Name and location of repository
Level of description
Mildred Trotter Oral History (OH009)
- 5/19/1972 (Creation)
0.05 Linear Feet
Name of creator
Mildred Trotter is regarded as one of the most eminent 20th century contributors to the field of physical anthropology, especially to knowledge about human bone and hair. A native of Pennsylvania, she received her bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She joined the Washington University School of Medicine Department of Anatomy in 1920 as a researcher and her subsequent work here was applied towards a Ph.D., which she received in 1924. Her full time teaching career began that same year, collaborating with Robert J. Terry in the gross anatomy curriculum. In this capacity, Trotter guided medical students for over fifty years in the exacting art of dissection.
Trotter's research efforts have led to findings that have proven useful not only to clinical medicine, but also to fields such as forensic science, physical anthropology, and archaeology. She contributed much of what is known today about human skeletal structure and density, and particularly the characteristics of long limb bones. Trotter was named to a full professorship in 1946, thus making her the first woman to achieve this rank at Washington University School of Medicine. She was a visiting fellow, lecturer, and professor at several universities in this country and abroad and a consultant to the U.S. Armed Forces. She became a professor emerita in 1967.
Scope and content
Trotter discusses her interest in anatomy and the events leading her to joining the faculty of the Washington University School of Medicine department of Anatomy. She recounts several events in the history of the department and its heads over the years, including Robert J. Terry, Edmund V. Cowdry, and Edward Dempsey. Trotter describes serving as an anthropologist in Hawaii identifying skeletal remains after the Second World War, changes in the study and teaching of anatomy, and teaching for a year at Makerere University College in Kampala, Uganda. She also discusses changes in the Washington University School of Medicine over the course of her career as well as sex discrimination in salaries and promotion at the university. The transcript combines two conversations between Mildred Trotter and Estelle Brodman recorded in May, 1972. The transcript was edited in 1985 by Paul G. Anderson to present events of Dr. Trotter's life in chronological order. Emendations of Dr. Trotter's remarks are indicated by words or passages enclosed in brackets. The audio quality of the original sound recording is poor. Interviewed by Estelle Brodman on May 19, 1972 and May 23, 1972. OH009. Approximate Length 37 leaves (40 minutes.)
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Conditions governing access
The collection is open and accessible for research.
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Users of the collection should read and abide by the Rights and Permissions guidelines at the Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives.
Users of the collection who wish to cite items from this collection, in whole or in part, in any form of publication must request, sign, and return a Statement of Use form to the Archives.
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Item description, Reference Code, Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives, Washington University in St. Louis.
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Related archival materials
Oral history interview: http://beckerexhibits.wustl.edu/oral/interviews/trotter.html
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