Augusta Stowe-Gullen

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The first Canadian woman to take a medical degree in Canada, Ann Augusta Stowe-Gullen was born in 1857 at Mount Pleasant, Canada West. Her mother, Dr Emily Stowe (1831-1903) was the first woman doctor to practice in Canada, beginning in 1867. However, she had to study medicine in the United States, and achieved the legal right to practice in Toronto only after thirteen years of non-certified medical service. Emily Stowe's forward-looking ideas made her an early leader of the suffragist movement in Canada, and it was this energetic, cultivated atmosphere, permeated with a socially-concerned Methodism, into which Augusta was born. An active speaker and suffragist as a young woman, she entered Victoria College (still at Coburg), in 1879, taking her courses in the Toronto School of Medicine and graduating in 1883. That year she married John B. Gullen, a class-mate, and was appointed Demonstrator of Anatomy at Toronto's recently-established Women's Medical College. Augusta Stowe-Gullen's life was as energetic and committed as her famous mother's, practicing medicine privately and working both as doctor and as volunteer leader at Toronto Western Hospital, which her husband helped found. She became an influential public figure, serving on the Toronto Board of Education, the Ontario Social Service Council, the University Women's Club, the Women's Art Association, and as representative of women in the medical profession on the Senate of the University of Toronto. She helped found the National Council of Women in 1893. In 1935 she was awarded an OBE. Her papers form the Augusta Stowe-Gullen collection, Victoria University Library Special Collections. GW