Virginia G. Drachman (SHS 1966)


Virginia Drachman began her career as a historian committing a historic act. As a senior, she led an action by high school women – her friends-- against the school dress code. The “girls” came to school wearing culottes instead of the approved skirt. The principal, Aaron Fink, knew when he was beaten and caved.

After high school, Drachman attended the University of Rochester and earned a Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo. Her dissertation entitled, “Women Doctors and the Women’s Medical Movement” included a section on male physician’s perception of women’s bodies, using the gynecological instruments in the Smithsonian as evidence. She also focused on Dr. Zakrzewska and her leadership of the New England Hospital for Women, a 19th century Boston hospital.

Drachman’s dissertation led to the publication of her first book, Hospital with a Heart.Two books on the legal field followed: Sisters in Law: Women Lawyers in Modern American History and Women Lawyers and the Origins of Professional Identity in America. Her most recent book is Enterprising Women: 250 Years of American Business. The book, revamped as a museum exhibit, toured the United States between 2002 and 2005.

Drachman is also a great teacher. She is the Arthur Jr. and Lenore Stern Professor of American History at Tufts University. She has inspired students at Tufts for nearly thirty years where in 2001 she became the Chair of the Department of History.