In Search of Chicago’s First Women Doctors

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  1. I would like to add an early Chicago woman doctor to your list – my great grandmother. Dr Henrietta Tucker Tanner was born on March 17, 1876 in Watseka, Illinois. Her father was a farmer but most of his sons went on to become doctors, and so did this daughter. She attended Bennett Medical College (which today is the Medical College at Loyola University in Chicago), but then went to the Texas border to complete her “residency” under one of her doctor brothers who was a doctor in the army. En route and while in Texas, she married a Pennsylvanian name William Tanner. After some time in Texas, they moved to NY and then PA and Dr. Tanner established an ear, nose, and throat practice (including surgery), only to learn that in the meantime Bennett College had had a fire in 1902, and so could not certify her degree to PA. A determined woman, she went back to medical school and this time graduated from Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania with a second medical degree! She had a long and successful practice until her death on March 9, 1940. We have photos of her graduation from Bennett, her WMCP class photos, her performing surgery and even a photo of Madame Curie when she visited her etc. She was a remarkable woman.

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