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Margaret Castex Sturgis papers

Identifier: MSS 2/020

Scope and Contents

This small collection of papers of Margaret Castex Sturgis touches on many aspects of her medical career and interests during her time in the Philadelphia area. The collection is particularly strong in the areas of gynecology and cervical cancer research.

The collection is divided into six small series. Series 1 concerns Sturgis' teaching career while at Woman's Medical College. The bulk of this series is the text of a complete course of twelve lectures on gynecology from the 1942-1943 session. The lectures discuss female anatomy, procedures for a gynecological examination, pregnancy, diseases of the vagina and uterus, ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis, and abortion. Most lectures include a list of references; some drafts are also included. The series also contains some miscellaneous items concerning ways to teach contraception, an outline for an introductory lecture on obstetrics, and procedures for minor gynecological operations.

The texts of speeches made by Margaret Sturgis, 1930-1943, are contained in Series 2. Many of these concern gynecological topics, particularly cervical cancer, but sex education and Sturgis' views on medicine as a profession for women are also included.

Two examples of Sturgis' written work are preserved in Series 3. One is a 1944 article, written by Catharine Macfarlane in conjunction with Sturgis and Faith Fetterman, reviewing the program of periodic pelvic examinations for cervical and uterine cancer performed at Woman's Medical College from 1938 to 1944. The series also contains correspondence with Robert J. Lowrie, 1944-1945, concerning Sturgis' contribution to his proposed New Textbook of Gynecology. Sturgis did write a chapter on chronic inflammatory and traumatic lesions of the uterine cervix, which is included, but she withdrew from the project due to health reasons in 1945. Lowrie's textbook may never have been published.

Two small collections of Sturgis' patient records are preserved in Series 4. These records include three cases with Krukenberg tumors, 1934-1935, as well as the research and a report on a study of uterine carcinoma at the hospital of Woman's Medical College, 1944-1945.

Series 5 consists of two volumes of financial account books, 1940-1946, from Sturgis' private practice in Philadelphia and Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

A few miscellaneous items, most concerning Woman's Medical College, are in Series 6. Of particular interest is a letter, 31 May, 1939, from the Office of the Dean which describes the admission requirements and suggested curriculum at the college.


  • 1927 - 1946


Biographical / Historical

Margaret Castex Jones Sturgis, daughter of Francis Leonard and Van Ella Jenkins Castex was born on 22 February, 1885, in Goldsboro, North Carolina. From 1901-1904, she attended the Normal School at Greensboro (later the Women's College of the University of North Carolina). She received her M.D. from the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1915. From 1915 to 1916, she served a residency at the New York Infirmary. On 6 July, 1916, she married Samuel Booth Sturgis (1891-1983), also a physician, and the couple established a practice in Lenoir, North Carolina. Previously, Margaret Sturgis had been married to Henry S. Jones.

When Samuel Sturgis entered the United States Army in 1916, Margaret Sturgis also left North Carolina and became the first female surgical resident on the third division at the New York Hospital. In 1919, the Sturgises came to the Philadelphia area, and Margaret Sturgis joined the Gynecology Department at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania as Assistant Clinical Professor of Gynecology. She did some post graduate work in Paris and Vienna in 1925.

In 1927, Margaret Sturgis was appointed Clinical Professor of Gynecology at the Woman's Hospital of Philadelphia; she became Chief in Gynecology at the hospital in 1930. Margaret Sturgis was also Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics at Philadelphia General Hospital. In 1938, Sturgis worked with Catharine Macfarlane and Faith Fetterman on a cancer control program at Woman's Medical College. Sturgis was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Gynecology at WMC in 1942; she resigned her positions in 1946 following a mild heart attack and concentrated on her private practice.

Sturgis' professional associations were numerous. She was a member of the Pennsylvania State Medical Society, the Philadelphia Obstetrical Society, and the American Medical Women's Association. Sturgis became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1925, a Diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1932, and a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in 1937.

She was an active supporter of Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania and served as President of the Alumnae Association from 1926 to 1928 and was a member of the college's Board of Corporators from 1946 to 1956.

Margaret Castex Sturgis developed Parkinson's disease and grew gradually frail. She died on 13 July, 1962.


0.6 Linear feet (1 document box and 1 half document box)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

The provenance of the bulk of this collection of Margaret Castex Sturgis' papers is uncertain. The account books in Series 5 were donated to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia by Samuel B. Sturgis in September, 1974. [These items were previously catalogued as Z10c 31.] The papers, however, were isolated and removed from the 4th floor of the library stacks in June, 1989. Although no acquisition information is available, the collection was probably donated by Samuel or Katherine R.B. Sturgis circa 1983.

The collection was processed and reprints and duplicate materials removed in June, 1989.
Margaret Castex Sturgis papers
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Repository

19 S. 22nd Street
Philadelphia PA 19103 United States