Female Staff at Friends Asylum
The Managers of Friends' Asylum had “long favored the employment of women as nurses, ward maids, etc., in certain parts of the men’s wards” (33). In 1889 the Managers hired Dr. Anna Broomall as “gynecologist to the asylum at an annual salary of $200 which is satisfactory” (Fourth Month, 1889). Broomall was the first female doctor to work at Friends' Asylum. Broomall’s life outside of the Asylum is just as impressive. Born into a Quaker family that encouraged her career, she eventually became the chief resident physician at the Women’s Hospital in Philadelphia while teaching at the Women’s Medical College and opening her own out-patient maternity clinic (Changing the Face of Medicine). Later, while working at Friends' Asylum, she continued to teach obstetrics at the Women’s Medical College. She helped to reduce the mortality rate in the Women’s Hospital and she established her own clinic in order to “improve obstetrical training.” However, the way the Managers treated her is more complicated than hiring the first female doctor. The same year a male assistant physician was hired with an annual salary of $800 (Sixth Month, 10th, 1889). Broomall, who was the head gynecologist, still made less than this male assistant physician. It is possible that she had a lower salary in part because she saw fewer patients, but it is also possible that gender played a role in this disparity.
S. Elizabeth Winter
In 1894 “in accordance with the authority given … to nominate a woman assistant physician,” the asylum hired Dr. S Elizabeth Winter since “she had been warmly recommended for the post by … [the] superintendent” (Eleventh Month, 12th, 1894). It is unclear why the management decided to hire a female assistant physician. Winter’s annual salary was $700, which is in the same range as her male counterparts (Eleventh Month, 12th, 1894). However, there is very little record about what it would have been like to be a female doctor in the Asylum or on Winter’s experience there. Perhaps the male physicians in the Asylum regarded her as their equal since she was a physician who had more responsibility in the asylum than any female previously; perhaps they did not.