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March - Women's History Month

  1. Mar 12, 2005 #1

    Astronuc

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    Women's History Month Project

    I heard an interesting story on the radio -

    JAMES BARRY/MIRANDA STUART

    (1795?-1865) THE GOOD DOCTOR WORE THREE-INCH LIFTS IN HIS SHOES, CARRIED A PARASOL, AND TRAVELED THE WORLD WITH A MILK GOAT. AND HE HAD A LOUSY TEMPER. BUT JAMES BARRY EARNED THE HIGHEST RANK A DOCTOR COULD ACHIEVE IN THE BRITISH ARMY.

    No one ever claimed Dr. James Barry was pleasant. After graduating from medical school in Edinburgh in 1812, he joined the British Army, and was appointed Medical Inspector in South Africa. He began making trouble immediately. He criticized local officials for the inadequate water system. AND he insisted it be upgraded. He served from India to the Caribbean, from the Africa to Canada, advocating for better sanitary conditions and nutrition for soldiers. He also urged more humane treatment of lepers, prisoners, and the insane.

    Dr. Barry traveled in the company of a poodle named Psyche and a black manservant named John, who provided him with six towels each morning, to “accentuate” his uniform. More than once people accused him of having “homosexual” affairs. Barry performed one of the first successful Caesarean sections in the Empire. Women said he was a most considerate birth attendant. In the Crimea he was the only person cocky enough to reprimand Florence Nightingale. He was bombastic, opinionated and tactless. But he was entertaining, and maintained friends in high places. One supporter claimed Barry was the finest doctor he’d ever known….but “absurd in everything else.”

    Barry died in England in 1864. The woman who prepared his body discovered that the good doctor - was female. James Barry’s real name is thought to have been Miranda Stuart. She took on the male persona to gain entrance to medical school in 1809, when it was practically impossible for women to become physicians - let alone enter the military. For the next 56 years Miranda Stuart pretended to be a man….and was, in fact, a top rate physician.

    from - The Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

    for more info, see - http://www.geocities.com/eschiva/stuart.html

    Interesting. I wonder how many millions of men owe their lives to women like Miranda Stuart, Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton.
     
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  3. Mar 12, 2005 #2

    Moonbear

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    Wow! That's a really cool story. I'd never heard about her/him before. Probably the first transvestite physician too! :biggrin:
     
  4. Mar 12, 2005 #3
    Side note: I found out from a Caltech geology postdoc that there are a good number of transsexuals in that field. Apparently it hasn't affected their careers.
     
  5. Mar 12, 2005 #4

    Astronuc

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    I don't think it was a matter of transvestism or trans-sexualism, as much as it was the extraordinary length that a woman had to achieve in order to do something to which she should have been entitled in the first place - simply to educate herself and practive to her abilities. Stuart had the ability, but would have been denied the opporunity because she was a woman.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2005
  6. Mar 12, 2005 #5

    Moonbear

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    I realize that, it was just an odd observation that came across my mind after reading about it and I decided to share.

    She sounds a bit like the Joan of Arc of medicine.
     
  7. Mar 12, 2005 #6

    Curious3141

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    Sounds more like the Sophie Germaine of Medicine.
     
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