Lozier, Clemence S. (1813–1888)

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Lozier, Clemence S. (1813–1888)

American physician and reformer. Born Clemence Sophia Harned on December 11, 1813, in Plainfield, New Jersey; died on April 26, 1888, in New York City; youngest of 13 children of David Harned (a farmer) and Hannah (Walker) Harned; attended Plainfield Academy; attended Central Medical College of Rochester, New York; graduated with high honors from Syracuse (NY) Medical College; married Abraham Witton Lozier (a carpenter and builder), in 1829 or 1830 (died 1837); married John Baker, possibly in 1844 (divorced 1861); children: (first marriage) one son, Abraham Witton, Jr.

The youngest of 13 children, physician and reformer Clemence Lozier was born in 1813 in Plainfield, New Jersey, and received her early schooling at Plainfield Academy. Her interest in medicine may have been sparked by her mother Hannah Walker Harned , who had a natural predilection for healing and often attended to the sick in the neighborhood. Orphaned at age 11, Clemence was married in her teens to Abraham Lozier, a carpenter and builder. Not long into the marriage, her husband's health failed and Lozier opened a girls' school in her home which she ran for 11 years, supporting the family which now included a son. Enrolling 60 students a year, she offered an extremely progressive curriculum for the time, including such things as physiology, anatomy, and hygiene, along with the more standard subjects. As the years passed, Lozier's own interest in medicine began to develop, and, with the encouragement of her older brother, a doctor, she began to study medical books.

Following her husband's death in 1837, Lozier became active in the New York Female Moral Reform Society, an organization which attempted to prevent prostitution or rehabilitate the already fallen. Acting as one of the organization's "visitors," Lozier often encountered various diseases in the women she saw, and she became more and more interested in medicine. Sometime around 1844, Lozier moved to Albany, and married John Baker. Little is known about Baker, but the marriage was unhappy and ended in divorce in 1861. While continuing to lecture on physiology and hygiene, Lozier began to pursue the possibilities of formally studying medicine. In 1849, she entered Central Medical College of Rochester, one of the few medical schools at the time that would accept women. She completed her training at the Syracuse (NY) Medical College, graduating with highest honors in March 1853. Already separated from her husband, Lozier returned to New York City and set up a practice in obstetrics and general surgery. Eventually, she began to specialize in female disorders, particularly the removal of tumors.

In conjunction with her practice, Lozier held lectures in her home on anatomy, physiology, and hygiene, and organized a Medical Library Association to provide her patients with further reading. The popularity of her lectures gave rise to the idea of a medical college for women. After a difficult struggle, Lozier, with the support of Elizabeth Cady Stanton who helped her lobby the legislature, obtained a state charter for the New York Medical College and Hospital for Women, the first women's school of medicine in the state. Opening its doors in November 1863, the homeopathic institution had seven students and eight faculty members, including Lozier who served as president and clinical professor of diseases of women and children. After a tour of European hospitals in 1867, Lozier reorganized the school, taking the title of professor of gynecology and obstetrics and serving as dean for the next 20 years. During her tenure, she also wrote a number of papers, notable among them Child-Birth Made Easy (1870), in which she condemned "tight-fitting heavy dresses."

Clemence Lozier was also a prominent woman suffragist, and was active in a number of reform and philanthropic movements. For 13 years, from 1873 to 1886, she was president of the New York City Woman Suffrage Society, and she also served one year (1877–78) as president of the National Woman Suffrage Association. In addition, she helped finance Susan B. Anthony 's suffrage weekly, the Revolution. Lozier also supported such causes as abolition, sanitary and prison reform, and Indian rights, frequently volunteering her own home as a command post, conference center, and storehouse. In her later years, she served as president of the Moral Education Society of New York and of the local women's Christian Temperance Union.

During the last decade of her life, Lozier experienced financial setbacks precipitated by the relocation of the college and hospital, against her wishes, to an expensive new site. In 1878, she was forced to declare bankruptcy. With the loss in savings came the loss of her noted energy. Although she maintained her practice, she was limited by her own diminished strength and the number of competitors in her field of expertise. In her later years, she suffered from angina pectoris, and died of heart disease at the age of 74. At the time of her death in 1888, the medical college and hospital she founded had become nationally known and respected, with over 200 graduates. In 1918, it became part of the New York Medical College of the Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospitals.


James, Edward T., ed. Notable American Women 1607–1950. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.

Parton, James, ed. Eminent Women of the Age. Hartford, CT: S.M. Betts, 1872.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts.