When I first started brainstorming my historical, Heaven Scent, I knew I wanted my heroine to be a doctor. But I soon learned that would not be so easy. You see, women were not allowed to be doctors in 1848. WTH?!
After delving into more research, I was fascinated by the reasons behind women’s first jump into the medical field. At the time, society’s mentality was that women did not have the stamina to sustain such a grueling job, even though midwives had been delivering babies for centuries.
In comes Dr. Samuel Gregory – yes, a male! - who founded the Boston Female Medical College in 1848. Renamed the New England Female Medical College, it was the first in the world to offer medical degrees for women. The college started out offering midwifery classes before growing to include full medical degrees.
Gregory thought it was inappropriate for men to handle female medical issues, and also held a concern for the danger of female midwives who did not have proper training in the field. In his publication, Man-Midwifery Exposed, he gives specific examples of inappropriate relationships between male physicians and their female patients. Really?!
In his introduction, he states, “The introduction of men into the lying-in chamber, in place of female attendants, has increased the sufferings and dangers of childbearing women, and brought multiple injuries and fatalities upon mothers and children; it violates the sensitive feelings of husbands and wives, and causes an untold amount of domestic misery; the unlimited intimacy between a numerous profession and the female population silently and effectually wears away female delicacy and professional morality, and tends, probably more than any other cause in existence, to undermine the foundations of public virtue.”
While trying to garner support for the college, Dr. Gregory gave seminars on Man-Midwifery Exposed and his ideas for the college. However, these seminars were not co-ed. He held men’s seminars and women’s seminars.
Yes, you read right.
His seminars were quite the uproar in Boston at the time. The basic difference between the seminars? The men heard about the inappropriate relationships; the women were too delicate to hear of such immoral experiences.
Nevertheless, the legislature passed a motion to approve and the college was founded. Twelve women made up the first graduating class in 1850. WTG, Gregory!
In Heaven Scent, my heroine, Tarin Worthington, becomes actively involved in the college and is quite peeved when the hero, Rafe Sutherland, shows up and distracts her from her goals. And take my word for it ladies, he is quite the distraction. :-)
Pick up a copy of Heaven Scent online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords and you’ll see what I mean. :-_
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About the Author:
After watching her mother's endless suffering & death, nothing would keep Tarin Worthington from opening the first female medical college and becoming a doctor-not society's antiquated rules, nor the distracting Rafe Sutherland. Yes, he was a handsome, national hero bearing secrets-but she would not lose sight of her goals. What Tarin doesn't realize is that her mother has a few goals of her own.