Woman of the Century/Phoebe Jane Babcock Wait
WAIT, Mrs. Phoebe Jane Babcock, physician, born in Westerly, R. I., 30th September, 1838. PHOEBE JANE BABCOCK WAIT. She is one of a large family of children of whom there were eight daughters and three sons. Her early education was acquired in the district school, and she afterward taught in district schools for two years, but, not content with that limited opportunity for usefulness, and impelled by a desire for better educational advantages, she entered Alfred University, Alfred Center, N. Y., from which school she received the degree of A. B. She was afterwards a teacher in the Institute for the Blind in New York City for four years, and in 1863 she became the wife of William B. Wait, the superintendent of the institute. There the whole of her married life has been spent, and from that center of active usefulness her influence has flowed outward into wider channels. Recognizing the need of a broader and more practical education for women, which would give scope to their powers in more varied activities, she determined upon a course of medical study, and in 1868 entered the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women, in New York City. In 1871 she received the degree of M D. from that institution. In 1869 Alfred University conferred upon her the degree of A. M., thus practically recognizing her ability and merit. For many years Dr. Wait rendered valuable service in church work, which would entitle her to notice, had she engaged in no other field of labor. For ten years she was president of the Dorcas society of the church which, with her family, she attended, and for several years she was one of the managers of the Baptist Home for the Aged. She is a member of the national and county medical societies, where she has rendered active service, showing in her essays on medical and kindred topics ability and originality always in step with the onward march of medical progress. In 1879 she received the diploma of the New York Ophthalmic Hospital and College, after having pursued the prescribed course of study, and she is well qualified to serve suffering humanity in special branches taught in that college. In 1880 she was elected to the chair of obstetrics in the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women, which position she now fills. In that special line of medical work she is best known, and in it she shows exceptional skill and ability. In 1883 she was made chairman of the hospital stiff, which position she has held uninterruptedly to this time. Upon the death of Dr. Clemence Sophia Lozier, the founder and dean of the college, Dr. Wait was elected by the faculty to the vacant office. The value of her work for women increases with her years of service. Always faithful, efficient and true, her life and labor are an ever increasing inspiration to the students. In times of financial stress in the history of the college the fidelity, courage and persistence which she has manifested have helped at times to bridge over a crisis and have saved the institution from disaster. She is a leading member of a number of societies having in view humanitarian objects. She is secretary of the Society for Promoting the Welfare of the Insane, and is also a member of the consulting staff of the Brooklyn Woman's Homeopathic Hospital. In her private life those who know her best esteem her most. She is the mother of seven children, of whom four daughters have passed to the higher life. To those who have known the history of these trials of her affection and faith, she has been an inspiration. With her the home circle is not broken. The children's places arc kept at the family hearthstone, and a living faith finds expression in daily speech of those who have been removed from her earthly care. Hers is an everyday faith that recognizes the unbroken line of life reaching from the cradle into immortality. As wife, mother and friend she is helpful, ready and sympathetic.