Jessie MacLaren MacGregor

One of the first women to be awarded an Medical Degree from the University.

Dr Jessie MacLaren MacGregor MD, LRCP, was one of the first women to be awarded an MD from the University of Edinburgh in 1899. Along with Elsie Inglis she was instrumental in setting up the Muir Hall of Residence for Women Students in Edinburgh, and a Hospice on the Royal Mile, a nursing home and maternity hospital for poor women.

Jessie was a student of Sophia Jex-Blake at the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women and was one of the first women to undertake a medical degree at the University of Edinburgh, after the barriers to women qualifying as doctors were removed by the University.

Jessie MacLaren MacGregor
Photo courtesy of Lothian Health Services Archive - Ref GD1/53/22
She took her MBChB (Bachelor of Medicine) degree in 1896, achieving first-class honours in every subject in the curriculum, passing all her professional examinations in the shortest time possible, and being awarded the Arthur Scholarship. 3 years later, she took her MD (Doctor of Medicine), winning a gold medal for her thesis on the comparative anatomy of the auditory nerve.

In 1905, for family reasons, she left her practice in Edinburgh and emigrated to the Denver, Colorado, USA, but in 1906 sadly died at the age of 42 of acute cerebral meningitis.


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Thanks to Lothian Health Services Archive for the photos used in this article - Ref Nos. GD1/53/22 & GD1/53/22