Minnesota Historical Society

Women of Mayo Clinic: The Founding Generation

$ 19.95

Uncovers the extensive involvement of women in the early decades of one of the most prestigious medical centers in the world.

  • Author Virginian M. Wright-Peterson
  • Minnesota Historical Society Press (March 1, 2016)
  • Paperback, 224 pages, 38 B&W Photos, Notes, Index, Appendix, 6 x 9 inches
  • ISBN: 9781681340005

The story of Mayo Clinic begins on the Minnesota prairie following a devastating tornado in 1883. It also begins with the women who joined the growing practice as physicians, as laboratory researchers, as developers of radium therapy and cancer treatments, and as innovators in virtually all aspects of patient care, education, and research. While these women contributed to the clinic’s origins and success, their roles have not been widely celebrated—until now.

Women of Mayo Clinic traces those early days from the perspectives of more than forty women—nurses, librarians, social workers, mothers, sisters, and wives—who were instrumental in the world-renowned medical center’s development. Mother Alfred Moes persuaded Dr. William Worrall Mayo to take on the hospital project. Edith Graham was the first professionally trained nurse to work at the practice. Alice Magaw developed a national reputation administering anesthesia in the operating rooms there. Maud Mellish Wilson established the library and burnished the clinic’s standing through widely distributed publications about its innovations. Virginia Wright-Peterson tells the stories of these and other talented, dedicated pioneers through institutional records and clippings from the period, introducing a welcome new perspective on the history of both Mayo Clinic and women in medicine.

A member of the writing faculty at the University of Minnesota Rochester, Virginia M. Wright-Peterson has written for Minnesota Public Radio, the Rochester Post-Bulletin, and the Twin Cities Daily Planet. She has worked at Mayo Clinic for nearly two decades.


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