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J Med Biogr. 2008 Nov;16(4):205-14. doi: 10.1258/jmb.2007.007048.

Louisa Garrett Anderson (1873-1943), surgeon and suffragette.

Author information

1
jfgeddes@doctors.org.uk

Abstract

Louisa Garrett Anderson, daughter of Britain's first woman doctor, has been largely forgotten today despite the fact that her contribution to the women's movement was as great as that of her mother. Recognized by her contemporaries as an important figure in the suffrage campaign, Anderson chose to lend her support through high-profile action, being one of the few women doctors in her generation who risked their professional as well as their personal reputation in the fight for women's rights by becoming a suffragette - in her case, even going so far as to spend a month in prison for breaking a window on a demonstration. On the outbreak of war, with only the clinical experience she had gained as outpatient surgeon in a women's hospital, Anderson established a series of women-run military hospitals where she was a Chief Surgeon. The most successful was the Endell Street Military Hospital in London, funded by the Royal Army Medical Corps and the only army hospital ever to be run and staffed entirely by women. Believing that a doctor had an obligation to take a lead in public affairs, Anderson continued campaigning for women's issues in the unlikely setting of Endell Street, ensuring that their activities remained in the public eye through constant press coverage. Anderson's achievement was that her work played no small part in expunging the stigma of the militant years in the eyes of the public and - more importantly - was largely instrumental in putting women doctors on equal terms with their male colleagues.

PMID:
18952990
DOI:
10.1258/jmb.2007.007048
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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