Elizabeth Bass Collection: Women in Medicine

The Elizabeth Bass Collection on Women in Medicine was donated to the Rudolph Matas Library by its creator Dr. Mary Elizabeth Bass (1876-1956). Dr. Bass was a 1904 graduate of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania and one of the first women physicians on the faculty at Tulane University School of Medicine. She began her career at Tulane in 1911 as Assistant Demonstrator in Surgical Pathology three years before women were admitted to Tulane as medical students. She retired in 1941.

She came from a medically prominent family in Mississippi. Her brother Charles Cassidy Bass was Dean of Tulane Medical School from 1922 to 1940, and her sister Cora was also a physician. Elizabeth Bass was the first woman admitted to the Orleans Parish Medical Society and the first one to hold a major office in the Society (secretary 1920-22, vice president 1923). She was also the editor of the OPMS Bulletin for a number of years. She served as president of the American Medical Women's Association (1921-1922) and founded its New Orleans group. She was the first woman chairman of a section of the Southern Medical Association, the Section on Pathology, in 1939. In 1952 she received the Alumnae Achievement Award of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, and in 1953 the Elizabeth Blackwell Centennial medal of the American Medical Women's Association.

Through her contacts and associations, she collected a vast array of materials pertaining to women in medicine. This collection consists of newspaper clippings, pictures, photographs, glass magic lantern slides, books, medical school catalogs, etc. There are approximately six filing cabinet drawers of clippings, pictures and photographs, eight shelves of books and catalogs, and four small boxes of glass magic lantern slides.

There is a 50 page finding aid to the collection: Goldstein, C. H. (1985) Guide to the Elizabeth Bass Collection of Women in Medicine. The Guide is also available in an electronic format (PDF).

A searchable database of the 293 books in the Women in Medicine Collection can be found here. The database does not include clippings, pictures, and photographs, or lantern slides. Please contact medref@tulane.edu for more information.

Some of the materials in the collection are available through Interlibrary Loan, but most of the collection is restricted to in-house use only between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Please contact the Rudolph Matas Library to make arrangements for research using the Bass Collection.

Highlights from the Bass Collection
Life's Story, Mary Ryerson Butin, M.D., 1932 (PDF)
List of Items in the Collection, Cynthia Goldstein, 1985 (PDF)