Lydia Folger Fowler M.D. Papers
Scope and Contents
Lydia Folger Fowler's papers include: several biographies written about Lydia; a letter (original and transcription) to Mrs. Wheaton from Lydia’s sister, M. F. Allen, concerning the donation of “In Memoriam” card (1879); correspondence between John T. Miller and the College Librarian about Lydia (1939-1940); and a copy of The Daisy: a Journal of Pure Literature, which features a portrait of, and an article/obituary on, Lydia.
- 1879 - 1939
- Lydia Folger Fowler, M.D. (Class of 1839) (Author, Person)
Lydia Folger was born on the Island of Nantucket on May 5, 1822, the daughter of Gideon and Eunice Macy Folger. She attended Wheaton Female Seminary in 1838 and taught there from 1842 to 1844. She received her M.D. degree from Central Medical College of New York in 1850, making her the second woman in the United States and the first American-born woman to earn a medical degree. She was the first female professor in an American medical college.
Lydia married Lorenzo Niles Fowler in 1844. They had three daughters: Jessie Allen, Amelia and Lydia. Lorenzo, his brother Orson Squire Fowler, and Samuel Wells were all proponents of phrenology and produced books on this and other subjects at the NY publishing firm of Fowler and Wells.Between 1852 and 1860 Lydia practiced medicine in New York City and also taught women as a volunteer at the Metropolitan College.
Lydia traveled to Europe in 1860 to address women on physiology and she spent the winter of 1860-61 studying in Paris. In London she was in charge of all obstetric cases at Marylebone Road Hospital before joining her husband to lecture on phrenology and other subjects across Britain. She praised women as mothers, but also taught that education was something which they owed to themselves and to their children.
When Eliza Baylies Chapin Wheaton and her husband Laban Morey Wheaton, founders of Wheaton Seminary, visited London in the spring and summer of 1862, they were visited by Lydia, and attended a lecture with her. They apparently counted upon her to help them navigate London and find fellow American visitors. In 1863 the Fowlers opened a London office where Lorenzo practiced phrenology and where Lydia assisted, lectured, wrote and was also active in the British Women’s Temperance Society.
Lydia’s publications include: Familiar Lessons on Phrenology (for Young Readers), 1847; Familiar Lessons on Astronomy, 1848; Marriage, Its History and Ceremonies: with a Phrenological and Physiological Exposition of the Functions and Qualifications for Happy Marriages, 1848; Familiar Lessons on Physiology; Designed to Aid Parents, Guardians and Teachers in the Education of the Young, 1852; Heart-melodies, Poems, 1870; Nora: the Lost and Redeemed, 1863; Woman, Her Destiny and Maternal Relations, or, Hints to the Single and Married, 1864; and The Pet of the Household and How to Save it: Comprised in Twelve Lectures on Physiology, 1885.
Lydia died in London on January 30, 1879 from blood poisoning contracted while caring for the poor.
0.3 Cubic Feet (3 folders)
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Processed by: Ashley Kuhn, November 2008
Encoded using Archivist Toolkit by: Hanna Juergens W13, September 2012
Encoding edited by: Megan Wheaton-Book, Assistant Archivist, September 2012
- Inventory of the Lydia F. Fowler M.D. Papers
- Ashley Kuhn
- Novenber 2008
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