Woman of the Century/Alice Bennett

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BENNETT, Mrs. Alice, doctor of medicine, born in Wrentham, Mass., 31st January, 1851. She was the youngest of six children born to Francis I. and Lydia Hayden Bennett. She was educated in Day's Academy, in her native town, and taught in the district schools there from her seventeenth to her twenty-first year. During that period she prepared herself for the step which, at that place and time, was a sort of social outlawry, and at the age of twenty-one she entered the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, from which she was graduated in March, 1876 One of the intervening years was spent as interne in the New England Hospital, Boston, under Dr. Susan Dimock. After her graduation Dr. Bennett went into dispensary work, living in the slums of Philadelphia for seven months. In October, 1876, she became demonstrator of anatomy in the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania and during four years devoted herself to the study and teaching of anatomy, in connection with private practice. At the same time she was pursuing a course of scientific study in the University of Pennsylvania, and received the degree of Ph.D. from that institution in June, 1880. Her graduating thesis upon the anatomy of the fore-limb of the marmoset received honorable mention. In the same month she was elected to the important position she still occupies as superintendent of the department for women of the State Hospital for the Insane, in Norristown, Pa. The trustees of that hospital, then just completed and about to be opened, did a thing without precedent in placing a woman physician in absolute and independent ALICE BENNETT.jpgALICE BENNETT. charge of their women insane, and dire predictions were made of the results of that revolutionary experiment. At the end of twelve years that hospital is the acknowledged head of the institutions of its kind in the State, if not in the country, and from its successful work the movement, now everywhere felt, to place all insane women under the care of physicians of their own sex, is constantly gaining impetus. Since Dr. Bennett entered upon her work, with one patient and one nurse, 12th July, 1880, more than 2.825 insane women have been received and cared for. new buildings have been added, and the scope of her work has been enlarged in all directions. In 1892 there were 950 patients and a force of 95 nurses under her direction, subject only to the trustees of the hospital. Dr. Bennett is a member of the American Medical Association, of the Pennsylvania State Medical Society, of the Montgomery County Medical Society, of which she was made president in 1890, of the Philadelphia Neurological Society, of the Philadelphia Medical Jurisprudence Society, and of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. She has twice received the appointment to deliver the annual address on mental diseases before the State Medical Society, and she was one of the original corporators of the Spring Garden Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, established by Charles G. Ames. She has recently been appointed by Governor Pattison. of Pennsylvania, one of the board of five commissioners to erect a new hospital for the chronic insane of the State.