Held at: Drexel University: College of Medicine Legacy Center [Contact Us]2900 West Queen Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19129
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Drexel University: College of Medicine Legacy Center. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The Black Women Physicians Project records is an artificial collection–a collection intentionally compiled from a variety of sources–of biographical reference files, oral histories of black women physicians, and the administrative and research work that went into creating these materials. At the time of this project's start, the percentage of black women in the medical field had plateaued around 2.2% between 1950 and the 1970s. Recognizing a lack of resources and collections on black women physicians, Margaret Jerrido, then Associate Archivist at the Medical College of Philadelphia, started the project around the mid-1980s. Performing extensive research on the lives and careers of black women physicians dating back to 1864, The Black Women Physicians Project emphasizes documenting the history of black women in health care, both in collecting documents, as well in conducting oral histories. These oral histories detail the professional and personal lives of four physicians—as well as their experiences working in a field historically dominated by white men—and the difficulties and rewards encountered throughout their careers.
As an artificial collection, the Black Women Physicians Project records includes primarily photocopies of original documents (graduation records, photos, etc.) as well as original materials that were created in the process of assembling the collection (correspondence, manuscripts, etc.). While the inclusive date range for this collection is 1807-2004, this represents both the original dates of the reproduced materials, as well as the correspondence and administrative or research materials that generated those materials (primarily 1970s to the late 1980s). The bulk of the materials are from around 1971-1992. This collection has been arranged into the following four series in order to divide, with folders being ordered alphabetically:
Series I: Biographical Reference Files - Margaret Jerrido compiled Biographical Reference Files for 165 black women physicians, from Rebecca Lee, the United States' first Black women physician, to women actively practicing at the time of the project. The materials found in these files are primarily photocopies of original documents (news clippings, graduation records, magazine articles, etc.) that illustrate the women's lives and careers, curricula vitae, questionnaires, and the correspondence that produced the materials. A spreadsheet of these files can be found here. This series also includes 69 unanswered queries sent to other Black women in medicine that Jerrido had reached out to while building reference files.
Series II: Oral History - This series contains not only physical cassette tape copies of the four oral histories produced through the Black Women Physicians Project records, but also transcripts of the oral histories, transcripts of four additional oral history interviews conducted by Schlesinger Library, and the administrative work that supported the production of the oral histories. The oral histories conducted through BWPP are of Helen Moorhead-Laurencin, M.D., Jayne Brown, MD, Vanessa Gamble, MD, PhD, and Helen O. Dickens, MD (of whom there are also VHS recordings). The four additional transcripts from Schlesinger Library are of the oral histories of Ruth J. Temple, MD, May Edward Chinn, MD, Dorothy Boulding Ferrebe, MD, and Lena Edwards, MD, conducted in the late 1970s.
Series III: Project Planning - This series includes materials that made the creation of the Black Women Physicians Project possible and any materials that resulted from the research.
Subseries A: Administrative - Largely composed of communication with other institutions in order to confirm information or in seeking out materials on Black women in medicine. Subseries B: Research Files - Reprints of research conducted by Jerrido that contextualized and supported the Black Women Physicians Project, focusing on topics such as the medical history, information on medical institutions across the United States, and African Americans in medicine. Subseries C: Manuscripts - This subseries contains the research, correspondence, and drafts of three manuscripts written by Margaret Jerrido prior to BWPP: "Triple Burden" (1979), "In Recognition of…" (1980), and "Hidden Physician" (1980).
Series IV: Photos - This series includes photos, internegatives, slides, and other visual materials that further document the history and careers of Black women physicians in the United States. The series is further divided between more general visual materials and Subseries A.
Subseries A: Biographical Reference Photographs - These folders accompany the Biographical Reference Files from Series I, and they contain photographs and other visual materials either compiled by Margaret Jerrido or sent to Jerrido by the women she was assembling files for.
The Black Women Physicians Project records is divided into four series, two of which are further divided into alphabetically arranged subseries, listed below. Folders within the series and subseries are arranged alphabetically.
Series I: Biographical Reference Files, 1860-2013
Series II: Oral History, 1978-1992
Series III: Project Planning, 1807-2004 Subseries A: Administrative, 1906-2004 Subseries B: Research Files, 1952-1980 Subseries C: Manuscripts, 1807-1994
Series IV: Photographs, 1867-1996 Subseries A: Biographical Reference Photos, 1867-1996
- Drexel University: College of Medicine Legacy Center