AUBURN — Auburn will celebrate Women’s History Month and commemorate National Doctor Day on Sunday, March 30, with a free community program at the Woman’s Literary Union, 19 Elm St.

Auburn Mayor Jonathan P. LaBonte declared March as National Women’s History Month celebrating women of character, courage and commitment. His proclamation stated that American women have played and continue to play a critical economic, cultural and social role in every sphere of the life of the nation by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working inside and outside of the home.

The event is set to show appreciation for the contributions by dedicated, local physicians, with special recognition to the women in the profession. National Doctor Day was signed into public law and first celebrated in the U.S. on March 30, 1991.

Annette V. Dorey, a local author, will speak about her research and the women in her book “Maine’s Pioneering Female Physicians, 1850s-1920.” The book contains more than 170 biographical profiles of Maine’s earliest female practitioners. Two dozen of those early healers worked and lived in Androscoggin 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 they mainly married or single?

Dorey will answer those questions and more. Her book tells 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 when it was still a man’s profession.

The women varied in background, family life, medical education and medical disciplines. “It’s time to learn about and remember these women,” said Dorey. “Their struggles and stories have been lost or neglected all these years.”

An impressive number of these women were very involved in their professional medical associations, as well as in suffrage campaigns. The goal for many was to see equal rights granted to American women, and not only in medicine.

Annette Vance Dorey is a life-long learner and educator. She is a former education professor at University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. She is devoted to historical research and writing and enjoys presenting programs.

In addition to extensive research about Maine’s female physicians, other books by Dorey reveal the national campaign to improve child health from 1900 to the 1920s and also a detailed look at women in Maine’s early criminal justice system and the State Prison, 1875-1925.

The community, including children, is welcome to the free afternoon tea hosted by members of the Woman’s Literary Union. Reservations are encouraged but not necessary. To make a reservation or for more information, call Martha Feeley, president of WLU, at 783-1705 or email Auburn Councilor Tizz Crowley at [email protected]

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