Women's Health Resources at KHS
Healthcare access, quality, and affordability have concerned Kentuckians throughout our history. For Women’s History Month, the Kentucky Historical Society has compiled a list of its resources that document women’s health issues, including access to care and women as health care providers.
- Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Ellin Walls, Judgment. Tells the story of a woman who was widowed, the head of her household, had had her home burned, provided for her numerous children (including one with special needs) and was pregnant at the time she was convicted of an unstated crime, for which her neighbors hope to have her pardoned.
Register of the Kentucky Historical Society
- Dana M. Caldemeyer, “Yoked to Tradition: Kentucky Women and Their Histories, 1900-1945” v. 113, no. 2&3 (Spring/Summer 2015).
- Donald A. Clark, “Joshua Taylor Bradford and the Transatlantic Revival of Ovariotomy in the Mid-Nineteenth Century” v. 113, no. 1 (Winter 2015).
- Elizabeth Fraas and Martha Layne Collins, “‘All issues are women’s issues’: An interview with Governor Martha Layne Collins on Women in Politics” v. 99, no. 3 (Summer 2001).
- Margaret Ripley Wolfe, “Fallen Leaves and Missing Pages: Women in Kentucky History” v. 90, no. 1 (Bicentennial Issue).
- Carol Crowe-Carraco, “Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service” v. 76, no. 3 (July 1978).
- Marker #2135 Alcorn Homestead (Boyle County) marks the home of Sophia Alcorn, who developed the Tadoma Method to help deaf-blind people to learn to speak by feeling a person’s lips, cheeks, and vibration of the vocal chords as they produced words. Alcorn devoted her life to teaching deaf and blind students throughout the country.
- Marker #558 Frontier Nursing Service (Leslie County) celebrates Mary Breckinridge’s founding of the Frontier Nursing Service in 1925. The Frontier Nursing Service provided midwifery and general nursing care to people in Eastern Kentucky. Nurses traveled through the region on horseback, providing healthcare to thousands of residents. Breckinridge established the Frontier Graduate School of Midwifery at Hyden in 1928. Frontier Nursing University remains one of the top graduate schools for nurses and nurse practitioners in the nation.
- Marker #2241 Nurse Mary W. Arvin (Henderson County) was Kentucky’s most decorated female World War I veterans. She worked for the American Red Cross during World War I and was stationed in Boulogne-sur-Mer from November 1917-January 1919. Arvin’s hospital was struck by German bombs. For her bravery during the attack, she received the French Croix de Guerre. She continued to work in nursing in Kentucky and Florida for the rest of her life.
Kentucky Oral History Commission Collections
- Rural Health Care Oral History Project documents changes in health care during the 20th century in Pulaski, Wayne and McCreary Counties.
- Louisville General Hospital School of Nursing Oral History Project documents the school (now the University of Louisville School of Nursing) from 1920 through 1970s. Topics include the 1918-19 influenza outbreak, the 1937 flood, polio outbreaks and changes in administration and education.
- The Continuing Story of McDowell House Oral History Project focuses on women’s medical history in central Kentucky, in honor of Dr. Ephraim McDowell’s women’s medical history breakthrough. The project includes interviews with modern doctors about Dr. McDowell’s early 19th century groundbreaking surgery to remove an ovarian tumor.
- Family planning in Kentucky collection, 1933-1987. This collection contains materials associated with the Kentucky Birth Control League and its president, Jean B. Tachau. It also includes correspondence to and from Lutrella Baker, Dr. Howard Ingling and Grace Rood, R.N., of the Pine Mountain Settlement School and Line Fork Cabin; and materials, mostly newspaper clippings, from scrapbooks and notebooks documenting birth control issues and the activities of the Kentucky Birth Control League and Planned Parenthood.
- Ethel B. Miller Collection, 1940-1941. Collection consists of photographs and manuscripts from ca. 1940-1941 that Ethel B. Miller compiled during the time she spent at the Frontier Nursing Service as a midwife.