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.

Anna Kathryn


LuAnn said...

Absolutely fascinating!

Kimberley said...

Interesting...I love books that open our eyes to actual facts! Sounds like you could learn and enjoy yourself at the same time! Thanks so much.

LuAnn said...

I always like to read about the early days of life in the Pacific Northwest since that's where I live. It sounds like she had a lot of support from "outsiders," while trying to maintain a home for her not so helpful husbands!

Anonymous said...

Here in Arizona in the early days before it was a state, many of the Mormon ladies were midwives that delivered hundrds of babies. It was far between ranches and they often traveled through Indian lands to get there.
Enjoyed reading the comments

blessedheart said...

Very interesting page on Dr. Owens-Adair. Thanks for sharing!

Rhonda :-)

Deb said...

I'm from Oregon...and I just learned a new fact. Interesting.

CrystalGB said...

What an incredible lady. It took courage to do what she did.

ddurance said...

Sounds fabulous! I love a strong heroine who can make it on her own.


Jane said...

How fascinating. I thought female doctors were rare at that time.

bison61 said...

I checked out the websites-so interesting. She was a brave courageous woman

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Meljprincess said...

Ohmygosh! I would love to read Dr. Owens-Adair's story! The book appeals to me greatly!
I can't talk about the medical profession as it gets me all worked up. However, I do take a lot of medicine. *g*

Mel K.
Meljprincess AT aol DOT com

Anonymous said...

This one sounds like another winner. Can't wait to read the whole thing. Thanks for all the reminder e-mails about your blogs too. Have a great day.


Tameka said...

Hi Anna I'm so happy for you and the new book I wish you much success. And I love that your giving us insight into a time period that woman had to struggle hard to make a success of their life.

Stefanie said...

That was very interesting! I didn't know female doctors weren't uncommon.

I think it's a cool thing to know!

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Thanks for all your comments. Joye, I know that women were midwives and delivered most babies in the early to mid-1800's. But then the doctors and hospitals realized the amount of money they were missing out on and started changing laws (one was the abortion laws...not that I want to get into that, but midwives performed that procedure too, until doctors realized the money they were losing there, so they had laws changed....partly in an effort to stop midwives from making money).

Doctors and hospitals are directly responsible for the decline in the use of midwives, though I admit, I'm more inclined to use a OB than a midwife, myself.

Thanks agian for everyone who stopped by.

Anna Kathryn