Women in Kentucky - Health / Medicine

Mary Britton: Mary Britton attended Berea College, but left to seek employment as a teacher in several schools in Central Kentucky because of the untimely death of her parents.  She taught in the Lexington public school system beginning around 1876.  She went on to graduate from the American Missionary College in Chicago, and practiced medicine from her home in Lexington.  Her specialty was hydrotherapy and electrotherapy. According to historian Doris Wilkinson, Dr. Britton obtained a license from the city clerk to practice medicine in 1902, becoming the first African American woman physician in Lexington.

   She was also a founding director of the Colored Orphan Industrial Home and served as the president of the local Woman’s Improvement Club.  She was active in the movement to overturn the separate coach law, under which African Americans and whites were required to ride in separate cars on passenger trains.  Mary Britton was an active member of the Suffrage Movement as well.

  Britton wrote for the American Citizen, the Daily Transcript and the Lexington Leader. Her writings expressed her belief in abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, as well as a general need for societal reformation.

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Site Overview


A. What

Performing Arts
Public Service

B. When

View a selected history of women
View a selected history of women
Sounds and images
Civil War Diaries

C. Where

Central / Northern Kentucky
Western Kentucky
Eastern Kentucky
Southern Kentucky


Selected Readings
Educational Tools
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Archival Collections
Children's Books

E. About this Project

Women in Sports:

Minnie Adkins
Elizabeth Barret, Anne Lewis, Mimi Pickering, & Justine Richardson
Jane Burch Cochran
Joan Dance
Enid Yandell

Women in Business:

Nelda Barton-Collings
Julia Dinsmore
Laura Freeman
Mattie Mack
Lena Madesin Phillips
Caroline Burnam Taylor

Women in Education:

Helen Lew Lang
Katherine Pettit
Jane Stephenson
Cora Wilson Stewart

Women in Health/Medicine:

Mary Britton
Linda Neville
Ora Framer Porter
Louise Southgate, M.D.

Women in Journalism:

Linda Boileau
Alice Allison Dunnigan

Women in Law:

Pearl Carter Pace
Lt. Colonel Linda Smith

Women in Literature:

Effie Waller Smith

Women in Military:

Lt. Anna Mac Clarke
Capt. Helen Horlacher Evans
Julia Ann Marcum

Women in Music:

Sarah Ogan Gunning
Helen Humes
Lily May Ledford
Reel World String Band
Jean Ritchie
Mary Wheeler

Women as Pioneers:

Esther Whitley

Women in Public Service:

Governor Martha Layne Collins
Emma Guy Cromwell
Rep. Mary Elliott Flanery
Sen. Georgia Davis Powers
Lt. Gov. Thelma Stovall

Women in Reform:

Madeline McDowell Breckinridge
Laura Clay
Eula Hall
Josephine Henry
Belinda Mason
Lois Morris
Eliza Caroline Calvert Obenchain
Charlotte Richardson
Joan Robinett
Mary Sue Whayne
Corinne Whitehead
Evelyn Williams

Women in Religion:

Eldress Nancy Moore
Rabbi Gaylia Rooks

Women in Science:

Sarah Frances Price
Ellen Churchill Semple

Women in Sports:

Terri Cecil-Ramsey
Geri Grigsby
Audrey Whitlock Peterson
Mary T. Meagher Plant