Book/Printed Material Petticoat surgeon

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About this Item


  • Petticoat surgeon


  • This is the autobiography of a distinguished Michigan native who helped to establish a place for women in medicine. Bertha Van Hoosen was born in 1863 to a Dutch Canadian father and a third-generation Michigan mother on a farm near the small town of Rochester. The first chapters of Petticoat Surgeon are full of insights into educational opportunities and farm life in late nineteenth-century Michigan. After college and medical school at the University of Michigan, Van Hoosen spent the early part of her career at the Women's Hospital in Detroit, the Kalamazoo State Hospital, and the New England Hospital for Women and Children, ultimately settling in Chicago to develop her practice in obstetrics and gynecology. Committed to teaching medicine and to delivering medical service to the poor, Van Hoosen taught anatomy and embryology at the Northwestern University Women's Medical School and worked at the Columbia Dispensary. She eventually became an eminent physician, serving as the Chief of Staff of the Women and Children's Hospital and as a member of Cook County Hospital's gynecological staff. She ran weekly surgical clinics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and served as Head and Professor of Obstetrics at Loyola University. The last few chapters of Petticoat Surgeon describe her encounters with physicians in Europe and Asia. Her autobiography also highlights many medical issues debated at the turn of the century: care for unwed mothers, anesthesia for childbirth, discrimination against female doctors, and sex education in the public schools. Van Hoosen was a strong advocate of sex education and worked with the Chicago Woman's Club to have it included in the city's public school curriculum.


  • Van Hoosen, Bertha, 1863-1952.

Created / Published

  • New York : Arno Press, 1980 [c1947]


  • -  Van Hoosen, Bertha,--1863-1952
  • -  Gynecologists--Illinois--Biography
  • -  Obstetricians--Illinois--Biography
  • -  Surgeons--Illinois--Biography
  • -  Women surgeons--Illinois--Biography


  • -  Reprint of the 1947 ed. published by Pellegrini & Cudahy, Chicago.
  • -  Also available in digital form on the Library of Congress Web site.


  • 324 p. ; 24 cm.

Call Number/Physical Location

  • RG76.V36 A33 1980

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 79008820

Online Format

  • online text
  • image
  • pdf

Additional Metadata Formats

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is not aware of any U.S. copyright protection (see Title 17, U.S.C.) or any other restrictions in the materials in the Pioneering the Upper Midwest: Books from Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, ca. 1820-1910 materials. The Library of Congress is providing access to these materials for educational and research purposes. The written permission of the copyright owners and/or other rights holders (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) is required for distribution, reproduction, or other use of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use or other statutory exemptions. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of an item and securing any necessary permissions ultimately rests with persons desiring to use the item.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, General Collections and Rare Book and Special Collections Division.

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Van Hoosen, Bertha. Petticoat Surgeon. [New York: Arno Press, 1980, 1980] Pdf.

APA citation style:

Van Hoosen, B. (1980) Petticoat Surgeon. [New York: Arno Press, 1980] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Van Hoosen, Bertha. Petticoat Surgeon. [New York: Arno Press, 1980, 1980] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.