Regards Elizabeth Blackwell'sBlackwell, Elizabeth
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> recent lectures to women at the Marylebone InstituteMarylebone Institute
CloseView the register entry >> to be 'the most unique' event in the past month. Notes that whilst her audience contained some who dissented from her views, many 'returned somewhat softened' by her 'facts and arguments' concerning female employment. Thinks the opening up of the English medical profession to women is imminent but regards such a course as being 'problematical'. Goes on to describe Blackwell's arduous early life, including her father's unsuccessful commercial ventures in America, and the family's consequent struggles to make ends meet. (13) Notes how Blackwell studied 'medical and anatomical books' whilst running a boarding-school in Kentucky, and after three years of medical study, tried unsuccessfully to enter medical school. Stresses that she applied to all American medical colleges to pursue her own goal and to 'set a precedent for other women'. Describes how she was eventually accepted by the College of the University of Geneva, New York StateCollege of the University of Geneva, New York CloseView the register entry >>, but having continued to suffer difficulties studying medicine, sought to establish a medical school for women. Notes that in 1849 she became the first woman to receive a medical diploma (from Geneva). (14) Describes how she tried, with varying degrees of success, to continue her education in Paris and London. Stresses that she prompted many other American women to pursue medicine and established a New York-based medical practice (and later hospital) for women and children—a concern funded partly by her lecturing activities. Links this to the decision by five American medical colleges to admit women and the fact that the previous nine years had witnessed 200 women gaining medical diplomas. In discussing Blackwell's division of her classes into nurses, midwives, and physicians, urges the need for a better medical training for nurses and midwives. Claims that the latter practitioners merely assist nature, while the physician should 'judge, decide, and balance probabilities', and possess a detailed knowledge of human anatomy and diseases. Notes that 'we still sicken at the idea of morbid anatomy' despite upholding the benefits of the 'study of physiology', the desirability for women practitioners to discuss women's diseases, and the need for women medical practitioners. (15) Reminds those joining the 'movement' to extend women's medical education of the impossibility of persuading the world that women medical practitioners are 'possessed of the same feelings as the generality of women'. Urges that women should follow the example of men and 'stand the brunt of any and every battle', rather than complain when they become 'bespattered by both blood and brains'. They should be prepared to be 'regarded with more curiosity than gratitude'. Announces the proposal to establish a hospital in London 'for the treatment of the special diseases of women', together with details of its women organisers and patrons. Concludes by describing Blackwell's physical features and praising her abilities, but argues that she cannot be 'taken as a fair type of feminine abilities'. (16)
Notes Isaac Newton'sNewton, Sir Isaac
DSB CloseView the register entry >> 'misfortune never to have known the care and affection of a father' and how his mother did not allow her 'new alliance' to interfere with his studies. Adds that it was her intention to provide him with an education that would enable him to 'manage his own estate' but, 'finding him exhibit such an ardent desire for mental improvement [...] released him from the obstacles which her prudence had thoughtlessly thrown in his way'. Goes on to describe how Adam Smith'sSmith, Adam
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> mother cared for her perpetually 'sickly' son. (80)
Laments the fact that 'the great, portion of our working population [...] have so little time to eat, not to say prepare, the food they earn' and their 'unwholesome diet and irregular hours of eating have produced indigestion, disordered stomachs, diseased stomachs' and expensive doctors' bills (89). Advocates cookery as a 'branch of education'. Draws an analogy with mathematics, which most adults would not study even were they informed that their 'well-being' depended on it, but which is 'daily being taught' to boys 'without the slightest difficulty' or 'interference with their other duties'. Notes that while mathematics is 'only useful in some out of the many employments and vocations of mankind', cookery 'concerns every human being born'. Insists that everyone should have knowledge of the 'nutritious properties' of a variety of foods and how best they should be consumed. Attacks those who take 'bad physic' to treat 'biliary derangement'. (90) Urges that knowledge of 'botany, chemistry, physiology' and the 'medicinal properties of various vegetables [...] should be instilled as the foundation or groundwork for the reformation of our style of living' (91). Concludes by upholding the importance of 'reason' in the preparation of food (92).
Medical Practitioners, Gender, Disease, Sanitation
Insists that 'what Florence NightingaleNightingale, Florence
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> effected for our sick, some unknown individual must arise and work out for these modern lazar-houses' (176). Notes how Nightingale's 'very shadow' benefited wounded soldiers 'as it flitted across the ward'. Argues that the 'actual presence of a Christian woman among the morally or the physically sick carries with it more weight and a worth that no gold can purchase, no man measure', and is more effective than a surgeon's 'drugs and skill'. Believes that the solution to the problem of workhouses is the 'bringing in of educated governors' who will replace 'government by fear' with a 'régime of love'. (179)
Observes that 'railroads have worked a revolution in the affairs of life'; 'they empty the great metropolis of all who can command even a small amount of money, and have leisure enough to spend it in the gay watering-places which dot the margins of Queen Victoria's realm' (188).
Discusses the Sanitary AssociationSanitary Association
CloseView the register entry >>, an association which 'we, the women of London, have been obliged, in self-defence, to form [...] to poke out the unclean corners of our parishes, and fumigate the holes of our courts' (207–08).
Mignon; or, The Step-Daughter: The Miracle of the Roses
Short Fiction, Serial
Collecting, Botany, Gender, Natural Theology
Noting 'how beautiful are the large woods when animated by young girls', describes how 'an industrious nun' is seen teaching the girls how to distinguish plants in their herbariums. Believes 'he who could understand all the properties of plants [...] would be richer than a king, and almost as wise as Nature's Author' (216–17). Claims that there is 'no recreation more attractive, more healthful, more fruitful in the unforeseen discoveries, than the study of botany'. Contrasts those who 'give themselves up' to classifying plants and those who play games. (217)
Justifies the value of mothers' meetings, and laments the fact that the mistress of the household 'took the hint' from school inspectors and 'devoted morning, noon, and night to cram the young ladies with science, to the utter neglect of household instruction'. Notes that the consequence of this is the poor domestic skills of 'hundreds and hundreds of women'. (232)
Medical Practitioners, Palaeontology, Anatomy, Comparative Anatomy, Representation
Having indicated that the reader can 'fill in the crude skeleton' of the plot of the story, encourages her not to 'despair of success', noting that 'the indefatigable Professor OwenOwen, Richard
DSB CloseView the register entry >>' was shown 'the upper portion of the skull of a gorilla' and subsequently 'returned a life-size drawing of the (then) unknown animal, perfect to the minutest hair in its tail'. (236) Describes the activities of George Crusoe, a surgeon, whose wife accuses 'the poor apothecary' of being a 'fortune hunter' (237).
Gender, Education, Reading, Horticulture, Human Development, Societies
Insists that there are 'few people who have not some ability enough for the pursuit of some natural science—botany, geology, entomology' which would 'fill up their otherwise vacant hours'. Advises women who 'grow tired' of trying to sing to 'go into your father's or brother's library, and select therefrom–not a last year's magazine, in order to look for a "pretty story"–but a set of those uninviting, stern-looking books [...]—history, biography, logic, law, theology, metaphysics–and you cannot go amiss'. (247) Discussing women's 'self sacrificing nature', notes that 'inferior animals are deficient in that faculty which produces self-love' and asks whether women belong more 'to the inferior than man does' (248). Describes how women engage in 'working whims' such as a 'horticultural mania' in which a whole neighbourhood sets about 'digging, raking, pruning'. Adds that sometimes 'an entire locality becomes astronomical, or geological, or botanical, or chemical', and describes how such activities frequently cause physical injury to its women practitioners, and how, within months, only a few 'have any taste or talent for such study'. (249)
Describes Mr Bankes, who teaches botany and natural history at a boarding school and who has greatly developed the botanical, entomological, and microscopical interests of his lady students at Mrs Westall's school (291).
Medical Practitioners, Medical Treatment, Hospitals, Textbooks, Sanitation
Hails Florence Nightingale'sNightingale, Florence
ODNB CloseView the register entry >> work as one which proposes 'most interesting and valuable' remarks on such general aspects of nursing as ventilation and drainage. Regards her words on the 'minutiae of the sick room'—such as her objection to talking outside a patient's room—to be 'more telling than in any other department'.