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Women's Health Resources at KHS

This postcard from 1949 was a charitable giving request from the Frontier Nursing Service.

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.

Civil War Governors of Kentucky

  • 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


Historical Markers

  • 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




Archival Material

  • 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.



  • Postcard to Mr. and Mrs. J.T. Mallery from Mary Breckinridge, Frontier Nursing Service, requesting a charitable donation. 1950.
  • Postcard to Mr. and Mrs. J.T. Thurman. Charitable giving request from Frontier Nursing Service. 1949.


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