[Elizabeth Garrett Anderson writes after becoming the first British woman licensed to practice medicine.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Elizabeth Garrett') to unnamed man, with reference to 'the medical circular's report of my Exam[inatio]n.'

Author: 
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836-1917), physician and suffragist [Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827-1891); Apothecaries Hall, London]
Publication details: 
5 Blandford Square [London]. 31 March [no year, on paper watermarked 1865], circa 1866.
£1,000.00
SKU: 21425

3pp, 12mo. Bifolium. Last page (on verso of first leaf), including signature, written lengthwise. In good condition, lightly aged, with strip of paper stub from mount still adhering. Signed 'Elizabeth Garrett', as it was not until 1871 that she married J. G. S. Anderson. The letter reads: 'Dear Sir | I have to thank you much for sending me the volume of Jury Reports. I have already read part of it with much interest & I shall enjoy going through it during this vacation leisure. I only sent you the medical circular's report of my Examn. at the Hall. I have not written anything myself though in common with all enterprising students I look forward to making some discoveries & giving them to the public some day or another. When that happy time arrives you shall have a presentation Copy. At present I live upon aspiration. | Yours sincerely | Elizabeth Garrett'. The letter is addressed from the London home of the artist and suffragist Barbara L. S. Bodichon, of whose Langham Place circle of suffragists Garrett was a member. Garrett had passed the Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries examination on 28 September 1865, becoming the first woman to openly qualify as a doctor (cf. 'James Barry'). According to the Oxford DNB, Garrett had previously 'applied to enrol formally as a medical student at several London teaching hospitals and to matriculate at the universities of Edinburgh, St Andrews, and London. All these attempts were unsuccessful except for a brief period in 1860–61 at the Middlesex Hospital in London, where pressure from some of the male students, possibly jealous of her academic prowess, led to her being excluded from further study there. However, under threat of legal action, the Society of Apothecaries conceded that they could not refuse her access to their examinations if she completed the requisite courses of study as a private student of teachers from recognized medical schools and served her apprenticeship under a licensed apothecary.' From the distinguished autograph collection of Richard Hunter, son of Ida Macalpine, whose collection of 7000 books relating to psychiatry is in Cambridge University Library. Macalpine and Hunter had a particular interest in the illness of King George III, and their book 'George III and the Mad Business' (1969) suggested the diagnosis of porphyria popularised by Alan Bennett in his play 'The Madness of George III'.