Tag Archives: medicine

A Woman is a Person! Sophia Jex-Blake’s Historical Struggle

Discovery in archives sheds new light on Jex-Blake’s campaign for medical education for women
Dr Sophia Jex-Blake, c. 1860.

It has been known that Sophia Jex-Blake and her supporters, in their quest to open up University medical education for women, had written to the Senatus Academicus at St Andrews in an attempt to gain admittance to classes there, but the documentary evidence was not apparently extant.

While searching the Senatus papers for information about the University’s higher certificate for women, I was astounded to come across what must be the very letter Jex-Blake wrote, so far unlisted. It was

Women’s History Month: Pandita Ramabai

On 11 March 1889 the Indian activist known as Pandita Ramabai opened her Sharada Sadan (or Home for Learning) in Chowpatty, an area of Mumbai (which was then, under the British Raj, known as Bombay). She designed this institution to further a cause dear to her heart: security and an education for Hindu women who were widowed young. With this, after spending five years abroad in England and the USA, Pandita Ramabai launched her mission to improve the lives and opportunities of Indian women.

She was born as Ramabai Dongre, a high-caste Brahmin. While she was still very young her …

LGBT History Month: Bessie Craigmyle (1863-1933)

On 27 February 1933, Bessie Craigmyle was sitting by her fireside reading a newspaper. Two days earlier she had observed the forty sixth anniversary of the death of “the friend of her life” Maggie Dale.  Possibly she dozed off; at any rate the newspaper slipped into the fire, caught alight and set fire to her skirts.  Neighbours heard Craigmyle’s cries for help and smothered the flames. She was badly burned and taken to hospital. There her heart failed and she died in the early hours of 28 February. Her death certificate was signed by Dr Mary Esslemont, the daughter of …

Anna Muncaster 1885-1930

“By casual acquaintances she was regarded as somewhat cold and reserved, but her friends and patients found in her a ready sympathy – devoid of sloppiness – a staunch loyalty and a keen sense of humour.”[1] This is how in its obituary notice the Journal of Mental Science described Anna Leila Muncaster who died aged forty five on the 26th September 1930 in Pietermaritzburg South Africa.

Born on the 20th January 1885 at Beauly near Inverness, Anna studied medicine in Edinburgh, graduating in 1909 with first class honours. On graduating from medical school Anna like many young …

Women’s History Month: Before there was internet, part 1: viagra

Fed up receiving emails advertising viagra and other sexual remedies? Well, your ancestors may have felt similarly. Nineteenth century newspapers were full of advertisements promising sexual remedies, from treatments for syphilis to cures for impotency. A selection from Irish newspapers are given below.

The Victim’s Friend, from the Anglo-Celt, 22 April 1858.

The sixty-fifth thousand-post free for a penny stamp. A practical treatise upon the prevention and self-cure of all the diseases that arise from the follies of youth, and the excesses of maturity; the causes of decay of the mental and physical powers and impediments to marriage, with plain …