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Rediscovering the Class of 1885

Exhibit home Lucius A. Smith J. Howard Ferguson Frank W. Marlow Registration Book, 1884-85 College of Med. skeleton cartoon Dr. Mercer's Study, painting by Maureen Barcza
Exhibit Home A Discovery A Mystery Missing Persons New Intrigue Student Life The Faculty

Women and Medical Education

Frances. A. Adams

Frances A. Adams was not the first woman to attend the Syracuse College of Medicine -- there were about a dozen before her -- yet life was far from easy for a woman in medical school then. Co-education was still controversial. Consider that her own brother-in-law, Dr. Ely Van de Warker, published Woman's Unfitness for Higher Coeducation in 1903. Feelings were even stronger regarding co-ed medical education, where morality and modesty were also involved.

Elizabeth Blackwell

Elizabeth Blackwell, the 1st woman to earn a regular M.D., attended Geneva Medical College (Syracuse and SUNY Upstate Medical School's predecessor) and graduated in 1849. Geneva closed the school to women thereafter because of the outrage expressed by the medical community.

Sarah Loguen Fraser

Sarah Loguen Fraser, born Sarah Marinda Loguen (1850-1933), daughter of abolitionist Reverend Jermain Wesley Loguen from Syracuse, was the first black woman to earn an M.D. from Syracuse University.

Patricia Numann, M.D.

Patricia Numann, M.D., Class of 1965. In 1961 Dr. Numann was one of 8 female students in a class of 83. Today women make up fully half of medical school classes at SUNY Upstate. Dr. Numann was inducted into the International Women in Medicine Hall of Fame in 2004. Elizabeth Blackwell was inducted posthumously in 2002.

According to Dr. Numann, "In 1885 women often impersonated men to be accepted. Today women are not only welcome, they are actively recruited. Their increasing role in medicine, especially in the past 4 decades, has changed the face of women's health by advancing research and treatment of women's health issues."


Return to: Student Life, Including Frank's Story
Register of the College of Medicine, 1884/85