Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Wolcott, Laura [Ross] 1834 - 1915

Wolcott, Laura [Ross] 1834 - 1915 | Wisconsin Historical Society
physician, suffragist, b. York, Me. Educated at George Emerson's School, Boston, and the Horace Mann Normal School, she graduated from what is now the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania (M.D., 1856). In 1857 she moved to Milwaukee, where she became the first woman doctor in the state, serving for a number of years as consulting physician to the leading hospitals, the Industrial School for Girls, and the Convent of Notre Dame. She also maintained a large private practice, and in 1869, after a long, hard battle was admitted to the Milwaukee City Medical Society. In that year she married Dr. Erastus B. Wolcott (q.v.) of Milwaukee, who had worked for her admission. In 1867 she was a commissioner to the World's Fair in Paris, and while there studied at the Maison de Sante and the Sorbonne. Becoming interested in the women's suffrage movement following the Civil War, she helped Lila Peckham (q.v.), organize a women's suffrage convention in Milwaukee in 1869, a move which led to the formation of the Wisconsin Woman's Suffrage Association. In 1882 Mrs. Wolcott became first president of this association. After her husband's death in 1880 she gradually gave up her medical practice, and in 1894 moved to Ravenswood, Ill. where she spent the remainder of her life. H. L. Conard, ed., Hist. of Milwaukee (3 vols., Chicago [1896]); F. M. Sperry, Physicians and Surgeons of Milwaukee (Chicago, 1904); L. F. Frank, Med. Hist. of Milwaukee (Milwaukee [1915]); WPA MS.

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[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]