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Jessie D. Read

A gynecologist and obstetrician, Jessie D. Read (1903-1978) received her medical degree from Long Island College Medical School in 1928.

Following her graduation, Read worked in the New York Infirmary for Women and Children in obstetrics and gynecology. She also interned at Bellevue Hospital in children and adult surgery. By 1930, Read had become a resident obstetrician at Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital in Jersey City. She opened her own practice one year later in the same city.

Read volunteered in 1943 to serve as one of only thirteen female Army physicians. Once she returned from Army life, Read formed an obstetrics and gynecology partnership in Westfield, NJ with two male colleagues. She was named a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and became a fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1948.

Throughout her years spent in the medical profession, Read had shown a particular interest in vaginal cytology as a diagnostic procedure. In fact, Dr. Read had been taking vaginal smears well before the routine use of the pap smear. As a result of her innovative practice, Read was named the 1966 Woman of the Year in Medicine by the New Jersey Medical Women’s Association. She was also a member of the American Medical Association, New Jersey Medical Society, New Jersey Obstetrics and Gynecology Society, and American Medical Women’s Association.


Burstyn, Joan N. 1990. “Jessie D. Read”. Past and Promise, Lives of New Jersey Women. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/54795076 


Questions to Explore

Did Dr.Read’s interest vaginal cytology have any influence in the the routine use of the Pap Smear? 

How did Dr.Read’s experience as an Army Physician change her ways of medical practice? Did she gain any new interests in the medical field after coming back from the army?

How did Dr.Read’s involvement in the many medical and women’s society help her as a woman in the medical field?

Additional Resources

“Dr. Jessie D. Read, 75; a Jersey Gynecologist – The New York Times.” The New York Times. Accessed December 5, 2022. https://www.nytimes.com/1979/01/09/archives/dr-jessie-d-read-75-a-jersey-gynecologist.html