Page:A cyclopedia of American medical biography vol. 2.djvu/335

This page needs to be proofread.




went in 1866. During the first eighteen months she studied in the hospitals, but could not gain admission to I'Ecole de Medecine because of lack of precedent. Her application through a friend to a certain professor for permission to enter his dissecting room was granted on the condition that she attend in male attire, whereupon meeting the professor and looking up at his towering six feet from her short five, she exclaimed " Why, Monsieur, look at my littleness, men's clothes would only exaggerate it. I should never be taken for a man and the objection to mixing with the students would be increased a hundred fold." Struck by her earnestness the good pro- fessor agreed, and her enrollment in I'Ecole de Medecine soon followed. "How generously and delicately this brave girl adventurer was treated by the students and the faculty of those days, let this never be forgotten, to the honor of all the Frenchmen who then studied and taught in this great school!" Upon her graduation in 1871 Dr. Putnam re- ceived the highest mark for each of her five examinations, and her thesis took the bronze medal, the second prize awarded. She was the first woman ever to take the full course and the second to receive a degree in this institution; Dr. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson being the first.

T>T. Putnam's achievement in opening I'Ecole de Medecine of Paris to women gave her an international reputation and led to many attractive positions being offered her, but she joined the little group of women who were struggling to estab- lish the Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary, where she imme- diately became professor of materia medica and therapeutics. When Mary Putnam returned from Europe with a Paris medical degree and a training in scientific medicine, she was admitted in 1873, without discussion, to the Medical Society of New York County at the sug- gestion of Dr. Abraham Jacobi, its dis- tinguished president, whom she married a few months later. She also became a member of the pathological, neurological

and therapeutic societies, and of the New York Academy of Medicine. In con- junction with Dr. Anna Angell. she founded a dispensary at the Mt. Sina Hospital in 1873; in 1874 the Association for the Advancement of the Medical Education of \\omen, and in 1876 won the Boylston prize (Harvard University), with an essay on "The Question of Rest for Women During Menstruation. ' ' From 1880 she was visiting physician to the New York Infirmary for Women and Children and visiting physician to St. Mark's Hospital from 1893. In 1882 a school for post-graduate instruction was opened in New York City and Dr. Putnam Jacobi was invited to a place on its faculty as the clinical lecturer in children's diseases, the first time such a lectureship in this country had been given a woman.

In 1893 in just recognition of her contributions to neurology she was made chairman of the neurological section of the Academy of Medicine. Dr. James R. Chadwick, of Boston, used to cite as an instance of her wonderful ability to quickly marshal facts from her fund of knowledge, the occasion of her after dinner speech at the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Medical Society in 1889. He had invited her, the first woman thus honored, to be the guest of the Society; on their way to the hall he inquired her topic for an after dinner speech and was dismayed to hear she did not understand she was to make one, but more dismayed to have her add, " Oh, well, I will speak on ' Women in Medi- cine,'" for that hotly discussed, long- mooted subject must not be dragged in. "All right," she said and when her turn came made as he .said " a simply stunning and l)rilliant address on 'Practical Study in Biology,'" calling forth ringing, en- thusiastic applause from the men.

Logical, keen and alert in argument, swift to seize upon the kernel of thought and discard the mesh of verbosity, broad- minded, retentive of facts, almost to the encyclopedic point, original in her con- ceptions and strong to follow where