education for women felt compelled to prove that the college experience
did not destroy the students' health. Respected doctors like Mary Putnam
Jacobi, a professor at the Women's Medical College of New York, countered
Clarke's anecdotal accounts with statistics-based studies.
is nothing in the nature of menstruation to imply the necessity,
or even the desirability, of rest, for women whose nutrition
is really normal. The habit of periodical rest, in them, might
indeed easily become injurious
. Many cases of pelvic
congestion, developed in healthy but indolent and luxurious
women, are often due to no other cause."
The Question of Rest for Women During Menstruation
New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1886
such as the Association of Collegiate Alumnae, conducted surveys and
issued reports that emphatically contradicted what
seem to warrant the assertion
that the seeking of a college
education on the part of women does not in itself necessarily
entail a loss of health or serious impairment of the vital
The graduates, as a body, entered college in good health,
passed through the course of study prescribed without material
change in health, and since graduation, by reason of the effort
required to gain a higher education, do not seem to have become
unfitted to meet the responsibilities or bear their proportionate
share of the burdens of life."
Statistics of Women College Graduates"
Association of Collegiate Alumnae
May 16, 1885