Philadelphia: G.S. Harris, 1851. First edition. Original blue printed paper wraps printed to front. Some chipping and creasing to edges, but overall intact and undamaged despite being quite delicate. Light scattered foxing throughout. Ownership signature of the college's original dean, N.R. Mosely struck out at the top of the Faculty list on page 4; pencil ticks next to the names of several students listed in the catalogue on page 6. Exceptionally rare, OCLC lists copies of this Announcement at only 2 institutions.
Only one year after Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell graduated valedictorian and became the first female M.D. in the U.S., the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania opened its doors. Located in Philadelphia, it was the only the second school to open with the mission of training women in medicine -- having been preceded by the New England Female Medical College two years earlier in 1848. Founded by Quaker, abolitionist and Underground Railroad activists who believed that women could make exceptional doctors, "the college provided rare opportunities for women to teach, perform research, manage a medical school and, with the eventual establishment of the Woman's Hospital in 1861, learn and practice in a hospital setting. It was the longest-lasting all-women medical school in the nation, until it became coeducational in 1970" (Mandell). The present Announcement predates these growths, however, showing the roots from which they emerged. One year running, and the faculty remain largely male because there has yet to be an inaugural graduating class (this would come in 1852); but already a female student Hannah E. Longshore is listed as a Demonstrator in Anatomy. Indeed, Longshore and her sister Anna would both be part of the inaugural class of the college, with the latter going on the author Discourses to Women in Medical Subjects (1897). Indeed, the majority of women listed in this catalogue went on to become doctors, even when it took time -- as it did for Hannah W. Ellis and Susanna H. Ellis, both listed among the graduates of the 1865 class. 12 pages in all, this scarce pamphlet contains Officers, Corporators, Faculty, and Students of the school; an Announcement on the school's missions and accomplishments; information on Specialties available; Terms of enrollment; and a list of required Textbooks. It also conveys the excitement, optimism, and pride of those involved. "The Faculty of the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania are inspired by very different feelings from those that attended their efforts one year ago. Then they were about to enter into an untried path, to engage in a great experiment...But that which was an experiment is an experiment no longer...give a woman knowledge commensurate with her natural qualifications, enable her to go forth healing the sick and comforting the afflicted, and she will bless the world." A rare survivor documenting that pivotal moment when women had been given the chance to prove their intellect, rose to the challenge, and made the future of the next female students more secure. Very Good + (Item #2970)