Cover image for A biographical dictionary of women healers : midwives, nurses, and physicians
A biographical dictionary of women healers : midwives, nurses, and physicians
Scrivener, Laurie.
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Oryx Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 340 pages : portraits ; 26 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Item Holds
R692 .B52 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Women have always been healers; they have helped each other through the birthing process, nursed the sick and wounded, and sought cures for illnesses and injuries. This book summarizes the lives of 240 significant or representative women who have engaged in the core professions of mid-wifery, nursing, and medicine (exclusive of psychiatry), and whose careers were primarily spent in the United States and Canada, from colonial times to the present. For the high school or college student, it will serve as an introduction to the lives of these healers; some students may be inspired to do further research on them or may be inspired to become healers themselves. Women's Studies scholars, biographers, and historians of science, medicine, or nursing, will find the biographies useful starting points for more in-depth research. Each biography provides references for further reading and study.

Author Notes

LAURIE SCRIVENER is Assistant Professor of Bibliography and Social Sciences Reference Librarian at the University of Oklahoma Libraries. Scrivener was a co-editor of the International Biographical Directory of National Archivists, Documentalists, and Librarians, second edition , and has been published in the Journal of Government Information .

J. SUZANNE BARNES currently works for Ebsco Subscription Services Inc. in Los Angeles, California. She has worked for the University of Oklahoma Libraries, the Tulsa City-County Library System, the Santa Monica Public Library, and the Gemological Institute of America Library.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Scrivener and Barnes have posted a long-delayed valentine to female health professionals. Among the more honored female health workers-- Clara Barton, Margaret Sanger, Faye Wattleton--the book elevates the undervalued, for example, colonial midwife-herbalist Ann Hutchinson and Marie-Henriette LeJeune Ross, an Acadian healer who applied Turkish-style inoculationsto Nova Scotians of Cape Breton to ward off smallpox. Emphasis is on women from the U.S and Canada. Missing from the lineup is commentary on the Hispanic curandera, a folk healer and adviser vital to Latinos into the twenty-first century. Assisting the researcher, student, teacher, librarian, and health professional are excellent reference aids. Alphabetically arranged entries cover one or two pages and contain names, dates, education, professional organizations, photos, and innovations. References to books, journals, newspapers, and a sprinkling of Web sites point the user to other sources of information. Some entries include a portrait. Appendix 1 lists entrants by occupation (midwives, nurses, and physicians). A second appendix provides a five-page time line of events forming the milieu in which women established practices in communities where gender restrictions limited the medical profession to men only. These women can be found in other resources; more than 70, primarily physicians, have entries in The Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science (Routledge, 2000). But A Biographical Dictionary of Women Healers offers a distinct context and is recommended for high-school, public, and academic libraries. RBB.

Library Journal Review

This biographical dictionary profiles 240 American and Canadian women midwives, nurses, and physicians (excluding psychiatrists and present-day practitioners of alternative medicine) from Colonial times through the present. Intended as starting points for in-depth research, the brief sketches include education, professional accomplishments, awards, and publications as well as some personal facts and a few references for additional information. Although much of this data can be found in sources such as Dictionary of American Nursing Biography, Women in Medicine, and American Midwives: 1860 to the Present, the editors all library professionals have supplemented and updated this volume with additional information and insights from Internet discussion groups, web pages, periodical articles, and personal interviews. The categories have been variously but understandably defined: "Physician" includes women trained informally as well as formally, "nurse" includes only the formally trained, and "midwife" includes lay practitioners. Designed for high school and college students, this dictionary does not add major insights but will serve as a handy reference for appropriate audiences. Margaret K. Norden, Marymount Univ. Lib., Arlington, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

This dictionary recognizes and honors women healers ( nurses, midwives, and physicians) whose careers were spent primarily in the US or Canada. It includes biographies of 238 "significant or representative" women from Colonial times to the present, ranging from the famous (Margaret Sanger, birth control pioneer) to the lesser known (Helen Browne, nurse-midwife and educator). Most entries consist of about a page of text with references for further reading; some contain black-and-white portraits. Appendixes include a general bibliography, a time line of noteworthy events related to women healers, a listing of entries grouped by occupation, and a subject/name index. A random sampling of entries found little overlap between BDWH and Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia (CH, Apr'00) or Notable American Women (4v., 1971-80; CH, Jan'81); only about a third of BDWH's entries appeared in either of these major biographical sources. A fine starting point for high school and college research in women's studies, nursing, or history of science; recommended for collections supporting these disciplines. L. N. Pander Bowdoin College

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Biographiesp. 1
Appendix I List of Women by Occupationp. 315
Appendix II Notable Events Related to Women Healersp. 319
Selected Bibliographyp. 325
Indexp. 329