Alice: The Making of a Woman Doctor

Fay Hercock

‘Alice is a parable of her time – and it is this awareness of the time and of the social history of the interaction between women and the world of professional men that makes this book so fascinating. It is excellently written and well-supplemented with photographs.’ – Penny Jamieson, Otago Daily Times


Alice is the life of a pioneering woman doctor who, graduating in 1937, had by the time of her death in 1974 reached the highest honours of her profession and become a leading public figure.

A specialist allergist and paediatrician, Alice Bush was at the vanguard of debates about the provision of health services, attitudes to sexuality, reproductive rights and health education. At the same time she was also a daughter, wife and mother sharing contemporary views about these roles and gradually working out, without support of a prevailing feminist ideology, ways to sustain both aspects of her life.

Her story is one of courage, flexibility, imagination and compassion which offers much interest to people from different perspectives.



Fay Hercock is an Auckland historian. Her MA thesis on the life of Alice Bush was the basis for this book.


December 1999, 226 x 150 mm, 294 pages, illustrations
Paperback, ISBN 9781869402068, $39.95