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Monday, July 5, 2010

Thank You Lucy Davis Phillips!

One of my heroines is Lucy Davis Phillips, registrar at the University of Oregon Medical School from 1918 until just before her death in 1943. She knew that women students were making history and wanted to record it. Thanks to her work of keeping track of women students and their work after graduation we have a great deal of information on early Oregon women medical students and physicians. Davis Phillips compiled a scrapbook with notes, newspaper articles and correspondence that comprises a vital source for the biographies of medical women. She also sent out a survey in the mid-1930s to all of the women graduates for whom she could find an address and compiled the data. These records comprise the treasure-filled Lucy I. Davis Phillips Collection on Oregon Women Medical School Graduates at the Historical Collections & Archives at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland. There are many Esther Lovejoy gems there and so much information about the careers of medical women graduates from Oregon.

She published a summary of her findings and a roster of graduates in Lucy I. Davis, “History of Women Graduates of Oregon Medical School,” Twenty-Fifth Annual Meeting and Directory of the Alumni Association, University of Oregon Medical School (Portland: University of Oregon Alumni Association, 1937), 17-20.

Marion Reed East, M.D.,writing for the Journal of the American Medical Women's Association in 1964, recalled that Davis Phillips was "loved and respected by students and faculty alike." In addition to her work to preserve information about the lives of women students and doctors, East noted that the registrar was a strong advocate for women students. "The first unit of the new medical school building (1920) had no provision for a room where the women medical students could rest or hold a 'buzz' session," East noted. So Davis Phillips worked with librarian Bertha Hallam to get them a room of their own on Marquam Hill.

So here's to your memory, Lucy Davis Phillips: registrar, historian, advocate. The history of women in Oregon is richer because of you.

Marion Reed East, M.D., "Branch Five Presents . . . Friends of the Medical Students," Journal of the American Medical Women's Association 19 no. 1 (March 1964): 235.