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S. Josephine Baker (1873–1945)

Author of Fighting for Life

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Do not confuse or combine her with the African-American entertainer Josephine Baker (1906–1975).

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Sara Josephine Baker was born into a wealthy Quaker background, and had to defy her family in order to study medicine. She graduated in 1898 from the New York Infirmary Medical College, a medical school for women founded by pioneering physicians Elizabeth and Emily Blackwell. She went to work for more than two decades for the New York Department of Health, with a special emphasis on improving hygiene conditions for mothers and children, especially newborns. Among her many achievements was the creation in 1908 of the Bureau of Child Hygiene, which successfully lowered the tragically high infant mortality rate in Hell’s Kitchen, the notorius slum neighborhood. Sara Josephine Baker also organized free clinics for poor mothers and was reponsible for the registration of midwives. She also organized the first Federation of Children’s Agencies in New York and was a strong supporter of women’s suffrage, becoming a leader of the Equal Suffrage League. She is also known to history for twice tracking down the infamous "Typhoid Mary," Mary Mallon, an Irish immigrant who caused several outbreaks of the disease. Sara Josephine Baker remained unmarried. She represented the USA in the Health Committee of the League of Nations, the first woman to do so. She was active in some 25 medical societies and served as president of the American Medical Women's Association. She wrote 250 scholarly and popular articles and four books. In 1939, she published her autobiography, Fighting for Life.
Disambiguation notice
Do not confuse or combine her with the African-American entertainer Josephine Baker (1906–1975).

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