman Empire

Nada Darwish Alan S. Weber Doha, Qatar   Although known only through court documents, legal proceedings, and references in the writings of male practitioners, the tabiba—a female practitioner of folk medicine, midwifery, and gynecology—was an important member of the medical community in the Ottoman Empire (1299-1923). The existing historical record unfortunately obscures the important role that […]