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Could your reference librarians assist with a search for a photo of Dr. Mary J. (Foster) Breckenridge, 1839-1924, first female physician on the

Could your reference librarians assist with a search for a photo of Dr. Mary J. (Foster) Breckenridge, 1839-1924, first female physician on the medical staff of Nebraska Methodist Hospital in 1891?
For Methodist Hospital's 125th Anniversary celebration (ongoing). We have some bio info, but would love more and a PHOTO to share with employees. Have been browsing online databases, OWH, Durham, etc. no luck yet. Thanks! Julie Cerney, Methodist Health System Marketing
Last Updated: Apr 15, 2016  |  32 Views

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Thank you for asking! We've done some digging to, I believe, good result. 

On 18 August 1907 the Omaha World-Herald printed an article in honor of the 50th anniversary of Dr. Breckenridge and her husband, Charles F. Breckenridge. I have attached a copy of the article here with two caveats: One, the images digitized in the Historic Omaha World-Herald Archives are under copyright by Newsbank, so this particular copy shouldn't be used for publication. Two, the scan just didn't seem to produce a very clear image, so it won't be the most flattering picture of Dr. Breckenridge you ever see. 

OPL has several copies of Albert F. Tyler's 1928 History of Medicine in Nebraska and its 1977 reprint. A good, if small, photograph of Dr. Mary [J.] Foster Breckenridge appears on p. 180 with some great biographic material, and a Dr. Mary J. [Foster] Breckenridge is mentioned on p. 179 - it's unclear whether Tyler believed these were two different women. Dr. Breckenridge also appears several times in the book's rolls of local physicians. It's a wonderful resource that would be well worth using for your project. 

Having seen the photo of Dr. Breckenridge in History of Medicine in Nebraska, I find it reasonable to believe but cannot confirm that she is the woman in black seated on the porch in the classic photo of Methodist Hospital and Deaconess Home at 20th and Harney - available here in wonderful resolution from some corner of Methodist's website. 

There are passing references to Dr. Breckenridge in Hollis Limprecht's "Century of Medical Miracles" but no photographs, and an advertisement for her private practice on 1113 S 30 Ave appears on page 23 of the October 1900 issue of The Omahan magazine. 

We'd love to connect you with this wonderful part of the history of Methodist Health System, women in the medical profession, and Omaha. Please contact our local history librarian, Martha Grenzeback, at or call 402-444-4800 so we can figure out the best way to help you access these materials in a format that will be useful for your quasquicentennial celebration.

Answered by Mark SorensenBookmark and Share

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