Woman of the Century/Martha H. Mowry
MOWRY, Miss Martha H., physician, born in Providence, R. I., 7th June, 1818. Her parents MARTHA H. MOWRY. were Thomas and Martha Harris Mowry. Her father was a merchant in Providence. Her mother died in August, 1818, and her father in June, 1872. The young Martha was reared by her father's sister, Miss Amey Mowry, a cultured woman of literary tastes, who inspired her young niece with a fondness for literature, science and study. Martha attended the schools of Miss Sterry and Miss Chace, in Providence, and in 1825 she was sent to Mrs. Walker's academy. In 1827 she became a student in the Friends' Yearly Meeting Boarding School, in Providence, where she remained until 1831. She next went to Miss Latham's select boarding-school, and later to Miss Winsor's young ladies' boarding-school. While in that school, over exercise brought on an attack of heart weakness, which troubled her for over four years, forcing her to leave school. During that enforced quiet she studied various branches, such as mathematics, Latin, Greek and Hebrew. She also read extensively, and especially the works of the ancient philosophers. After her health was restored, she studied in the Green Street Select School, in Providence. After leaving the school she kept up her studies, with increasing interest in languages and oriental literature. In 1844 she decided to take up the study of medicine. At that time no woman had been or could be admitted to a medical college, and she studied with Drs. Briggs, Fowler, Fabyan, Maurau and De Bonnerville. In the winter of 1840-50 she was requested to take charge of a medical college for women in Boston, Mass. She spent some months in close study, to fit herself for work, and under the instruction of able and experienced physicians, such as Dr. Cornell, Dr. Page, Dr. Gregory and others, she soon became proficient. Dr. Page established a school in Providence, where Miss Mowry took a course in electropathy and received a diploma. She afterwards lectured before physiological societies in neighboring towns. In 1851 her services were recognized by the Providence Physiological Society, which presented her a silver cup as a token of their respect and confidence. In 1853 she received a diploma as M.D. from an allopathic medical school in Philadelphia, Pa., after examination by a committee of physicians who visited her in Providence. She was in the same year appointed professor of obstetrics and diseases of women and children in the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania, an institution then only three or four years old. She accepted the call and went to Philadelphia. Among her auditors, when she was introduced and delivered her first address, were Mrs. Maria Child and Mrs. Lucretia Mott. Her work in the college was pleasant and successful, but her father desired to have her with him, and she returned to Providence. In that city she was called into regular practice, and for nearly forty years she has been an active physician. Since 1880 she has limited her work somewhat, and since 1882 she has refrained from answering night calls. Dr. Mowry always felt a deep interest in all educational matters. She has been interested in woman suffrage, and appeared in a convention held in Worcester, Mass., where she was introduced by Mrs Mott. She is a trustee of the Woman's Educational and Industrial Union of Providence, a member of the Rhode Island Woman's Club, and vice-president for her State of the Association for the Advancement of Women. Dr. Mowry has had a remarkable career, and her greatest achievement has been in aiding the opening up of one of the most important fields of professional and scientific work for the women of the United States.