Archives for Women in Medicine (AWM)
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This project is made possible by the generous support of our donors.
The Archives for Women in Medicine is a project of the Joint Committee on the Status of Women and the Countway Library which seeks to document and celebrate the ongoing evolution of women’s contributions in medicine. We actively acquire, preserve, promote, and provide research access to the professional and personal records of outstanding women medical leaders, providing enduring access to the behind-the-scenes evidence of the accomplishments and struggles overcome by this cohort of women.
New Archivist for the Archives for Women in Medicine
New Archivist for Women in Medicine, Carolyn Hayes
The Archives for Women in Medicine begins the new year with a new Project Archivist. Carolyn Hayes is the third archivist to serve the AWM since the project’s launch in 2005. Carolyn has been with the Center for the History of Medicine as an acquisitions assistant since the fall of 2011. In addition to her work with new manuscript collections, she has worked with Center staff to plan and prepare for a number of outreach events.
In her first weeks on the job, Carolyn has already surveyed the records of a long-running longitudinal growth study of children, accessioned new collections, and met with potential donors. Her near-term goals include opening the papers of Eva Neer and improving communications with supporters and potential donors… so you will be hearing from her!
Carolyn is a co-editor of the New England Archivists Newsletter and a proud member of the Countway Community Garden team. She holds an M.S. in Library and Information Science and an M.A. in History from Simmons College in Boston, and a B.Mus. in Oboe Performance from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio.
New Acquisitions: Priscilla A. Schaffer Papers
Priscilla A. Schaffer, Ph.D
The Center for the History of Medicine is pleased to announce the acquisition of the personal and professional papers of Priscilla Ann Schaffer, Ph.D (1941 – 2009). She served two stints on the Harvard Faculty of Medicine, was one of the school’s first woman full professors, and was an internationally recognized virologist who published more than 150 papers.
Schaffer’s research focused on herpesviruses, specializing in the research of herpes simplex, and she used genetic approaches to illuminate mechanisms of the herpes simplex virus (HSV) gene expression, DNA replication, latency and reactivation. Her lab was the first to generate mutants of HSV, to establish the genetic and physical maps for HSV, and to identify the viral DNA replication and regulatory proteins. Schaffer was noted for her relentless, genetic approach to nearly every aspect of HSV.
She is also renowned for her mentorship of students, postdoctoral fellows, and fellow faculty. For more about Dr. Schaffer, see the tribute published by the HMS Office of Faculty Affairs.
The collection, which is not yet available for research, consists chiefly of grant records, 1980s-2000s. Also included are lab notebooks, lectures, awards, manuscript drafts, correspondence related to HSV gene mutant requests, and copies of theses and dissertations for which Schaffer served as advisor.
For more information about the collection, contact Public Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
New online exhibits from the Archives for Women in Medicine
Two legacy online exhibits, The Stethoscope Sorority and Grete L. Bibring: The Modern Woman, are now available through the Center’s new online collections site, OnView.
Over the years, women have faced, and continue to face, many struggles in the field of medicine. Despite this ongoing adversity, they have emerged as strong leaders and helped revolutionize the profession. The Archives for Women in Medicine (AWM) at the Countway Library was created in 2000 to capture and preserve the untold history of the many women who have helped change the face of medicine in the United States. This exhibition highlights materials from the AWM that illustrate women’s experiences as mentors, pioneering researchers, healers, and strong voices speaking out for their beliefs. Using their own words, the exhibition presents stories from some of the women of the AWM and the people who have helped contribute to their successes.
In the 1970’s, Dr. Grete L. Bibring created a seminar for Radcliffe College called ‘The Educated Woman’. A small group of students would gather to discuss the issues surrounding educated women and their lives. The concept of the ‘modern woman’ came to portray the dual roles of family and career that women had one point been forced to choose between. Dr. Bibring was a mentor for the emerging modern woman, understanding the demands and rewards of maintaining both a career and family.
Born in Vienna just before the 20th century, Grete L. Bibring would earn the honor of being the first female full clinical professor at Harvard Medical School in 1961. As a part of the “second generation” of Freudian scholars, her achievements include her appointment as Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Beth Israel Hospital in 1955, professional activities in numerous psychiatric organizations, such as the psychoanalytic societies of Vienna, London, and Boston and psychiatric consultant of the Children’s Bureau in Washington D.C. She was highly influential in integrating psychiatric principles into general patient care. Her passion permeated her other roles working with students, residents, physicians, social workers, and nurses across the globe. Dr. Bibring’s work continued well after retirement with a thought provoking seminar at Radcliffe, publication of multiple articles, and her dedication to patient care. This exhibit celebrates her life and her influence on the generations of medical, psychiatric, and social services professions.
Browse all of the Center’s online exhibits at Onview.
2014-2015 Women in Medicine Fellowship: Application Period Open
Deadline: March 15th 2014
The Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine will provide one $5000 grant to support travel, lodging, and incidental expenses for a flexible research period between July 1st 2014 – June 30th 2015. Foundation Fellowships are offered for research related to the history of women to be conducted at the Center for the History of Medicine at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Preference will be given to projects that deal specifically with women physicians or other health workers or medical scientists, but proposals dealing with the history of women’s health issues may also be considered.
Manuscript collections which may be of special interest include the recently-opened Mary Ellen Avery Papers, the Leona Baumgartner Papers, and the Grete Bibring Papers (find out more about our collections at www.countway.harvard.edu/awm). Preference will be given to those who are using collections from the Center’s Archives for Women in Medicine (see the full list of collections here), but research on the topic of women in medicine using other material from the Countway Library will be considered. Preference will also be given to applicants who live beyond commuting distance of the Countway, but all are encouraged to apply, including graduate students.
Applicants should submit a proposal (no more than two pages) outlining the subject and objectives of the research project, length of residence, historical materials to be used, and a project budget (including travel, lodging, and research expenses), along with a curriculum vitae and two letters of recommendation by March 15th, 2014. The fellowship proposal should demonstrate that the Countway Library has resources central to the research topic.
Applications should be sent to: Women in Medicine Fellowships, Archives for Women in Medicine, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, 10 Shattuck Street, Boston, MA 02115. Electronic submissions of applications and supporting materials and any questions may be directed to email@example.com.
The fellowship appointment will be announced in April 2014.
Inspiring Girls to Pursue Science
A recent study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology found that, among college students who start out in a STEM field and later drop out or switch majors, men are more likely to do so because they feel they lack organizational and time management skills, while women are more likely to do so because they lack a “‘self concept’ of themselves as scientists” – women couldn’t picture themselves as scientists.
How can we instill in women and girls the vision of a successful, fulfilling career as a scientist? How can we make women scientists more visible, and make relatable role models more accessible? Here at the Archives for Women in Medicine we are working toward these goals in a variety of ways, acquiring women’s collections, celebrating their creators, and making materials like our Oral History Collection widely accessible. These oral history video interviews were conducted with Harvard Medical School’s earliest women faculty, and include frank and lesson-filled discussions of these luminaries’ lives and careers, their research, how they’ve balanced work and family life, what inspired them to enter the medical field, their relationships with mentors, and the challenges and triumphs they’ve experienced as women in science.
The oral histories are freely available online for home or classroom viewing via OnView, our online collections site: http://collections.countway.harvard.edu/onview/collections/show/12
Some of our favorite excerpts:
“I was heavily influenced by my next door neighbor, Dr. Emily Bacon, who was a pediatrician. She actually showed me my first premature baby at that stage in my life, and it made a lasting impression. [Interviewer: Did Dr. Bacon actively encourage you to pursue medicine?] Oh, I think she did, subtly, by virtue of her enjoying her role so much. She loved it and this enthusiasm of hers was contagious. I don’t think she said ‘You should go to medical school’ but I think I was aware that she was getting an enormous satisfaction out of life and I guess that I thought that might be something that I’d find satisfying, too.”
- Mary Ellen Avery, M.D., on her childhood neighbor and role model, Dr. Emily Bacon
“Oh, it’s a great field because there are a hundred different things you can do within it to fit your personality and what you want to do with life. I always tell [young women], don’t be forced into ‘a woman’s field.’ For instance, a woman will come to me and say, I’ve trained in surgical oncology and now they want me to do breast surgery and I don’t want to do breast surgery, I’ll say, don’t do breast surgery! If you don’t like it, don’t do it… don’t be forced into something that is thought to be a woman’s role. Pick things to do because you really have the hunger and the gut to do it, not because it’s the ‘right thing’ to do.”
- Patricia Donahoe, M.D., on the advice she would give to young women considering careers in medicine
The oral history collection is also still actively growing; we’ll soon add a series of oral history interviews conducted with winners of the Alma Dea Morani Award from the Foundation for the History of Women in Medicine to the collection, which will greatly broaden the national scope of the collection.
How can you help? As a scientist or medical professional, reach out and encourage women who are studying or entering your field. If you know of an outstanding woman in medicine who could serve as an inspiring role model, let us know. We are always looking for more support and community involvement — find out more about the Archives here.