Women Making History: Mary Putnam Jacobi

Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi was a female pioneer in medical history. Throughout her life, she raised awareness for women’s education, produced many articles, and became a well-respected scientist of her time.

Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi, born Mary Putnam, was born in London, England on August 31, 1842. Her parents, George and Victorine Putnam, were American, and they returned to the United States in 1848. She spent her young life growing up in New York and graduated high school in 1859.

She wanted to further her education in medicine, despite her father’s opinion of women not practicing medicine. She attended the New York College of Pharmacy and graduated from there in 1863. She received her M.D. from the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1864. She then moved to Boston to study medicine at the New England Hospital for Women and Children.

Since, Mary Putnam was not happy with her education in America, she moved to Paris, where she became the was one of the first female students at the Ecole de Medecine and graduated in 1871. She received a bronze medal for her thesis and moved back to the United States in 1871. Once in New York, she combined private clinical practice and teaching at the New York Infirmary and Mount Sinai Hospital. She was the first woman to gain admission to many different medical societies.

During this time, Putnam supported the idea of both women and men training together to learn medicine, stating that the women’s institutes did not prepare them to practice medicine enough. Through her lecturing at different institutes, she raised the educational standards towards women.

In 1863, Mary Putnam married Dr. Abraham Jacobi, who is referred to as the “father of American pediatrics.” After her marriage, Mary Putnam Jacobi continued her career with both lecturing at different medical school and working as a consultant physician, where she opened a children’s ward in the New York Infirmary in 1886. With her ability to diagnose and continue to push for educational rights between men and women, she is considered one of American’s great physicians.

During her time practicing medicine, she joined many different medical associations, where she became the first woman to belong to the New York Academy of Medicine. She also became the second woman member of the Medical Society of the County of New York. She also belonged to the American Medical Association.

During this time of her practicing medicine, Mary Putnam Jacobi continued to publish articles of many different women’s health issues. Jacobi’s essay, “The Question of Rest for Women during Menstruation,” won her the Boylston Prize at Harvard. This essay was a reply to another doctor’s article, who questioned the role of woman in society and professions. Dr. Jacobi’s essay provided statistics and illustrated how a woman could contribute to her role in society during her cycle. One of her last articles written was a detailed description of her brain tumor titled “Description of the Early Symptoms of the Meningeal Tumor Compressing the Cerebellum,” which eventually killed her on June 10. 1906.




“Changing the Face of Medicine| Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 3 June 2015, cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_163.html.Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

“Mary Putnam Jacobi (1842-1906).” Open Collections Program: Women Working, Mary Putnam Jacobi (1842-1906), ocp.hul.harvard.edu/ww/Jacobi.html. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

MacLean, Maggie. “Maggie MacLean.” Civil War Women, 26 June 2015, www.civilwarwomenblog.com/mary-putnam-jacobi/. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017

Source of Photo: “August 31: Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi| Green-Wood.” GreenWood, www.green-wood.com/2013/august-31-mary-corinna-putnam-jacobi/. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

Agatha Christie: A True Poison Expert

Agatha Christie has carved her place out in history by being the best selling mystery author of all time. In many of her books, she used poisons to kill her victims and this was no coincidence. A little known fact is a big part of her being able to paint an accurate portrayal of poisoning is because of her vast knowledge of chemicals from her training as a pharmacy dispenser.

Christie was originally named Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller at birth in the United Kingdom on September 15, 1890. She was born into a time when it was rare for a woman to receive a formal education. However, her mother insisted she learn how to read and even sent her to finishing school when she turned 16. (1)

During WWI, Agatha volunteered as a nurse in Britain. It was there that she first became interested in the science of medicine. After the end of the war she began training at a dispensary. The training involved practical and theoretical chemistry. At this time, many medications were compounded by hand at dispensaries, therefore giving her hands on experience on making medications.

She began to transition this hands on experience into her fictional books in 1920 when her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The victim in this book was poisoned when someone added bromide (precipitating agent) to her sleeping tonic. As a result of the addition of the bromide, the medicine settled in the bottom and formed a lethal dose. Agatha Christie’s accurate descriptions of poisons have even been said to be used while diagnosing a patient. In her novel, The Pale Horse, she described thallium poisoning symptoms so well that after reading the book, a nurse at a hospital recognized these symptoms in one of her patients. (3)

At the end of her career, Christie had written 82 detective novels and detailed overdose signs of over 28 unique chemical compounds. Her literary work earned her several awards and in 1971 she was even made a dame of Great Britain. It is clear that her pharmaceutical knowledge was part of the driving force of her literary career. (2)



  1. Agatha Christie. (2012). FamousAuthors.org. Retrieved 04:07, September 28, 2017 from http://www.famousauthors.org/agatha-christie
  2. Harkup, Kathryn. A Is for arsenic. New York, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.
  3. Sova, Dawn B. Agatha Christie a to Z: The Essential Reference to Her Life and Writings. New York: Facts on File, ©1996.

The University of Charleston School of Pharmacy Launches Live Blog Talk Radio Series

A three-part live blog talk radio series on safe medication use will begin on Wednesday, February 28, 2018. The radio show is part of the Script Your Future campaign and is hosted by Dr. Susan Gardner, Assistant Dean for Student and Professional Affairs and Dr. Sarah Embrey, Assistant Professor at the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy. The three-part radio series is co-sponsored by Forest of the Rain Productions and the University of Charleston School of Pharmacy. The following topics will be discussed with UCSOP faculty, students, staff, and community partners:

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 – 7:30pm —Harm Reduction

Wednesday, March 7, 2018 – 7:30pm —Medication Adherence/Diversion

Wednesday, March 14, 2018—7:30pm –Medication Adherence and Medication Safety Outreach in Elementary Schools

Listeners may call in to the show to ask questions. The call in number will be announced during each broadcast. The website shown below will allow listeners to access the broadcasts:


A live broadcast link will be shared each Thursday via Twitter @UCSOP and at: http://www.ucsopblog.com. For more information pertaining to UCSOP events, community outreach, and academic offerings, please visit our website at http://www.ucwv.edu/Pharmacy and follow us on social media. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/UCSOP/ Twitter: @UCSOP #UCSOP https://twitter.com/UCWV