Esther Pohl Lovejoy gets only a mention or two in Blue Thread. Fictional Miriam Josefsohn and fictional Charity Osborne attend a real event–the September 29, 1912, rally in Portland to honor national suffragist leader Anna Howard Shaw. Miriam tells us that Charity:
…told me about Suffrage Day at Oaks Amusement Park the previous Sunday. And she explained in detail how Esther Pohl Lovejoy had persuaded Dr. Shaw to come to Oregon. ‘Well, they are both physicians, Miriam, so it stands to reason. Isn’t this exciting?’”
Dr. Lovejoy deserves more than a mention, and now, thanks to Kimberly Jensen, you can read about her extraordinary life. Prof. Jensen teaches History and Gender Studies at Western Oregon University and is an authority on the woman suffrage movement. Her latest book, Oregon’s Doctor to the World: Esther Pohl Lovejoy and a Life of Activism, is coming out next month from the University of Washington Press.
Here’s Jensen’s brief bio on her subject:
Esther Clayson Pohl Lovejoy, whose long life stretched from 1869 to 1967, challenged convention from the time she was a young girl. Her professional life began as one of Oregon’s earliest women physicians, and her commitment to public health and medical relief took her into the international arena, where she was chair of the American Women’s Hospitals after World War I and the first president of the Medical Women’s International Association. Most disease, suffering, and death, she believed, were the result of wars and social and economic inequities, and she was determined to combat those conditions through organized action.
The Oregon Historical Society is hosting a book launch and signing on Monday, October 22 at 7pm. The event is free, but reservations are appreciated. Put yours in now to meet a dynamic and delightful woman who has given us a chance to learn a ton about Oregon’s doctor to the world.