Maria Mitchell In Her Own Words

Sept. 23. {1881}  The new Doctor {Mary Allen} is a sweet looking Quaker woman.  My only fear is, that she will be too mild.

Well, methinks Maria hit that nail on the head.  Allen did not last long at Vassar – she was gone by 1884!

I know little of Dr. Allen.  A snippet from the Vassar Miscellany, Volume XI, Number 1, 1 October 1881, states that Dr. Allen was a graduate of the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia and was a teacher before going into medicine.  She had worked in her own private practice and then taught at the Medical College and worked at the Women’s Hospital in Philadelphia.  Perhaps she was “too mild” to deal with some of the happenings at Vassar, or the students, of the trustees.  Perhaps, like Maria and her friend and the former college physician and teacher at Vassar Alida Avery, she too felt that her salary was too low.  Maria and Avery led the charge at Vassar because even at a women’s college – the women professor and staff were paid less than the men.  Avery finally gave up and left in 1874.  She moved to Colorado and opened her own practice.  She would become one of the wealthiest women in Colorado and remained single for her life.  I have written about her before in a previous blog.

JNLF