January 21, 2009
Laura is trained to be a doctor by her uncle, who served as a doctor in the Civil War. She keeps this a secret from David until after they are wed, because she's afraid of his reaction....which turns out to be typical of males and Texans of that time – NO WAY IS MY WIFE GOING TO MEDICALLY TREAT PEOPLE, ESPEICALLY MEN.
But female doctors weren't as uncommon in the 19th Century as some would led us to believe. Several were even university trained. In HEARTS WEST: True Stories of Mail-Order Brides on the Frontier, Chris Enss relates the story of a woman doctor Bethenia Owens-Adair. She wasn't a doctor when she married the first time at the age of fourteen, but divorced her good-for-nothing husband after four terrible years of marriage. It was only then that she worked as a dressmaker to pay her way through medical school. After graduating, she returned to Oregon in 1883 and became the state's first female doctor.
Here's some websites on Dr. Owens-Adair:
Leave a comment about Dr. Owens-Adair or medicine in general and win a copy of HEARTS WEST.