Born in India in , Ida Sophia Scudder belonged to a missionary family. Her grandfather, Dr. John Scudder, was the first medical missionary from the United States to work overseas; and each of his seven sons contributed to missionary service in India. All in all a total of forty three members of the Scudder family gave over 1, years of missionary service to India. Unlike her predecessors, she was determined to go back to America for she could not bear the thought of becoming a missionary like them. Life as a missionary in India meant being surrounded by strife, poverty, famine, and disease, not the life she had envisioned for herself.
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American physician and missionary who founded the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore,. South India. In , her family returned briefly to the United States following a cholera epidemic and settled in Creston, Nebraska, for four years.
Scudder journeyed to the family's new post of Tindivanam, India, in Although she had originally rebelled against the family business of missionary work, her return to India to help her ill mother began a process of acceptance and inspiration. During one traumatic night of her stay, Scudder's life changed dramatically. Three women were about to give birth, but their husbands would not allow a male to attend them. So instead of seeking the help of the more experienced John Scudder, they enlisted Ida, despite her protests concerning her lack of training.
All three women died of the kinds of complications that Ida knew could have been prevented by a physician. She vowed then to get a medical degree, so that she could work in India as a much-needed female physician. She transferred to Cornell Medical College for her final year, receiving her M. In , she went back to Vellore and began a lifelong service as a medical missionary.
Scudder's father, with whom she hoped to work as an intern, died within five months of her return. Instead of despairing about the case load she faced and the prejudices and distrust of those who doubted her ability as a woman doctor, she remained in Vellore and began training others to help her in the work. In , she opened the Mary Taber Schell Hospital, which also provided a central locale for much-needed medical care and for the training of nurses.
While continuing to make medical rounds in the outlying rural areas, Scudder would remain the only surgeon at the hospital for 22 years. In , the hospital's nurses-training program was expanded into a regular school of nursing. In , she was joined in India by her friend Gertrude Dodd , an unofficial, self-supporting missionary of the Reformed Church. Two years later, with Dodd's assistance, Scudder founded the Union Mission Medical School for Women in Vellore, which provided formal and certified medical education.
Dodd continued to give generously, supporting students at the medical college where she also served as bursar and registrar. In , when new governmental regulations threatened to close the school unless it obtained a university affiliation, Scudder began the process of obtaining certification, traveling to the United States in in search of funding. She returned to India following Gertrude Dodd's death in Florida in In , the Christian Medical College as it was renamed became officially affiliated with the University of Madras, thereby protecting it from closure and providing continued educational opportunities for women and men.
With this accomplishment, Scudder retired but remained near Vellore. She died, age 90, on May 24, , at her home near Kodaikanal. Scudder's medical work in India was particularly significant in that it provided educational opportunities for women and increased the accessibility of medical care to women in the area. Although Scudder's efforts to save the medical college from closure included converting it into a coeducational institution, causing condemnation from Lucy Peabody and other supporters of women's education, her work remains significant.
By providing for the education of locals in medical techniques, she assured the continuance of health care in the area around Vellore and released it from reliance on itinerant doctors and the presence of missionaries from foreign countries. Sicherman, Barbara, and Carol Hurd Green, eds. Wilson, Dorothy Clarke.
Ida: The Story of Dr. Ida Scudder of Vellore. NY: McGraw-Hill, Jeffery, Mary Pauline. Ida S. Mysore City, India: Wesley Press, Scudder's papers are held by the Schlesinger Library of Radcliffe College, including a transcription of an oral history project by the Medical College of Pennsylvania on women in medicine; some additional papers are located at the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore, India.
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Ida Scudder Changed Her Mind
American physician and missionary who founded the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore,. South India. In , her family returned briefly to the United States following a cholera epidemic and settled in Creston, Nebraska, for four years. Scudder journeyed to the family's new post of Tindivanam, India, in Although she had originally rebelled against the family business of missionary work, her return to India to help her ill mother began a process of acceptance and inspiration. During one traumatic night of her stay, Scudder's life changed dramatically. Three women were about to give birth, but their husbands would not allow a male to attend them.
Ida Scudder. The most renowned medical missionary family was the Scudders who served for generations in India and elsewhere. They served for thirty-six years in Ceylon and India, and during that time thirteen more children were born. Of the nine who survived to adulthood, seven became missionaries, most of them specializing in medicine like their father.
Ida S. Scudder
She dedicated her life to the plight of Indian women and the fight against bubonic plague , cholera and leprosy. She was born of Dr. John Scudder Jr. The granddaughter of John Scudder, Sr. She was invited by Dwight Moody to study at his Northfield Seminary in Massachusetts , where she earned a reputation for pranks. Ida had expressed a resolve not to become a medical missionary, but during that stay, she had the enlightening experience of not being able to help three women in childbirth who died needlessly in one night.
Scudder, Ida (1870–1960)
After watching three women die in childbirth Ida Scudder realized that she wanted to carry on the work of a medical missionary, like her parents and grandparents had done. In the early s in India, before Ida Scudder had even decided to study medicine, she was summoned one evening to attend several women in childbirth whose husbands refused to allow the presence of a male physician. Watching helplessly as all three women died, Scudder committed herself to providing Indian women with medical education and care. She went on to do just that, in a career spanning five decades. Ida Scudder was born in Ranipet, India, to a missionary family. Her grandparents on her father's side had moved to India as the country's first medical missionary family.