Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Jean Tolk, November 1, 1978

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:01 - Introduction / coming to Leslie County / nursing story

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Partial Transcript: This is an interview with Miss Jean Tolk for the Frontier Nursing Service oral history project by Dale Deaton at approximately 10:30AM on November 1st, 1978 at Barbourville, Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Jean Tolk is introduced. She talks about becoming a nurse and moving to Leslie County. She recounts a story about an experience she had as a nurse.

Keywords: Ailments; Cutshin (Ky.); Diseases; Doctors; Electricity; Fiscal courts; Guns; Home visits; Illiteracy; Illnesses; Medication; Medicine; Pistols; Public health departments; Public health nurses; Red Cross; Sickness; Trachoma; Training; Treatment

Subjects: Education; Leslie County (Ky.); Medical care--Appalachian Region; Medical care--Kentucky; Nurses; Nursing; Rural health services; Schools; Teachers; Teaching

00:09:15 - Jackson, Kentucky / a tragedy

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Partial Transcript: So after--uh--some time I think it was either seven or nine children that I--uh--that--that we--that I took to--uh--Richmond, Kent--no, Jackson, Kentucky.

Segment Synopsis: Volk tells a story about taking some local children to Jackson, Kentucky. She also tells a story concerning her friend and a murder.

Keywords: Cars; Children; Clinics; Cutshin (Ky.); Death; Fear; Killed; Maternity; Midwifery; Midwives; Murder; Telephones; Train stations; Trains; Treatment

Subjects: Jackson (Ky.); Leslie County (Ky.); Nurses; Nursing; Schools; Teaching

00:15:39 - Working at Hyden, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: Then, the work at--Dr--at Hyden, let's see. How far back shall I go?

Segment Synopsis: Volk talks about moving to Hyden to work. She talks about the church and the clinic built there.

Keywords: Baptist revivals; Building; Central Presbytarian Churches; Clinics; Construction; Jobs; Outreach; Pastors; Work; Working

Subjects: Church buildings; Hyden (Ky.); Leslie County (Ky.); Nurses; Nursing

00:19:07 - Working at Dryhill, Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: I came down to Dryhill then. And of course it was just really starting all over like I did in Hyden.

Segment Synopsis: Volk talks about working as a nurse in Dryhill, Kentucky including a story about Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service.

Keywords: Ailments; Churches; Cooperation; Death; Diseases; Dying; F.N.S.; FNS; Fear; Illnesses; Immunizations; Inoculations; Midwives; Mothers; Schools; Shots; Sickness; Surveys; Training; Typhoid fever; Vaccinations

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Leslie County (Ky.); Medical care--Appalachian Region; Medical care--Kentucky; Nurses; Nursing; Rural health services

00:25:08 - Miss Roberts

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Partial Transcript: I want you to be sure that--um--that you tell about Miss Roberts too. I don't think she gets the recognition always--

Segment Synopsis: Volk talks about her friend Miss Zilpha Roberts, a teacher that lived with her in Kentucky.

Keywords: Chief Enrolling Clerk; Children; Communities; Friends; Green thumb; Growing; Illiteracy commission; Land; Legislature; Reading; Recognition; Zilpha Roberts

Subjects: Education; Frankfort; Friendship; Hyden (Ky.); Teachers; Teaching

00:30:37 - Nursing lectures / "granny midwives" and home remedies

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Partial Transcript: On your way down from Michigan, and Chicago... did you meet with Mr.McCormick in Louisville or Frankfort?

Segment Synopsis: Volk talks about a nursing lecture she attended during which she met Dr.McCormick. She also speaks about the local midwives and their home remedies as well as their opinions on the Frontier Nursing Service nurses.

Keywords: "Granny midwives"; Ailments; Burns; Concoctions; Constipation; Cutshin Clinic; Deliver babies; Delivery; Experience; F.N.S.; FNS; Help; Helping; Herbs; Home remedies; Illnesses; Laxatives; Lectures; Medicine; Rhubarb; Rural medicine; Schools; Teas; Training; Treatment; Wounds

Subjects: Childbirth; Education; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Leslie County (Ky.); Midwifery--Appalachian Region; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Nurses; Nursing; Public health

00:39:57 - Mary Breckinridge / Frontier Nursing Service nurses

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Partial Transcript: The first meeting that you met--that you had with Mrs. Breckinridge--

Segment Synopsis: Volk talks about meeting Mary Breckinridge and visiting with the nurses from the Frontier Nursing Service.

Keywords: "Wide Neighborhoods"; Affiliation; Children; Churches; Clinics; F.N.S.; FNS; Families; Home visits; Meetings; Money; Orphans; Presbyterian churches; Salaries; Tea; Wages

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Hyden (Ky.); Nurses; Nursing; Wendover (Ky.)

00:48:09 - Church / Hyden, Kentucky / tuberculosis

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Partial Transcript: One of the--one of the girls that you had helped raise at Dryhill lives in Barbourville?

Segment Synopsis: Volk talks about church and her denomination. She describes Hyden in 1919. She also tells a story about a boy she knew that had contracted tuberculosis.

Keywords: Ailments; Baptist mission; Bible; Bible classes; Buildings; Care; Comforting; Denominations; Diseases; Dryhill (Ky.); Horses; Illnesses; Reading; Stores; Streets; TB; Tuberculosis

Subjects: Church; Hyden (Ky.); Leslie County (Ky.); Presbyterian Church--Kentucky; Religion

00:55:49 - House

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Partial Transcript: How do you all like your new pastor up at Thousand Sticks?

Segment Synopsis: Volk discusses searching for a house to live in in Hyden, Kentucky.

Keywords: Dryhill (Ky.); Homes; Houses; Zilpha Roberts

Subjects: Hyden (Ky.)

00:59:22 - Drought

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Partial Transcript: Do you recall the--the uh--drought--in 1930--'31 in eastern Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Volk discusses the effects of the 1931 drought on the Leslie County area of Kentucky.

Keywords: Adoption; Build; Carpenters; Carpentry; Children; Church buildings; Destitute; Donations; Eastern Kentucky; F.N.S.; FNS; Federal government; Food; Government aid; Government relief programs; Help; Helping; Land; Money; Needy; Orphans; Outposts; Pay; Poverty; Prayer; Wages; Work; Working

Subjects: Drought--Economic aspects; Leslie County (Ky.)

01:05:35 - Nurses in Kentucky / horseback riding trip

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Partial Transcript: You talked a little before about the time you came to Kentucky, you were prepared to go someplace to work. Did you ever talk with Mrs. Breckinridge at all about that? About her reasons for coming to Kentucky?

Segment Synopsis: Tolk speaks about why she, Mrs. Breckinridge, and the Frontier Nursing Service came to Kentucky. She tells a story about going on a horseback riding trip through the area with two friends.

Keywords: Accents; Annville (Ky.); Christian workers; F.N.S.; FNS; Friends; Horseback; Horses; Houses; Language barriers; Lost; Missionaries; Mountains; Remote; Travel; Understand

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Kentucky; Leslie County (Ky.); Nurses; Nursing

01:11:50 - Politics

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Partial Transcript: Did you and Mrs. Breckinridge ever discuss your religious beliefs at all?

Segment Synopsis: Volk talks more about her religious beliefs as well as what she knew about Mrs. Breckinridge's religious beliefs. She talks about politics, including an endorsement for a local politician. She also mentions rules she had heard concerning the FNS nurses' involvement with politics and religion. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: F.N.S.; FNS; Madalyn Murray O'Hair; Moonshine; Moonshining; Preaching; Rules; Seminaries; Supreme Court; Voting

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Church; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Kentucky--Politics and government; Religion