Jane E. Sewell, 42, medical historian, Johns Hopkins professor and author

June 30, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Jane E. Sewell, a former Johns Hopkins adjunct professor who researched the history of medical practice in Maryland, died Wednesday at St. Vincent's Hospital in Santa Fe, N.M. The Guilford resident was 42.

She was struck by a truck Tuesday as she was crossing a street in downtown Santa Fe while on vacation with her husband, Hopkins history professor Louis Galambos, whom she married 11 years ago.

She was the author of Medicine in Maryland: The Practice and Profession, 1799-1999, a 238-page book published by the Johns Hopkins Press that detailed the state's medical practice from bloodletting to laser surgery and managed health care. The book was commissioned to celebrate the bicentennial of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland.

A former adjunct faculty member of the Hopkins School of Public Health, she earlier taught for six years at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

"She was a warm, generous, friendly and welcoming person," said Harry Marks, a colleague who lives in Hamilton. "She always had strong interest in women's health issues."

Born Jane Walker in Yorkshire, England, and raised in Whitby, England, she earned a science degree at the University of London and a master's degree and a doctorate in the history of medicine from Hopkins. Her dissertation focused on surgeons who developed significant gynecological procedures.

She also wrote a pamphlet that detailed the history of the Caesarean section. She also was interested in women's health issues and feminism.

According to a 1999 article in The Gazette, a Hopkins publication, she spent more than four years researching medical practices in Maryland. She scoured hospital and medical school archives to produce what she called "a serious and scholarly book." She said Maryland proved an ideal subject because of its combination of Northern and Southern influences. She expanded her study beyond physicians to include nurses, midwives and chiropractors.

"I wanted to include a lot of depth and breadth, as well as some insight and fun," she said in the 1999 article. "I didn't want a book that was going to be such a bore that you couldn't stand to turn the next page. I wanted this book to appeal to a wide range of people, not just physicians."

She included the living conditions of Hopkins medical students in the 1920s - "where they lived, what they ate, how they studied - and also how they partied," the article said.

She also wrote Networks of Innovation, Vaccine Development at Merck, Sharp and Dohme, and Mulford, 1895- 1995, in conjunction with her husband, who is a professor of history at the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.

A memorial service is being planned.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by two daughters, Katherine, 4, and Emma, 2; her parents, Eve and David Walker of Whitby; five brothers and three sisters, all of whom live overseas.

A previous marriage to Michael Sewell ended in divorce.

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