About Mary Corinna Jacobi (Putnam)
Mary Corinna Putnam (August 31, 1842 – June 10, 1906) was an American physician, writer, and suffragist who was the first woman to become a member of the Faculté de Médecine de Paris.
The daughter of George Palmer Putnam and Victorine Haven Putnam, she was born in London, UK where her father had been living since 1841 while establishing a branch office for his New York City publishing company, Wiley & Putnam. She was the oldest of eleven children.
Mary Putnam's parents returned to the United States in 1848, and she spent her childhood and adolescence in New York City. She got most of her early education at home along with two years at a new public school for girls on 12th Street where she graduated in 1859. She published a story, “Found and Lost,” in the April 1860 issue of Atlantic Monthly, and a year later she published another. After her 1859 graduation, she studied privately: Greek and science, and medicine with Elizabeth Blackwell and others. Her father thought medicine a “repulsive” profession, but ultimately supported her endeavor.
She graduated from the New York College of Pharmacy in 1863 and with her M.D. from the Female (later Women's) Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1864. A short internship at New England Hospital for Women and Children showed her she needed further study to practice medicine; thus, she left for Paris, France where she applied to the École de Médecine. After much negotiation, she was admitted as the first woman student. She graduated in July 1871, the second woman to get a degree there. The Franco-Prussian War transpired during this activity, and, in Scribner's Monthly of August 1871, she published an account of the new French leadership precipitated by the establishment of a republic.
After returning to the United States in Fall 1871, she set up a medical practice in New York City, became the second woman member of the Medical Society of the County of New York, and became a professor in the new Woman's Medical College of the New York Infirmary. In 1872 she organized the Association for the Advancement of the Medical Education of Women, serving as its president from 1874 to 1903. Her teaching at the Medical College tended to overshoot the preparation of her students, and friction on this account led her to resign that position in 1888.
In 1873, Mary Putnam married Dr. Abraham Jacobi who is often referred to as the "father of American pediatrics." They had three children, though only one survived to adulthood, Marjorie Jacobi McAneny. She educated her daughter herself according to her own educational theories.
She died in New York city in 1906, considered the foremost female physician of her era, and an outstanding physician by any reckoning.