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Monday, August 30, 2010

Portland Market Inspection Crowd Cheers Woods Hutchinson, M.D., April 1905

More nuggets from the Portland women’s 1905 campaign for market inspection and a female market inspector.

At an April 14 meeting of pure food activists working for market inspection in Portland Dr. Woods Hutchinson, who had recently resigned as secretary and health officer from the Oregon State Board of Health, “happened in.” He got cheers from the crowd when he confessed that he had changed his mind about women and civic power: “while I have never favored women’s suffrage,” he said, “when I see a movement of this kind I confess that I wish the women had the power of the ballot as well as the power of public opinion.” And, referring to the Portland health board’s Mae Cardwell, M.D. he said, “The best man on the board of health today is a woman.” (I think he meant this as a compliment!)

The assembly decided to “‘stick to the fight’ until it was won” and “the suggestion was here made that one of the deputies of the inspector [they still hoped for a large staff] be a woman. This was moved and carried unanimously.”

The Portland market inspection campaign apparently transformed Hutchinson’s thinking and he became a supporter of woman suffrage and women’s health activism. A woman, “may educate herself as she will, may dress as she pleases, may preach, vote, practice medicine,” he wrote in 1914. “Any sanitarian or public-health officer of experience will cheerfully testify that the strongest force in the community for the protection of the public health is the influence and work of the women” including the “at one time much scoffed at” women’s clubs. “Why on earth woman should not be given exactly the same voice as man in determining how the food, water, and other vital interests of her children should be kept pure and wholesome, and in personally seeing that they are so kept, is a question to which . . . there is  no answer!” Woods Hutchinson, Civilization and Health (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1914).

British-born Woods Hutchinson (1862-1930) received his medical degree from the  University of Michigan Medical Department in 1884, taught anatomy at the University of Iowa from 1891-1896 and pathology at the  University of Buffalo from 1896-1900 before coming to Portland, where he served as the secretary of the newly established state health board and state health officer from 1903 until 1905. He left Portland and for many years was on the faculty of the New York Polyclinic. He gained great notoriety as a lecturer and writer on public health issues and published over a dozen books before his death in 1930. 

And it appears that his brief association with the market inspection campaign in Portland made him a woman suffragist.


“Women in Earnest,” Oregon Journal, April 14, 1905, 1, 8 (quotes and image from 8)

Herman W. Knox, ed. Who’s Who in New York 7th ed. (New York: Who’s Who, 1917), s.v. Hutchinson, Woods, 564.

“Dr. Woods Hutchinson,” New York Times, April 27, 1930, 29.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August 26, 2010: 90th Anniversary of the Federal Suffrage Amendment -- Esther Lovejoy and Portland Women Celebrated in 1920

August 26, 2010 is the 90th anniversary of the final ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution, the Susan B. Anthony Woman Suffrage Amendment. So, a brief break from the Portland board of health in 1905 to commemorate what Esther Lovejoy and Oregon women were doing 90 years ago.

When the news came that Tennessee had ratified by a cliffhanging one-vote margin (thanks to the mother of youngest Republican legislator Harry Burn who urged him to support it) women in Oregon celebrated the federal amendment and the eight years of suffrage since Oregon women gained the vote in 1912.

Portland women planned a gala suffrage luncheon for Saturday, August 28 at the Benson Hotel in the midst of a noontime "blowing of whistles and ringing of bells," according to the Oregonian ("Women of Portland Celebrate Saturday," Oregonian, August 26, 1920, 1). Sarah Evans spoke on the Oregon suffrage movement and Esther Lovejoy, then a Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress from the Third District, spoke on the work of women in the future.

Happy Anniversary -- and join us in taking action.  Visit the Century of Action: Oregon Women Vote 1912-2012 site.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Lillian Tingle, Market Inspection and the Question of Salary

In 1905 Portland women came together in a coalition to demand the inspection of Portland markets through the city health department and to call for the appointment of a woman to that post. The city council reluctantly agreed after a great deal of public pressure and Lillian Tingle became the first market inspector in Portland. It was a triumph for women's activism in public health and domestic science.
On July 1, progressive mayor Harry Lane, M.D.'s first day in office, Tingle resigned at the city board of health meeting. The reason? Salary. The Oregon Journal (July 1, 1905, 2) reported it this way:

Before accepting the new post of market inspector for the city on May 1 Tingle was director of the Portland School of Domestic Science at a salary of $125 per month. When less-than-enthusiastic Mayor George Williams and the business-oriented city council agreed to create the post under public pressure they had not funded it and asked the health board to foot the bill of a salary of $65 per month. Supporters raised the additional question of transportation costs, but the mayor said he could do no more.
Tingle had taken the post at almost half of her director's salary. According to the Biennial Report of the Oregon Superintendent for Public Instruction (1907) in 1905 the average monthly salary for female teachers across the state was $43.50 (men made more -- $55.69) and they were calling for raises to these small salaries. For this former director in expensive Portland who also had to pay for streetcars to take her to markets all across the city $65 a month was not enough.
The Journal reported: "when asked whom she would recommend as her successor" Tingle "stated that she did not know any one competent to fill the position who would accept it."
The situation underscores the challenges women activists faced as they worked to create new institutions and carve out appointed civic offices available to women. Tingle, with graduate training in domestic science and considerable administrative experience, had taken the post as women celebrated victory. But with the city council unwilling to authorize enough salary and expenses they exercised a great deal of control over the situation. Perhaps they hoped to squelch the whole business. As the Journal noted, the "clean shop crusade is likely to languish."
Tingle moved on. She wrote a "Domestic Science" column for the Oregonian, headed the domestic science department for all Portland High Schools and, when the University of Oregon called in 1917, relocated to Eugene to found the U of O's first Home Economics Department. ("University Lures Miss Tingle Away," Oregonian, June 14, 1917, 6). She died in Eugene in 1951.
Faced with this dilemma -- a new city post in the health department created as a direct result of women's activism that was severely underfunded -- what would Portland women do?  More soon on the rest of the story.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lillian Tingle: Portland's First Market Inspector, May-June 1905

When Esther Pohl served on the Portland City Board of Health from 1905-1907 (following Mae Cardwell, who was the first woman on the city board from 1903-1905) and as Portland City Health Officer from 1907-1909 (the first woman in the U.S. to hold such a position in a large city) she worked with Sarah A. Evans, Portland's market inspector from 1905-1935. Evans gained notoriety for her work and she and Pohl became lifelong friends.

But Sarah Evans was not the first market inspector in the city. That honor goes to Lillian Tingle. The story of Portland women's grassroots movement for pure food and a market inspector that I'm blogging this week helps explain why.

Lillian Tingle, Oregon Journal, April 14, 1905, 8

As an 1895 graduate of the Educational Trust School of Domestic Economy in Aberdeen, Scotland with additional graduate work at Gordon's College in Aberdeen in chemistry and physiology Tingle was an early participant in the domestic science movement that led to instruction in home economics on a scientific basis in public and private schools and in colleges and universities. Women scientists like Tingle found employment in this movement and worked with civic and women's groups to build cleaner and healthier communities. Tingle taught in Scotland and in North Dakota and then came to Portland sometime in 1901 or 1902 to work in the office of the state Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop a course of study for domestic science in the state. And she then accepted the directorship of the Portland Y.W.C.A.'s School of Domestic Science, the position she held in the spring of 1905 when Portland women visited food markets, established a boycott, and called for the appointment of a market inspector.

Portland's city council and mayor George Williams were reluctant to do so, but with public pressure agreed to appoint a female market inspector with the advice and recommendation of the board of the YWCA's School of Domestic Science. Lillian Tingle was their unanimous choice and she accepted the position on April 24, 1905 to begin May 1.

Why did Lillian Tingle resign two months later? Stay tuned!

For more on the domestic science/home economics movement see Margaret Rossiter, Women Scientists in America: Struggles and Strategies to 1940 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982)
See also:
"Women in Earnest: Demand That Meat Markets of Portland Shall Be Kept Clean," Oregon Journal, April 14, 1905, 1.
"Woman Named as Inspector of Markets in Portland," Oregonian, April 25, 1905, 16.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mae Cardwell, M.D.: Crusader for Cleanliness!

Esther Pohl served as one of three physicians on the Portland Health Board from 1905-1907 and as Portland City Health Officer from 1907-1909, all under the administration of Democratic mayor Harry Lane, M.D. Pohl came to the board of health just as Portland women had scored an important civic victory -- the appointment of a woman as market inspector to enforce codes of clean food, including meat, to support the health of Portlanders.
One of the leaders of this pure food and market inspection campaign was none other than Mae Cardwell, M.D., a path breaker and leader of Oregon women and medicine. She was an advocate for a woman sanitary inspector for Portland as early as 1901 in the Home Department of the Portland Woman's Club, according to club records at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.
In April 1905 Cardwell was one of three physicians on the city board of health (Pohl's predecessor) and worked with a coalition of Portland women, including members of the Y.W.C.A. and the Consumer's League, to get the city council under Mayor Williams to hire meat and market inspectors as part of the board of health.
On April 10 a group of women toured Portland's markets and were nauseated by what they encountered. And they held a mass meeting on April 14 to set up a boycott and demand action by the city council. The Oregon Journal (April 14, 1905, 1) gave it front page headlines.

The article, in addition to providing great information about the campaign, carries the added thrilling bonus of an early image of Mae Cardwell.

At the mass meeting, Cardwell "congratulated womankind on the growth of her influence in the past few years and the attention with which she is listened to now."

Women physicians, according to Regina Morantz Sanchez in Sympathy and Science: Women Physicians in American Medicine, participated in the Progressive Era public health movement in great numbers across the nation. This was certainly true of Portland. In coalitions and as members of women's clubs and groups like the Consumers' League, Mae Cardwell, Esther Pohl and other women doctors made a powerful impact. And as Karen Blair notes in The Clubwoman as Feminist, while some histories give most of the credit to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, women in their organizations changed the nation's policies about pure food, sanitary markets and consumer health and empowerment in the first part of the twentieth century and beyond.

In the next few posts more from this market inspection campaign, including new faces and links to the career of Esther Lovejoy.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fred Clayson, the Christmas Day Murders 1899, and Lone Fir Cemetery, Portland

We last read of Esther Clayson’s brother Fred in Skagway, Alaska as a new gold rush arrival from Portland in August 1897. Fred soon prospered as a risk-taking outfitter and head of F. H. Clayson and Company [pictured here in an advertisement in Skagway newspapers reprinted in Howard Clifford, The Skagway Story (Anchorage: Alaska Northwest Publishing, 1975), 44]. By the fall of 1899 he had saved some $40,000 by Esther’s estimate, enough to make him a millionaire in today’s dollars.

Fred was heading from Dawson, Yukon to Skagway in December 1899 via bicycle – a new fad for traveling on the iced trails – and disappeared on Christmas Day, December 25, 1899. The family hired a private detective, Philip Maguire, to assist the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with the investigation. The Oregonian interviewed Esther for a story on January 19, 1900 (“May Have Been Murdered” p. 8) when it became apparent that her missing brother had probably been murdered and featured this likeness of Fred.

Fred’s body and the bodies of two other men murdered with him were found in the Yukon River after spring thaws – Fred’s on May 30, 1900. George O’Brien was convicted for their murders by a Dawson, Yukon jury and he was hanged on August 31, 1901.

After a send-off funeral in Skagway by the Arctic Brotherhood, a Yukon/Alaska fraternal organization, Esther’s mother Annie brought Fred’s body back to Portland and buried him in the plot that would become the resting place of many in the family, including Esther, at Lone Fir Cemetery. Annie planted holly trees there to commemorate her youngest son’s death on Christmas Day. The holly trees still guard the family plot.

In Esther’s view, written in notes for an autobiography at Historical Collections & Archives at OHSU, “the short life of my brother was far more significant than his tragic death and more thrilling in its living realities than the detective stories founded upon his murder.” And there were and are many such detective stories. See, for example:
Henry Woodside, “The Great Yukon Murder Case,” Wide World Magazine 8 no 44 (December 1901): 154-162
Allan Curtis, “Christmas Day Murders,” Canadian West 13 (Fall 1988): 81-85 and 14 (Winter 1988): 126-133
Ed Ferrell, Frontier Justice: Alaska 1898: The Last American Frontier (Westminster, MD: Heritage Books, 2007), 5-11.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Esther Pohl in Alaska

The Alaska/Klondike gold rush drew much of Esther Pohl's family from Portland in 1897-1898. Her husband Emil and brother Fred were on the first ship from Portland in July 1897. That fall Esther's brother Will, her mother Annie Clayson, and her younger sisters Charlotte and Annie May joined them.

Esther attended post-graduate medical clinics in Chicago that fall of 1897 and joined her family in Skagway in the spring of 1898. That spring the area suffered a severe epidemic of spinal meningitis and both she and Emil put their medical skills to work. In notes for a biography in the Esther Lovejoy Collection at OHSU, Esther recalled that "in this emergency the minister of the little church with the big stove took the lead. Funds were raised and a log-stable built for mules was converted into a hospital for meningitis cases." 

According to Howard Clifford (The Skawgay Story [Anchorage: Alaska Northwest Publishing, 1975], 30) this was the Presbyterian Reverend Robert McCahon Dickey, who raised funds and dedicated the Union Church in December, 1897. There is a splendid image of the church at Alaska's Digital Archives. It served as the town's first school and, according to Clifford, "a community hospital, humane society, and a club for both men and women." Perhaps Esther or Emil or both provided medical care here in the building's function as hospital.

Esther Pohl would become Portland City Health Officer in 1907. Here in Skagway some nine years earlier she had a powerful first-hand experience with an epidemic and in organizing a public health response. And she would draw on all of these experiences as a leader of transnational medical relief after the First World War.

Friday, August 6, 2010

OHSU Historical Collections & Archives

Some people in the world have a town square, others their local cafe or pub, philosophes had their salons -- but for the best in intellectual stimulation, exchange of ideas and the most interesting reading in the world lucky historians like me have archives. And one of the best in the universe is the Historical Collections & Archives at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.
Yesterday I was able to visit this marvelous place, tucked in the Marquam Hill campus (and yes, Sara Marquam Hill, M.D. was the daughter of Philip Marquam, whose real estate it once was) in the Old Library building. I've been here many times and conducted most all of my research for the biography of Esther Lovejoy, but came to go through some files in the Esther Lovejoy Collections 2001-004 and 2011-011 and to review the stunning collection of her photographs.
But what also makes these visits of immense value to me as a scholar is that archivists Sara Piasecki and Karen Peterson engage in conversations with me about Lovejoy and her history (and just who might be in those photographs), the nature of history itself (can we write history at all without making some interpretive conclusions that will be challenged someday -- and isn't that the excitement of studying and producing history?) and the future of the book and electronic publishing .
Did I mention that they did all of this while getting additional boxes for me, working with other patrons, welcoming interested visitors, helping patrons and others who phoned in and all of the other vital work they completed yesterday?
I celebrate them for making HC&A this incredible place. You're the greatest Sara and Karen!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Marketing Gold Fever in Portland 1897

When Portland doctors Esther Clayson Pohl and Emil Pohl went to Skagway (he in 1897 and she in the spring of 1898) they didn't leave the world behind. As Kathryn Morse observes in her book The Nature of Gold: An Environmental History of the Klondike Gold Rush (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2003), those who participated in the gold rush were part of a chain of connections among gold, the Alaska/Yukon landscape, and the products of the industrializing economy.

Five years earlier, Esther Clayson worked for Lipman and Wolfe department store in Portland to pay her way through medical school. Now the Pohls and other Portlanders, as this ad in the Oregonian (July, 30, 1897, 5) illustrates, could take advantage of the store's stock of merchandise for the "Clondyke."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Oregon Doctors and Gold Fever 1897

The Klondike gold rush of 1897 attracted many Portlanders and Oregonians and it would be a powerful element in the life of Esther Clayson Pohl and her family. 
Esther Clayson Pohl's husband and medical partner Emil Pohl and her brother Fred Clayson were on the first voyage of the steamship George W. Elder, the first ship to leave Portland for the gold fields. They sailed on July 30, 1897 from Portland to Skagway, Alaska. Also on board was Portland physician Andrew C. Smith. Henry Coe, editor of the Medical Sentinel, assured readers that Dr. Smith was already the "owner of some valuable gold mines and is able to give this question a dispassionate investigation."
"Dispassionate" would hardly describe the rest of the enterprise. The gold rush was front page news in the Oregonian for weeks and the paper published news of the "Argonauts" preparing to sail with anecdotes, estimates of tonnage, and (to the everlasting gratitude of historians) passenger lists. The paper even covered a going away party Dr. Curtis Holcomb threw for the "Albina Boys" the night before the George W. Elder sailed, toasts and all.
This illustration accompanied the story of the sailing on the front page of the Oregonian for July 30, 1897. Hundreds gathered on the Ainsworth dock of the Oregon Railroad and Navigation Company to send off 400 "Argonauts" including six women (not yet Esther Pohl -- more on her trip in a future post), 150 horses, dozens of dogs and 450 tons of equipment. It was, the reporter rhapsodized, "the most stirring and romantic incident of the kind in the history of staid old Portland."


"The Elder Filled Up," Oregonian, July 28, 1897, 1, 6.
"The Alaska Gold Fields," Medical Sentinel 5 no. 8 (August 1897), 411.
"Elder Sails Tonight," Oregonian, July 30, 1897, 1, 6.
"Off in Gold's Quest," Oregonian, July 31, 1897, 1, 6.