Author photo. Alice Bunker Stockham (1833-1912), Buffalo Electrotype and Engraving Co., Buffalo, N.Y.

Alice Bunker Stockham (1833-1912), Buffalo Electrotype and Engraving Co., Buffalo, N.Y.

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Alice Bunker Stockham was born to a Quaker family in Cardington, Ohio and grew up on the frontier in Michigan. At age 20, she enrolled at the Eclectic College in Cincinnati, the only institution of higher education in the West that admitted women. She graduated from the Eclectic Medical College of Ohio and was the fifth woman in the United States to become a physician. She specialized in obstetrics-gynecology and pediatrics. She was a passionate advocate for women's rights, birth control, and sexual fulfillment in marriage, and campaigned against the use of women's corsets. She wrote a pioneering manual for women called Tokology (1883), which was originally privately printed and went through numerous editions. Each copy originally came with a bound-in certificate entitling the bearer to a free gynecologic exam with her. She also gave the book to divorced women and prostitutes to sell door-to-door. A later book, Karezza Ethics of Marriage (1896), offered her theories on sex, marriage, and gender equality. She also wrote a memoir of her visit to her friend Leo Tolstoy in Russia. In 1857, she married Gabriel Henry Stockham, a physician born in Ireland and trained at the University of Edinburgh, with whom she had children.
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