• Reference
      GB 133 MMC/2/ChisholmC
  • Physical Description
      1 file

Administrative / Biographical History

BA Manch 1898, MB ChB 1904, MD 1912; FRCP 1949.

Chisholm was the first woman to gain a medical degree from the University of Manchester and founded the Manchester Babies' Hospital. She was born in Radcliffe on 2 January 1878, the daughter of a general practitioner, Dr Kenneth Chisholm, who encouraged her to take up the study of medicine. In 1895 she enrolled at Manchester Victoria University and in 1898 gained a BA in classics. She then entered the Manchester Medical School as the first female student, where she was active in feminist politics. She graduated in 1904 gaining many first class certificates. After graduation Chisholm worked at Clapham Maternity Hospital (a "women-run" hospital) and at a children's sanatorium in Bingley, Yorkshire. In 1906 she returned to Manchester to work in general practice near the University.

Chisholm was a paediatrician and was recognised as an authority on women's health. She was medical inspector for girls for the Manchester Education Committee and school medical officer for Manchester Girls' High School from 1908 to 1945. Chisholm was also women's medical officer for the University from 1918 to 1947. In 1914 Chisholm was appointed physician for children at the Manchester Northern Hospital and Hope Hospital, Salford. The same year, Chisholm opened the Manchester Babies' Hospital, which became the main focus of her career. In 1935 she was awarded a CBE for her contributions to child health and the Duchess of York officially opened the new surgical block, and renamed the hospital the 'Duchess of York Hospital for Babies'. At the hospital, Chisholm trained over 150 medical women and helped found the Medical Women's Federation in 1917. Chisholm was also involved in the campaign to improve social conditions for women and children and was medical adviser on child health for the Public Health Committee.

Chisholm was the first woman chairman of the Manchester Branch of BMA, president of Manchester Medical Society , founding president of the Manchester Paediatric Society, first woman president of the British Paediatric Association and the first woman to be awarded a honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians. Chisholm was influential in encouraging women medical students and helped to establish Wilfred Gaisford (1902-1988) as the first professor of paediatrics in Manchester. She was also a close friend of John Stopford. Chisholm retired in 1947 and died from heart failure on 21 July 1952.

Related Material

See also MMC/1/ChisholmC .