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Clara Marshall, PCP 1876 Went on to Lecture Future Pharmacy Leaders

Published on December 14, 2020

Clara Marshall, PCP 1876Although Susan Hayhurst was the first woman to graduate from Philadelphia College of Pharmacy in 1883, the first on record as attending classes was Clara Marshall, during the 1875-1876 school year. A member of an historic Philadelphia Quaker family, Marshall’s ancestor, Charles Marshall, was one of PCP’s founders, and served as its first president. Clara was a skilled doctor, having first trained at the Women’s Medical College of Philadelphia, and she excelled in the proto-pharmaceutical field of materia medica—the study of drug origins from plant, mineral, and animal sources.

After her postgraduate training at PCP, she returned to the Women’s College of Medicine to teach, and also lectured at several other Philadelphia hospitals and institutions, including the Women’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and the Blockley Medical College for Men, later to become Philadelphia General Hospital. Marshall was the first woman to lecture to audiences of men training to become doctors at the institution.

In 1880, she became the first woman appointed to the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, helping to govern standards in drugs. By 1888, when the Women’s Medical College was in need of a new Dean, Marshall was a clear choice to lead the school. During her tenure, she oversaw the transformation of medical training for women, incorporating the emerging field of bacteriology, scaling up laboratory training, and revising the curriculum to include deeper clinical training. Marshall was a devoted suffragist and researcher, but her legacy as leader and educator of women in medicine is perhaps the most enduring.

Categories: Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, Pharmacy, Proven Everywhere, History, Bicentennial