Fanny Berlin

One of the first Jewish women to practice medicine in the US, Fanny Berlin overcame countless obstacles to become the respected chief surgeon of a major hospital. Berlin began studying medicine at the University of Zurich, but when the Russian government barred women from the school, she transferred to the University of Bern and then moved to the US to complete her studies. In 1877 she became a resident physician at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston, the only hospital in the city that hired women doctors. In 1878, barred from joining the Massachusetts Medical Society, Berlin joined nine other women in cofounding the New England Women’s Medical Society; women were finally allowed to join the main professional organization in 1885. Despite these hurdles, Berlin was highly regarded for her skill with abdominal surgeries and served as chief surgeon of the New England Hospital until 1894. After resigning as chief surgeon, she continued to run a private practice until her failing eyesight forced her to retire in 1916.

Topics: Medicine

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The New England Hospital for Women and Children, where Dr. Fanny Berlin served as chief surgeon until 1894. Image courtesy of the Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views via Wikimedia Commons.

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Doctor, Founder, Administrator

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Fanny Berlin." (Viewed on October 16, 2019) <>.


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