Boston-New Brunswick-Richmond

Rebecca Crumpler wrote in the introduction to her 1883 book Medical Discourses, that after she received the degree of Doctress of Medicine (1864) she practiced in Boston, ‘but desiring a larger scope of general information, I traveled toward the British Dominions.’

In 1865, New Brunswick was a colonial territory of the British Empire but in 1867 it joined 3 other provinces to form the Confederation of Canada. It is uncertain why Rebecca and Arthur chose to go to New Brunswick other than they knew that former slaves found safety in British North America, and transport could be arranged.

In 1851, Cornelius Sparrow and his wife who had escaped from Virginia were aided by the Boston Vigilance Committee and the Underground Railroad. They settled in St John’s, New Brunswick where they were successful in business. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/cornelius-sparrow-saint-john-black-history-1.4517154

In the previous century a few thousand black  slaves and servants accompanied the British Loyalists, who fled after the American Revolutionary War, along with free Blacks who had pledge allegiance to England.

Arthur Crumpler and Rebecca Lee married while on their trip to New Brunswick.

 

wedding report
This announcement appeared (in a different format) in 1865  in the Religious Intelligencer.
relgious intelligencer
“Containing the principal transactions of the various Bible and missionary societies, with particular accounts of revivals of religion.”

‘On my return (to Boston), after the close of the Confederate War, my mind centered upon Richmond, the capital city of Virginia, as the proper field for real missionary work, and one that would present ample opportunity to become acquainted with the diseases of women and children.’

03049_150px
Library of Congress

Professor Jim Downs has written in  Sick From Freedom African American Illness and Suffering During the Civil War and Reconstruction (Oxford University Press, 2012)  about the unintended consequences of emancipation.” They (freed slaves and their families) ended up entering into a world that was plagued by disease and suffering. Let us understand what was really at stake — yes, you’re free, you’re liberated, you can dance in the street. But where did you sleep that night, where did you eat? What about when you entered into the Union camp and there was an outbreak of measles?’

SmallpoxSlaves_960x640-1200x0-c-default
Library of Congress

At least a quarter of the four million former slaves got sick or died between 1862 and 1870, including at least 60,000 who perished in a smallpox epidemic that began in Washington and spread through the South as former slaves traveled in search of work.

At a Virginia Historical Society lecture in 2016, National Park Service historian Michael Gorman said that by June of 1865, there were 30,000 former slaves in Richmond with no place to live and no way to sustain themselves. ‘They were trying to get a job, trying to find a new way of life,” Gorman said. “There was this fundamental narrative of ‘Okay slavery is over. Now go get a job.’ How?”

Chimborazo Hospital outside of Richmond was the largest hospital on either side of the conflict. According to the National Park Service, Chimborazo was more of a convalescent home for the sick and wounded confederate soldiers because Richmond wasn’t on the front line until April 2, 1865 when the confederate army left and burned the city. In July 1865, there were 50,000 former slaves in Richmond with no feasible living situation.

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, usually referred to as simply the Freedmen’s Bureau, was an agency of the United States Department of War to “direct such issues of provisions, clothing, and fuel, as he may deem needful for the immediate and temporary shelter and supply of destitute and suffering refugees and freedmen and their wives and children.”[2]

orlando brown
From:Findagrave.com

Dr. Orlando Brown, a former surgeon, and the Assistant Commissioner for Virginia’s Freedman Bureau allowed Dr. Crumpler ‘access each day to a very large number of the indigent, and others of different classes, in a population of over 30,000 colored’.  Dr. Crumpler worked in Richmond in  1866 -1867, and in her book she refers to a General Brown.

Dr. Brown had an interesting connection to the Boston area and  to the Black community, and this may be why he allowed Dr. Crumpler freedom to work as the only known black female physician in the Bureau.

He graduated from Yale Medical School, worked in Boston,  and joined the army as the assistant surgeon to the 18th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry which trained at Camp Meigs in Reidville.  In 1865 he was promoted to colonel of the 24th  United States Colored Infantry Regiment and remained with them in Richmond  until they mustered out in October 1865.

Dr. Crumpler recognized that the main threat to people’s lives was the lack of shelter, clothing and nutrition and that without the basics, they were at higher risk for infection, disease and death.

In, Charlestown, Boston, New Brunswick, and Richmond, Dr. Crumpler observed cause and effect. Her desire for writing her book was to ‘impress upon someone’s mind the possibility of prevention’.

Two ways to support the Crumpler project

  1. Make out a check to Friends of the Hyde Park Branch Library indicating that it is for the Crumpler Fund. Address: Hyde Park Library, 35 Harvard Avenue, Hyde Park, MA, 02136
  2. Use a credit card with the Paypal buttons below. Please supply your name, phone number and email address when prompted.

The Friends of the Hyde Park Library is a federally recognized 501(c)3 organization.

Tax ID# 04-2774183

 

Boston Library Programs Cancelled

We are very sad to announce that as a preventative measure to minimize the spread of COVID-19, all Boston Public Library programs and events have been cancelled until further notice. This includes programs sponsored by the Historical Society.

All library locations remain open at this time.  We plan to reschedule and reinstate all events once this health crisis passes.

You can always call the library at 617 361-2524 or visit www.bpl.org for more updates and more information.

Please take care during this difficult time!

The 125th Anniversary of the Death of Dr. Rebecca Crumpler

Rebecca Lee Crumpler M.D.

April 14,1831—March 9, 1895

The Friends of the Hyde Park Library and the Hyde Park Historical Society are very pleased to announce that the Rebecca Crumpler Fund has received a generous donation from the Massachusetts Medical Schools.

“After learning of the Hyde Park Library Friends’ efforts to install a memorial marker in recognition of Dr. Crumpler, Dr. George Q. Daley, Dean of Harvard Medical School, reached out to the deans of the other three Massachusetts medical schools with a request that each join forces to support the fundraising effort. Each medical school dean, Dr. Karen Antman (Boston University), Dr. Terence Flotte (University of Massachusetts), and Dr. Peter Bates (Tufts) responded quickly and with enthusiasm for the plan. All recognized that the Hyde Park Library Friends’ effort is a most fitting tribute given Dr. Crumpler’s legacy within Massachusetts as a trailblazer for individuals under-represented in medicine.”

Dr. Joan Reede, HMS, Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership

The contribution from the medical schools and from more than 115 individuals will make it possible for us to honor Dr. Crumpler’s legacy in many ways. We are reviewing our options while we finalize the style and engraving for the headstones.

Fairview cemetery was opened in 1893, and Dr. Crumpler was the 123rd interment.  Most of the other graves in the areas date from 1894 -1918, and many  do not have headstones. We must follow the rules for gravestone size in that part of the cemetery and will purchase granite that reflects the era.  Alas, Quincy granite is no longer available.

Sincere thanks to the Medical School deans and to all who have made donations.

Victoria Gall         Tom Sullivan            Gretchen Van Ness         

 Elisa Birdseye     Mimi Turchinetz        Denella Clark 

   Patrice Gattozzi               Tanisha Sullivan

 

Two ways to support the Crumpler project

  1. Make out a check to Friends of the Hyde Park Branch Library indicating that it is for the Crumpler Fund. Address: Hyde Park Library, 35 Harvard Avenue, Hyde Park, MA, 02136
  2. Use a credit card with the Paypal buttons below. Please supply your name, phone number and email address when prompted.

The Friends of the Hyde Park Library is a federally recognized 501(c)3 organization.

Tax ID# 04-2774183

 

Rebecca Lee’s Medical Training

 Rebecca Lee wrote in A Book of Medical Discourses in Two Parts, that she worked for physicians in Charlestown, MA for a few years before being encouraged to apply to the New England Female Medical College. The school moved locations a few times , and Rebecca Lee may not have attended class in the building illustrated below.

NEFMC1859[22046]

Credit: Boston University Alumni Medical Library Archives

New England Female Medical College (NEFMC), originally Boston Female Medical College, was founded in 1848 by Samuel Gregory  and was the first school to train women in the field of medicine. It merged with Boston University to become the Boston University School of Medicine in 1874.

The main motivation for the school’s foundation was the belief that male physicians should not generally assist in childbirth.  Founder Samuel Gregory saw what he called “man-midwifery” as unnatural and improper and believed that women should be given formal medical education in order to become certified midwives and attend to their own sex.            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_England_Female_Medical_Coll

Requirements for Admission and Graduation

Applicants for admission must satisfy the Faculty that they are of unexceptionable moral character, and that they possess a good preparatory education. The candidates for the Degree of Doctor of Medicine must have pursued medical studies, under the direction of a respectable practitioner of Medicine, for three years, including the time of attending Medical Lectures, certificates of which studies will be required; and must have attended two full Courses of Lectures, one of which must have been in this College. The candidate must sustain a satisfactory examination in all the branches taught in the Institution; and, at the time of application for the Degree (to be made at least three weeks before the close of the term), she must present the Graduation Fee, and a Thesis, written in her own hand, on some medical subject. The Thesis must be read and defended before the Faculty, if required; and it will be retained in the archives of the Institution or published if thought advisable.            https://hdl.handle.net/2144/16154

1859-1860 class listUnfortunately, the BU Medical Library Archives holds no unique or original materials of Dr. Lee’s time at the college except for what’s was written in annual reports.

The Course of Lectures at the NEFMC

https://hdl.handle.net/2144/16154

Theory and Practice of Medicine

General principles and pathology— a description of diseases, and the most approved modes of treatment.

Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Chemistry

Principles of Modern Chemistry by illustrations and experiments. More particular attention will be paid to Organic Chemistry, and those branches of this science connected with Materia Medica. The natural and commercial history of the most important medicinal agents, illustrating his descriptions by samples of genuine and spurious drugs, drawings, dried specimens, &c.; and will treat of their therapeutic action upon the human system.

 Anatomy and Surgery

Instruction will be both theoretical and practical; and the course will be illustrated by the usual facilities and by a large collection of apparatus, including manikins, models, and other preparations.

Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children

These subjects will be fully treated by Prof. Zakrzewska; and the students will have whatever advantages the Institution may afford for observation and practice in these departments.

Physiology and Hygiene

The course of lectures will embrace the usual topics in this department; and will be illustrated, as far as practicable, by the apparatus of the Institution.

Clinical Department

For the accommodation and medical treatment of lying-in and other women and children, open to students daily in term-time and through the year. This department includes a Dispensary, open daily, from 9 to 10, A.M., to women and children, who receive gratuitous advice and medicine. Graduates of the Institution can at all times have access to this department.

———-

Rebecca Lee’s tuition was paid from the scholarship fund endowed by the Honorable John Wade.

———–

Her husband Wyatt Lee died in 1863 and although there are some undocumented reports that she struggled during her studies, she successfully graduated in 1864 and became the women we respect and honor today.

The following passage  appeared  in the ‘News Item’s’ column in The Congregationalist  on page 43 of the March 11, 1864 edition.

The New England Female Medical College  held its sixteen anniversary, Wednesday afternoon the 2nd. The Doctress of Medicine was conferred upon the graduates Mary  Lockwood Allen of Wiliston Vt., Elizabeth Kimball of Reading, and Rebecca Lee of Boston. Addresses were made by the Rev. Geo. H. Hepworth, Rev. Dr. Randall, and Rev. Dr. Parker, the President. Allusion was made by the first speaker to the fact that one of the graduates belonged to the African race and he regarded it as a very happy omen. The addresses were of a highly encouraging character.

 

Further Reading:

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  We are considering other ways to honor Dr. Crumpler since we have successfully achieved the original goal of $5,000. We are  now in the process of choosing headstones, and have begun initial planning of a July,  ‘Celebration of Life ‘ service. 

 

Two ways to support the Crumpler project

  1. Make out a check to Friends of the Hyde Park Branch Library indicating that it is for the Crumpler Fund. Address: Hyde Park Library, 35 Harvard Avenue, Hyde Park, MA, 02136
  2. Use a credit card with the Paypal buttons below. Please supply your name, phone number and email address when prompted.

The Friends of the Hyde Park Library is a federally recognized 501(c)3 organization.

Tax ID# 04-2774183

HP Historic Garden Will Happen

Two figures and one granite stone  had been resting in mulch  for many years on the side lawn of the Hyde Park Library. In 2018,  The  Friends of the Hyde Park Library (FHPL)  decide to do something to bring them to prominence and to share their history.

In February 2019, the Friends  received  Community Preservation funds from the City of Boston to ‘transform an unused area of open public space at the Hyde Park Library into a passive park incorporating artifacts of historical significance  to the Hyde Park community’.

The photo shows two figures of the god Mercury, salvaged from the Hyde Park Railroad Station  that was built in 1914 and demolished in 1974. Also, a foundation stone from the St. Catherine School, built in 1895 and torn down in 1966.  We call this the Corrigan stone because Thomas Corrigan was thought to have built the foundation.

x2 with corrigan

Hyde Park Station-1912 drawing

HP station circa 1914

photo_street level with snow, horse-car-snow 1-2-1916

There are no photographs of the school but it does appear on maps from 1899 to the 1960’s.

The stones were removed in the fall of 2019 and taken for preservation, stabilization  by Daedalus, Inc. http://www.daedalusart.com.  Lissa Schwab, a major project manager at the Boston Public Library arrange for the work to be done and invited us to visit the studio to see the progress, and here’s what we saw.

 

VG-BS-DEDEALUScorrigan-folk art

ES-MercuryHS-Mercury

In the next 2 months the artifacts will be mounted on granite with plaques about their history. There will also be a commemorative plaque thanking the City of Boston, the Boston Public Library and the Friends of the Hyde Park Library.  After  installation in June, benches will be added to the area.  A dedication event is planned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crumpler Fund Goal Achieved!

A very quick thank you for realizing the significance of Dr. Rebecca Crumpler by making a donation to the fund for a headstone at her unmarked grave.

We’ve SURPASSED our goal this morning and will add a separate headstone for Arthur Crumpler, a deserving man in his own right.

Send us your suggestions, on what we can locally do with the money to further honor Dr. Crumpler.  info@friendshplibrary.org

Continue to follow this site for more information about their lives, our plans, and details about the dedication service this summer.

 

violet

 

 

Two ways to support the Crumpler project

  1. Make out a check to Friends of the Hyde Park Branch Library indicating that it is for the Crumpler Fund. Address: Hyde Park Library, 35 Harvard Avenue, Hyde Park, MA, 02136
  2. Use a credit card with the Paypal buttons below. Please supply your name, phone number and email address when prompted.

The Friends of the Hyde Park Library is a federally recognized 501(c)3 organization.

Tax ID# 04-2774183