Preston, Ann

"In the quiet old homestead where her grandfather lived, where her father was born, lived and died, she spent the first 36 years of what then promised to be an uneventful life.  Confined somewhat closely at home, her early education was not what is usually called liberal, and her attendance at school was limited to the excellent one near her country home and a short time spent at a boarding school in West Chester.   Later in life she mastered the Latin language and became early interested in the leading philanthropic questions of that time, and thought and wrote carefully concerning them.  Prior to 1833 she had become a member of the Clarkson AntiSlavery Soc, which held its meetings quarterly at different points in Chester and Lancaster Cos.  In 1838 she attended the meeting held in Philadelphia for the dedication of Pennsylvania Hall, erected for the purposes of free discussion.  Her poem, entitled 'The burning of Pennsylvania Hall', (by a mob), was one of the 2 selected from several hundred for publication in the 'History of Pennsylvania Hall'.  In 1848 she published a small book of poems for children, entitled 'Cousin Ann's Stories', which have become a classic in children's literature.  While her course for the future was still undetermined, information reached her of the proposed opening of the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania.  Having decided for herself that the study and practice of medicine were both womanly and adapted to her moral, mental and physical constitution, she was one of the first applicants for admission to this college as a student at its opening in 1850.  She graduated at the first annual commencement, at the close of the season of 1851-52.  The following spring she accepted in this institution the professorship of the chair of Physiology and Hygiene.  She spent a year in the Maternite Hospital in Paris, and on her return home was the instrument mainly of the origin  of the Woman's Hospital, in Philadelphia, of which she was appointed on its board of managers corresponding secretary and consulting physician, offices she held until her death.  In 1866 she was elected dean of the faculty of the college and the next year a member of its board of incorporators. She died at her post of duty April 18, 1872.  Her introductory lectures and valedictory addresses, now a part of the Woman's Medical College history, are especially able.