Dr. Harriot Kezia Hunt

Nineteenth-Century Physician and Woman’s Rights Advocate

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Harriot Kezia Hunt was a pioneer in a number of ways. The first woman to establish a successful medical practice in the United States, she began seeing patients in Boston in 1835 and promoted a new method of treatment by listening to women’s troubles or their “heart histories.” Her unsuccessful efforts to attend lectures at Harvard’s Medical School galvanized her activism in the woman’s rights movement. During the 1850s she played a prominent role in the annual woman’s rights conventions and was the first woman in Massachusetts to publicly protest the injustice of taxing propertied women while denying them the franchise.

In this first comprehensive, full-length biography of Hunt, Myra C. Glenn shows how this single woman from a working-class Boston home became a successful physician and noted reformer, illuminating the struggle for woman’s rights and the fractious and gendered nature of medicine in antebellum America.

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