Doctor or Doctress?

Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians

AWHS, Rural Services photo of schoolroom. AWHS, Rural Services administered healthcare and health education to rural Southern states during the 1920s and 1930s.

Get the story...

The American Women’s Hospitals at Home: Public Health in Depression-Era Appalachia

The American Women’s Hospitals (AWH) was founded by women physicians in 1918 to provide medical care to the people of war-torn France during World War I. AWH subsequently established hospitals in other parts of Europe and Western Asia, continuing to provide medical care to devastated populations after wars and conflicts had officially ended.  Appalachia is a rural, mountainous region spanning several states, including parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, the Carolinas, West Virginia, Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia.  AWH concentrated their efforts in Tennessee, the Carolinas, and Kentucky. Even before the Depression, Appalachia was relatively poor, rural area of the country and was geographically isolated with few roads or means of transportation in or out of the area.  The economic crisis of the Great Depression only increased the severity of the region’s existing poverty and lack of quality education and healthcare.

This photo depicts how the AWH provided the community with not only medical care, but also education and proper nutrition.

Creator: American Women's Hospitals Service

Language: english

Item Number: a144_194

Pages: 1

Size: 8.7 x 13.9 cm

Physical Collection: Records of American Women`s Hospitals 1917-1982, ACC-144

Finding Aid:

Link to OPAC Record:

Cite this source: Title of document, date. The American Women’s Hospitals at Home: Public Health in Depression-Era Appalachia. Doctor or Doctress?: Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians. The Legacy Center, Drexel University College of Medicine Archives & Special Collections. Philadelphia, PA. Date of access.

American Women's Hospitals Service


Child welfare


Rural health services

Appalachian Region, Southern