Forecastle Festival Fireside Chat features Bourbon Family Icons Fred Noe and Bruce Russell.Read More
Today is National Women Physicians Day, in observance of the 196th anniversary of Elizabeth Blackwell's birth. The British-born Dr. Blackwell is remembered as the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States as well as the first woman on the United Kingdom Medical Register. What you may not know is that, prior to undertaking her medical training, Dr. Blackwell briefly worked as a schoolteacher in Kentucky!
Elizabeth Blackwell was born in a large, nurturing family in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England in 1821; her father, Samuel, was a sugar refiner. Following civil unrest in Bristol, Samuel moved the family first to New York City and later to Cincinnati. As the family fell on hard financial times, Elizabeth accepted a teaching position in Henderson, Kentucky, at a salary of $400/year. Ultimately, Elizabeth's time in the Bluegrass State was unsatisfactory. She found herself suited neither for the town nor the profession, and returned to Cincinnati after a few months, resolving to find a more fulfilling line of work. She worked as a music teacher in North Carolina, saving money for her goal of pursuing a medical education, ultimately enrolling at Geneva Medical College in upstate New York. The degree of medical doctor was conferred upon Dr. Blackwell in January 1849.
While Dr. Blackwell is widely known as the first woman to attain a formal medical degree in the United States, the first woman who was recognized as a physician in Kentucky actually predates the Commonwealth's statehood. Frances Jane Coomes and her husband William accompanied Dr. George Hartt to Fort Harrod in the 1770s. Mrs. Coomes served an apprenticeship under Dr. Hartt, and also is known as Kentucky's first schoolteacher. According to Dr. John A Ouchterlony, in his 1880 book Pioneer Medical Men and Times in Kentucky,
The husband was brave and intrepid; took part in many fights with the Indians, and had numerous adventures and hair breadth escapes. He reached a high age, and was much respected and honored; but it is especially his wife who claims attention in connection with pioneer Medicine in Kentucky. She was a woman of remarkably vigorous intellect, great originality and fertility of resource, and of strong and noble character. She certainly was the first female who ever practiced Medicine in Kentucky and according to some she was the first of her sex to exercise the beneficent functions of the healing arts of our State. She was physician, surgeon, and obstetrician, and her fame and practice extended far and wide, even attracting patients from remote settlements and not only in Kentucky, but in adjoining States.
Here's to Mrs. Coomes, Dr. Blackwell, and all of the other great female physicians for whom Kentucky was part of the story!
When we first started HerKentucky, it was for the purpose of celebrating the Bluegrass State, not to tear down other states. For nearly five years, I've tried to stick to that plan. Buuutttt....
I've got a little bone to pick with Illinois.
Illinois is a perfectly lovely state. It's the home of the "world's most beautiful drive." It's the home of Superman. And Ronald Reagan. But you know what it's not? The Land of Lincoln. I don't care what their license plates say.
Abraham Lincoln was born 207 years ago today in Hodgenville, Kentucky. He married a Lexington girl.
And, he never forgot how important the Commonwealth was to his political strategy.
Here's to the birthday boy, Abraham Lincoln, the original hipster.
And don't be sad, Illinois. "Reagan's still pretty good" would look nice on a license plate.
More HerKentucky posts about Abe:
Celebrating the 70th birthday of Louisville native and broadcasting legend Diane Sawyer.Read More
Dwight David Yoakam was born on October 23, 1956 in Pikeville, KY, to keypunch operator Ruth Ann Tibbs Yoakam and gas station owner David Yoakam. Soon after, his family moved from their Floyd County home to Columbus Ohio. Dwight remained fiercely proud of his Kentucky roots, and he sang of the trip North up U.S. Highway 23 that many Eastern Kentuckians -- like his own parents -- were forced to take in order to find factory jobs.
In honor of Dwight Yoakam's birthday, here are five facts you probably didn't know about the singer and actor:
- Dwight was briefly enrolled at the Ohio State University, but dropped out in order to move to Los Angeles and pursue a career in entertainment. He was later awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Ohio Valley University in Parkersburg, WV.
- He has released four albums that were comprised solely of cover songs, including one album of Buck Owens songs.
- Dwight's acting career includes roles in Slingblade, Panic Room, Wedding Crashers, and Bandidas.
- He owns a food brand known as Bakersfield Biscuits.
- Johnny Cash once said that Yoakam was his favorite country singer.
Happy Birthday, Dwight!
Over on HerKentucky's Facebook page today, we've been talking about Colonel Sanders.
Well, we've been talking about KFC's latest incarnations of Colonel Sanders.
I'm not going to lie, I find the whole thing VERY creepy. Harland Sanders was a real, live person. He was born in Clark County Indiana in 1890. He lied about his age to join the U.S. Army. He worked on railroads and ferry boats and even practiced law for a while, until he got into a courtroom brawl with a client. Eventually, he settled in Corbin, KY, where he ran a Shell Gas Station and perfected his fried chicken recipe.
Of course, there are a whole lot of people in Southeastern Kentucky who make really good fried chicken. The reason that Colonel Sanders' image has graced a million paper chicken buckets instead of any of our Appalachian grandmothers is that he was a master of marketing. He embraced the iconic image of a Southern gentleman --- a Kentucky Colonel -- in a white suit and a string tie. He insisted on being called Colonel. And the image remained with KFC long after Sanders sold his operations, and even after he passed.
Somehow, the stylized cartoon we've all seen a million times on KFC's logo seems okay. These salt and pepper shakers from Louisville Stoneware seem kind of adorable.
But hiring two guys -- irreverent comedians and non-Southerners at that -- to play someone who was alive during many Kentuckians' lifetime just seems disrespectful and in poor, poor taste. Colonel Sanders was a shrewd businessman, a first-class marketer, possibly a terrible lawyer, and a fine cook. But he was also an actual living person whose legacy deserves a little more than KFC is providing him.
Inspired by Emily Bingham's biography Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham, HerKentucky editor Heather C. Watson takes readers on a photographic tour of Henrietta's Louisville.Read More