Journal of Medical Humanities

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 121–131 | Cite as

Women in nineteenth century homeopathic medicine

  • Harriet A. Squier


The novels,Dr. Breen's Practice andDr. Zay provide the twentieth century reader with some interesting and intimate insights into nineteenth century homeopathy as practiced by two women physicians. It becomes apparent after reading these two books that the existing knowledge about women in homeopathic medicine is inadequate to answer the questions that the novels raise. More investigation in this area would help illuminate the motivations women had to enter medicine, as well as their reasons for choosing homeopathy over regular medicine. It would also help us understand the conflicting images we have of women physicians between strident reformer and scientific physician, and what led women like Clemence Lozier and Elizabeth Blackwell to choose one path over (or in addition to) the other.

The novels show us that nineteenth century women did have the power to choose difficult paths, that these paths were often very lonely, and that unqualified support for a woman's career was rare, indeed. Until we learn more about particular physicians and the ways they lived their lives, we will not know if these novels were only fiction, or actually did represent reality.


Twentieth Century Nineteenth Century Century Woman Scientific Physician Woman Physician 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harriet A. Squier
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Family PracticeMichigan State UniversityEast Lansing

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