Dr. Alice Hamilton, 1919, and Dr. Grete Bibring, 1961

Alice Hamilton
Alice Hamilton, 1919

Alice Hamilton (1869-1970), created the Department of Industrial Medicine at Harvard Medical School in 1919 and was hired as assistant professor, a post she held until her retirement in 1935. Although her appointment was in the Faculty of Medicine, her responsibilities were in the Harvard-MIT School of Public Health.

Although Dr. Hamilton was Harvard’s first woman professor, she was denied three professorial privileges: she could not participate in Commencement; she could not join the Harvard Club; and she was not given complimentary football tickets.

Dr. Grete L. Bibring wearing pearls
Grete L. Bibring, circa 1953

Grete Bibring (1899-1977) served as the head of the Psychiatry Department at Beth Israel Hospital from 1946-1965, and was promoted as Harvard Medical School’s First Woman Clinical Professor in 1961.

Dr. Bibring was part of the “second generation” of Freudian scholars and was involved with numerous psychiatric organizations, such as the psychoanalytic societies of Vienna, London, and Boston, and served as psychiatric consultant of the Children’s Bureau in Washington D.C.

Beth Israel Invitation
Invitation to a reception for Dr. Grete Bibring's retirement, 1965

Dr. Bibring was influential in integrating psychiatric principles into general patient care. She believed that to determine the best course of action, a physician must understand how internal and external factors effected personality traits. Her passion permeated her other roles working with students, residents, physicians, social workers, and nurses across the globe.

She retired from Beth Israel Hospital in 1965, and was granted the title Psychiatrist-in-Chief Emerita

Dr. Bibring's collection is part of the Archives for Women in Medicine and available to researchers at the Center for the History of Medicine. An exhibit, Grete L. Bibring: The Modern Woman, explores her illustrious career.

Early Faculty
Dr. Alice Hamilton, 1919, and Dr. Grete Bibring, 1961