Dr. Mary Spink, Indiana Medical College Graduate of 1886
One of the first female doctors of Indianapolis was Dr. Mary Spink. Despite the strenuous opposition of her immediate family and being frowned upon by the community in general, Dr. Spink was determined to follow her desire to become a doctor. Dr. Spink later recalled with amusement the horror with which she was regarded by other girls who had been prior companions through her youth and before she announced her intention to become a doctor. Afterwards, these girls would cross the street to avoid meeting her on many occasions. Spink was a native of Washington, Indiana and first attended the Pulte Medical College in Cincinnati for a year, then moved to Indianapolis where she worked in the City Hospital for a period of time. After a year and a half there, she entered the Indiana Medical College, graduating in 1886. She eventually formed a partnership with Dr. W.B. Fletcher (click here to read about Neuronhurst, where they conducted business).
“A stranger in the city without influence, she built up a successful practice and made for herself an enviable position in the front rank.” (Indiana Woman, 1896) Let’s hear it for the ladies who dare, who follow the beat of their own drummer and define how they will make the world, and Indianapolis, a better place.
Mary Spink’s brother, Edgar G. Spink erected a number of apartment buildings in Indianapolis (including the Spink-Arms and the Marott Hotel. After Mr. Spink’s death, Dr. Spink became the president and general manager of the many apartment buildings previously operated by her brother.
If you want to learn more about her world, and of other early medical history of Indianapolis and Indiana, take a trip to the Indiana Medical History Museum.