The paths of Italy's first female psychiatrists through new documents (competitions for doctors in asylums)

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Vanessa Sabbatini


psychiatric hospital competitions, Luisa Levi, Alba Coen Beninfante, Maria Rossi, Virginia Chiodi.


This article examines two competitions for the recruitment of physicians in psychiatric hospitals: The competition for the Genova Psychiatric Hospitals and the competition of the Central Venetian Asylums for the appointment of a section physician for the Medical-Pedagogical Colony in Marocco of Mogliano Veneto, both 1928. Among the participants were four early women in psychiatry: Luisa Levi, Alba Coen Beninfante, Maria Rossi, and Virginia Chiodi.The documentation related to the competitions was a starting point for reconstructing the paths of the female doctors; in fact, the finding of additional unpublished sources made it possible to highlight how these pioneering women later had different professional experiences and scientific interests, even far from psychiatry.The two sources analyzed suggest that studying a larger sample of the competitions that took place during the 1920s and 1930s would allow stories of forgotten women to emerge from historiographical oblivion.


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