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'LGBTQ Nation' Highlights Two 1914 Alums for Their Contributions to Medicine

March 21, 2024
Martha May Eliot and Ethel Collins Dunham
Martha May Eliot and Ethel Collins Dunham in 1915. Photo courtesy the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University via Wikimedia Commons

In a March 7 article, LGBTQ Nation tells the professional and personal story of Martha May Eliot and Ethel Collins Dunham of the Class of 1914. Eliot developed groundbreaking X-ray techniques, while Dunham helped develop better infant healthcare. Both were members of the World Health Organization, and were recipients of the John Howland Medal from the American Pediatric Society. 

From the article:

"Eliot was born in 1891 into the powerful and influential Eliot family, who were heavily involved in the establishment of the American education system in the 19th and 20th centuries. With money and a family who valued education behind her, Eliot entered Bryn Mawr College, where, in 1910, she met Dunham. The two fell quickly and deeply in love. 

"Dunham was the elder of the two by seven years. She was born in 1883, the daughter of a wealthy executive. She also had a somewhat bumpier road into her chosen career and had taken a break to travel before deciding to study medicine and resuming her schooling.

"Eliot was a star straight-A student, but she delayed her graduation by a year so that she and Dunham could apply to medical school at the same time. From the start, the two women were inseparable. Despite their ferocious ambition, every choice they made was to prevent their careers from impacting their personal relationship, which was and always would be the bedrock of their lives."

Read the story at LGBTQ Nation.