History of the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women

The New York Medical College and Hospital for Women was incorporated by a special act of the legislature, under the University of the State of New York, April 14, 1863. The charter of this institution is still valid.

Dr. Clemence S. Lozier was the pioneer who made it possible for women to study medicine in New York City. Before this college was opened for women students, there was no place in New York City where a woman could study medicine.

Dr. Clemence Sophia Lozier was born December 11, 1913, in Plainfield, New Jersey, and educated in the Plainfield Academy. She married at seventeen, and opened a school when she was nineteen. She was a gracious lady of her time, though with a dominant personality and a "will to do" for humanity. Because of this she abandoned her profession of teaching, and secured admission in 1849 to the Central New York College of Rochester and later to the Eclectic College in Syracuse. Graduating (1853) with high honors, she opened her office in New York.

Her practice grew steadily, and soon her weekly health talks, given in her own parlor, were popular. From this popularity grew the idea of a medical college for women. Acting quickly, forcefully and with precision, at a time in that period of history when defeat seemed the only outcome, she secured the passage of the act by the legislature November, 1863, which granted the charter for a medical college for women.

Dr. Lozier worked steadily, and on November 1, 1863, the New York Medical College was opened at 724 Broadway. Seven students and a faculty of eight doctors, four men and four women, constituted the College. It was the spirit and the work of this unusual magnetic personality that brought continuing success to her efforts and to the College. In June, 1868, a building on the corner of Second Avenue and Twelfth Street was purchased for a college and hospital. Here for six years the work was pursued, and the institution gained friends.

During the next years, twenty-five in all, when Dr. Lozier was President and Dean, she saw the College and Hospital rise from its small beginning of seven students to a list of two hundred and nineteen graduate medical women, settled in practice from Maine to California. Prejudice had been partly overcome. No longer did men students hiss and jeer as visiting women students came to amphitheaters for clinical instruction.

Among the members of the faculty at this time, besides Dr. Clemence S. Lozier, President and Dean, were Dr. H. M. Dearborn, Dr. William Todd Hilmuth, Dr. Edmund Carleton, Dr. Rosalie H. Stolz.

Writing in memoriam of his mother, her son, Dr. A. W. Lozier said, "Perhaps no woman of her age has accomplished so much in so many different directions for women. No one ever inspired women more with faith in themselves, nor ever a readier hand worked with a readier heart for mankind." Her granddaughter, Mrs. Jessica Lozier Payne, public speaker and commentator on current events, writes, "I as eighteen years old when my grandmother, Dr. Clemence S. Lozier, died. My strongest recollection of her is her gracious personality and gentle beauty, with soft curls framing her face. Although forceful in character, she gained results by persuasion and example. Many and difficult were her problems, but sustained and inspired by her active faith, she solved them, and won a prominent place in the medical profession, consulting with Dr. Jacoby, Dr. Janeway and Dr. Helmuth. She was a warn friend of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton."

Next in line to carry on the work for women in medicine in the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women was Dr. Phoebe J. Wait, who became the dean. By this time, 1888, the College was located at 213 West 54th Street.

Many are the tales of good fortune here - and of progress, but still the building was inadequate for the growing needs. Dr. M. Belle Brown succeeded Dr. Wait was dean.

In 1897 a new building was erected at 19 West 101st Street. Dr. Helen Cooley Palmer was the next dean, and following her for a short time, Dr. Emily C. Charles. In 1914, Dr. Cornelia Chase Brant became the dean. Even at that time, no hospital facilities were open to women for internship except at that Hospital. The New York Medical College and Hospital for Women, though maintaining the standard required by the Regents of the State of New York, raised the entrance requirements, as did some of the other colleges to two years' pre-medical college work.

Properties were bought for new and better equipped laboratories - chemical, physiology and research. A medical library for this new laboratory wing was purchased and endowed by Mr. M. W. Dominick in memory of his son, Dr. Carleton Dominick, a member of the staff.

The war came. For four years, besides the regular medical courses, special war work was accepted by the government and by the Red Cross.

In 1918, for the first time, women were accepted in the city hospitals, and the women graduate physicians of the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women entered Bellevue, Cumberland Street, and Willard Parker Hospitals as interns.

So runs the history of New York State's pioneer medical college for women, started in 1863, by a pioneer woman with courage.

In 1918, the trustees, in accord with the President of their Board, deemed it feasible to close the College. The women students were transferred to the New York Medical College and Fifth Avenue Hospital. Now, through the courtesy of the Dean, Dr. J.A. W. Hetrick, the portrait of Dr. Clemence Sophia Lozier hangs in that College.

The above was first published as "Account of the College" by Dr. Cornelia Chase Brant as part of an article entitled "History of Women in Medicine" by Bertha L. Selmon, M.D. in Medical Woman's Journal, April 1946.


Descendants of Dr. Clemence Lozier

Charter of Incorporation for New York Medical College for Women.

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