Barringer, Emily Dunning (1876–1961)

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Barringer, Emily Dunning (1876–1961)

Surgeon, gynecologist, former president of American Medical Women's Association, and pioneer in opening the field of medicine to women. Born Emily Dunning in Scarsdale, New York, on September 27, 1876; died in New Milford, Connecticut, on April 8, 1961; attended Cornell University, B.S., 1896; Cornell Medical School, M.D., 1901; married Benjamin Stockwell Barringer, in 1904: children: Benjamin Lang, Emily Velona.

Emily Dunning graduated second in her class from Cornell Medical School and won first place in competitions for positions at both Mount Sinai and Gouverneur Hospital in New York City. She was denied both appointments, however, because the year was 1901, and she was a woman.

In 1903, learning of Dunning's plight, reform mayor Seth Low vowed that if a woman qualified for a place at Gouverneur Hospital, he would ratify her placement. She took the examination again, won fourth place, and began a two-year internship and residency at Gouverneur Hospital as the first woman ambulance surgeon in New York City. Although some male medical interns in the city petitioned against her appointment, her first emergency call in a horse-drawn ambulance was cheered. When her route included the lower East Side, one paper called her "the beautiful girl on the Bowery run."

Dunning married fellow surgeon Benjamin Stockwell Barringer in 1904, and, a year later, became a member of the Gouverneur Hospital staff; again, she was the first woman to serve in such a position in a New York hospital. During a distinguished career that spanned 50 years, Barringer was president of the Women's Medical Association of New York City, and she was a fellow of the College of Surgeons and the New York Academy of Medicine. She also worked tirelessly for the passage of progressive medical legislation, including the right for women medical doctors to receive commissions in the military.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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Barringer, Emily Dunning (1876–1961)

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