Doctor or Doctress?

Explore American history through the eyes of women physicians

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An [unidentified] doctor (in hat) from the American Women’s Hospital Service sits on the front steps of a porch in rural 1930s Appalachia with a local woman and children.

Why It Matters

This photo reveals some aspects of the impoverished circumstances of Appalachian residents: the children are not wearing shoes; both children and the woman are wearing old, battered clothing, likely hand-sewn from sacks or other fabric; they are all very thin. Their appearance is in stark contrast to the AWH doctor.

Analyze this evidence

  • As described in this report, what are some of the characteristics of Whitley County? Why would these characteristics pose a challenge to the doctors of the AWH?
  • What are some of the ways the AWH attempted to prevent disease and improve the overall health of the people of the county?