Doctor or Doctress?

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Pioneers in the Face of Adversity: “The Mob of ‘69”

Teaching Guide

This guide accompanies the primary source set for Pioneers in the Face of Adversity: “The Mob of ‘69” »


"The Mob of '69" features different perspectives on one single event in 1869. This story is ideal for extra practice with primary source analysis. All of the story's sources are valuable, but the essence of the arguments presented in them can be distilled into a 5-10 minute examination of the language in Blackguardism and The Other Side.


Suggested classroom activities

  1. Assigning either individuals or groups of students a specific document from the story, have students come up with a profile of each article's author: what type of person they are, what background they might have had, what probably influenced their views.
  2. Ask students as they read to underline all language describing the actions or character of the male students, and double underline the words used to describe the actions or character of the female students. Using the words they underline, create a chart comparing the language of two or more sources. What does their language tell us about each author’s expectations of men and women? Where do the two authors disagree? What do their arguments/perspectives have in common?
  3. Have students collaborate to come up with an authoritative version of what happened during this event using only the essential evidence and related sources provided.
  4. Collaborative analysis
    • In a jigsaw fashion, break students up into groups, assigning each group one story to examine. Have students work with their group to summarize the essential argument of the piece. Moving on to their second jigsaw group composed of students with different sources, they may then share their sources and discuss the arguments in them with their classmates.
    • Alternatively, the class may come together after the first group for a class debate, wherein groups must explain and attempt to defend the arguments presented in their piece.

Lesson plans

      Coming soon

Discussion questions

  1. Which document seems like the most reliable account of what happened? Least reliable? Why?
  2. What do the arguments presented in these sources have in common?
  3. Do you think this incident would have affected the enrollment rates at Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania? Why or why not?
  4. Are there any benefits to separating genders to teach them? What are the arguments these authors present for women attending separate clinical lectures?
  5. How has your gender identity affected your educational experience?

Additional resources

      Coming soon