Mary Reich Bowman graduated from Mount Joy High School in 1896. She was born in Mount Joy and was the daughter of John and Elizabeth Reich Bowman. She did her pre-medical work at Wilson College, Chambersburg. Dr. Bowman received her medical degree from the Women’s Medical College of Philadelphia in 1907, with an emphasis on psychiatry. The fifty-fifth annual commencement was held in the American Academy of Music, May 22, 1907. Dr. Clara Marshall conferred the degree of Doctor of Medicine upon Dr. Bowman and twenty-eight others. She was the first woman from Mount Joy to become a doctor with a specialty of psychiatry.
Dr. Bowman was licensed to practice in Pennsylvania in 1907 and served as a resident physician in the Women’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 1908. She began her practice in 1908 during a time when the teaching profession was very nearly the only professional work open to women. In 1909 she became a member of the Lancaster County Medical Society. During her long career, Dr. Bowman practiced in Lancaster County, worked for the Pennsylvania State Department of Welfare in the area of mental health, and also worked in New York and Michigan.
In 1957, she received a plaque for completing 50 years of service by the Lancaster City and County Medical Society. Dr. Bowman lived at 52 East Main Street following her retirement. She was a member of First Presbyterian Church, Mount Joy; Lancaster City and County Medical Society; Pennsylvania Medical Society; American Medical Society; American Association of Mental Deficiency; and the Business and Professional Women’s Club, Mount Joy. She died in 1970 at the age of 88.