Dr. Mary Emily Lapham Collection
Scope and Contents
In addition to the letters from Lapham, there are several photographs and postcards. Reports Lapham wrote about the dispensary and the children's camp are included in her writings. There are also copies of articles concerning Dr. Alice Masaryk of Czechoslovakia and Countess Teleki of Budapest that Dr. Lapham tried to have published in the United States.
Also included in the collection are letters to Dr. Lapham and miscellaneous materials, newspapers clippings, and telegraphs relating to her time in Europe.
- 1917 - 1920
- Lapham, Dr. Mary Emily (Person)
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
While in Highlands, Lapham observed the lack of medical attention received by the local population, especially women. Lapham's observations finalized her decision to study medicine. She left North Carolina to attend Women's Medical College of Philadelphia, from which she earned her M.D. in 1900. She then traveled to Germany, Austria, and Switzerland for advanced study.
After returning from Europe, Lapham settled at "Faraway" with her friends Caroline Barker and Edith Bloomer Dougall, along with Edith's adopted daughter, Valerie Ashton-Dougall. The ladies were especially interested in music, particularly opera, and would often travel to Europe for operatic festivals.
In 1908, Dr. Lapham built Highlands Camp Sanatorium, a facility for the treatment of tuberculosis, where she specialized in pneumotherapy. The hospital operated for ten years before it burned in January of 1918.
In March 1918, Dr. Lapham set sail for France on a Red Cross Medical Mission. She was station in La Rochelle, France, were she set up a dispensary and hospital for refugees. When the dispensary closed after the conclusion of WWI, Dr. Lapham was reassigned to another Red Cross mission. From January through March 1919, she traveled through Brittany, France, giving mother/baby health clinics. In April, Dr. Lapham was appointed physician to the Red Cross's Czecho-Slovakian Commission, and was assigned to Prague, then Petrovatz. From August through September 1919, she assisted the Red Cross in taking five hundred refugee children into the Tatra Mountains for a health camp. Dr. Lapham returned to the United States in early February of 1920.
Lapham then served as head of tuberculosis research work at Johns Hopkins University and later at the University of Pennsylvania.14 She became the first woman president of the American Sanatorium Association, today's American Thoracic Society. She was also a stalwart advocate of woman suffrage.
Mary Lapham died at her winter home in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1936, at the age of 75.
0.63 Linear Feet (1 manuscript box, 1 half-manuscript box)
Language of Materials
The collection consists primarily of letters written by Mary Lapham during her time with the Red Cross. Also included are photographs, newspapers clippings, and miscellaneous materials relating to Dr. Lapham's time in Europe.
Method of Acquisition
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- Dr. Mary Emily Lapham Collection
- Jennifer Motszko
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