Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania

Dissecting a Body at the WMCP

Nineteenth century sepia-toned photograph of five women dissecting a human cadaver.

Students at the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania dissect a human body. (Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections)

Drexel University College of Medicine Legacy Center Archives and Special Collections

In 1862, the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania (WMCP) moved from its original location at 627 Arch Street into a well-equipped new building on North College Avenue next to the Woman’s Hospital of Philadelphia. In addition to ample lecture halls, the new facility included a large library, a chemistry lab, and dissection rooms, like the one shown in this 1901 photograph. The college also hired additional faculty, including Dr. Anna Broomall, a master teacher of obstetrics who established one of the nation’s first outpatient maternity services in South Philadelphia in 1887. Other notable faculty members included William W. Keen, considered the nation’s first brain surgeon, and Henry Hartshorne, an expert in the diseases of children and respected textbook author.

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