Woman of the Century/Seraph Frissell
FRISBELL, Miss Seraph, physician, born in Peru, Mass., 20th August, 1840. She is a daughter of Augustus C. and Laura Mack Emmons Krissell. Her father and grandfather were captains of the State militia. Her great-grandfather. William Frissell, was a commissioned officer in the Revolutionary War and a pioneer settler in western Massachusetts. Her mother's father, Major Ichabod Emmons, was a relative of Dr. Nathaniel Emmons, and was one of the first settlers of Hinsdale, Mass. Her grandfather. Col. David Mack, was the second white mat to make a clearing in the town of Middlefield. Mass., then a wilderness. The first eleven years of her life were spent within sight of Saddleback Mountain, the highest point of land in the State. As a child she was quiet and diffident, not mingling freely with her schoolmates, and with a deep reverence for religious things. After her father's death, SERAPH FRISBELL. which occurred when she was eleven years of age, the problem which confronted her mother was to gain a livelihood for herself and six children, Seraph being the third. Her twelfth year was spent with an aunt in western New York, during which time she derided she would rather earn her own living, if possible, than be dependent on relatives. Returning home, the next year and a half was devoted to school life and helping a neighbor in household work, thereby earning necessary clothing. When she was fifteen, her oldest sister decided to seek employment in a woolen mill, and Seraph accompanied her. The next six years were divided between a factory girl's life and school life. During those years she earned her living and, besides contributing a certain amount for benevolent and missionary purposes, saved enough for one year's expenses in Mt. Holyoke Seminary. The week she made her application for admittance, the proposition was made to her to take up the study of medicine. but the goal towards which her eyes had been directed, even in childhood, and for which she had worked all those years, was within reach, and she was not to be dissuaded from carrying out her long cherished plan of obtaining an education. Hence she was found, in the fall of 1861, commencing her student life in that "Modern School of Prophets for Women," remaining one year. Then followed one year of teaching, and a second year in the seminary. After four years more of teaching, in the fall of 1868 she resumed her studies and was graduated in July, 1869. The following three years were spent in teaching, during which time the question of taking up the study of medicine was often considered. It was in the fall of 1872 she left home to take her first course in the medical department of the University of Michigan. She received her medical diploma 24th March, 1875. The same spring found her attending clinics in New York City. In June, 1875, she went to Boston lor hospital and dispensary work, remaining one year. In September, 1876, she opened her office in Pittsfield. Mass., where for eight years she did pioneer work as a woman physician, gaining a good practice. In 1884 she removed to Springfield, Mass., where she now resides. During the school years of 1890 and 1891 she was the physician in Ml. Holyoke College, keeping her office practice in Springfield. She was the first woman admitted to the Hampden Medical Society, which was in 1885, the law to admit women having been passed in 1884. A part of her professional success she attributes to not prescribing alcoholic stimulants. Dr. Frissell has held the office of president, secretary and treasurer of the local Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and is now county superintendent of the department of heredity and health. For years she has been identified with home and foreign missions, seven years having served as president of auxiliary to the Woman's Board of Missions.