[Skip to Content]

Dr. Sarah Loguen's Dominican Republic 125+ years later


Interior of the pharmacy owned by Dr. Sarah Loguen and her husband, Charles Fraser in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, circa 1885. Goins Collection, Howard University.


Photographer Susan Kahn

The first woman doctor in the Dominican Republic was Sarah Loguen MD, a 1876 graduate of the medical school that‘s now part of Upstate Medical University. Recently, photographer Susan Kahn visited Puerto Plata, the Dominican town where Dr. Loguen lived and worked from 1882 to 1897, and looked for signs of Dr. Loguen and her family.

More than 125 years later, Dr. Loguen‘s presence is evident. The street where she and her husband lived and worked is a medical district with doctors‘ offices and pharmacies. Her family‘s pharmacy and doctor‘s office/home are still standing, although in need of repair. Today, the colorful streets and beautiful town center of Puerto Plata look much the same as they did in 1890, as can be seen in Dr. Loguen‘s  photograph albums  in the Goins Collection at Howard University. The Sociedad Cultural Renovacion, a library and historic center in Puerto Plata, likely has some of their family and business records.

How did Dr. Loguen get from Syracuse, New York to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic? By ship, after her 1882 marriage to Charles Fraser, a Dominican pharmacist she met through Frederick Douglass. (Fraser‘s wedding gifts to Dr. Loguen were surgical tools and a horse so that she could make house calls in the Dominican countryside.) In Puerto Plata, the couple owned a banana plantation in addition to a pharmacy and a home with her doctor‘s office. They had a daughter, Gregoria, who was born in 1885.

Prior to living and working in the Dominican Republic, Dr. Loguen earned her medical degree at Syracuse‘s College of Medicine, becoming one of the nation‘s first African American women physicians and the first to graduate from a co-educational medical school. Dr. Loguen  interned in Philadelphia and Boston, and practiced medicine in Washington, DC. Several years after her husband‘s death in 1894, she and her daughter returned to Washington, DC, where Dr. Loguen Fraser resumed her medical practice, and lived for the rest of her life.

See the story and pictures in a special publication.

Read about Dr. Sarah Loguen Fraser in the Journal of the National Medical Association.

Read JAMA article on Loguen and 19th century female physicians.

Read a biography for Dr. Sarah Loguen.

Photo gallery of Dr. Sarah Loguen Center opening.