Woman of the Century/Alice Bunker Stockham
STOCKHAM, Mrs. Alice Bunker, physician and author, born in Ohio, 1833. Her maiden name was Bunker. Her parents were Quakers, and many of her relatives are ministers and philanthropists in that sect. When she was three years old her parents removed to Michigan, where they lived in a log cabin, among the Indians. She grew up out of doors and was a vigorous child. Advantages for education were limited, but she was educated in Olivet College, paying her way by manual labor and by teaching during vacations. Progressive theories in the art of healing interested and impressed Alice from her earliest years. Her parents had adopted the Thompsonian system, and in the new country treated their neighbors for miles around. The doctor early showed the instincts of a nurse and, when yet a child, was called upon for night and day nursing. When she was about fourteen, hydropathy became the watchword. Her parents espoused that new pathy, and the periodicals and fxjoks teaching it greatly interested the girl. ALICE BUNKER STOCKHAM. With almost her first earnings she subscribed for " Fowler's Water Cure Journal." At the age of eighteen she met Emma K. Cot, a lawyer. Dissatisfied with school-teaching as a profession, she asked Mrs. Coe what she would advise for her life-work. "Why not study medicine? You have an education, and in the near future there certainly will be a demand for educated women physicians." Once being persuaded that this was life-work for her, she could not shake it off. Want of means and opposition of friends were slight obstacles. Her twentieth birthday found her in the Eclectic College of Cincinnati, the only college in the West at that time admitting women. Only three or four women are her seniors in the profession. For twenty-five years she engaged in an extensive general practice, but her sympathies were more enlisted in the welfare of women and children which led to the study of the vital needs of both and out of this sprang the most beneficent work of her life, the writing of "Tokology," a book on maternity, which has been invaluable to thousands of women all over the civilized world. This book was published in Chicago in 1883, and has a constantly increasing circulation and has been translated into the Swedish, German and Russian tongues. The Russian translation was made by Count Leo Tolstoi. In 1881 Dr. Stockham visited Sweden, Finland, Russia and Germany, during which time she became much interested in the Swedish handicraft slojd which forms a part of the education of the Swedish and Finnish youth. She perceived its value and how worthily it might serve to the same purpose in the schools of her own country, and with the promptness and energy which so strongly mark her character, she set about at once upon her return home to introduce that method of teaching into the public schools of Chicago, which, after some opposition, she succeeded in doing. In November. 1891, she started on a trip around the world, visiting India, China, Japan and some of the islands of the Pacific, giving much attention to the schools, kindergartens and the condition of the women of those countries. There are few works of benevolence in Chicago in which she has not taken an active interest. Winning honor as a physician is but one of many in the life of this quiet, concentrated, purposeful woman. For many years she was an active member of the society for the rescue of unfortunate women, and of one to conduct an industrial school for girls. She has been publicly identified with the social purity and woman suffrage work for many years, giving both time and money for their help and advancement. Progressive thought along all lines has her ready sympathy, and her convictions are fearlessly acted upon. Her life is wrought of good deeds, her theories are known by their practical application, and her charity is full of manifestation. Her home is in Evanston. Ill.