Martha Wollstein: A Pioneer American Female Clinician-Scientist
College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, Center for Judaic Studies
Martha Wollstein, Jewish history, Pediatric pathology
Martha Wollstein was not only the first fully specialized pediatric perinatal pathologist practicing exclusively in a North America children’s hospital, she also blazed another pathway as a very early pioneer female clinician-scientist. Wollstein provided patient care at Babies Hospital of New York City from 1891 until her retirement in 1935, and also simultaneously worked for many years as a basic scientist at the prestigious Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research. Wollstein published over 65 papers, many frequently cited, during her career on a wide range of topics including pediatric and infectious diseases. Wollstein was a rare female in the field of pathology in an era when just a relatively small number of women became doctors in any medical specialty. Wollstein was born into an affluent Jewish American family in New York City in 1868 and graduated from the Women’s Medical College in 1889. This paper explores her family support and ethnic and religious background, which helped facilitate her professional success. During her time, she was recognized internationally for her research and was respected for her medical and scientific skills; unfortunately today her important career has been largely forgotten.
Abrams, J., & Wright Jr, J.R. (2020). Martha Wollstein: A pioneer American female clinician-scientist. Journal of Medical Biography, 28(3), 168-174. doi:10.1177/0967772017743068