19 December 2018

On the Fiftieth Anniversary of Dr. Tjomsland's Death

A year ago I could never have imagined that I would become so deeply entwined in the story of a woman born more than a century before I was and whose life was so remarkable and completely forgotten that I was probably the first person since her death to bring her story back into the light of day. Dr. Anna Tjomsland came to my attention early this year because I knew that a number of women physicians had served in the US Army in World War 1 and she was the lucky one whose papers were preserved to enough of a degree that such research as I would require for a public display and presentation would be possible. Through more than ten months of research and teaching I have brought her story to the public, and through that and my writing I hope that more and more people will know the great progress she and her colleagues made for women and for medicine. When Dr. Tjomsland died, her obituary appeared in only a single periodical that I have thus far been able to find, The Journal of the History of Medicine, almost ten months after her death. Otherwise her passing was completely unremarked and it does not seem right to allow that to happen again now on the fiftieth anniversary of her death, so this is my quick and inadequate tribute to her in between studying for finals and preparing my master's thesis for submission.

Dr. Anna Tjomsland, early 1920s
Courtesy of the Cornell University Archives and Special Collections
Anne Tjomsland Papers Box 4 Folder 8
Scan (C) DaughtersOfAesclepius.blogspot.com

Dr. Tjomsland was born in Sogne, Kristiansand, Norway, on 23 September 1880, to a middle class family. Although her mother died young, her father always provided for her academic enrichment, which led to her love of art and literature and desire to study medicine. In 1899 she after the death of her father she followed her sisters west to the United States with the intent of becoming a physician, which she did after learning English, graduating top of her class in high school, and working her way through both a bachelor's (1909) and medical (1914) degree at Cornell University. She was not the only female medical student at Cornell at the time, and it was with her fellow students that she worked so hard to become the first group of female internes to be accepted to Bellevue Hospital in New York City. This was where I first met her, in a photo that showed her with her stony expression posing in her Bellevue Ambulance uniform. She was thirty-four years old. Soon afterwards she was appointed resident surgeon on the children's ward at Bellevue Hospital.

Dr. Anna Tjomsland serving on the Bellevue Ambulance, 1916
Collier's Weekly Volume 50 no.15, 23 December 1916, page 13
Scan from hathitrust.org

When the United States declared war on Germany in 1917, the US Army Medical Corps began recruiting personnel and in July 1917 Bellevue Hospital chose to form their own hospital unit for war service. A large portion of the staff enlisted in this capacity, but Dr. Tjomsland, being female, was turned away from service as a physician, so she enlisted instead as a secretary and it was in this capacity that she sailed with the Bellevue unit in February 1918. The Bellevue unit became Base Hospital Number 1 and was established at Vichy, France, where over the course of the next year they treated over 60,000 wounded Allied soldiers. Physicians were needed far more than secretaries, so Dr. Tjomsland was pulled from that duty and given charge of her own ward, taking care of serious surgical cases. During this early part of her service was twice recommended for full commission and twice refused on the grounds that there was no known procedure for commissioning women in the Medical Corps. Irrespective of the fact that women physicians were contracted beginning in May 1918, it took the Medical Corps until December 1918 to contract Dr. Tjomsland. She was honorably discharged in March 1919 when Base Hospital Number 1 closed and served six more months in France with the Red Cross. Her war service totaled two and a half years and in 1941 she published a book about the service of the Bellevue Hospital unit in France.

 Dr. Tjomsland in uniform
Cornell University Archives and Special Collections
Anne Tjomsland Papers Box 3 Folder 38
Scan (C) DaughtersOfAesclepius.blogspot.com

Upon her return to the United States, Dr. Tjomsland continued to work as a physician an anesthetist. She was for several years instructor of anesthesia at St. Luke's Hospital, now Mount Sinai Hospital and the Icahn School of Medicine. She was also deeply interested in medical history; later in life she was a dedicated member of the American Association for the History of Medicine and served as a translator for many scandinavian medical texts and histories. A broken shoulder ended Dr. Tjomsland's medical career in 1958 and she retired with her sisters to dedicate her time to the history of medicine. She died on 19 December 1968 at the age of 88. She was survived by her sisters Mina and Inga Chumsland and nephew Olav Tjomsland and preceded in death by her brother. Her gravesite location is unknown, but her papers are all kept in the Cornell University Archives and Special Collections and it is thanks to that generous donation that any of this was possible.

Dr. Tjomsland (far right) with her sisters Mina and Inga Chumsland (the two women standing beside Anna, right to left)
Courtesy of the Cornell University Archives and Special Collections
Anne Tjomsland Papers Box 4 Folder 1
Scan (C) DaughtersOfAesclepius.blogspot.com

I expect that I will be posting more specifics about Dr. Tjomsland as I continue to read through her papers, so remain around for those. There are specific documents that I will be highlighting, and of course her story will soon be published as an academic paper and, later, a full-length book. Today she is remembered.

11 December 2018

World War 1 Contract Surgeon Uniforms: The Winter Version

I hope that you found my process post about my Summer cotton uniform informative. The amount of content I have to present about my Winter uniform is less due to the fact that I had to make it in a shorter amount of time than I had to make my Summer uniform. Whereas the Summer uniform was stretched out over about two months, the Winter one had to be done in less than one and that time would have been much shorter had the "Newville fiasco" not prevented me from attending. Anyway, I ended up debuting this uniform at the New York City Veteran's Day parade, which was a suitable substitute. I do not mind telling you all that I like this uniform better than my Summer one and it will be very hard to switch back when the weather gets warmer. Shall I simply make a new Summer uniform?

Anyway, if you are interested in making this version of the women's service uniform, try to have a men's tunic on hand. It will come in useful. Read on.

The key pieces of research that made this uniform so much better than my first one were additional photos of women Contract Surgeons in their uniforms. Specifically, I now have one that shows Dr. Tjomsland wearing a mandarin collar style uniform. Since I like this style better anyway it was nice to be able to justify that choice. It is interesting that there is no insignia on her uniform, but to be fair, her service was very unusual even for a Contract Surgeon. She was not contracted before her unit departed the United States for France, so it is possible that this uniform was also commissioned before she was contracted. In any case, unless something new turns up in her papers when I finish reading through them in January, this is the only photo of her in uniform.

Image in the public domain; scan is my own

In addition, I have located other photos. Note specifically that Dr. Esther Leonard is pictured in TWO different styles of uniforms with two different styles of insignia. There was NO consistency in how these uniforms were made, only personal preference. It is very interesting also to note the fit of Dr. Elizabeth Hocker's uniform. Why the dropped waist? These were uniforms but they were also, for the most part, fashionable for the late 1910s, which meant being fitted or belted at the waist. I have no idea what is going on with the fit of Dr. Hocker's uniform.

Dr. Esther Leonard (source: Esther Leonard papers at Missouri Over There)

Left: Dr. Esther Leonard upon her return to the United States
(source: Esther Leonard papers at Missouri Over There)
Right: Dr. Elizabeth Hocker during her service in France

For my uniform I decided to make one like Dr. Esther Leonard's mandarin collar uniform. It checks a lot of boxes for me: Sam Browne belt, insignia, mandarin collar, bellows pockets, and all supported with pictorial evidence.

Patterning and Construction
Construction of this uniform began with the pattern that I created for my previous uniform, so if you want to know what those steps were, please read my essay about that here. For this uniform the obvious modifications that needed to be made to the pattern were the addition of the mandarin collar, the addition of neck darts, and the removal of the center back skirt pleat. I also shifted the shoulder seams a little towards the back for better fit and widened the sleeves. Again, I apologize that I have no photos of this process, so you will have to take my verbal description of what happened. It did help to have a men's tunic (more on this in a moment) on hand to help with proportions and placement of the neck darts.

As you can imagine, this uniform was a lot easier to make than the Summer uniform for several reasons. First of all, I chose a very high quality wool coating. It was easily shaped and eased into the proper fit and, because this is a mandarin collar and not a notched lapel jacket, I did not need to do any interfacing with hair canvas or pad stitching. The skirt is made exactly the same as the one for my Summer uniform with a false open front and hand-embroidered buttonholes. It fastens at the waist with authentic Edwardian brass buttons. The jacket body is unlined, but the sleeves and skirt are lined with silk habotai to reduce friction and, in the case of the skirt, so the wool would not adhere to my undergarments. A hook and thread bar between the first and second button at the collar prevents gaping in that area, which happens because of the curvature of the breast in women's garments.

The major modification I made this time around was the addition of bellows pockets on the hips. These hold a lot of necessities and they are place slightly lower underneath the pocket flaps so that my Sam Browne belt does not render them inaccessible. I will be doing much of this again when I make my American Women's Hospitals uniform, so I will do my best to document THAT process for you to learn from.

I think that this uniform would be easy to pattern using measurements taken from a men's tunic. If you look closely, their tunics already have darts in all the correct places to accommodate the more curvy female figure, they must simply be taken in at different depths. Go ahead, flip one inside out if you do not believe me. This same method of fitting helps the uniform lay smoothly over his chest and it will help it lay smoothly over our bodies as well. We can see that this worked pretty well for Dr. Leonard, above, who was most definitely a curvy lady. Her Sam Browne belt completes the visual fit of her uniform and cinches it in completely to her waist.

Probably the most difficult part of making this version of the uniform is getting the collar to fit right. We know that this is an issue with the repros of men's tunics, to the point that entire tutorials have had to be created to help fix the fit in that area. Before attaching the collar, it is important to make sure that the neck darts are deep enough and that the collar is trimmed to the right level so that the collar is sitting right at the collarbone/nape of the neck. The men's tunic is also useful for figuring out how the collar should be assembled. Mine closes with a Dritz thread covered hook and loop, available at most sewing stores, which is a historically accurate solution. It took me some trial and error to figure out the best placement for the hook (the loop gets set into the seam between the collar and the collar lining) so that the collar closes completely in front.

Insignia and Buttons
I was lucky this time around to have authentic uniform buttons from the Great War on hand, so this uniform has those on it. I also used authentic collar insignia and an authentic set of gold service stripes. The stripes, as I mentioned before, are symbolic of Dr. Tjomsland's unrecognized term of service. Other Contract Surgeons wore them, but her time under contract was relatively short due to bureaucratic issues with the Medical Corps. She was officially on the Army's payroll, however, from July 1917 to March 1919, so I think they are justified. Repros by Ray just obtained one of the officers' caduceus insignia with the CS for Contract Surgeons, so I may wear those at some point when he gets them made.
For this uniform I made a few matching garrison caps in various styles depending on my mood. One of them is the British style with buttons on it. The second is made in a style worn by the American Women's Hospitals Service, and it is actually a somewhat premature piece of a uniform that I have in the works.

 Dr. Barbara Hunt of the American Women's Hospitals Service, my upcoming impression, showing the style of hat I made. As an aside, do you or someone you know have AWH insignia/uniforms? If you will not sell them to me, will you at least let me make a cast of the insignia for my impression? Email me!
Photo: Drexel University Medical College Archives and Special Collections, a144_057

It is impossible to know what these women wore under their uniform jackets, but I found quickly that the high collar with a wool shirt underneath rubbed the skin on my neck raw, so I replaced the shirt with an authentic cotton shirtwaist with a high collar as a barrier. The bit of lace peeking over the edge of the uniform collar and out of the cuffs is a nice touch, I think. The photo of Dr. Leonard shows a white collar beneath her uniform, so I may look into making a shirtwaist that can take detachable collars.

Because this is for winter wear, I have wool stockings and long johns to wear under this uniform in addition to my usual chemise and drawers. My shoes are always authentic and I am looking into purchasing a pair of leather leggings, since I know that women in other branches of service at the time wore them. I also purchased a long officer's overcoat for cold outdoor events.

Above photos by Scott Stanger
A group of the East Coast Doughboys before the Veteran's Day Parade in New York City, 10 November 2018

 A group of the East Coast Doughboys prior to the Veteran's Day Parade in New York City, 10 November 2018 (photographer unknown)

Giving a presentation on Dr. Tjomsland at the Bay Ridge Historical Society, 21 November 2018
Photo: Tom Hilton

Lining up for the Veteran's Day Parade in New York City, 11 November 2018
Photo: Luiz Ribeiro

World War 1 Contract Surgeon Uniforms: The Summer Version

Recently I see a lot of interest in making World War 1 women's uniforms and, since I am one of the few who has done so, many come to me asking me where I got mine. The answer, I am sorry to say, is that these are not available from any makers, nor are there any patterns you can buy. I have been sewing since my mother taught me at age eight and I have, in previous careers, been both a theatrical costumer, cosplayer, and historical textile conservator, so I came into World War 1 living history with the skills I needed to make almost whatever impression that I wanted. What I am presenting here is the framework of how I created my first World War 1 US Army Contract Surgeon uniform and I hope that those of you who are interested in making one such uniform yourselves may find it informative and helpful. I will be making a few post about these uniforms, since I have thus far made two: one summer cotton uniform and one winter wool one. This will deal with the summer weight version.

The finished uniform

My Summer weight uniform was based on what was, at the time, my only reference for one of the Contract Surgeons' uniforms. I have since unearthed several more, but in March and April 2018, I had what I had. Specifically, it was this uniform that belonged to Dr. Loy McAffee and now housed in the Smithsonian Institution:

Both images are from the Smithsonian's Twitter account

Since we know well that women in the Army were not issued uniforms and were therefore expected to provide their own uniforms via private purchase, I have since found that every single uniform is different according to the tastes of the wearer. This is a common basic design for a women's service uniform: male-style service coat with notched lapels, breast and hip pockets, and integrated belt. The skirt has a false buttoned front. We can also see much of the typical Army Medical Corps officer's insignia, but I will come back to that later on in this post.

Pattern Drafting
The issue, really, was creating a pattern for a uniform like this. Nothing on the market right now is correct for this style and time period, so that meant creating my own. Notched lapels are trickier than the typical mandarin collar uniform because of how closely you must control where the notches fall and and how they lie, so I did not want to start drafting my pattern from a bodice sloper as I normally would. I wanted a more solid and historically accurate base. There is a book called The Great War: Styles and Patterns of the 1910s by R.L. Shep that reprints a number of dressmakers' diagrams from the time period. After much consideration I chose the following two:

Before you get excited, I must emphasize that these are NOT patterns. These are the basic diagrams that a dressmaker or tailor would use to draft a new pattern for each individual client. You enlarge them using the client's measurements but what you get from that is not a usable pattern, per se, because these are created for an "idealized body". The enlargements would be cut and added to and modified to achieve the correct fit. While difficult, this is achievable by a seamstress with enough experience and tenacity to keep working them until they do what you want.

For my part, I used the skirt diagram from the women's volunteer uniform and a men's style jacket diagram. The latter I chose because it is significantly less complicated to use a diagram that already has the integrated belt drafted into it than it is to add it at a later stage as I would have with the women's jacket.

I did not heavily document the construction process, since it is rarely picturesque and honestly I get so wrapped up in working that I forget to pick up the camera. If you have any specific questions, you can leave a comment here or email me.

The textile I selected for my first uniform was a summer weight cotton twill. It is worth pointing out that cotton is harder to work than wool because wool can be "curved" a little bit over the body to create a crisper fit. Cotton does not do this so your fitting must be far more precise. I usually start with an easier piece so that I can get a feel for the fabric, which in this case was the skirt. This only really needs to fit in the waist and hips so the enlargement from the diagram did not need much adjustment.

Drawing out the final pattern on grid paper

I made my skirt entirely open down the front, which allowed me to embroider the buttonholes without fighting too much fabric. A private purchase uniform should have either hand-embroidered buttonholes or high-quality machine ones; modern machine buttonholes are not comparable. Because the buttonholes are so long, they take about forty-five minutes each to complete. Although all the buttonholes are functional, most of the front is stitched shut and only the uppermost ten or so inches were left open for the waist fastening. The skirt is lined with silk habotai, which is important so that the cotton does not stick to your stockings and other undergarments.

Left: the upper buttonhole is basted to keep the layers in place before being embroidered
Lower left and right: completed buttonholes

Photo by Scottsta

The finished skirt has a false buttoned front and a pleat in the back. It looks very crisp and has that nice late 1910s triangular flare. I have made a few observations about this design, however, which I will address at the end of this post.

Now, I have to say that I have only cursory tailoring expertise. It is enough, however, to know that a notched lapel needs "help" to lay the way it is meant to. In order to do this you interline the fronts of the jacket with hair canvas (I used wool) and padstitch over your hand so that the fabric gets eased a little bit into the correct curved shape. Once again, this is only partially possible with cotton, but it DID do the job it was meant to.

The method of assembling the jacket can be found in tailoring books, so I will not cover that in too much detail. My jacket is lined with silk so that it doesn't get bunched up anywhere due to friction.

Body assembled, awaiting sleeves and lining


Insignia and Buttons
With no regulations in place for what insignia female Contract Surgeons were meant to wear, I had only my own example (at the time) to work off of. Here is what we can see:

Both images from the Smithsonian Institution Twitter account

Dr. McAfee served stateside, so we can see here that on the left sleeve she wears three silver service chevrons, signifying eighteen months' service. She also wears the officers' style collar insignia: the US on her shirt collar and a Medical Corps caduceus with the CS (meaning Contract Surgeon) on her lapels. My impression, Dr. Tjomsland, served almost twenty four months, so I gave her three gold service chevrons for overseas service, as well as the officers' collar insignia, substituting a plain caduceus because I had not access to the CS version (Repros by Ray is working on one, though! Yay!). There is NO rank insignia because Contract Surgeons were only paid as first lieutenants; they did NOT receive the authority commensurate with that position.

I am somewhat interested in all the pin holes that I can see on the lapels, but we can only guess at what those may have come from.

The buttons I used on this uniform are the same as would have been used on men's uniforms, though likely hail from a later time since they lacked the black enamel. They were obtained at low cost from an antique shop and then enameled black.

Dr. McAffee had a campaign hat, so I got one of those. I also got a Sam Browne belt for my canteen (necessary for Summer outdoors events), a maroon (Medical Corps colors) wool tie, and a wool shirt. A cotton shirt would likely be better, but finding them in small sizes AND the correct style is nearly impossible so I took what I could find. Later on I found a photo of Dr. Tjomsland in her uniform and made myself a garrison cap to match my uniform based on the one that she wore. The medical brassard was a license I took to clue people in that this is a medical impression. There are some reproduction shoes on the market, but none of them really impress me, so I wear authentic boots from the early twentieth century. I have small enough and narrow enough feet and they really do add authenticity.

It is easy to forget about undergarments, but DON'T! I wear most of the historically correct ones: a chemise and drawers and stockings. It is advisable to wear a corset, but I have yet to make one. You can get away without it but I think it would be a good addition to one's impression in terms of maintaining correct posture and body shape, as well as keeping one in the mindset of the period. So I will eventually have a corset!

Photo by Eliza

Back of my uniform; unknown photographer

Marching in the Flag Day Parade, May 2018; photographer unknown 

An authentic early twentieth century surgical gown worn over my uniform (sans jacket)

Now that I have shown you my process and have worn this uniform for about six months' worth of events leading up the Centennial, I have a number of notes to make about it that may help any of you looking to make your own uniform. Certainly all of these points were taking into account when I made my winter uniform recently.
Point number one is that cotton wrinkles. As crisp as that pleat in the back of the skirt looks, it gets more and more wrinkled throughout the day and must be pressed again before every single event. It is not strictly necessary, so I removed it through ease and by taking in the side seams when I made the skirt for my winter uniform. 

Point number two is that the pockets really need to be more functional. We all have things we need to carry and my Sam Browne belt rests right on top of my hip pocket flaps, making them VERY difficult to access. Struggling to get something out of your pockets is not a good look when you are trying to streamline your public presentation.

Point number three also has to do with the pockets and comes with an intriguing story. This summer I was part of an event in Times Square at the Father Duffy statue. A lot of top brass was there, including several generals and Cardinal Dolan. Well, a two star general came around to shake all our hands and he leaned in and asked me if I had a historically accurate phone in my pocket! Obviously the comment was made in good humor, but my next uniform got bellows pockets so that my phone and anything else I have in them is completely invisible. 

Point number four is that, whether or not it is historically accurate, it is advisable to put fusible interfacing or Fray Check on any seams or hems that must be trimmed closely, such as the lapel points. I have a lot of fraying in several areas that I am not sure can be repaired. This is a modern solution to what is likely a modern problem that textiles are not as densely woven as they were in the early twentieth century.

Regardless, I may be retiring this uniform in favor of making a new summer uniform with the knowledge I gained. If I am being honest, Dr. Tjomsland wore the mandarin collar uniform and I prefer that style anyway.

 My winter uniform, finished November 2018
Photographer unknown

Come back for my essay about how I made my winter wool uniform! As I said earlier on, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment or email me.

29 November 2018

Dr. Edith Warner Cadwallader

In about three years of medical history research, I have turned up a few people whose stories intrigue at the same time that they perplex me and it was for them, at least in part, that I created this blog. Sometimes, no matter how hard I research, no matter how many questions I ask, these people remain buried in the past and I know too little about them to write an academic article for publication. Regardless, someone should know their stories even if the rest of the world has forgotten.

Dr. Edith Cadwallader Crowder was one of my first research interests and she caught my attention through a 1900 photo in the Drexel University College of Medicine archives that shows her, probably in her living quarters, dressed in men's trousers and waistcoat, with the caption "The Manly Medic". I was a costume historian at the time and the subject of female physicians and gender experimentation seemed like a ripe topic. One thing led to another and I became a medical historian with perhaps a "side" of costume history left over from my time as a theatrical costumer and historic textile conservator.

Drexel University College of Medicine Archives and Special Collections P0289

Dr. Cadwallader was a brilliant student and a brilliant physician according to testimony by her peers.  She showed an early aptitude for medicine, but she died in 1906 at age 35, barely six years after graduating medical school (1). That she could be forgotten so completely despite so many admirers is sad, but now she will be remembered.

Edith Warner Cadwallader was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania, on 3 September 1871 to parents Jacob Augustus Cadwallader, a Union veteran of the American Civil War, and Mary Anna Warner Cadwallader. She was the oldest of three sisters, born about four years after her parents' marriage in 1867. Elinor was born in 1873 and Mary Augusta in 1876. Her family were descended from a long line of eastern Pennsylvania Quakers (2).

Early on in her life, Edith showed enormous learning aptitude and was known for her compassion and powers of observation. She graduated valedictorian from her high school and was only a few days past her 16th birthday when she entered Smith College for her undergraduate studies, her sights already set on becoming a physician. At Smith College she distinguished herself as a student and as a leader. During her time as an undergraduate she held several important student body positions, including president of the Junior class. Her extracurricular activities included drama and she effortlessly found time to set herself up for her future career in medicine (3).

Edith graduated Smith College in 1891 (4). A year later she departed home with several friends to spend a year and a half touring Europe, including Greece, Italy, Germany, and Britain, where she held a residency at Oxford University. True to her earlier academic character, she distinguished herself there as well. Upon her return to the United States in 1893, Edith Worked as a teacher in Titusville, Pennsylvania (5, 6) teaching history and geometry (7) until she entered the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1896 (8). The WMCP was one of several women's only medical colleges in the United States, founded with the mission of providing educational opportunities to women who wanted to enter medicine but who were so often denied entrance to "men's" universities. During its operation it graduated many women who went on to become skilled physicians who changed the face of medicine. Through several merges it is now the Drexel College of Medicine, but at the time it was a beacon of opportunity for talented young women like Edith Cadwallader who wanted to break with tradition and study medicine.

Edith's 1892 passport
Source: familysearch

At the WMCP, Edith impressed all of her professors and once again she sought out and achieved student body leadership positions. It was noted that, in contrast with all the other students who stayed up all hours in study, Edith learned effortlessly and maintained an active social life throughout her time in medical school. During her student career, Edith was elected President of her class and, later, President of the Students' Medical Association (9).

 Dr. Cadwallader's graduation photo (Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania class of 1900); she is in the front row, at the end on the left
Drexel University College of Medicine Archives and Special Collections P2986

Dr. Cadwallader earned her M.D. in 1900 (10). It was still early days for women physicians and so many struggled to find interneships, but Dr. Cadwallader easily won one at the Woman's Hospital of Philadelphia. At the completion of her one year's term as interne, Dr. Cadwallader was elected to chief resident, almost unheard of for such a recent medical school graduate. There she served with distinction and everyone she worked with and treated trusted in her abilities (11, 12).

Despite her success, Dr. Cadwallader wished to obtain more skill as a physician. To that end, she set sail for Austria to study at the Pathological Institute of Vienna. She studied there for eight months under many well-known physicians and surgeons, who, like her previous professors, developed an appreciation for her skills and ability to learn. According to Dr. Joseph Halban, one of her professors and head of the department of gynecology, Dr. Cadwallader "had more brains than any woman he knew". She was also invited by Dr. Halban to perform a caesarean section in front of over a dozen of her (male) peers, a rare honor for anyone, let alone a woman (13).

"The Thanksgiving Turkey Leftover", taken during Edith's time as a student at WMCP
Left to right:Edith Cadwallader, Eloise Meek, Rachel Robbins Steiren
Drexel University College of Medicine Archives and Special Collections P0290

Philadelphia, however, was not done with her. In 1904 Dr. Cadwallader was elected to the Chair of Obstetrics at Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania (14), so, with her time remaining in Vienna, she devoted herself to the study of all aspect of gynecology and obstetrics. Her professors in Vienna arranged it so that she could assist and attend at a wide range of obstetric cases in order to prepare her for her new position. She arrived in the United States via Ellis Island on 5 August 1903 (15) and traveled quickly to Philadelphia to assume her chairship before classes resumed in September (16).

As Chair of Obstetrics Dr. Cadwallader's energy and effort were once again unsurpassed. Using a building that had previously been used as a student-run clinic, she set up a four-bed maternity home under the auspices of the WMCP and with some help from the WMCP students. Her first patient delivered twins on 13 October 1903. Third and fourth year students would come to Dr. Cadwallader to learn obstetric medicine and her clinic was the ideal environment for that, the beds always full and with out-patient cases in addition. During the first year, running the clinic fell almost entirely upon Dr. Cadwallader and the head nurse, who barely managed to rest in between deliveries, so in demand were their services and skills. (17) One of the few absences Dr. Cadwallader took was a trip back to Titusville to tend to her father, who died of illness in mid December 1903. (18)

The maternity clinic expanded in July 1904 and a regular interne was added to assist Dr. Cadwallader. Student nurses also came to the clinic to train with Dr. Cadwallader and her staff. Dr. Cadwallader was especially busy owing to the resignation of the interne in charge of the dispensary, which therefore also fell under her jurisdiction. Between that and the business of the maternity clinic, Dr. Cadwallader had almost no time to herself and was always caring for one, or several, cases. She never complained of the burden, carrying out her duties skillfully and compassionately. At one time, she was requested to deliver the child of a woman whom she had delivered during her time as a student; no other physician was acceptable. Her students loved and respected her and she gave freely of her time to see that they were taught. (19)

During her time in Vienna, Dr. Cadwallader met another physician named Dr. Thomas Reid Crowder. He was also there to study at the Pathological Institute and they began to spend time together and fell in love and, in 1905, became engaged. (20) Her upcoming nuptials precipitated her Summer 1905 departure from her professorship at the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania. (21) They were married on 26 October 1905 at St. James Memorial Church in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Since Dr. Cadwallader's father was dead, she walked to the altar with her mother. (22) They spent a short honeymoon in Asheville, N.C., before going to Dr. Crowder's home in Chicago. (23)

Dr. Cadwallader and Dr. Crowder's marriage license
Source: familysearch

Dr. Cadwallader appears to have given up medical practice after marriage and she spent the rest of her short life with her husband in Chicago. As her friend wrote in her obituary, "From the sanctuary of her home we may not draw the veil. There her life was crowned with a year of exquisite bliss, and there, August 18, 1906, "Her sun went down while it was yet day."" (24)

It is thanks to a lengthy obituary, filed in the Drexel University archives, that I was able to learn so much about how the various stages of Dr. Cadwallader's intertwined, but it leaves the mystery of why such a talented and energetic woman as she died so sudden and so young. On this subject the obituary gives a few passing clues. During her time in Vienna, it was noted that "Three times a week, from 10 P.M. until 2 A.M., Dr. Cadwallader attended confinement cases at night. When she chanced not to be in the hospital, she was called to interesting cases by the special manager. Often far from well, in bad weather or fine, Dr. Cadwallader conscientiously carried out every detail of the working plan she had laid out, that she might bring to the responsible position with which her college had honored her all that it was possible for her to glean from the work carried on at this largest hospital in the world." It is also heavily noted in the obituary that Dr. Cadwallader worked long hours and, while it also says they never seemed to weigh on her, overwork can be an illness in itself. I can only wonder if Dr. Cadwallader had some chronic condition that may have been exacerbated by overwork and if it may not have been a contributing factor to her decision to resign from her professorship, in conjunction with her marriage to Dr. Crowder.

My knowledge about Dr. Cadwallader ends there. As with any of my research interests, I occasionally run searches to see if anything new has come up, but after three years this is where I stand. If you are family of hers or have any additional information, please contact me so that I can add to her story!

Thanks are owed to the Drexel University College of Medicine Archives and Special collections, whose archivists always make themselves available to answer whatever questions I pose them, even those that are a bit "offbeat". Thanks in particular to Matthew Herbison, who put in extra effort to locate materials relating to Dr. Cadwallader.

(1)  “Dr. Edith Warner Cadwallader.” Minutes of the Thirty-Second Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia, PA: Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1906, obtained from the Drexel University Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections, filed in the Dead Alumnae Files.
(2) IBID
(3) IBID
(4) "Retrospective: June 28, 1891.” The Titusville Herald, 28 June 1926, https://newspaperarchive.com/titusville-herald-jun-28-1926-p-4?tag=edith+cadwallader&rtserp=tags/edith-cadwallader?page=5&pc=29279&psi=77&pci=7&pt=16508/.
(5) Smith College Catalog, ancestry.com.
(6)School Proceedings: Applications.” The Titusville Herald, 14 April 1894, accessed 27 May 2017, https://newspaperarchive.com/titusville-herald-apr-14-1894-p-3?tag=edith+cadwallader&rtserp=tags/edith-cadwallader?page=5&pc=29279&psi=77&pci=7&pt=16508/.  
(7) " School Proceedings: Applications.” The Titusville Herald, 14 April 1894, accessed 27 May 2017, https://newspaperarchive.com/titusville-herald-apr-14-1894-p-3?tag=edith+cadwallader&rtserp=tags/edith-cadwallader?page=5&pc=29279&psi=77&pci=7&pt=16508/.  
(8) “Dr. Edith Warner Cadwallader.” Minutes of the Thirty-Second Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia, PA: Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1906, obtained from the Drexel University Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections, filed in the Dead Alumnae Files.
(9) IBID 
(10) "Class Lists." Register of the Alumnae Association of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, Now The Medical College of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, PA: The Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1970; 164.
(11) “Dr. Edith Warner Cadwallader.” Minutes of the Thirty-Second Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia, PA: Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1906, obtained from the Drexel University Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections, filed in the Dead Alumnae Files.
(12) “Dr. Edith Warner Cadwallader.” Minutes of the Thirty-Second Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia, PA: Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1906, obtained from the Drexel University Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections, filed in the Dead Alumnae Files.
(13) IBID
(14) " Brevities.” The Titusville Herald, 23 February 1903, accessed 27 May 2017, https://newspaperarchive.com/titusville-herald-feb-23-1903-p-3?tag=edith+cadwallader&rtserp=tags/edith-cadwallader?page=4&pc=29279&psi=77&pci=7&pt=16508/.
(15) "New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JFT7-P22 : 30 January 2018), Edith Cadwallader, 1903.
(16) “Dr. Edith Warner Cadwallader.” Minutes of the Thirty-Second Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia, PA: Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1906, obtained from the Drexel University Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections, filed in the Dead Alumnae Files.
(17) IBID
(18)  “Brevities.” The Titusville Herald, 8 December 1903, accessed 27 May 2017, https://newspaperarchive.com/titusville-herald-dec-08-1903-p-5?tag=edith+cadwallader&rtserp=tags/-edith-cadwallader-?pc=29279&psi=77&pci=7&pt=16508/; 5.
(19) “Dr. Edith Warner Cadwallader.” Minutes of the Thirty-Second Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia, PA: Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1906, obtained from the Drexel University Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections, filed in the Dead Alumnae Files.
(20) "Dr. Tom Crowder Married.” Sullivan Democrat, 26 October 1905, accessed 27 May 2017, https://newspaperarchive.com/sullivan-democrat-oct-26-1905-p-14?tag=edith+cadwallader&rtserp=tags/?pep=edith-cadwallader&pr=30&/.
(21) “Dr. Edith Warner Cadwallader.” Minutes of the Thirty-Second Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia, PA: Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1906, obtained from the Drexel University Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections, filed in the Dead Alumnae Files.
(22) "Cadwallader-Crowder Nuptials of Yesterday.” The Titusville Herald, 27 October 1905, accessed 27 May 2017, https://newspaperarchive.com/titusville-herald-oct-27-1905?tag=edith+cadwallader&rtserp=tags/edith-cadwallader?page=4&pc=29279&psi=77&pci=7&pt=16508/; 1.
(23) "Dr. Tom Crowder Married.” Sullivan Democrat, 26 October 1905, accessed 27 May 2017, https://newspaperarchive.com/sullivan-democrat-oct-26-1905-p-14?tag=edith+cadwallader&rtserp=tags/?pep=edith-cadwallader&pr=30&/.
(24) “Dr. Edith Warner Cadwallader.” Minutes of the Thirty-Second Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association of the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.  Philadelphia, PA: Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, 1906, obtained from the Drexel University Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections, filed in the Dead Alumnae Files.