Monday, June 28, 2010

In honor of Maître Alice Roullet-Piccard & Dr. Dorothea May Moore

(Today's IntLawGrrls guest blogger, Claire Moore Dickerson, has chosen to dedicate her contribution to 2 foremothers)

I am delighted to participate in this project, and would like to dedicate my contribution to two formidable professional women whom I knew well and continue to admire fiercely.
Maître Alice Roullet-Piccard (right), born in 1890, received her degree in law from the Faculty of Law of the University of Geneva in 1912, and in 1914 was among the first woman admitted to the bar in Geneva. She opened a law office with her husband, a former classmate at university. From that perch she practiced law until her death in 1972, frequently representing wards of the state and the indigent. She also raised three children.
She became an institution within the Geneva bar. Walking in her wake through the city was a slow process: as she proceeded through the streets, stately, under full sail, she would be greeted by colleagues and clients. To her granddaughter, Maître Roullet-Piccard seemed in total command and absolutely fearless.
Dr. Dorothea May Moore (below right) was my pediatrician (and my first cousin). Tall and spare, her gray hair was swept up in a 1930s style, and her voice was slightly gravely but very elegant. Her gray eyes framed by steel-rimmed glasses, she offered her small patients an unfailingly bemused gaze, inviting and intimidating at once.
Born in 1894, she graduated from college in 1915 and medical school in 1922. She had her own practice, engaged in research, and taught at Harvard Medical School for over 30 years, where she was the first woman instructor in pediatrics. She continued to work under her maiden name even after her marriage in 1941, and, having started in medicine before the advent of antibiotics, persisted in her chosen her profession long after many of her age cohort had retired. She died just 15 years ago, at the age of 101.
Even as a girl, I understood both that the paths chosen by Maître Roullet-Piccard and Dr. Moore had been hard, and that their example made my own path smoother.

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