Thursday, March 18, 2010

Women's History Month 2010

Women's History Month is celebrated every March, and International Women's Day every March 8th. In 1987, the National Women's History Project (NWHP) successfully petitioned Congress to expand Women's History Week to Women's History Month. The NWHP is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year with the theme Writing Women Back into History. The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have used this theme to jointly create an online project to highlight the many individual and collective contributions of women to history.

Below are some additional resources that focus on the achievements of women in medicine and science, as well as the women's suffrage movement in North Carolina and nationally. The UNC online catalog also offers up many library resources related to women's history, both electronic and print; see, for example, subject searches for Women Physicians; Women Scientists; Women's Rights; and Women's History.

Among many examples of prominent women represented in Special Collections at the Health Sciences Library are the medical pioneers Florence Nightingale and Susan Dimock:

:: Florence Nightingale [1820-1910], known as the “Lady with the Lamp” for her service during the Crimean War, was a pioneering nurse, statistician, author, and educator. In 1860 she opened the Nightingale Training School for Nurses in London, for which her book, Notes on Nursing (1859), served as the cornerstone of the curriculum. Several of her handwritten letters from Special Collections have been digitized and are available online; many of her published works are also available in the library.

:: Susan Dimock [1847-1875] of Washington, North Carolina, was a pioneer among women physicians in America. Denied access to medical education, she pursued her studies abroad, graduating from the University of Zurich in 1871; her dissertation on puerperal fever, written in German, is available online as part of the International Theses Collection at HSL. In 1872, Dr. Dimock was appointed the resident physician of the New England Hospital of Women and Children, and played a key role in developing a formal training program for nurses. This same year she was granted honorary membership in the Medical Society of the State of North Carolina--it's first female member.

See also related entries on Women's History on the Carolina Curator blog.

:: Women Nobel Laureates (Nobel Foundation)
The Nobel Prize and Prize in Economic Sciences have been awarded to women 41 times between 1901 and 2009. Only one woman, Marie Curie, has been honoured twice, with the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. This means that 40 women in total have been awarded the Nobel Prize between 1901 and 2009.

Ten women have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the first being Gerty Theresa Cori in 1947 for her contribution to the "discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen," and the most recent being Elizabeth H. Blackburn and Carol W. Greider in 2009, for their work on "the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase."

:: Profiles in Science (National Library of Medicine)
This site celebrates twentieth-century leaders in biomedical research and public health. It makes the archival collections of prominent scientists, physicians, and others who have advanced the scientific enterprise available to the public through modern digital technology.

Rosalind Franklin [1920-1958] -- A British chemist and crystallographer who is best known for her role in the discovery of the structure of DNA.

Barbara McClintock [1902-1992] -- An American geneticist who won the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her discovery of genetic transposition, or the ability of genes to change position on the chromosome.

Florence Rena Sabin [1871-1953] -- An American anatomist and medical researcher. Her excellent and innovative work on the origins of the lymphatic system, blood cells, and immune system cells, and on the pathology of tuberculosis was well-recognized during her lifetime.

Maxine Singer [b. 1931] -- A leading molecular biologist and science advocate. She has made important contributions to the deciphering of the genetic code and to our understanding of RNA and DNA, the chemical elements of heredity.

Virginia Apgar [ 1909-1974] -- An American physician who is best known for the Apgar Score, a simple, rapid method for assessing newborn viability.

Mary Lasker [1900-1994] -- Medical philanthropist, political strategist, and health activist. Lasker acted as the catalyst for the rapid growth of the biomedical research enterprise in the United States after World War II.

:: Online Exhibitions (National Library of Medicine)

Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Women Physicians

"That Girl There Is Doctor in Medicine": Elizabeth Blackwell, America's First Woman M.D.

:: Women's History in North Carolina (UNC's Documenting the American South)
North Carolina women have proven themselves to be pioneering, revolutionary, and industrious. From the Edenton Tea Party to the Civil War to World War I fundraisers, and beyond, they have agitated relentlessly for social improvement and against injustice.

:: North Carolina and the Struggle for Women's Suffrage (UNC's Documenting the American South)
The flyers, speeches, and documents summarized here, dated from approximately 1915 to 1920, represent the controversy surrounding the final push for women's suffrage in the United States. Proceedings of the Second Annual Convention of the Equal Suffrage Association, a publication of the Equal Suffrage Association of North Carolina, illustrates in detail the goals and operation of the suffrage group.

:: The HerStory Scrapbook (New York Times)
The right to vote is a fundamental principle of democracy. From 1917 to 1920, the New York Times published over 3,000 articles, editorials, and letters about the women who were fighting for, and against, suffrage. The HerStory Scrapbook includes more than 900 of the most interesting pieces from that period. It is the equivalent of having had someone save articles from the Times in a scrapbook for prosperity.

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