“MY ALUMNAE PIN CAME THIS MORNING, IT IS MY GRADUATION PRESENT FROM CLAUDE.” An archive of letters and ephemera related to Dr. Grace Flanders Wilson, an 1899 graduate of the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women (NYMCHW)
Various locations: [circa 1895 – 1925]. This archive consists of four medical school tests, eight letters, and one handbill advertising the sale of Grace’s mansion. All in nice shape, however, worn mailing envelopes accompany three of the letters.
Grace was the daughter of Abraham Hillard Frances, a prosperous physician who had graduated from the Philadelphia College of Medicine. Grace followed in her father’s footsteps, attending the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women, one of the first and few medical schools that accepted females. After graduating in 1899, Grace married Claudius Franklin Wilson, a young lawyer. and both opened practices in Morristown, New Jersey; The couple apparently split time between there and Asbury Park and had homes, including a mansion known as “Eagles Nest”, in both locations. Although Grace mothered several children, city directories show she practiced medicine until at least 1925. Highlights from this archive include:
Four different manuscript medical tests or, perhaps, test review sheets, presumably from her years as a student at NYMCHW. The test questions all appear to be written in different hands.
One of the tests is titled “Materia Medica Junior,” and, as expected, it focuses on drugs and medicines.
A second, that only shows answers, seems to be focused on genitalia and is graded (87%).
A third focuses on gynecology and childbirth, and
The last contains a number of questions related to tumors.
A letter from Grace reporting that upon her graduation, Claude had presented her with an alumnae pin.
“The main part is gold [with] dark blue enamel and has the motto . . . “Animo et Fide” [“Courage and Faith”] in gold letters. The monogram is in gold. The rest of the letters [NYMCW] and figures are in black enamel. Our college colors are old gold and dark blue.” She has drawn a sketch of the pin, noting “This is as near as I can draw it.”
A handbill advertising the sale of “Eagles Nest. -
“A modern dwelling of fifteen rooms, bathroom, toilet, and two lavatories; sixteen closets with mirror-set doors; six piazzas; . . . library and parlors; . . . fine old shade trees; high grounds; magnificent views . . . suitable for a hotel or sanatarium.”
The other letters contain family news, and one from her mother in 1913 references women’s suffrage, perhaps with a sly dig against Grace’s husband, a prominent Democratic.
“The Democrats are going to have a big mass meeting tonight, women have not been invited. I was told by two men they were not wanted. I met Mrs. Lacey last week at the Republican meeting.”. Very good. Item #009757
(For more information see Harvey’s History of Homeopathy. . .., A History of Morris County, New Jersey, and online city directories and newspaper articles.)
All in all, a nice grouping of material from a pioneering female physician who practiced medicine during the first quarter of the 20th century.