Woman of the Century/Hannah E Longshore
LONGSHORE, Mrs. Hannah E., physician, born in Montgomery county, Md., 30th May, 1819. For the past forty years she has been a conspicuous figure in Philadelphia, Pa. In the early part of that time she was notable because she dared to practice medicine in opposition to public sentiment, and without question it may be said that she plowed the ground, and, by her practical work, prepared the way for the hosts of women doctors who have followed. Her father and mother, Samuel and Paulina Myers, were natives of Bucks county, Pa., and members of the Society of Friends. From her second till her thirteenth year the family resided in Washington, D. C., where she attended a private school. Her parents, not wishing to raise a family of children under the demoralizing Influences of slavery, then prevalent in the South, moved to Columbiana county, Ohio, settling upon a farm. To her the pursuit of knowledge was always a keen delight. As a child she enjoyed the study of anatomy, dissecting small animals with great interest and precision. As a young woman her great ambition was to enter Oberlin College. At twenty-two years of age she became the wife of Thomas E. Longshore, and returned with him to his home, near Philadelphia, where the following few years were devoted to domestic duties. Eight years later Mrs. Longshore read medicine with her brother-in-law, Prof. Joseph S. Longshore, in addition to taking care of her two children and home. Prof. Longshore was deeply interested in the medical education of women, and was one of the leading spirits and active workers in securing the charter and opening the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, now the Woman's Medical College. His pupil availed herself of that opportunity and became a member of the first class, graduating at the close HANNAH E. LONGSHORE. of the second session, in 1850. She was appointed demonstrator of anatomy in the following session of the college. As a means of bringing herself before the public in a professional way, she prepared and delivered several courses of popular lectures on physiology and hygiene. That was an innovation and aroused considerable discussion. Lucretia Mott presided at the opening lecture. During the first year after graduation Dr. Longshore was called to see a woman ill with dropsy, who had been given up by the doctors to die. One, a leading physician staked his medical reputation that the case would terminate fatally. To the surprise of all interested, the patient recovered under the care of "that woman." That was a triumph, and the story spread among the friends of the family and brought the young doctor many patients. The story of the difficulties and criticisms that met Dr. Longshore in every direction in the early years of her practice seems like fiction. Who would believe to-day that she found it almost impossible to procure medicines, that druggists would not fill her prescriptions, saying "a woman could not be trusted to prescribe drugs; she could not know enough to give the proper dose"; that men doctors persecuted her and would not consult with a woman? The doctor's sign on her door, the first one seen in Philadelphia, called forth ridicule. People Stopped on the pavement in front of her house and read the name aloud with annoying comments. She drove her own horse, which was contrary to custom and sure proof of her strong-mindedness. Nothing is so successful as success. As time passed, all these ol»starles faded away, and Dr. Longshore followed the usual course of general practitioners. At the zenith of her practice she visited, was consulted by and prescribed for great numbers, and, with few exceptions, had more patients than any other of the leading physicians. To-day. at the age of seventy-two. she is full of activity and able to attend to a large practice. During her professional career she has been confined to her home by sickness but twice, and has taken but few short vacations. She is a splendid illustration of what a congenial occupation and out-door exercise will do in developing the physical power of women. Professionally and socially she has always been actuated by high motives. She is noted for honesty of opinion and fearless truthfulness. While her surroundings indicate material prosperity, no suffering woman has been refused attendance because of her inability to pay for service. In connection with her practice she has given attention to minor surgery, and in the reduction of dislocations has been most successful. She is frequently called upon as a medical expert, and in a recent case her testimony given in the form of an object lesson, was so explicit that the judge remarked: "This is a revelation and will cause a new era in expert testimony." The home-life of Dr. Longshore has been of the most happy kind.