Texas Joins the Battle
Edith Thompson Brand, Medical School Graduate

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Edith Thompson Brand

The handwriting on the back of this photograph in the collection of the Texas State Library and Archives reads, "Mrs. Edith Thompson Brand, graduate of the first class of John Sealy Hospital in Galveston, Texas, 1899. Wife of Dr. Harry Brand and daughter of Rev. Robert Paine Thompson and Florence Paloma (Nicholson) Thompson. Born 1874 (?) in Pittsburg, Texas."

Edith Brand's graduation personifies the trend for urban women in Texas. She came from Pittsburg, a town that had grown up near Texarkana as a major market center along the Louisiana & Arkansas and the St. Louis Southwestern railways. The town had a professional class, including doctors, lawyers, craftsmen, merchants, and a church of which Edith's father was minister. It reached over 1000 residents by 1890, attracting industry such as a foundry, a tannery, an ice factory, and a bottling works. The town had a privately owned generator for electric light and a telephone system.

The University of Texas had been open to both men and women since its inception in 1883. The medical branch of the university opened in Galveston in 1891, adding a school of pharmacy in 1893 and a school of nursing in 1896. John Sealy, a railroad magnate, left $50,000 from his estate to found a teaching hospital, and it is likely that Edith Brand trained in nursing there.

John Sealy Hospital

John Sealy Hospital, where Edith Brand studied, circa 1900.

Edith Thompson Brand, Prints and Photographs Collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission. #1985/77-9.

John Sealy Hospital, The University of Texas (Photogravures), Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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Page last modified: August 24, 2011