JF Ptak Science Books Post 1727
"Life for both sexes—and I look at them, shouldering their way along the pavement—is arduous, difficult, a perpetual struggle. It calls for gigantic courage and strength. More than anything, perhaps, creatures of illusion that we are, it calls for confidence in oneself."--Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own
I'm sorry to have stayed for so long in Punch magazine, but it is a very interesting read. I've a run of 50 years or so of it here and on occasional a few volumes get pulled out and I make my way slowly/quickly through them. Earlier this morning a cartoon lampooning British scientists (and a screaming zero) caught my eye--and now, after tea, comes a chance find of this image of a female doctor that seems to my interpretation to be an endorsement of sorts to the general idea of female education.
Punch can be a very cranky periodical, lampooning everything, taking few (or no) prisoners. On occasion I've noticed (and this is hardly an academic summary, just an exposure-to-a-lot-of-pages identification) that the idea of educating women and girls has fallen in and out of favor with Mr. Punch--the idea of the general intellectual capacity of woman seems occasionally to be in crinoline-entombed confusion in Punch's pages, even though it does seem to be a not-irregular contradiction for the large-headed, small-bodies, world-balancing Mr. Punch.
But not this time. It seems the cartoon, the "Lady-Physicians", takes the high road for the woman doctor, portraying her as a competent professional while her limpid cold-attracted patient is portrayed as a pillow-encrusted dandy who has called upon his doctor than for no other reason than to gain her fancy. Its an interesting position for the magazine to take, here in its 23 December 1865 issue. A pro-woman professional, pro-female education stance is not a common one for many magazines at this time, not even in Punch itself, which seems at this point to be throwing off its own earlier opinions on the question sagacity of advanced instruction and education for women.
It seems to me as though Punch, even as early as 1865, is getting ready to grant women a room of their own in which to do what needs to be done.