1886: MEDICAL MAIDS. Cincinnati’s Women Physicians.

(See also Women Doctors in Cincinnati and their Connections to Walnut Hills.)


Cincinnati’s Women Physicians.


Most of Them Are Cincinnati Girls – All Are Prospering.

There are 500 physicians in Cincinnati. Of these less than a dozen are women. The first woman physician to come to Cincinnati was Dr. Elmira Y. Howard, a graduate of the New York Homeopathic College for Women, in which institution Prof. Lilienthal, a brother of the late Rabbi Lilienthal, of the Mound St. Temple, Cincinnati, was a professor. The Rabbi, at the instance of his brother, the professor, interested himself in behalf of Dr. Howard, and secured her immediately a lucrative practice in many Hebrew families of his congregation. From that time her practice has gone on increasing. Her office is at Ninth and Vine. She resides on Walnut Hills.

This was twenty years ago. For several years Dr. Howard was the only woman physician in Cincinnati. The next to come were Dr. Martha May Howells and Dr. Ellen Kirk. Dr. Howells was a Hamilton, Ohio, girl. After finishing her education in that city she went to New York, took the regular course in the New York Woman’s Medical College (homeopathic), the same institution that Dr. Howard had attended. During her course in this institution a friendship sprang up between Miss Howells and her class-mate, Miss Kirk, who hailed from a bright, progressive, young prairie city in interior Illinois.

“Where shall we settle?” was the question of questions when the graduation exercises had concluded, and the matter of the establishment of a practice had become the next thing in order. They discussed it on the street cars, over restaurant tables, in their rooms, after they had gone to bed at night, and before they rose in the morning.

“Well, I’m going to Cincinnati,” at last decided Miss, now Dr. Howells.

“I’ll go too,” decided Miss, now Dr. Kirk. So it was settled that the two young doctors should settle in Cincinnati, but that they should occupy separate offices, and each one propel her own skiff, or words to that effect.

The fall of 1878 saw the young doctors neatly officed and with a good start toward a remunerative practice, which has grown larger from year to year, till now they have as large a practice as they can well attend to.

About two years after their settlement in Cincinnati, they, in connection with a number of benevolent ladies of the city, established a free dispensary at 306 Linn St., for women and children, which did much good in an unostentatious way. Three years later it was merged into the Ohio Hospital for women and children, at 494 West Ninth St. A year ago the ladies interested in this noble charity held a fair in the vestibule of Music Hall, which netted $8000 and enabled the hospital to increase its facilities. It has twelve beds and four cribs, which, except in midsummer, are all occupied. If the patients are able to pay for their care and attention they are charged from $3 to $5 a week for bed, board, nurse, and medical attention, and if all the patients were able to pay this small amount it would make the hospital self-supporting. But many are not able to pay anything, and are treated, nursed and boarded free. There are also two private rooms, which are rented out with board and nurse care at $8 and $9 respectively per week. Mrs. Davies Wilson is President and Mrs. Edwin Stevens is Secretary.

Dr. Howell’s residence and office is at 429 West Eighth St., and Dr. Kirk’s at 271 West Seventh St.

The next woman physician to settle in Cincinnati was Dr. Julia C. C. Carpenter. Drs. Howard, Howells and Kirk are homeopaths. Dr. Carpenter was the first “regular” woman physician to open an office in the city. She belongs to one of the oldest families in Cincinnati. Her grandfather, Captain Joseph Carpenter, was editor and proprietor of “The Western Spy,” one of the first newspapers published in the city. Freeman Av. was named for her great-grandfather’s family. Few, if any, physicians in Ohio have a finer medical education and experience than Dr. Carpenter. She graduated with honor from the Philadelphia Women’s Medical College (Regular). This institution, now in its thirty-eighth year, ranks with the first medical college of the land. It led them all in the adoption of and introduction of the progressive three years’ course of medical study. All the other medical colleges of the United States have since followed suit.

After graduating in Philadelphia, Dr. Carpenter spent one year in study and practice in the hospital in Vienna, and another year in the hospital in Paris. In these hospitals she was under the tuition of the most eminent physicians and surgeons in the world, and holds certificates from them.

Immediately upon her return to her native city to begin the practice of medicine, the regular physicians here hastened to welcome Dr. Carpenter to a place among them. Unsolicited they elected her to membership in their medical societies, and have always shown her every courtesy and kindness. Her first paper before the Academy of Medicine was printed in the Lancet and Clinic, and afterward translated into Russian and published in a medical journal of St. Petersburg. She was elected a member of the Ohio State Medical Society, and was sent as a delegate to the American Medical Association, and is a member of that National society.

Dr. Carpenter has had a large practice from the start, and it is increasing from year to year. She resides on Walnut Hills, and has her office in a pleasant suite of rooms in the Lombardy building, on Fourth St.

More recent women physicians to settle in Cincinnati are Dr. Stella Hunt, a daughter of Marcus A. Hunt, the Second St. mattress manufacturer. She graduated from our Cincinnati schools, and afterward from the Pulte Medical College (Homeopathic). She resides on Mt. Adams, and is receiving a good practice.

Dr. Clara Mackintosh, Carll St., Fairmount, is another Cincinnati girl who has pluckily struck out for herself in the medical profession. She, too, after a thorough course in the city schools, graduated from Pulte Medical College, and settled down to a lucrative practice.

Dr. Sarah Crosby, the house physician at the Ohio Hospital for Women and Children, 494 W. Ninth St., is another graduate of the public schools of Cincinnati, and of the Pulte College. She is proving herself very competent for her position.

The Dayton, Ohio, Asylum for the Insane has taken from this city one of the most promising and talented woman physicians, Dr. Clara Elisberry. She is a graduate of the Philadelphia College. and had succeeded in securing in Cincinnati a good practice, when two years ago she was elected physician of the female department of the Dayton Asylum, and removed to that institution, where she is doing much good.

Dr. Mary Osborn, corner of Seventh and John, is another graduate of the Philadelphia Medical College. She is a New Jersey girl by nativity, but resided during her school days with her aunt, Mrs. Hurd, on Walnut Hills, and graduated from our high schools. She opened an office here two years ago, and already has a lucrative practice.

Across the river, in Covington is located, at 1040 Scott St., Dr. Anna M. Furber, a very talented young woman, and a very successful physician. She gained her education, both literary and medical, in the Boston University.

It is the concurrent testimony of all these physicians that Cincinnati is a good place for the feminine M. D., and that there is room for more of them. Those already here form a pleasant coterie, whose only strife is to see who of them can cure the most people.

All of these physicians have a general practice of medicine, and Drs. Kirk and Carpenter are skillful and successful surgeons, with a large and growing practice. Dr. Howard makes a specialty in obstetric, and Dr. Howells of the diseases of Children.

The Cincinnati Post

14 Aug 1886, Sat · Page 3