Dr. Kate Campbell Hurd-Mead

Dr. Kate Campbell Hurd-Mead

Medical School:  Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1888

Specialty:  Public Health, Obstetrics & Gynecology

Career Highlights:

  • Author, A History of Women in Medicine, from the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Nineteenth Century (Haddam 1938)
  • Author, A Short History of the Pioneer Medical Women of America (Froben 1933)
  • Medical Director, Bryn Mawr School for Girls in Baltimore
  • President, Haddam Public Health Association

Service with AMWA:  President, 1923-1924 History of Medicine Chairman, North Atlantic Regional Director, President Branch 9 (Connecticut)

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Dr. Kate Campbell Hurd-Mead was a health care pioneer and an advocate for women in the medical profession. She was born in Danville, Quebec, in 1867 and grew up in Newburyport, Massachusetts. She decided to study medicine out of respect for her father and on the advice of the well-respected woman physician, Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi. In 1885, she entered the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, receiving her M.D. in 1888. After internship at Boston’s New England Hospital for Women and Children under the tutelage of Dr. Marie Zakrzewska, she eventually become medical director at the Bryn Mawr School for Girls in Baltimore.

At the Bryn Mawr School for Girls, Dr. Hurd-Mead oversaw the school’s trailblazing preventive health program, which included physical education and periodic examinations. Working with Dr. Alice Hall, she helped establish the Evening Dispensary for Working Women and Girls in 1891. In 1893 she married William Edward Mead and the couple moved to Middletown, Connecticut. Setting up a private practice, Dr. Hurd-Mead also helped incorporate Middlesex County Hospital and helped found several nurses’ training programs.

She became increasingly interested in the social role of medicine. A lifelong volunteer in many service organizations, she continued to publish articles advocating a full range of public health services for women and children. After several years in private practice, she spent three years studying gynecology and pediatrics in Vienna, returning in 1907 to be a consulting gynecologist at Middlesex County Hospital.

Dr. Hurd-Mead retired in 1925 and dedicated herself to documenting the history of women in medicine. Planning to compile all her research in a multi-volume set, Dr. Hurd-Mead only lived to see publication of her first volume, covering the history of women in medicine up to the nineteenth century. She had completed the manuscript for the second volume, the history of women in medicine in the Eastern Hemisphere, by the time of her death in 1941.

Dr. Hurd-Mead devoted much of her life’s work to ensuring that medical advances benefited as many people as possible, and to ensuring that the role of women physicians in achieving that goal was well documented and preserved.

Abridged from: National Library of Medicine Web site, “Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America’s Women Physicians: Dr. Kate Campbell Hurd-Mead” accessed April 9, 2012. Other sources: JAMWA April 1956, June 1956 “Kate Campbell Hurd Mead, MD”

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