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Information

Woman's Medical College / Ontario Medical College for Women collection

Media Type: 
Textual record
Call Number / Archival Reference Number: 
WCH-WMC
STEM Field: 
Medicine
Description: 

The collection is comprised of records related to Woman's Medical College and the Ontario Medical College for Women. The collection consists of correspondence and a copy of the 1905 Torontonensis (University of Toronto yearbook).

Biography/Administrative History: 

On October 1, 1883, Dr. Emily Stowe – a suffragist and the first Canadian woman licensed to practice medicine in Canada – established Woman's Medical College. Woman's Medical College was designed to provide separate-but-equal medical education for female students, as the Trinity Medical College and the Toronto School of Medicine would not allow women to enrol in their programs. Although Woman's Medical College did not grant degrees, its students were permitted to take examinations at Trinity College, Victoria University, and the University of Toronto. Woman's Medical College taught the same courses as other medical schools, and placed a greater emphasis on areas related to women's health such as obstetrics and gynaecology. Only three women enrolled in the first session of classes, but enrollment increased substantially by the late 1880s – 20 new students enrolled in 1888 alone. In Fall 1890, Woman's Medical College moved to a larger building. In 1894, Woman's Medical College amalgamated with Kingston Women's Medical College and changed its name to the Ontario Medical College for Women. The Ontario Medical College for Women opened a clinic called the Dispensary for Women in 1898. This clinic provided the College's students with practical experience in pharmacy and clinical practice. The Dispensary provided poor and working class women with access to health care: services were provided regardless of the patient's ability to pay and medical advice was always free. The clinic also filled a social void in the community by enabling female patients to obtain services from women doctors. The Dispensary was very popular and had a high volume of patients: initially open three days a week, its hours of operation had increased to six days a week by 1900. In 1905, the University of Toronto began to permit women to study medicine. The Ontario Medical College for Women closed in 1906, and its students transferred to the University of Toronto. The Dispensary remained open, and in 1911, it would become Women's College Hospital. From 1883-1905, 111 women graduated as doctors from Woman's Medical College/Ontario Medical College for Women.

Date(s): 
1885-1905
Extent: 
6 cm of textual records
Province: 
ON
Hosting Institution: 
Women's College Hospital
Collection Contact: 
wch.archives@wchospital.ca
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