Woman of the Century/Flora A. Brewster
BREWSTER, Miss Flora A., physician and surgeon, born in Alfred, Allegany county, N. FLORA A. BREWSTER. Y., 26th February, 1852. Her family moved to northern Pennsylvania in 1S63. In 1866 she was sent to Alfred University, where, after passing the examinations, she began the scientific course of study, showing great talent for mathematics. In 1868 her father died suddenly, and she was obliged to leave the university in order to attend to the finances of her family. She took a position as copyist in a tax-collector's office, which she soon left to begin work as a teacher. She hoarded her money with the purpose of returning to the university to complete tier course of study, but two years of hard work, teaching school and at the same time carrying on her university studies, so seriously impaired her health that she was compelled to devote her time exclusively to teaching. In 1872 she was appointed teacher in the Mansfield Orphan School, in Mansfield, Pa., which was then the training-school for the Mansfield State Normal School. In 1875 she took the degree of U.K. in Mansfield, and in 1877 the degree of Master in Elementary Didactics, while still teaching. In 1877 she was forced by failing health to give up teaching. She spent a year in travel in the West and Northwest, and her health was so greatly improved that in 1878 she went to Chicago and took the editorial and business management of the "Newsboys' Appeal," an illustrated journal published in the interest of the Newsboys' Home in that city. The following year she began to read medicine with Dr. Julia Holmes Smith, of Chicago, and conducted a night school on the kindergarten plan in the Newsboys' Home. In 1882 she completed the course in the Chicago Homeopathic Medical College, after which she went to Baltimore, Md., where she spent six months in the office and private hospital of the late Prof. August F. Erich, the noted gynecological surgeon. She opened an office and Degan to practice in Baltimore in 1882. At that time only one woman had succeeded in establishing a paving practice in Baltimore, and that one was Dr. Emma Stein Wanstall, who died in September, 1882. No female physician in the city had been entrusted with surgical cases, but Dr. Brewster believed that the field for women physicians in the South was open to sensible, energetic and educated women, and she persevered. For the next four years she worked arduously, acquiring a large practice and doing a good deal of charitable work. In 1886 she formed a partnership with her sister, Dr. Cora Belle Brewster. In 1890 the agitation caused by the application for the admission of women to the medical department of Johns Hopkins University enlightened the people of the entire South in regard to the status of women in the medical profession. Both the sisters were elected surgeons, and they gave clinics in the new homeopathic hospital in Baltimore. Besides their general practice, the doctors Brewster have a large practice in gynaecological surgery, extending over the entire South. They have opened the medical field to the women of the South, and many southern women have become physicians and trained nurses, and are successfully practicing their profession.