Post written and copyrighted by Doris McCraw
We all learned the five W’s. Who, what, when, where and why and the greatest and most problematic of these is why. Why you may ask? As a historian you spend a lot of time researching people and events of the past. We can ascertain the who, what, when and where with ease. The whys are a bit stickier.
As an example, you know I am researching the early women doctors in the Pikes Peak Region. I am currently working on a book about the women doctors who practiced medicine prior to 1900 in Colorado Springs, Colorado who are buried in Evergreen Cemetery. In these two sentences I have answered the who and where. Who is women doctors practicing prior to 1900. The where, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
According to the records I can find one of the first to arrive was Julia E Loomis. It is possible she arrived as early as 1876 but definitely no later than 1878. In these two sentences I have answered who, when. The who, Julia E Loomis. The when, 1876 -1878.
You can find Julia’s family tree at: http://records.ancestry.com/Julia_E_Frizell_records.ashx?pid=33820338
Now comes the problematic why. Why did Julia become an MD? She may have practiced prior to going to the Cleveland Homeopathic College. She was born in 1816 and graduated in 1870. That made her age 54 at graduation.
More information about Cleveland College: http://ech.case.edu/cgi/article.pl?id=H4
After her graduation and her achieving and MD why did she come to Colorado Springs?
The biggest why I am dealing with now is why is she the only woman physician in Evergreen Cemetery that was practicing prior to 1900 to have an MD after her name? She was one of the first to arrive here, and the first to die.
To answer the above whys takes a small leap of faith and supposition. I am not comfortable with suppositions for they can be taken as fact, when in fact they are not. Why did she become and MD? The indication is that with the death of her daughter Julia Gertrude Loomis Taylor in 1864 at the age of 20-21, may have had something to do with it. Why did she come to Colorado Springs? At that time the city was becoming a mecca for health seekers. This may have played a part in that decision.
Now to the biggest why I am dealing with. Why is she the only early woman physician to have MD after her name? Did her husband have it put there? Perhaps it was her patients? Maybe it was the other women doctors, for there were two more from the same college who arrived between 1878 and 1880 who attended the same medical college. Why are none of the others given that same honor?
I may never get the concrete answers I am searching for, but it will not be from lack of trying. Still the problematic why will follow my research for many years to come. Until next time.
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Below is the link to my non-fiction piece on the first state film commissioner in the United States included in this book.
“Film & Photography on the Front Range” can be purchased online at: http://www.amazon.com