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MARCUS, SARAH

MARCUS, SARAH (22 Aug. 1894-11 May 1985), MD, served WOMAN'S GENERAL HOSPITAL as head of the department of obstetrics and gynecology (1933-50) and as vice-president (1932-58) and president of the hospital board (1958-71). Among the first physicians at the Maternal Health Association (MHA) clinic (later PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF GREATER CLEVELAND), Marcus served on the MHA Medical Advisory Board and later initiated marriage counseling and a fertility clinic there. Marcus was born in Sommerville, SC, one of 7 children of Aaron and Etta Horovitz Marcus (spelled Marcu in their native Romania). She attended public schools in the south and after moving to Cleveland, graduated from CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL (1912) and Phi Beta Kappa from Women's (later Flora Stone Mather) College of Western Reserve University (WRU, 1916, see CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY). Denied admission to WRU's School of Medicine on the basis of gender, Marcus attended medical school at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1920. She interned at Women's Hospital in Detroit, MI (1920-21) and looked in vain for a residency in Cleveland. Marcus worked at Ohio City Hospital in Akron, OH, for only 1 year before becoming Chief Resident. In 1923 Cleveland's Mt. Sinai Hospital (see MT. SINAI MEDICAL CENTER) hired her in the outpatient clinic. She joined Woman's General in 1925. Marcus, who studied with a disciple of Sigmund Freud in Vienna (1928), maintained a large general private practice, located first on the West Side and then in the Republic building, into her 80s.

Marcus joined the board of trustees of Woman's General Hospital in 1931. A champion of the special contributions of WOMEN to MEDICINE, she helped found the WOMEN'S MEDICAL SOCIETY OF CLEVELAND, served as vice-president of the American Medical Women's Association, and contributed to the Medical Women's Journal. In 1971 Marcus received the distinguished alumna award from the University of Michigan.

Marcus married twice. Her first marriage was on 17 Aug. 1924 to William Schwartz; they had a son, Joseph. After divorcing in 1939, Marcus married Dr. Samuel B. Cowen on 25 Oct. 1942. She died in Chicago.


Marcus, Sarah. Oral History (with Ellen Chesler, Women and Family Planning in America Series, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, 1977), WRHS.

Sarah Marcus Papers, Dittrick Museum of Medical History, Cleveland Health Sciences Library.

Woman's General Hospital Records, Dittrick Museum of Medical History.