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Article
October 21, 1893

ARE AMERICAN WOMEN PHYSICALLY DEGENERATED?

Author Affiliations

PROFESSOR OF CLINICAL SURGERY, CHICAGO.

JAMA. 1893;XXI(17):613-614. doi:10.1001/jama.1893.02420690021001g

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Abstract

Some wild errors are afloat on the subject of woman's supposed degeneration. In the October number of the North American Review Dr. Cyrus Edson, Commissioner of Health for New York, gives a horrible picture of American feminine "deterioration."

He says that "there is at the present moment in this country a condition existing among the women which is the cause of the greatest alarm." It begins, in his opinion, in the schools, where by ambition and by rewards for success and disgraces for failure, growing girls are goaded to a disastrous amount of mental strain and over-brain work. "Thus stimulated they drive their brains and do the work" until their physical powers are wrecked, and in an "enormous number of cases . . . the women have broken down as the result of a lack of stamina sufficient to meet the physical strain of child-bearing." Again he says: "An increasingly

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