Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/210

This page has been validated.
198
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

integral calculus, in which she displayed wonderful judgment and erudition. This work ("Instituzioni Analitichi") was afterward translated by Colson, the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, and was used by the students of that university. In 1750 her father, who was Professor of Mathematics at the University of Bologna, fell sick, and she obtained permission of the good Pope Benedictus XIV to occupy her father's chair. In person Agnesi is said to have been beautiful, modest, and of pleasing manners. Her severe studies overtaxed her delicate frame, and shortly after she renounced the world and took refuge among the Blue Nuns at Bologna. In this nunnery she lived several years a devotee and an invalid; she died in 1799.

While Laura Bassi taught physics, Anna Morandi-Manzolini anatomy, and Maria Agnesi mathematics, in the Bolognese University, we might naturally expect the gentler sex to avail themselves of the opportunity of studying under their sisters' instructions. And such, in fact, was the case: the names of some of these students are recorded by the historian, many of whom received the degrees of Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Medicine. In 1799 Doctor Maria delle Donne appears as Professor of Medicine and Obstetrics; Clotilda Tambroni was Professor of the Greek Language and Literature, from 1793 to 1808. To these names should be added those of Novella Calderini, Maddalena Buonsignori, Dorotea Bocchi (who was both doctor and professor), Christina Roccati, Ph. D., Zaffira Ferretti, M. D., Maria Sega, M. D., and numerous graduates of Padua, Pavia, Ferrara, and other Italian universities.

Leaving the Italian Peninsula, which was so productive of remarkable personages, we will briefly examine the position of women practitioners of medicine in other parts of Europe.

Beaugrand states that the most ancient document extant relative to the organization of surgery in France forbids the practice of surgeons and of female surgeons who have failed to pass a satisfactory examination before the proper authorities. This paper bears the date 1311. References to female surgeons appear again in an edict of King John in 1352; from these documents it appears that women exercised the function of surgeon under legal authority. At a somewhat later period we find the calling of physician followed by women in Spain, Germany, and England.

In Spain, the Universities of Cordova, Salamanca, and Alcala honored many women with doctors' degrees. We note also the appearance at Madrid in 1587 of a learned medical work entitled "Nueva filosofia de la naturaleza del hombre," and published over the name Olivia del Sabuco. Of this person, however, nothing whatever is certainly known, and it has been conjectured that the name Olivia was a pseudonym assumed by some eminent physician.

In Germany many women cultivated medical science: Barbara Weintrauben was an author of no great merit; the Duchess Eleanor of