In 1896, when Dr. Mary E. Anderson graduated from the Michigan College of Medicine and Surgery in Detroit, women physicians comprised less than five percent of the total physicians in the United States. Shortly after her death in 1950, there was a female president of the American Medical Association. The interim years, thanks to the skills and efforts of Dr. Anderson and others, were filled with progress both for women pursuing medical careers and for a nation benefiting from their efforts.
Mary Anderson was born in Franklin, Pennsylvania, in 1854 and came to Ohio in 1876. She graduated from Toledo University and Michigan College of Medicine and Surgery. She practiced medicine with her husband Dr. William Vincent Anderson.
During World War I, Dr. Anderson did food conservation work for the federal government. Later work followed at Ohio State University, the State of Michigan and West Virginia University on health and nutrition in the years after the war. Eventually, Anderson became a leading national authority on nutrition and health, lecturing throughout the country. She was recognized as a pioneer in the public health field, working to promote health, prevent disease and prolong life through organized efforts in society.
In 1925 the Anderson family moved into a home on Streetsboro Street in Hudson. Mary became involved in the local community while continuing her public health work. She joined the local Women’s Christian Temperance Union and was a strong supporter of the women’s suffrage movement.
In Hudson, she continued to share a practice with her husband and was known to have had a strong interest in the treatment of children’s ailments. She was particularly interested in lowering infant mortality rates. She also sought to broaden her reach by speaking in educational settings and other venues about disease prevention and nutrition.
She served on the Summit County Board of Education for 12 years, including a term as president. Anderson was included in the 1935 edition of the Official Who’s Who American Women, and was given an honorary membership in the Summit County Medical Society.
Mary Anderson died in 1950 at the age of 96. She is buried in Markillie Cemetery in Hudson.