“Another priceless gem added to my jewels!”: Ellis Reynolds Shipp at the Woman’s Medical College, 1875-1878 - Bates Center seminar, 10/27/21

Speaker: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, PhD, Harvard University

Date and Time: Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 4:00pm EDT, virtual via BlueJeans

Abstract: On May 25, 1877, Ellis Reynolds Shipp, a Mormon polygamous wife who had come from Utah to Philadelphia to study at the Woman’s Medical College added a practical dimension to her professional training by giving birth to a daughter. She did so at the home of a fellow student and with the assistance of another and apparently with the full knowledge of her instructors. There is no question about Shipp’s own resilience. The larger issue is why she received so much encouragement and support from the college and even from strangers in Philadelphia in a period when Mormon women were stigmatized in Eastern publications as ignorant and oppressed. Is this an indication of Christian charity, female sisterhood, or professional ethics? Or something else? Working with the diary and other period sources, Dr. Ulrich will narrate Shipp’s story and then open for further discussion.

Bio: Laurel Thatcher Ulrich is 300th Anniversary University Professor emerita at Harvard University. Although she is best known for her prize-winning book A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812, others recognize her for coining the popular slogan “Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History.” Her most recent book, A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism, 1835-1870, explores the paradoxical link between the practice of polygamy or “plural marriage” and the adoption of women suffrage in Utah Territory 1870. Her current research focuses on the intersection of race, gender, and religion in the women’s rights movement from the American revolution to the present.


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