Clemence Sophia Harned Lozier 1813 - 1888
November 16, 2007
She served as Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics at the Homeopathic Women’s College of Physicians and Surgeons until her death. She specialised in surgery for women including the removal of tumours.
Her daughter in law Charlotte Denman Lozier was a homeopath and her niece Anna Manning Comfort also graduated from Lozier’s hospital in 1865. Homeopath Harriette Keatinge was Clemence Lozier’s niece and successor, and Harriette’s mother was the cousin of homeopath Carroll Dunham, and and her uncle William Harned (Clemence’s brother) were also homeopaths. Other members of Clemence’s immediate family were also homeopaths, Amelia A Comfort, Jennie V H Baker, Emily L Smith and Charlotte H Wooley.
Dr. Clemence Sophia Lozier was born December 11, 1813, in Plainfield, New Jersey, and educated in the Plainfield Academy. She was a cousin of Carroll Dunham the President of the American Institute of Homeopathy.
The prejudice of “regular” orthodox medical practitioners was astonishing and nasty:
But “regulars” were the majority and had more standing than the homeopaths, so Lozier secured permission for her students to attend lectures at Bellevue. There the women faced such hostility from male professors and students that they carried switches to ward off their persecutors.
Bullies only reign for so long after all, and their main impact is to cause people to become alternative to the so called orthodoxy, in this time period in America slavery, racism and classism were the orthodoxy.
Diversity is our only hope to prevent such entrenched and spiteful attitudes. This mechanism has inspired many swings from suppression of human rights to great leaps forward in human rights throughout history, and it undoubtedly will continue to do so.
Lozier was sympathetic to African-Americans and hosted antislavery meetings in her home, and as a result many African Americans trained as homeopaths at this time. In 1862 during the race riots, Lozier provided a safe haven for people of colour fleeing mob violence.
Lozier actively defended women against the orthodox belief that women’s brains weighed less than mens, and such outspokeness brought her into disrepute by “regular” doctors, and she founded the Female Guardian Society, rescuing destitute and degraded women and children from New York’s prisons and slums.
The discrimination Lozier faced inspired a lifetime of female activism. Lozier was tired of watching qualified female candidates get turned away from medical schools, so she opened her own school, exclusively for women, in New York in 1863.
The school’s hospital provided the first place in New York where women could be treated by doctors of their own gender.
Lozier was also involved with the women’s right - to - vote movement, serving as president of the New York City Woman Suffrage Society for 13 years.
A highly successful doctor, Lozier used her earnings to support both her school and the suffrage movement.
Lozier came into this world on December 11, 1813, in Plainfield, New Jersey. She was the youngest of 13 children born to Hannah (Walker) and David Harned. Though spelled Clemence, her name was pronounced “Clemency” by her family. Given the time period, this was not an unusual name for a girl, since Charity and Patience were also popular.
Lozier’s father was a farmer and devout Methodist - his brothers were ministers of that faith. Lozier’s interest in medicine was sparked by her mother, a Quaker woman who served as the neighborhood “medicine woman.”
Sick children and adults always came to Lozier’s mother for help. Hannah Lozier had learned healing techniques while living among the Native Americans in Virginia. Growing up, Lozier watched her mother’s capable hands heal time and time again and she decided she wanted to learn the craft as well.
When Lozier was a child, two of her older brothers had already left home and were in training to become doctors (homeopath William Harned, an elder brother of Clemence, was also a physician of good reputation in New York), and for some time partner of Dr. Doane, formerly quarantine physician, in an extensive chemical laboratory. Lozier also received support from her cousins, Drs. Carroll Dunham and Kissam, by whom she was highly esteemed.)
Lozier was apparently a precocious child. Her mother once wrote her brothers to tell them their sister had an unusual mind and deserved a high - quality education.
This did not happen. When Lozier was 11, her parents died, leaving her an orphan. She was sent to live and be educated at the Plainfield Academy but escaped as a teen to marry an architect/carpenter named Abraham Witton Lozier, who was many years her senior. They married around 1829 and Abraham Lozier constructed a home for them on Tenth Street in New York City.
Lozier gave birth to at least five children, though some sources say seven. Only one lived through childhood. Two of Lozier’s children died in unspecified accidents and Lozier attributed two other deaths to the poor medicine of the day that relied on drastic drugging to cure ailments.
Lozier’s surviving seventh and last son (Abraham) followed in his mother’s footsteps, also becoming a (homeopathic) doctor. Dr. Lozier married twice and both his wives studied medicine and were graduates of his mother’s college His first wife was Charlotte Denman Lozier and his second wife was Jeanne de la M. Lozier).
Shortly after their marriage, Lozier’s husband fell ill and could not work anymore. Forced to support the family, Lozier opened a girls’ school in their home around 1832. Lozier soon established herself as a popular and highly - regarded teacher, enrolling girls from some of New York City’s most prominent families. She taught an average of 60 students a year for the next decade.
Lozier had always been interested in anatomy and hygiene and she stunned conservatives by covering these topics in her school. At the time, these subjects were considered inappropriate for young women. Lozier, however, had a firm grasp on these subjects because her doctor
- brother was tutoring her on the side.
Around this time, Lozier also got involved with reform work, particularly with the New York Moral Reform Society, which aimed to steer women away from work as prostitutes and “reform” those who had fallen into it. Highly religious, Lozier edited the Moral Reform Gazette and held in her home weekly gatherings to “promote holiness.”
Lozier’s husband died in 1837. In time, she moved to Albany, New York, and busied herself with charitable work for the poor. She continued her lectures for women on physiology and hygiene at local churches.
Around this time, Lozier married a man named John Baker, but they later separated and divorced in 1861. More and more, Lozier knew she wanted to become a doctor but knew she faced an uphill battle to get admitted to medical school - a purely male domain in the 1840s.
Lozier ignored the desire until 1849, when she heard about the success of Elizabeth Blackwell, who had graduated from the Geneva Medical College of New York that year. Lozier applied to the school but officials feared a scandal should they admit another woman.
Undaunted, Lozier pressed on and finally persuaded the Central Medical College of Rochester to allow her to attend its medical lectures. She was later admitted to New York’s Syracuse Medical College. After earning her medical degree in March 1853, Lozier returned to her New York City home and opened her own practice. In an age where there were virtually no medical school trained female doctors, Lozier launched a successful practice, specializing in obstetrics and surgery.
Lozier’s success can be attributed not only to her steadfast personality, but also to her timing and connections. Lozier opened her practice around the same time obstetricians began using anesthetics and surgery in their care. Queen Victoria had ushered in a new age with the use of chloroform during the 1853 delivery of her seventh child. The practice of using chloroform and surgical techniques during delivery was gaining ground just as Lozier opened her doors.
Many of the young women Lozier had taught were now married and required obstetrical care, and they trusted their old teacher. In her book These Were the Women, Mary Ormsbee Whitton noted that a fellow doctor once described Lozier as “the most ceaseless, tireless, sleepless worker I have ever seen.”
Around 1860, Lozier began a series of lectures from her home on anatomy, physiology, and hygiene because these topics were regularly neglected in women’s education. She organized her own medical library so she could offer these types of books to curious women.
Her classes were always packed, causing Lozier to realize that women desired - and deserved - more training in these areas. Men could learn these things at medical school but women could not.
During this time period, women were considered intellectually inferior to men and therefore excluded from medical training. Male physicians also thought women were too squeamish for the job.
Despite the negative attitudes, Lozier, with the help of women’s - rights advocate Elizabeth Cady Stanton, was able to persuade the legislature to grant her a charter for a women’s medical college.
The New York Medical College and Hospital for Women opened on November 1, 1863, the first women’s medical college in the state. There were seven women in the inaugural class. The struggle, however, was far from over.
According to the charter, Lozier’s students were given the right to attend clinics at the Bellevue Hospital in conjunction with their studies at her medical school. However, the male students and professors made it clear they were not welcome, greeting them with hisses and jeers. At one point, the women required police escorts to attend clinics.
The school faced many struggles those first years but Lozier kept it running using money from her own pocket.
Though women were accepted at Lozier’s school, they could not become members of the American Medical Association, even after earning their degrees. The AMA, founded in 1846, did not accept female members until 1915.
According to an article on the Notable Women Ancestors website, Lozier’s granddaughter, Jessica Lozier Payne, summed up her grandmother’s success this way:
“Although forceful in character, she gained results by persuasion and example. Many and difficult were her problems, but sustained and inspired by her active faith, she solved them.”
Despite its bumpy start, the school grew and over the next 25 years placed more than 200 female graduates in practices all across the United States. Women from other countries came to receive training as well.
In the 1860s, Canadian homeopath Emily Stowe enrolled after being refused admission to every medical school in Canada.
Likewise, homeopath Maria Augusta Generoso Estrella graduated from Lozier’s school in 1882 and returned to her native Brazil, becoming her country’s first female physician.
The school’s hospital was run by Lozier’s students and graduates and cared for about 200 patients annually. The school’s clinics, however, served about 2,000 patients per year, highly popular because it was about the only place in the city where female patients could be treated by doctors of the same gender.
At first, Lozier was president of the college and chair of the Department of Diseases of Women and Children. In 1867, she traveled to Europe to study medical practices there. When she returned, she instituted curriculum and equipment changes and initiated a reorganization that made her dean and professor of obstetrics and gynecology.
In June 1868, the college purchased land to build a new school and hospital. Lozier also stayed busy writing and published a few medical texts during her lifetime, occasionally contributing to medical journals. Her most noted work was an 1870 pamphlet called Child - Birth Made Easy.
Lozier’s home was also a meeting place for advocates of women’s causes. She counted Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton among her friends and visitors. When Anthony had trouble finding enough money to publish her weekly dispatch The Revolution, Lozier helped out.
Active in the women’s suffrage movement, Lozier was president of the New York City Woman Suffrage Society from 1873 to 1886 and the National Woman Suffrage Association from 1877 to 1878. She was involved with other causes as well, serving as president of the Moral Education Society of New York and of the Woman’s American Temperance League.
A social reformer, Lozier also hosted meetings of the anti - slavery society. Her home became a storehouse for various pamphlets touting the causes of the day, from women’s suffrage to temperance.
On April 24, 1888, Lozier delivered the main address at her medical school’s 25th commencement ceremony. Two days later, on April 26, she died. Lozier had seen patients right up to her death. She worked on April 26, saw friends and patients, but that evening complained of pain and fatigue. Lozier later summoned her maid and told her she feared an attack of angina. She died later that night. She was 74. Lozier was buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
“Perhaps no woman of her age has accomplished so much in so many different directions for women. No one ever inspired women more with faith in themselves, nor ever a readier hand worked with a readier heart for mankind.”
Her granddaughter, Mrs. Jessica Lozier Payne, public speaker and commentator on current events, writes:
"I as eighteen years old when my grandmother, Dr. Clemence S. Lozier, died. My strongest recollection of her is her gracious personality and gentle beauty, with soft curls framing her face. Although forceful in character, she gained results by persuasion and example. Many and difficult were her problems, but sustained and inspired by her active faith, she solved them, and won a prominent place in the medical profession, consulting with Dr. Jacoby, Dr. Janeway and Dr. Helmuth. She was a warm friend of [Susan B. Anthony](/archives/2007/11/19/susan-brownell-anthony-and-homeopathy/) and [Elizabeth Cady Stanton](/archives/2007/11/15/elizabeth-cady-stanton-and-homeopathy/)."
The New York Medical College and Hospital for Women closed in 1918 when it was absorbed by the New York Medical College and Fifth Avenue Hospital. Lozier’s portrait, however, was placed at the affiliated school. In 1920, women earned the right to vote, some 50 years after Lozier first took up the cause.
Dr. Clemence S. Lozier was the pioneer who made it possible for women to study medicine in New York City. Before this college was opened for women students, there was no place in New York City where a woman could study medicine. The New York Medical College and Hospital for Women was incorporated by a special act of the legislature, under the University of the State of New York, April 14, 1863. The charter of this institution is still valid.
Because of this she abandoned her profession of teaching, and secured admission in 1849 to the Central New York College of Rochester and later to the Eclectic College in Syracuse. Graduating (1853) with high honors, she opened her office in New York. Her practice grew steadily, and soon her weekly health talks, given in her own parlor, were popular. From this popularity grew the idea of a medical college for women.
Acting quickly, forcefully and with precision, at a time in that period of history when defeat seemed the only outcome, she secured the passage of the act by the legislature November, 1863, which granted the charter for a medical college for women.
Dr. Lozier worked steadily, and on November 1, 1863, the New York Medical College was opened at 724 Broadway. Seven students and a faculty of eight doctors, four men and four women, constituted the College. It was the spirit and the work of this unusual magnetic personality that brought continuing success to her efforts and to the College.
In June, 1868, a building on the corner of Second Avenue and Twelfth Street was purchased for a college and hospital. Here for six years the work was pursued, and the institution gained friends.
During the next years, twenty-five in all, when Dr. Lozier was President and Dean, she saw the College and Hospital rise from its small beginning of seven students to a list of two hundred and nineteen graduate medical women, settled in practice from Maine to California. Prejudice had been partly overcome. No longer did men students hiss and jeer as visiting women students came to amphitheaters for clinical instruction.
In 1918, the trustees, in accord with the President of their Board, deemed it feasible to close the College. The women students were transferred to the New York Homeopathic Medical College and Fifth Avenue Hospital. Now, through the courtesy of the Dean, Dr. J.A. W. Hetrick, the portrait of Dr. Clemence Sophia Lozier hangs in that College.
Dr. Clemence Sophia Lozier was one of the earliest women who practiced medicine and was thoroughly identified with the cause of medical education for women.
Interestingly, Lozier’s sister became an inventor of agricultural machinery:
A third great American invention, the mower and reaper, owes its early perfection to Mrs. Ann Harned Manning (Sister of Mrs. Clemence S. Lozier, M. D., Den of Women’s Homeopathic College in New York), of Plainfield, New Jersey, who, in 1817-18, perfected a system for the combined action of teeth and cutters, patented by her husband, William Henry Manning, as “a device for the combined action of teeth and cutters, whether in a transverse or revolving direction.” Mrs. Manning also made other improvements, of which, not having been patented, she was robbed after her husband’s death by a neighbor whose name appears in the list of patentees upon this machine. Mrs. Manning also invented a clover cleaner, which proved very lucrative to her husband, who took out the patent.
Jeanne de la M. Lozier -1915, second wife of Clemence Lozier’s son Abraham Witton Lozier, was Vice President of Sorosis and Dean of Clemence Lozier’s New York Medical College and Hospital for Women. Jeanne died in 1915.