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Kate Grauvogel, 2018 Friends of the Smith College Libraries Fellowship recipient presents her dissertation research.
Throughout the summer we enjoy hearing from the fellowship scholars about what they have discovered during their weeks of research. On August 31, Kate Grauvogel, 2018 Friends of the Smith College Libraries Fellowship recipient presented her dissertation research, "A Gendered History of Pathology: Women, Hormones and Blood Clots, 1784-1969."
Kate is completing her PhD in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine at Indiana University, Bloomington . Her dissertation traces the history of blood clots in women from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century, showing how research on women’s bodies shaped scientific practices and discoveries. These include experimental methods, pathological theories about the causes of clotting and their relationship to pregnancy and disease, and the development of endocrinology and hormone therapies, especially birth-control pills.
The ten different collections she explored each “contained useful documents,” Kate shared, but her “most thrilling archival finds were the Dr. Edris Rice-Wray letters contained in the Dorothy Hamilton Brush Papers and the Edris Rice-Wray Oral History.” Despite Rice-Wray’s significant role in proving the effectiveness of the pill as well as some of its more egregious side-effects like clotting, few of her primary sources have survived. Kate will use the letters, oral histories, and photographs she collected to examine Rice-Wray’s pharmaceutical research and reconsider the power-dynamics and scientific validity of her Puerto Rican drug trials.
The Friends of the Smith College Libraries Fellowship is one of two fellowships that are supported annually by the generosity of the Friends of the Smith College Libraries. Fellowships are offered for research in the Sophia Smith Collection and College Archives. Two fellowships are awarded each year in the amount of $2,500 to support visits between four and six weeks in length.
Learn more about funds for research in Special Collections.
Smith College Special Collections