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Clara A. Swain, M.D.

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By: (1837-1916)

This is a brief biography of Clara A. Swain, M.D. who is regarded as the "first Medical Missionary to the Women of the Orient." She graduated from the Woman's Medical College in Philadelphia and was sent out to India where she eventually came to be in the service of royalty.

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First Medical Missionary to the Women of the Orient




"The frail little mother of a frail little daughter" did not live long enough to see the fullest answer to her prayer that her youngest born might "grow up to be a good and useful woman," for she passed away before her daughter began her medical career, but the prayer was not forgotten by Him who ever hears the cry of those who call upon Him in faith.

Clara was the youngest of the ten children of John and Clarissa Seavey Swain. She was born in Elmira, N.Y., but when she was two years old her parents returned to their old home in Castile and here she spent her early life.


She was not a strong child, and being the youngest of a large family naturally received much attention, which in after years she concluded was not good for her. She once described herself as a puny little thing who wanted everything she saw and thought she ought to have it. "I had a will of my own," she said, "and my mother found it necessary to be very firm with me at times... Continue reading book >>

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