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July 1996


Arch Surg. 1996;131(7):778. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430190100024

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Emmeline Horton Cleveland (1829-1878) was the first American woman to perform an ovariotomy, and among the earliest to complete a laparotomy. She graduated from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1855, and was widowed 2 years later. From 1862 to 1878, she was professor of obstetrics and diseases of women and children at her alma mater, and from 1872 to 1874 served as dean. She sought postgraduate training in Europe to broaden her professional skills and knowledge of hospital management. Her most important paper on ovariotomy was published in the Cincinnati Lancet in 1875. Considered a warm and reassurring teacher, Cleveland successfully combined supporting her family and establishing a productive surgical career before her life was cut short by tuberculosis.

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