West Virginia’s first female physician

Posted by | November 12, 2007

Morgantown Post, Nov 13, 1937 –

People of State Owe Much to Dr. Harriet B. Jones
First Woman To Be Doctor In The State
Served in Legislature – Pioneered in Fight Against Tuberculosis

Eighty-one years old and in the late stages of a long and honorable career in medicine, statecraft, politics, and public welfare, Dr. Harriet B. Jones, referred to many times in no overstatement as “West Virginia’s foremost woman,” is not content to let the memories of a brilliant life impair her visions for the future.

Not satisfied is she to rest upon the laurels she earned as West Virginia’s first woman physician, as the first woman to serve in the State Legislature, as the founder of numerous hospitals and welfare institutions, and as a vigorous pioneer in the fight against tuberculosis.

Dr. Jones lives in a modest home in Glendale, Marshall County. She lives simply and quietly and is very happy. In June, 1936, she celebrated her eightieth birthday. Her friends in the First Presbyterian Church at Moundsville gave a party in her honor. Four days later she was off for Cleveland to attend the Republican National Convention.

Dr. Harriet B. JonesShe has retired from the practice of her chosen profession – medicine. Likewise, she isn’t as physically active in many of her varied avocations. But now, as ever, she is a keen observer of political fortunes and many are the public office aspirants who beat paths to her door for advice.

Founded Four State Institutions

Long after this generation has passed there will remain monuments to the untiring efforts of this woman in the form of the West Virginia Industrial Home for Girls at Salem, the State Tuberculosis Sanitarium at Terra Alta, the West Virginia Children’s Home at Elkins, and the State Tuberculosis Sanitarium for the Colored. She was instrumental in the founding of all of them.

… Two years as a general practitioner were followed by three years and a half at Weston as assistant superintendent at the State Hospital for the Insane.
Returning to Wheeling, Dr. Jones opened a hospital for women. Two years later, she constructed a new building, enlarged her equipment and set up a hospital which thrived for 20 years. During this time she practiced medicine and surgery and was regarded as one of Wheeling’s leading doctors.

Interspersed with her medical practice and her hospital management were the endeavors for which she is best known.

Included among these are her agitation to have created the four institutions named above, her anti-tuberculosis work, her literary efforts, her service in the Legislature, and her general interests in politics.

Attended Twenty Legislative Sessions

While practicing medicine, Dr. Jones attended 20 consecutive sessions of the Legislature as a lobbyist. She broke precedent by making a successful race for Delegate in 1924 and she was re-elected for the following term.

source: www.wvculture.org/history/women/jonesharriet01.html

related post: “Did the early polio vaccine cause cancer??”

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2 Responses

  • Brendarella says:

    Please! “Female” physician, not “woman” physician.

    You never hear of a “man nurse” or a “man daycare worker.”

    Using “woman” as an adjective puts ungrammatical emphasis on her sex and makes an issue of it — which is she more — a woman or a physician?

    Dr. Jones was an educated person, a physician who happened to be female. She worked to become a doctor; her gender was an accident of birth.

    I know that everyone uses “woman” without recognizing what it conveys — but think again — a male nurse is given credit for his training and his gender is one facet of his existence, a “man nurse” sounds awkward because it combines two nouns and sets up a tussle between them.

  • Dave Tabler says:

    A perfectly valid point, well argued. I’ve changed the headline accordingly.

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