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To the Ends of the Earth

To the Ends of the Earth

Women’s Search for Education in Medicine

Thomas Neville Bonner

ISBN 9780674893047

Publication date: 04/01/1995

In this engagingly written book Thomas Bonner unveils the dramatic story of women’s long struggle to become physicians. Focusing both on international comparisons and on the personal histories of many of the pioneers, their determination and dedication, their setbacks and successes, he shows how European and American women gradually broke through the wall of resistance to women in medicine. In pre–Civil War America, in Tsarist Russia, in Victorian England, special schools of medicine for women were widely established as early as 1850 as a kind of way-station on the road to medical coeducation. Only in Switzerland and France, at first, could women study medicine in classes with men. As a result, hundreds and then thousands of women from Russia, Eastern Europe, England, and the United States enrolled in Swiss or Parisian universities to gain the first-class education that was denied them at home. Coming almost literally from “the ends of the earth,” they formed the largest migration of professional women in history.


  • An essential reference for anyone studying the historical, social, economic, and psychological currents that affected many countries’ ability to make full use of the talent of half the potential candidates for a medical education. It is also a tribute to the women in many countries who persisted, against extraordinary odds, in pursuing a profession that they found irresistibly challenging and gratifying.

    —Eleanor G. Shore, M.D., New England Journal of Medicine


  • Thomas Neville Bonner was Distinguished Professor of History at Wayne State University.

Book Details

  • 264 pages
  • 6-1/16 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press