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February 29

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This document has been taken from emailed versions
of Women of Achievement. The complete episode
will be published here in the future.

Excerpt from The Sum of Feminine Achievement


QUOTES by Ann Lee and U.S. Supreme Court.

Excerpt from The Sum of Feminine Achievement

      A rather ambitious sounding book, The Sum of Feminine Achievement published in 1917, turns out to be a book less than 5" x 8" containing fewer than 300 pages. In spite of its slim pickings, its once-over-the-top summation of women in medicine is an interesting study from the days when women wore skirts to the floor and couldn't vote.
      Author W. A. Newman Dorland starts off quoting an unknown author:

"With all the attention lavished upon the modern conditions of women in medicine, it must not be forgotten that in the ancient days there were numerous women physicians. Galen, in fact, quotes prescriptions of women physicians.
      "Among the Greeks there were celebrated women in medicine, some of whose names have come down to us, as, for example, Originia, Aspasia, and Agnodice, the first midwife in Athens, who, disguised as a man, studied under Herophilus, the famous physicians and anatomist, in 300 B. C. became very popular and was, in consequence, persecuted by the male physicians.
      "Roman medicine produced such excellent examples of feminine medical skill as Priscian and Leoparda as well as St. Nicerata. According to Walsh, the department of women's diseases at the medical school of Salerno during the medieval period was established under women professors. Among its celebrated graduates were Trotula, Constanza, Calendua, Abella, and the brilliant St. Hildegarde. The eminent position of women in medicine declined slowly after the 12th century and practically disappeared after the 16th century, to be long forgotten until the 19th century. The new opportunity for women in medicine did not arise until the middle of the 19th century.
      "Great advances have been made in the status of women in medicine since the days of those splendid pioneers, Elizabeth Blackwell and Sarah R. E. Dolley in 1849 and 1851. The Swiss Medical Universities opened their doors to women on equal terms with men in 1876.
      "Prussia first gave women the permission to undergo examinations in medicine in 1906, though, in 1910, Germany showed but 85 women physicians in actual practice. The general plane of continental education in medicine is that of co-education, which may, in part, account for this small number.
      "In 1865, Elizabeth Garrett was refused admission to the medical schools of England. In 1869, Miss Jex-Blake sought to obtain a doctor's degree at Edinburgh University but failed. Shortly thereafter, after an appeal to the law, a decision was rendered the University was bound to admit women to both classes and degrees, but a high court reversed this decision. The London Royal College granted permission for examination of women as physicians in 1909, although in 1874 the London School of Medicine for Women had been established, its graduates, however, being declared ineligible for membership in the British Medical Association in 1877. The Royal Free Hospital next accepted women physicians as interns, and thus began medical education for women in England.
      "Today [1917] there are over 700 women physicians in England and Scotland.
      "In the United States, in 1909, there were 91 co-educational schools and three distinctively women's medical colleges. There were over 900 [women] students in attendance and more than 150 graduates during that year. In 1910, there were 13,687 women physicians in the United States. In 1914, after long discussion, two women interns were admitted to Bellevue Hospital (New York), although as early as 1885 women interns were admitted to the Philadelphia General Hospital (Blockley). Since June, 1900, the women members of the American Medical Association have been active in the dissemination of accurate medical information to the general public. In 1911, the Public Health Education committee was constituted as the Committee for Public Health education among Women, and since then this organization of women has been engaged in a splendid piece of constructive [preventative] medicine. The employment of women physicians in factories has greatly enlarged the activities of these workers.
      "Such, in brief, is the history of women in modern medicine. During this struggle for recognition eminent names have been inscribed on the panels of fame."

      Dorland goes on to describe in brief various women doctors. WOA uses only his words, although reducing its verbosity:
      Elizabeth Blackwell became the "medical apostle of her sex"; Madame Boivin, "the famous French midwife and doctor whose text book is a classic"; Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, "the eminent English physician-founder of the New Hospital, London"; Mary Putnam Jacobi and Mary A. Dixon Jones, "able gynecologists"; Anita Newcomb McGee, "the only woman ever appointed Acting Assistant Surgeon in the United States army"; Christine Ladd Franklin, "scientist and authority of physiologic optics"; Florence Rena Sabin, "the anatomist of Johns Hopkins University"; Alice Hamilton, "the eminent bacteriologist"; Martha Wollon, "eugenics"; S. Josephine Baker, "actively engaged in child welfare"; and many others including Grace Peckham Murray, Anna M. Fullerton and Alice Weld Tallant.
            -- Excerpted from The Sum of Feminine Achievement. Boston: The Stratford Company, 1917, by W. A. Newman Dorland.

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Event 02-29-1692: The first arrests in the notorious Salem witch trials began on February 29, 1692 with two elderly impoverished women: Sarah Good, a beggar, and Sarah Osborne, a cripple. The third arrested that same day was Tituba, a slave who was probably an Arawak Indian taken into slavery in Guiana, South America. The first to hang was Bridgit Bishop, who was first arrested on suspicion of witchcraft in 1680. She was hanged on June 10, 1692, in Salem MA.
      Bishop was the first of twenty to die, 14 were known to be women. Two more women died in jail before they could be hanged. The last of the "witch" killings was September 22, 1692.
      Witches in the Colonies or England were not burned at stake; they were mostly hanged. One Colonist (probably a man) was pressed to death under weights. Burning was primarily a Germanic and/or Catholic punishment for WOMEN because hanging was considered unfeminine (often bowels are loosened while the victims kick and thrash at the end of the ropes). The burning was usually well witnessed by men who may have had ulterior motives since the women^Òs clothes burned first, leaving them naked as they charred.
      The first woman (person) to be executed in the British colonies for witchcraft was Margaret (Margery) Jones who was hanged in 1648.

[Anna Pedersdotter Absalon one of the most renowned Norwegian women writers of the Renaissance - was burned as a witch in 1590. John Masefield turned a description of her into the play The Witch (1926) which ran for a long time on the New York and London stages.
      A noted theologian (Roland H. Bainton, writing in Women of the Reformation, From Spain to Scandinavia (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1977) pointed out that all 35 witnesses against Absalon were women. He also discounts the claims that women were burned as witches because they were women by asking,
"Was this feminine anti feminism?" (Feminism in 1590? Why would he equate feminism with witches and witch burning? What would give this scholar such an idea when he was certainly aware of the situation in those times.)
      And yet he wrote earlier in the book that APA's husband and the Bishop were too entrenched to be removed, so authorities got at them by charging their wives with witchcraft. He also failed to recall that the testifying women were controlled by their men and faced beatings, torture, starvation or worse such as being charged as witches themselves if they failed to obey their husbands' orders.
      Only men could judge - in 1590 and in 1977 also, it seems.]

B. 02-29-1736, Ann Lee, British-born American founder of the Shaker sect. An illiterate cotton mill worker, AL became a Quaker after serving two years in an English prison. Her vision of a perfect celibate lifestyle attracted a number of followers and they established the Shakers religion in England and brought it to the U.S. in 1774.
      Her vision was the incarnation of the masculine Christ evolving into the feminine incarnation. She opposed marriage and sexual relations. Long before its time, the Shakers believed in the dual male and female nature of God, in fact many believed Lee was the female incarnation of Jesus.
      The sect at its peak had 18 communities in eight states but gradually dwindled to almost nothing because of its strict celibacy rules. Many members became renowned furniture builders of the the clean-cut Shaker style.

B. 02-28/29-1926, Alliluyeva Svetlana, Russian author, emigrated from Russia in 1966 following the death of her father, Joseph Stalin. Her mother, a political activist, committed suicide after a quarrel with her father

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      "[Jesus Christ] ascended to his Father that the way might be prepared for his second coming, in the female part of his manhood... and when the time was fully come, according to the appointment of God, Christ was again revealed, not in Judea, to the Jews, nor in the person of a male, but in England... and in the person of a female."
            -- Ann Lee, founder of the Church of Christ's Second Coming (the Shakers.)

"Because abortion involves the purposeful termination of POTENTIAL LIFE, the abortion decision must be recognized as... different in kind from the rights protected in the earlier cases under the rubric or personal or family privacy and autonomy."
            -- U.S. Supreme Court's minority decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v Casey. [Emphasis WOA's]

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