When women began graduating from medical schools in the middle of the 19th century, they called themselves doctors, she said.
But newspapers and critics gave them a more dismissive title — doctoress — indicating that they were women.
“‘Doctor’ came to be prized as a unisex honorific,” Professor Rogers said.
“That was the word that women M.D.s sought.”Professor Rogers, who has a Ph.D. in history, doesn’t often use the title Dr. herself, she said, but understands why others with the degree would.
“I’ve certainly encountered a number of doctors in my professional life who are uncomfortable using the honorific term Dr. for anyone who doesn’t have an M.D.,” she said.