Centennial: Women at P&S

P&S was an all-male medical school for 150 years, but in the fall of 1917, 11 women began their studies at P&S. This photo shows some of the women in the class, but not the one woman who made it possible for the other 10 women—and the thousands who followed—to study medicine at Columbia. Gulli Lindh was a Barnard College senior who had always wanted to be a doctor when she and Barnard Dean Virginia Gildersleeve asked P&S Dean Samuel Lambert to consider admitting women. He said no during several visits they made to his office but finally relented—on one condition: The women had to raise $50,000 so the school could build bathroom facilities and locker rooms for women. Gulli Lindh Muller (she married during medical school) graduated first in her class in 1921. She trained at Presbyterian Hospital—she and another woman were the first women to intern at the hospital, then located on 70th Street—and briefly served on the P&S faculty before relocating to Massachusetts, where she conducted research at Thorndike Memorial Laboratory, a Harvard unit at Boston City Hospital. She was the only female doctor there. This photo, says Archivist Stephen Novak, was one of several photos taken of the class that fall to help faculty match faces and names. The class began with 213 members but was down to 162 by the next year (seven of the original 11 women advanced to the second year).