April 11, 1857

11 April 1857


A dark-clothed woman, standing, attending to a light-clothed woman seated in a chair.

And so the female Doctors are prospering and getting practice. I am sure I am heartily glad of it, for several reasons; one of which is, that it is an honest, and honorable deliverance from the everlasting, non-remunerating, consumptive-provoking, monotonous needle. Another is, that it is a more excellent way of support, than by the mercenary and un-retraceable road, through the church-door to the altar, into which so many non-reliant women are driven. Having said this I feel at liberty to remark that we all have our little fancies, and one of mine is, that a hat is a pleasanter object of contemplation in a sick room than a bonnet. I think, too, that my wrist reposes more comfortably in a big hand than a little one, and if my mouth is to be inspected I prefer submitting it to a beard than to a flounce. Still—this may be a narrow prejudice, I dare say it is, but like most of my prejudices I am afraid no amount of fire will burn it out of me.

A female doctor! Great Esculapius! Before swallowing her pills, (of which she would be the first!) I should want to make sure, that I had never come between her and a lover, or a new bonnet, or been the innocent recipient of a gracious smile from her husband. If I desired her undivided attention to my case I should first remove the looking-glass, and if a consultation seemed advisable, I should wish to arm myself with a grid-iron, or a darning-needle, or some other appropriate weapon before expressing such a wish. If my female Doctor recommended a blister on my head, I should strongly doubt its necessity if my hair happened to be handsome, also the expediency of a scar-defacing plaster for my neck, if it happened to be plump and white. Still, these may be little prejudices; very like they are; but this I will say: before the breath is taken out of me by any female Doctor, that while I am in my senses I will never exchange my gentlemanly, soft-voiced, soft-stepping, experienced, intelligent, handsome Doctor for all the female M. Ds. who ever carved up dead bodies or live characters—or tore each other's caps.

Source Text:

Fanny Fern, "Lady Doctors," The New-York Ledger (11 April 1857): [4]

To cite this project:

Fanny Fern, "Lady Doctors," Fanny Fern in The New York Ledger, Ed. Kevin McMullen (2018) http://fannyfern.org.