Women at the Medical University of South Carolina

Love Rose Hirschmann Gantt, M.D.

Love Rose Hirschmann Gantt, M.D.
Love Rose Hirschmann Gantt, M.D.
 
Waring Historical Library, MUSC, Charleston
Love Rose Hirschmann Gantt, M.D.
Love Rose Hirschmann Gantt, M.D. treating a young male pellagra patient.
 
Hilla Sheriff Papers, South Caroliniana Library, The University of South Carolina'>
Love Rose Hirschmann Gantt, M.D., third from right.
Love Rose Hirschmann Gantt, M.D., third from right.
 
Hilla Sheriff Papers, South Caroliniana Library, The University of South Carolina'

First female graduates, College of Medicine 1901

Dr. Love Rose Hirschmann Gantt was born in Camden, SC, in 1875. In 1901, Hirschmann received her M.D. and became one of the first two women graduates of the Medical College of the State of South Carolina. After completing postgraduate work at the Eye and Ear Clinic of New York University and the New York Ophthalmic and Aural Institute, she returned to South Carolina as a resident physician for Winthrop College in Rock Hill. Hirschmann left Winthrop in 1905 to marry Colonel Robert Joseph Gantt of Spartanburg. In Spartanburg, Gantt opened a private practice specializing in diseases of the eye, ear, nose, and throat. She was the first woman physician in Spartanburg and served as secretary of the Spartanburg Medical Society from 1909 to 1918. Gantt was also one of the first women to be a member of the Southern Medical Association. She was a member of the South Carolina Board of Public Welfare for five years. Gantt was also one of the first female members of the South Carolina Medical Association, and acted as secretary, treasurer, and finally president of the American Medical Women’s Association.

During World War I, Gantt served as director of recreational activities for the soldiers at Camp Wadsworth in Spartanburg, SC. She was the only woman to serve on a draft board in the United States, was acting surgeon in the U.S. Public Health Service, and held a commission from the Department of Commerce as a medical examiner of pilots.

Among her many achievements in the area of public health, Gantt’s most lasting was the project “Bringing Health to the Country.” In cooperation with the Spartanburg County Health Department and the Department of Education, a trailer was furnished with medical and dental equipment and staffed by a physician, a nurse, a nutrition worker, and at times, a dentist. This “healthmobile” provided education and nutrition information to populations severely affected by pellagra, a disease of malnutrition. In addition to pellagra education, healthmobile staff provided immunizations, general examinations, prenatal care, family planning, and dental care. Within two years of the program’s founding, the number of deaths from pellagra was cut by more than half.