BETHEL — On Saturday, March 29, local historian and author Annette Vance Dorey will present an illustrated talk at the Bethel Historical Society about the women featured in her book, “‘Miss Dr. Lucy’ and Maine’s Pioneering Female Physicians, 1850s–1920.”

The event is the Society’s annual Women’s History Month program and will take place at the Dr. Moses Mason House, 14 Broad St. This lecture also occurs just one day before National Doctors’ Day, established in the early 1990s to recognize physicians, their work and their contributions to society and the community.

During the program, Dorey also will introduce her just-released “Maine’s First Female Doctors,” an abridged, easy-reader edition for young adults. The book features a helpful glossary of terms highlighted throughout the text, plus a detailed “Timeline of Medical History.” In addition, “Activities for You” extras are located at the end of chapters and allow readers to become personally involved with the women’s stories and the research behind them.

More than 150 biographical profiles of Maine’s earliest female practitioners combine to shed new light on the conditions and the decisions faced by those women, as well as their contributions to their communities and to medicine. About a half-dozen early healers were raised or worked in Oxford County.

How hard was it to gain admission to medical schools? Which colleges accepted women pursuing a medical career? Where did they set up their practices? Were those women mainly married or single? Dorey will answer those questions and more. Her books tell the stories of the personal and professional lives of women long forgotten. Women had to be strong and determined to earn their medical degrees and pursue careers as doctors while it was still a man’s profession.

“It’s time to learn about and remember these women,” said Dorey. “Their struggles and stories have been lost or neglected all these years.” The women varied in background, family life, education and medical disciplines. An impressive number of these women were very involved in professional medical associations, as well as in suffrage campaigns. The goal for many of them was to see equal rights granted to American women — and not only in medicine.

Dorey’s presentation will begin at 2 p.m, and the event is free. Books will be available for purchase and signing by the author. Advance copies of books are available through the author’s website, Annette-Writes.com.

Also by this author is “Maine Mothers Who Murdered 1875 to 1925: Doing Time in State Prison,” a work that has attracted wide attention since its release in 2012. It gives a detailed look at women in Maine’s early criminal justice and corrections systems. Thirty murder cases serve as the backdrop.


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