In the March 2014 newsletter of the Medical Women’s International Association (MWIA), the Australian Federation of Medical Women (AFMW) announced plans to honor the Australian women doctors who served during World War I. This inspired AMWA to learn more about the contributions of American women physicians during World War I. A call out to the AMWA membership brought forth a team of physician and student researchers to begin gathering information from books, articles, archives, and web resources.
The story of women physicians and World War I is, in fact, closely linked to the history of AMWA. It was the exclusion of female physicians from the commissioned status granted to male physicians in the military that caused the organization to rally behind a common cause. From this effort, the War Service committee and later the American Women’s Hospitals Service (AWHS) was founded. To this day, AWHS continues to support charitable humanitarian work both home and abroad.
We welcome AMWA members and guests to peruse this exhibition and join in our efforts. We are grateful to Esther Pohl Lovejoy, MD; Kimberly Jensen, PhD; Judith Bellafaire, PhD; Mercedes Herrera Graf, PhD; Lettie Gavin, BA; Dorothy Schneider, PhD; and Carl Schneider, PhD whose books help proved immensely helpful in understanding the varied roles women held during the war. The collections at Drexel University College of Medicine’s Legacy Center and Women in Military Service for American Memorial were invaluable resources thanks to the assistance of Matt Herbison, Joanne Murray, and Britta Granrud. Over the next few years, as the world commemorates the Centennial of World War I, we will continue to add photographs and articles to the exhibition. If you have submissions that you would like to share, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Eliza Chin, Zayn Holt, and Marni Siegel
Co-Directors, Exhibition on Women Physicians and World War I
Researchers: Rachel Hurley, Anila Khan, Katherine Konaires, Bansari Sarkar, Rochelle Wang, and Dr. Mishelle J. Vasquez
Webmasters: Caroline Humphreys and Emily Chin
Director of Outreach: Nitisha Mehta
Project Manager: Sarah Chin