L'Esperance, Elise

L'Esperance, Elise (b. Strang)

(?1878–1959) physician, pathologist, clinic founder; born in Yorktown, N.Y. Best known for her work in cancer on women and cancer prevention, she founded several New York clinics, both individually and with her sister May Strang (d. 1952), to address these problems. Three clinics, staffed entirely by women, provided the first organized attempts to prevent cancer through testing and early diagnosis of seemingly healthy women. The Strang clinics quickly spawned similar cancer-prevention clinics for women nationwide and made acceptable the "Pap" smear for diagnosis of cervical cancer. She was affiliated with Cornell University for 40 years (1910–50), and was finally named a full clinical professor of preventive medicine before retiring in the early 1950s. Involved in promoting equality for women in medicine, she was active in several women's medical associations. She was editor of the Medical Woman's Journal (1936–41) and the first editor of the Journal of the American Medical Women's Association (1946–48). She raised and showed hackney horses for sport and collected unique carriages.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.