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.

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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

Rebecca Knew Where She Was – #4

Both Arthur and Rebecca Crumpler spent time at the West Newton English and Classical School (WNECS) run by Nathaniel T. Allen an education innovator and a reformer. Arthur worked there in 1862-63 shortly after escaping Virginia for freedom.

“Probably the most unique feature (of the school), was the warm welcome extended to the children of the coloured race. It is to be remembered that the school was started amid the excitement consequent upon the passage and enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law. During these years coloured boys and girls were received from time to time into the school, where they sat beside the white pupils, recited in the same classes, with no difference in the quality of the lessons, and ate at the same table, in the families of the principals”.1

Some report that Rebecca was taken in by Mr. Allen soon after arriving in the Boston area. If so it would have been before 1852 when she was listed in the Massachusetts Marriage Records (1840-1915) as living in Charlestown, MA with her husband Wyatt Lee.

Rebecca gave us some answers about her life’s activities in a WNCES catalog prepared by a former pupil.2

Allen- cover catalog

 

Preface to Allen

explantion of dates

Allen Dates

So according to this, Dr. Crumpler was a special student in Mathematics at the Allen School after she became a doctor and between   her teaching activities in Delaware. in 1874 and 1876. Seems that she, like her husband Arthur, never stopped learning.

_____________

  1. Green, Mary A. Nathaniel T. Allen Teacher, Reformer, Philanthropist. Privately Printed:1906. p.81
  1. An Illustrated Biographical Catalog of the Principals, Teachers and Students of the West Newton English and Classical School, West Newton, Mass. 1854-1893. Compiled by a Former Pupil.” Boston: 1895.

 

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

 

Progress Report- Crumpler Fund

Forty – eight individuals have contributed to the Crumpler Fund, and as of this morning we’ve gone over the $2,000 mark. We are very grateful for your  $5 to $200 donations.

Our goal has been $5,000 which is definitely achievable.   We’ve the offer of a very generous donation which will allow us, with your continued support, to purchase individual headstones and to have a  long overdue graveside service.

 arthur crumpler      We thank you for them.    crumpler medal

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

Arthur Crumpler – #3

Some of what we know about Arthur Crumpler was reported in “Boston’s Oldest Pupil: And He’s 74 and Goes to the Evening School.” The Boston Sunday Globe, 3 April 1898, p.25. arthur crumplerNoted at a later date;  Arthur’s age would have been 64 at the time not, 74.

Arthur Crumpler parents were slaves from adjoining plantations in Courtland, Southampton County, Virginia. Benjamin Crumpler owned Arthur’s father and that’s the surname  he was given. Arthur had mechanical talents which were recognized by his many masters who may have wanted to profit from his ideas. The last plantation he worked on was near Smithfield VA.
He ran away sometime in the winter of 1861 and took refuge on the gunboat Cumberland which transported him to Fort Monroe in the Union controlled part of Virginia. This was a symbolic site of freedom for fugitives. General Butler defied the Fugitive Slave Act that required slaves be returned to their owners. Instead, he hired them to work for the Union army in what he called  his contraband policy. After about 6 months of work, Arthur took his army pay and headed North. The Army appeared to  have deliberately cheated him by giving him $40 instead of the promised $160. He said this happened because he couldn’t read and just put an ‘X’ on the form.  He left Virginia on July 6,1862 and arrived on July 9, 1862.

A Boston antislavery group found him a blacksmith’s job with Edward Kendall and sometime in 1863 Arthur found his way to the West Newton English and Classical School.
The following passages are from Nathaniel T. Allen – Teacher, Reformer, Philanthropist by Mary Green.allenbook
“A number of coloured people ‘contrabands’ came to West Newton and obtained employment much to the disgust of certain of the Irish laborer’s in the place.
Among them was a veritable ‘Uncle Tom’ in mind and spirit, Arthur Crumpler by name. Mr. Allen befriends him and taught him to read and great was the man’s delight when he was able to read His Bible. He slept in the barn and did chores.”

 

 

 

In June 1863, Arthur Crumpler registered for the draft and in Nov of 1863, Green writes that he cast his 1st vote that was heavily challenged.1863 Draft
In the same year, Rebecca Davis’s first husband, Wyatt Lee died. Boston’s death records for 1863 list him as: coloured, a laborer and cause of death was phthisis (pulmonary tuberculosis) of 6 months duration. He’s buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery, in the area containing the unmarked graves of the City’s indigent.


Rebecca and Wyatt were married on April 19, 1852 in a Methodist Church in Charlestown, MA, and by 1860 the Federal Census lists them as living in Boston.

To be continued with Rebecca’s work as a nurse, her entrance into the New England Female Medical College, her graduation as a Doctress of Medicine in 1864, and her early work to provide medical care to poor women and children in the Beacon Hill area populated by many Blacks.

We’ve passed the $1,700 mark of our $5,000 goal.  Thank you!
Green, Mary A. Nathaniel T. Allen Teacher, Reformer, Philanthropist. Privately Printed:1906.

 

Images of Rebecca Crumpler – #2

No one has yet to find a photograph of Rebecca (neé Davis) Lee Crumpler who was born on February 8, 1831, in Christiana, Delaware. She self-reported this in the West Newton English and Classical School catalog where at one point, she was a special student in mathematics.1   This birth date differs from information in the 1860 federal census and Massachusetts marriage records.

She was “reared by a kind aunt in Pennsylvania whose usefulness with the sick was continually sought and I early conceived a liking for, and sought every opportunity to be in a position to relieve the sufferings of others.” She somehow found her way to Boston, and reports in the introduction to her book, that she devoted her time to nursing as a business working under the direction of different doctors from 1852-1860. She lived most of the time in her adopted home in Charlestown, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.2

These women are not Dr. Crumpler, but their portraits are often in articles about Dr. Crumpler.  They are:

440px-Mary_Eliza_Mahoney ipedia

Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845-1926): The first African-American woman to receive a nursing diploma (1879). She was  born in Dorchester, MA, and graduated from the nursing program  at the New England Hospital for Women and Children. Image credit: American Nurses Association

Dr Eliza Greir

 

Eliza Ann Grier MD (1864-1902): A former slave and the first African-American female physician in Georgia.Photo courtesy Legacy Center Archives, Drexel College of Medicine

 

 

crumpler medal

 

A commemorative medallion with a composite image of Dr. Rebecca Crumpler. Read the interesting story of the medal.   http://archives.drexelmed.edu/blog/?p=620

 

Kudos to the designer who created this embroidery series. https://www.etsy.com/listing/633543982/rebecca-lee-crumpler-women-in-stem

STEM

And how about Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison Published in 2017 by Little Brown Books for Young Readers

mighty girl

A Boston Globe article on July 22, 1894,  titled: Sets in Colored Society, describes Dr. Crumpler “as the one woman, who as a physician, made an enviable place for herself in the ranks of the medical fraternity….. She is a very pleasant and intellectual women, and an indefatigable church worker. Dr. Crumpler is 59 or 60 years of age, tall and straight with light brown skin and gray hair.”3

It would be wonderful to know what Rebecca Crumpler looked like but  at least we know what she did.

Please donate to the Crumpler fund which will place a gravestone at her burial site.

 

 1. An Illustrated Biographical Catalog of the Principals, Teachers and Students of the West Newton English and Classical School, West Newton, Mass. 1854-1893. Compiled by a Former Pupil.” Boston: 1895.

2. Crumpler, Rebecca. A Book of Medical Discourses in Two Parts. Boston: Cashman, Keating & Co, Printers, 1883.

3. https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.bpl.org/hnpnewyorkbostonglobe/docview/497878486/32B7A7AE2C5F4D59PQ/1?accountid=9675

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rebecca and Arthur Crumpler Fund – #1

This is the first post about Rebecca  Lee Crumpler (1831-1895), and Arthur Crumpler  who are buried in Fairview Cemetery, Hyde Park, Massachusetts.  The brown outline is where a gravestone would have been, and with your help, there will soon be one. The plot is in the second row, and the front of the stone will face up the incline. Aspen Avenue is on the right, and the cemetery office is in the background.

IMG_9525

The gravestone will be place in the area of the stick. Mother Brook is in the background.

facing stone from angle

Interestingly, one of  the Crumpler’s Hyde Park homes still stands and can be seem from the gravesite. The house is in the lower left corner on Sunnyside Avenue, now called Solaris Avenue. (Hyde Park Atlas, 1899 plate 12)

1899 Atlas-12 cropped small

Only in the last 10  years or so have Dr. Crumpler’s  accomplishments been recognized. She was the first African – American women medical doctor trained in the United States. She graduated in 1864 from the New England Female Medical College in Boston. The college later became Boston University School of Medicine. She lived, studied, and work in the Boston area, but is still generally unknown in Boston.

Arthur Crumpler (1835-1910)  was a fugitive from slavery in Virginia, and found his way to West Newton, Massachusetts via the Union Army in Norfolk, VA. He also had a remarkable life.

Here are a few links to stories of their lives.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebecca_Lee_Crumpler

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/celebrating-rebecca-lee-crumpler-first-african-american-physician

https://americacomesalive.com/2016/04/01/escaped-slave-arthur-crum[pler-took-pride-learning/

http://www.hubhistory.com/episodes/episode-18-dr-rebecca-crumplers-trailblazing-career/

Some posts have errors.  Unfortunately, when a writer makes a mistake it is often repeated by others. Our postings will share information from primary sources.

Please support this project with a donation through our PayPal link/donation button on the right sidebar, or by mailing a check to:

Friends of the Hyde Park Library

                                                        For: Crumpler Fund

                                            35 Harvard Avenue, Hyde Park, Massachusetts  02136

The Friends of the Hyde Park Library, Inc., is a tax exempt organization.

                                      

 

Reenacting Ribbon Cutting

In January 2000, the  ceremony to formally dedicated the additions to the Hyde Park library took place. The architectural and library team present at that event gathered on January 25, 2020 to celebrate the 20th anniversary.

Robert Miklos, then at SchwartzSilver Architects, was the lead architect for the $4 million project.  Using slides, he showed  the design and construction process while emphasizing  the effort to bring elements of the 100 year old building into the new building.

Former library staff and patrons returned for the event.  Patrons, volunteers and community organizers also shared in the festivities.cake Recently elected City Councilor Ricardo Arroyo actively took part in one-on-one and group discussions on  topics related to city support of the library,  volunteerism (FHPL) and  HP Historical Society goals and needs.

A behind the scene tour was  give to those with interest in a particular area of the library, such as the taxidermist owls, and the dingy basement stairs to the then, off- limit stacks.

Architectural drawings and photographs of the multi-year project along with professional journals featuring the library were on view.

The library’s worn hardwood floors will be restore next month, and hopefully  will resemble their award winning glow.