Friday, April 23, 2010

Stories from the Clippings

Meet Miss America, Dr. Carolyn Taylor

This article brought to mind the time when I installed an exhibit titled, "Colonel Strohm's Nurses". It featured photographs of nurses who, under the command of Colonel J. Guy Strohm, served in the 46th General Hospital alongside many physicians from the University of Oregon Medical School (WWII). It became quickly evident that some took offence at the exhibit poster. Besides a slash from a pen, a message declared, "I'm nobody's nurse". Sure, by today's standards, the title was not PC, but back in the day, I doubt that it would have raised an eyebrow. In fact, the original photograph album itself, created by women, proudly displayed this title. PC or not, these kinds of things are provocative, at the least.

So, some may be offended at the language used to describe Dr. Carolyn Taylor. I suppose that descriptions of professional women and their accomplishments, intermingled with chatter about their physical beauty, are relatively rare these days. But in 1954, a newspaper reporter portrayed Dr. Taylor like this. [While reading, keep in mind that she was one of the U.S. Army's first women doctors and a 1950 graduate of the University of Oregon Medical School.]

Captain Carolyn Taylor, Pretty Army Doctor,
Leaves for Paris for Overseas Hospital Duty


From a clinical standpoint, Carolyn Taylor is formed and figured like a serious candidate for a Miss America title, a condition that is much easier to diagnose than reasons behind her having become a doctor in internal medicine and a captain in the U.S. army.

The tall 28 year old Dr. Taylor has wanted to be a doctor since she was 3 years old… Dr. Taylor is unmarried, despite having had professional training in heart problems, expects to specialize in cardiac medicine when she enters private practice.

"Cardiac is the biggest killer - you don't have to worry about business," she laughed. And when she smiles or laughs it is enough to cause a dead man to jump out of bed.

Dr. Taylor recently enlivened a Fort Knox, Ky. ward of 35 enlisted men, all of whom swore they were ill.

Dr. Taylor took her army basic training with 400 males at Fort Sam Houston near San Antoinio Tex. It is possible that not since the Battle of the Alamo have so many soliers in the area felt the need of medical attention of the internal variety. But they got no help from the vivacious captain.

"I was too busy marching trying to keep in step, which is a problem when you are wearing a skirt. It was really sad". Dr. Taylor made a libalous remark about the designer of her uniform.

"All the men were marching boom, boom, boom in step and I was four steps behind going click, click, click, all because of a tight skirt," she explained after noting that she has long legs (she's 5"10")…

To be fair, I have to say that from the article, we also find that not only was she a beautiful heart breaker, with the body and face of a beauty queen, and a cardiac specialist, but she was smart too. She entered the University of Oregon at age 15 and stumped the experts on the TV show, "What's My Line". She was the first doctor in her family and one of a few female doctors in the Army at that time. She recalled that the Army had not been taking women doctors until 1951.

What can I say? This is how it was!

Article referenced: f1_p92_a1

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