Woman of the Century/Maria Augusta Fairchild
FAIRCHILD, Miss Maria Augusta, doctor of medicine, born in Newark, N. J., 7th June, 1834. Orphaned at the age of six years, she was left to the guardianship and care of her uncle, Dr Stephen Fairchild, widely known as a philanthropist and temperance and medical reformer. MARIA AUGUSTA FAIRCHILD. He was surgeon in the army during the war of 1812, practiced allopathy a number of years and later adopted homeopathy, being foremost in its introduction into New Jersey. Augusta very early showed a strong preference for the study of anatomy, physiology, materia medica and even pathology. Both her uncle and his son, Dr. Van Wyck Fairchild, were amused and not a little pleased to observe the strong likings of the child, and they gave much encouragement in the directions so welcome to her. She unfolded rapidly under their instruction. She was often permitted to visit both their hospital and private patients, and there she learned to diagnose and prescribe with accuracy and skill. When she was sent to school, she found the work and surroundings distasteful, but she persevered in her studies and left school fitted to teach. For three years she forced herself to faithfulness in a work for which she had no liking beyond that of filling her position in the best possible way. Longing to become a physician, she read the names of a small band of women, medical pioneers, and encouragement came to her. At length the way was opened. Her health failed, and she was ill for months. In the very early stage of convalescence she felt the uprising of her unconquerable desire. With restored health she resolved to carry out her long- cherished plan, and soon she found herself in the New York Hygeio-Therapeulic College, New York City, from which in 1860, three years later, she was graduated. To be a woman doctor meant a great deal in those days. Immediately upon leaving college, Dr. Fairchild became associated with the late Dr. Trail, of New York, in both infirmary and outside practice. From the first she has given much attention to measures which elevate the standard of health among women. She was one of the earliest practitioners of the hygienic medical school, and probably there is no physician of that school now living who bears such unwavering testimony to the truths of its principles. During her thirty-two years of practice, in both acute and chronic ailments, she has never administered either alcohol or drugs. She is enthusiastic in whatever goes to make humanity better. In religion she is New Church, or Swedenborgian. As an author she has published "How to be Well" (New York, 1879), and her later work, entitled "Woman and Health" (18901. She contributes to various health journals and magazines, and has during all the years of her professional life occupied the lecture field as a champion for women, claiming that emancipation lies in the direction of obedience to the laws of health and total extinction of disease. She has lived in the West about twenty years, and is known as a leading physician, and proprietor of her own Health Institution in Quincy, Ill. She is a careful hygienist, eats no meat, drinks only water, eats but one meal a day and wears neither corsets nor w eighty clothing.