Thanks to the recent discovery of an addendum to the Lucy Davis Phillips Collection at the Historical Collections & Archives at the Oregon Health & Science University if Portland, we now know that Helena J. Price, Florence King, Mae Whitney (Cardwell) and Viola Coe organized the first Portland Women's Medical Society on July 23, 1891. The four women meet in Whitney's medical office on 1st and Yamhill. Lydia Hunt King joined the group that September.
Women were barred from membership in the Portland Medical Society (organized in 1884) but were eligible for membership in the Oregon State Medical Society since 1877. According to the Proceedings of the Oregon State Medical Society all of these women except for Florence King were members of the state society. This separate all-female society fulfilled several purposes. It provided networking and support for women doctors, challenged the ban on women in the local city society, and gave them experience in presenting and commenting on cases to prepare them to do the same in meetings of the state society.
The 1891-1892 Portland Women’s Medical Society was the first "regular" (as opposed to homeopathic) female medical society in the West and the third in the U.S. following the New England Women’s Medical Society (1878) and the Rochester, New York Practitioner’s Society (1887). And as Cora Bagley Marrett has shown, this first Portland group was the first of a wave of all-female medical associations across the nation in the 1890s. Following the Portland group were the Physicians’ League of Buffalo, 1892, Woman’s Medical Club of San Francisco, 1893, Puget Sound Woman’s Medical Club, 1894, Medical Women’s Club of Chicago, 1894, Denver Clinical Society, 1895, Woman’s Medical Club of Cincinnati, 1896, Woman’s Medical Club of Minneapolis, 1898, and the State Society of Iowa Medical Women, 1898.
After 1892 this first group "expired" but Mae Whitney Cardwell and a new group of women physicians would reorganize in 1900 as the Portland Medical Club, an organization that would last until after the Second World War. I'll be discussing the group and its members in depth in the Lovejoy biography.
_____ “On the Evolution of Women’s Medical Societies,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine 53 no. 3 (Fall 1979): 434-48.