Handwritten JournalNew England Female Medical College (NEFMC), was founded in 1848 by Samuel Gregory and was the first school founded to train women in the field of medicine. In 1848, very few male medical schools would even consider educating a female. The year before, in 1847, Elizabeth Blackwell finally began studying at Geneva College after a nationwide search for acceptance. Though she was subjected to harsh treatment by her male classmates, she graduated in 1849 to become the first woman to receive a medical degree in the US. During its 27 years, the NEFMC provided medical training to over 300 women, and medical degrees to 98 women, including the nation’s first African American woman doctor, Rebecca Lee, Class of 1864.
These Financial account records land bequest valued at $10,000 to New England Female Medical College and $20,000 to Tufts College. Upon Wade’s death in 1858, his bequest provided a lasting endowment for the NEFMC which began giving medical training to an all-female student body in 1848 as the American Medical Education Society. The school merged with Boston University to become the Boston University School of Medicine in 1874 (indicated in this notebook on page 46). NEFMC shared a debate with the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania over which could rightfully claim to be "the first" women's medical school: the latter received its formal charter a month before the NEFMC, but did not begin instruction until 1850, while the NEFMC was offering regular classes beginning in late 1848. Dated from the beginning of instruction, the NEFMC is widely recognized today as the first institution in the United States to offer medical education exclusively to women.
With a focus on bringing women into the medical field regardless of wealth, the majority of the school’s budget was provided by charitable contributions such as Wade’s, rather than by tuition. All women applicants with proper preliminary qualifications were able to apply for a scholarship to cover the tuition of $25 per term and $2 per week for room and board. Colonel John Wade was a businessman in Woburn, MA and a noted leader of the Jacksonian Democratic party. Because his bequest came in the form of land holdings with yearly dividends, the donation served as a significant funding source for many years. The notebook records income brought in from the properties from 1861-1883. Contemporary marbled boards. 7.5” x 5” inches. Label on front cover reads “Tufts College / Boston Account, Woburn Estate.” Very good condition. A positive piece related to the early history of women in medicine, and the forward-thinking benefactors who helped them.