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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Callie Brown Charlton, M.D. in Hine's History of Oregon 1893

H.K. Hines published An Illustrated History of the State of Oregon (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1893) when Esther Clayson was a student at the University of Oregon Medical Department in Portland. Like the Oregonian Souvenir, published the year before, this book provides some context for Portland and Oregon life and culture in this same period.

Hines, a Methodist minister and trustee of Willamette University published few biographical entries of women. But he did include Callie Brown Charlton, M.D., Esther Clayson's mentor in medicine.

She attended St. Mary's Academy in Portland and in 1872, widowed with a small daughter, Lorena, decided to study medicine. Charlton taught school in Portland's Holladay Addition and studied with Dr. C. H. Raffety (Willamette University Medical Department graduate of 1869) before being admitted to the Willamette University Medical Department, receiving her diploma in 1879. 

Hine places Charlton at the center of female student activism at Willamette without, alas, giving us much detail. He notes that "it was only the second year that the sex had been admitted to the college [this was not accurate -- Hine was omitting Mary Sawtelle] while many discriminating restrictions were placed upon them, and the course of study to which they were admitted was much circumscribed, essential features being eliminated." These "essential features" likely included dissection.

"Against much opposition," Hine continued, "Mrs. Charlton led the contest for the rights of women, which proved successful, and by which she won the lasting esteem of the faculty and management, among whom are yet numbered some of her warmest friends; her genuine earnestness in the search of knowledge in the line of her chosen profession had much to do with this feeling, as well as with her success."

Willamette admitted women with restrictions after Mary Sawtelle's controversial time there. Materials at the Willamette University Archives suggest that many male faculty opposed women as students and for a time in the 1880s women were officially banned. We need to know more about this story and Charlton's role in challenging restrictions to women's medical education in Oregon.

Charlton embraced homeopathy, a popular therapeutics at the time [see Anne Taylor Kirschmann, A Vital Force: Women in American Homeopathy (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2004)]. She studied for a second degree at Hahnemann Medical College in Chicago and graduated in 1886 (Hine's 1866 is a typo). She returned to practice in Portland and delivered Esther Clayson's sister Charlotte in 1884. Esther's mother Annie Clayson invited Charlton to dinner and Charlton became a role model for Esther and her medical ambitions.
Here is Charlton's entry in H.K. Hines An Illustrated History of the State of Oregon (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1893). The text appears on pages 973 and 974 and her image faces page 973.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oregon Woman Suffrage at the Western History Association Meeting at Oakland, October 16, 2011

I was honored to be a part of a session exploring Oregon woman suffrage history at the Western History Association meeting in Oakland October 16, 2011.

Historian of Pacific Northwest women, women's clubs and women teachers Karen Blair, chair of history at Central Washington University chaired the session. Panelists included Sheri Bartlett Browne, who teaches history at Tennessee State University and gave a paper on Frances Fuller Victor's suffrage philosophy and Jean M. Ward, professor emerita at Lewis and Clark College, who presented on Bethenia Owens-Adair and her suffrage ideas and activism. I gave a paper on Esther Pohl Lovejoy and her idea of civic health, forged during her Portland suffrage and public health days, something she expanded to a transnational view of international health with the Medical Women's International Association and the American Women's Hospitals.

We appreciated Karen's comments and the questions and ideas from the audience. Thanks, too, to supporter Eliza Canty-Jones, editor of the Oregon Historical Quarterly and president of the board of the Coalition for Oregon Women's History.

The papers explored the particular Oregon threads of these women's suffrage ideas and activism and their ties and contributions to broader national and transnational suffrage and social justice movements.

Eliza Canty-Jones, Karen Blair, Jean Ward and Sheri Bartlett Browne, Oregon Woman Suffrage session, Western History Association, Oakland, California, October 16, 2011.

Kim Jensen, Karen Blair, Jean Ward and Sheri Bartlett Browne, Oregon Woman Suffrage session, Western History Association, Oakland, California, October 16, 2011.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

More Portland Medicine in the Oregonian Souvenir 1892: The University of Oregon Medical Department

The Oregonian Souvenir 1850-1892: October 1, 1892 (Portland: Lewis & Dryden, 1892), published by the Oregonian newspaper to boost Portland and the state, provides one view of Oregon medicine as Esther Clayson (later Pohl Lovejoy) attended medical school. The last post featured the Oregonian Souvenir's take on St. Vincent's and Good Samaritan. Today a look at the representation of the University of Oregon Medical Department, newly-installed in its grand new building at 23rd and Lovejoy.

This copy of the McCaw, Martin and White architectural drawing of the new 1892 UOMD building appears on p. 77 of the Oregonian Souvenir. (Compare it with this image in the Historical Collections & Archives, Oregon Health & Science University.)

The editors provided a brief history of the founding of the UOMD in 1887. "After great effort, and the consequent annoyance in arranging the details of an enterprise of this magnitude and importance, it was decided by the board to erect a small temporary building on ground owned by the Good Samaritan Hospital" where the first sessions were held.

The new building, they said, had it all. "The beautiful and commodious building occupied by the Medical College at the present time, was erected with a view of its adaptability to the very best and most advanced instruction in medicine, more especially in laboratory and other practical work in the science." It was "fitted with all of the best appliances of a modern medical school."

Clinical facilities at St. Vincent's and Good Samaritan hospitals "are unexcelled by any colleges located in cities the size of Portland, in the United States." And the faculty "has kept pace with the advances in medical education and the curriculum of the school now covers four years' study, and three winter courses entitle the student to the degree of M.D." The faculty wanted "to make and keep the school prominent among the standard colleges of the United States."

In a final flourish the editors noted: "The members of the faculty are strong, vigorous and enterprising, highly successful in the practice of their chosen profession, and thus far having succeeded in maintaining the high excellence of their school, they will not allow it to fall behind in the race for supremacy among medical colleges on the coast." (Oregonian Souvenir, 77-78)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Portland Medicine in the Oregonian Souvenir 1892

In the middle of Esther Clayson's (later Pohl Lovejoy) medical school years from 1890 to 1894 at the University of Oregon Medical Department in Portland the Oregonian newspaper published a large folio volume to boost Portland and Oregon towns and also to boost the Oregonian. Portland medicine in Esther Clayson's years got a favorable report in The Oregonian Souvenir 1850-1892: October 1, 1892 (Portland, Lewis & Dryden, 1892).

Esther Clayson and other students at the UOMD received practical instruction and experience at clinics and dispensaries at nearby St. Vincent's and Good Samaritan Hospitals. 

This image of St. Vincent's Hospital, the Children's Home and Good Samaritan Hospital appears on p. 28 of the Oregonian Souvenir in a photo by McAlpin and Lamb. St. Vincent's, located on 12th and Marshall, had been in operation since 1875 and would move to its new building in 1895. Good Samaritan had also opened in 1875 on Hoyt Street. [See Olof Larsell, The Doctor in Oregon: A Medical History (Portland: Binfords & Mort for the Oregon Historical Society, 1947), 514-27.]

Esther Clayson pursued her medical education at the same time that Portland nursing was professionalizing. Bellevue-trained nurse Emily Loveridge established the first Pacific Northwest training school for nurses at Good Samaritan in 1890. St. Vincent's followed in 1894, the year that Clayson received her M.D.

The editors of the Oregonian Souvenir wrote with enthusiasm about hospitals and charitable institutions in Portland as they hoped to boost the city and state. "Benevolent societies, public charities and hospitals are here in large representation," they wrote. "Poverty is almost unknown and want is very uncommon, but those who by sickness or misfortune are rendered helpless are well cared for." St. Vincent's, they reported, "has admitted about 15,000 patients" since its establishment in 1875. Good Samaritan "is one of the most thoroughly equipped institutions of its kind on the coast." (Oregonian Souvenir, 74.)