On this day in 1870, students at the New England Female College for Medicine petitioned Boston’s City Council for clinical instruction at Boston City Hospital. The students wrote “ We are without the usual clinical advantages which are indispensable to future usefulness in our profession” and petitioned “that we may be admitted to share in the opportunities by the City Hospital of Boston, equally with others planning the study of medicine.”
The petition was referred to the City Council’s Committee on the City Hospital which wrote a report on the petition in April of the following year. They reaffirmed an 1865 decision against the admission of female students to City Hospital. The Committee did not give concrete reasons for denying the students’ petition, but rather declined to reverse the decision of the Hospital’s Trustees, stating that “unless a great and overruling necessity can be shown, the administration of the trustees ought not to be interfered with.”
Despite the difficulty of obtaining facilities for clinical instruction and training, the College served over 300 female students in its 27 years of existence, and paved the way for women to enter the medical profession.
Docket 1871-0216-A1, Proceedings of the City Council, 1881, Collection 0100.001, Boston City Archives