Mary Thompson

Mary Thompson (1829-1895), born in upstate New York, graduated from the New England Female Medical College. After receiving further training at the New York Infirmary for Women and Children and feeling confident to practice medicine, she set forth to Chicago in July 1863. Initially she treated Civil War veterans at a medical facility operated by the government but her goal was to be admitted to the medical staff of one of Chicago’s two hospitals. Neither would accept her their medical staff due to her gender. Thompson did what she had to do and began to work on plans to build a new hospital. After getting funding from wealthy Chicago women, Dr. Thompson opened the Chicago Hospital for Women and Children in May 1865. The majority of patients were Civil War widows and orphans. Tragedy struck when the Great Fire of 1871 burned down the hospital but a new facility was built.

Dr. Thompson co-founded the Women’s Hospital Medical College with the aim of helping women pursue careers in medicine. At the college she taught surgery, a specialty in which she had gained the respect of male physicians.

Thirty years after the Chicago Hospital for Women and Children opened its doors, Dr. Thompson died. Among those attending her funeral were the hospital’s first patient, first nurse and first intern. Five weeks after her death, the hospital was renamed for Dr. Thompson.

Why this stop? The Blue Line Grand stop is six blocks from where the second location of the Chicago Hospital for Women and Children stood.

Fun Fact — Hampered by inadequate surgical instruments, Dr. Thompson  invented new ones.