Post copyright 2015 by Doris McCraw
I confess to having a love/hate relationship with resources. They are a blessing or a curse to your writing. As I make this journey of being a writer, the use of resources is a must. Writing fiction as Angela Raines, the use of old newspapers, books, and diaries, add that note of authenticity to the stories of the Old West that I write.Writing nonfiction, especially the story of the early women doctors in Colorado, using resources can be a great headache.
For fiction, “At the End of the Santa Fe Trail”, by Sister Blandina Segale, 1850-1941, is a gem for events that occurred during the time of the western expansion as Sister Bandina makes her way alone from the mother house in Cincinnati, Ohio to Trinidad, Colorado and then onto Santa Fe, New Mexico. Published in 1932, this wonderful book is composed of letters written by Sister Blandina to her sisters ‘The Sisters of Charity’ back east. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blandina_Segale A Google search of Images of Sister Blandina is quite fascinating.
Another great gem is “Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps” by Sandra Dallas; Photographs by Kendal Atchison. Published in the 1980’s, it is a wealth of tidbits about the time in Colorado, from 1859-1920, when Colorado was the place to be to find gold and silver.
To write the book on early Colorado women doctors before 1900 is another completely different challenge when it comes to resources. Books like “Medicine in the Old West: a History, 1850-1900” by Jeremy Agnew, published in 2010, offer glimpses of how medicine was used and viewed during the time, but talks little of women physicians except to say they had a difficult time. (Although he does speak of a woman physician in Pueblo, Colorado briefly.) Even the primary source I have on Colorado Women Doctors, “Women Physicians of Colorado”, by Mary De Mund, published in 1976 has errors due to the lack of resources when it was written. Some women doctors, who died before licensing in the state began, are harder to locate. Newspapers have been a good resource as has Ancestry.com, but even those can be a minefield. If a woman married, or didn’t advertise, many times they just don’t want to be found. Male and female names that are similar or have changed use with the sex over the years, further complicates the search. Beverly is now a female name, but in the 1800’s it was strictly a male name. Emley B. Queal, while listed in the women physicians of Colorado is actually a male who graduated from Harvard, but was a physician.
Here in Colorado Springs, I have access to cemetery records and the headstones of those buried here. That makes finding these women easier. For those in the rest of the state, well let’s just say there will be many a day spent traveling and ‘camping’ out at local libraries and newspaper offices. In the meantime, I will leave you with a couple of ‘findings’ on these women you may find interesting.
Dr. Agnes Winzell is listed as graduating from the Nashville College of Eclectic Therapeutics in Indiana in 1897 and receiving her Colorado license, #2966, in 1899. However she shows up in the 1892 Seattle, Washington city directory as Mrs. Agnes Winzell, physician, 27 Douthitt Bldg.
Dr. Edith Root was the first woman to receive a Colorado license. In 1881, the first year Colorado started licensing physicians, Dr. Root applied and received her license #89. She was forty years old at that time. However she is listed in the 1878 Denver city directory as a physician, at 359 Larimer.
So you see, while research is quite fun, in fact I love it, it takes more than one source and many an hour reading unlikely books, newspapers and of course countless hours on the computer. No wonder I have this love/hate relationship with Cursed Recources. So until next time, see you in the research section.
HOME FOR HIS HEART
also available as an ebook on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.
Doris Gardner-McCraw/Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History
Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/angelaraines-dorismccraw
Photo and Poem: http://fivesevenfivepage.blogspot.com