Medical Pioneer Susan Dimock Casualty at Sea, 1875

Image from the Boston Women’s Heritage Trail.On May 8, 1875, Susan Dimock, the first female member of the North Carolina Medical Society, drowned off the coast of England. Hers was one of 336 lives lost when the SS Schiller hit rocks in a heavy fog. The Washington, North Carolina, native was en route to Europe where she planned to further her education.

Born in Beaufort County in 1847, Dimock lived there through the occupation of Washington by Union troops in 1862. Her father, a native of Maine, operated the Lafayette Hotel and housed Union troops during the occupation.

From a young age Dimock associated with S. S. Satchwell, who lived across the street.  Dr. Satchwell was a strong influence on her, allowing her to attend to patients and make house calls with him, eventually inspiring her to enter the medical profession. He shepherded her honorary membership in the Medical Society.

Dimock moved to Massachusetts but attended medical school at the University of Zurich, after being rejected by Harvard. She became a resident physician at one of the earliest hospitals for women, the New England Hospital for Women and Children.  There she worked as a surgeon and developed a practice in obstetrics and gynecology.

Other related resources:

  • Resources from the State Library, including those related to biology, education, and history from the State Library

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