First women’s medical school in America
Organized in 1850, the first campus of the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania stood here. Among its early alumni were Dr. Ann Preston (1813-1872), who later became a professor and the College’s first woman dean. Quaker born and bred, Preston worked against slavery, advocated for temperance, even wrote a children’s hymnal. Her life cause, however, was women’s health, and she pioneered professional medical opportunities for women in a field dominated by men. Many of Preston’s students were inspired to work in medical missions, especially in India and China. In 1861, she founded the Women’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
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