Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Edna Rockstroh, December 1, 1979

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Early career experiences in France and England

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Partial Transcript: This is an unrehearsed interview with Ms. Edna Rockstroh with the Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project by Dale Deaton at approximately 10:30 am on December 1st, in Santa Cruz California.

Segment Synopsis: Edna Rockstroh discusses her early years in nursing. She details her experiences working in a hospital in Reims, France, and at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital in England, where she received training in midwifery.

Keywords: Maternity Center Association; Midwifery courses; Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital; Reims (France); Soissons (France)

Subjects: England; France; Midwifery; Nursing; Public health

00:02:56 - Recalling a funny story about a delivery in Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: N, n--your work at Maternity Center Association in New York before you went to France--

Segment Synopsis: Rockstroh recalls a humorous story about a woman naming her eleventh baby after she assisted with the delivery.

Keywords: Maternity Center Association

Subjects: African Americans--Kentucky; Childbirth

00:04:00 - Early experiences working for the Committee for Mothers and Babies in Kentucky (later known as Frontier Nursing Service)

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Partial Transcript: W, when did you find out, or, or, how did you find out about the Frontier Nursing Service, and when did you decide to go there to work?

Segment Synopsis: Rockstroh recounts her early years in the Committee for Mothers and Babies, later known as Frontier Nursing Service. Several stories are told about general medical treatment and delivering children.

Keywords: Birth and death survey; FNS; Frieda Caffin; Hookworms; Josephine Hunt; Medical treatment

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Childbirth; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Hyden. Ky; Leslie County (Ky.); Lexington (Ky.).; Medical care--Appalachian Region; Midwifery--Appalachian Region; Wendover (Ky.); Wooten (Ky.)

00:19:07 - Gaining the acceptance of the local community / reason for eventually leaving the Frontier Nursing Service

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Partial Transcript: Was there any reluctance on the part of the local women to have you and Frieda Caffin deliver their babies?

Segment Synopsis: Rockstroh shares her memories of gaining the acceptance of the local community, including a local physician, Dr. Baker. She also recalls the challenges of acquiring food and clean water in Appalachia, and shares her reason for eventually leaving the FNS.

Keywords: Customs; Diet; Dr. Baker; Food preparation; Frieda Caffin; Leaving; Medical training; Physicians; Social life

Subjects: Appalachia; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Food habits--Appalachian Region, Southern; Lexington (Ky.).; Physicians--Kentucky

00:22:23 - Memories of Mary Breckinridge and Alice Logan / stories of rural crimes

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Partial Transcript: Did Mrs. Breckinridge tell you anything about her personal life? Her family and her son and, and her, her second husband?

Segment Synopsis: Rockstroh gives a short account of working with Mary Breckinridge, and recalls her time working with Alice Logan. She also recounts stories of crimes that took place during her time in the FNS.

Keywords: Adultery; Alice "Al" Logan

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Capital punishment--Kentucky; Rural crimes--Kentucky; Work environment

00:29:03 - Social life as a nurse in the FNS

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Partial Transcript: What was social life like for nurses there in the early days?

Segment Synopsis: Rockstroh discusses the lack of social activities as an FNS nurse. She also talks about participating in a fire brigade, making a house call for a sick child, and attending a dinner in Wendover at Mary Breckinridge's house.

Keywords: Butlers; Clinics; Fire fighters; House calls; Household labor; Judge Lou; Juliet; Social life; Travel

Subjects: African Americans--Appalachian Region; Fire fighters--Kentucky; Food habits--Appalachian Region, Southern; Rural health clinics--Kentucky

00:36:54 - Committee meetings / Major Breckinridge

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Partial Transcript: What usually went on at those committee meetings? What, what took place?

Segment Synopsis: Rockstroh discusses the committee meetings that took place and the role of Mary Breckinridge's father, Major Breckinridge. She tells a story about rats getting into the cod liver oil, and another story about a funeral.

Keywords: Clifton Rodes Breckinridge; Funerals; Living conditions; Major Breckinridge; Mary Breckinridge's father; Murders; Sheriffs; Shooting

Subjects: Country life; Kentucky--Rural conditions

00:40:23 - Food habits / religion

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Partial Transcript: When, uh--while you were going around as a, as an FNS nurse, did you instruct people on how to prepare food, what types of food to cook, and what to eat--

Segment Synopsis: Rockstroh talks about whether the nurses instructed the local people about what to eat. She talks about the general health of the people. She talks about the church in Hyden.

Keywords: Church community; Food; Funerals; Outhouses

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Religion; Churches--Kentucky; Food habits--Appalachian Region, Southern; Hyden, (Ky.); Rural health--Kentucky

00:44:02 - Mary Breckinridge's views on social classes / more on Major Breckinridge

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Partial Transcript: Did Mrs. Breckinridge have any regulations on, on, on what the nurses there could do? Were you not permitted to date local men, or, or to go out to local houses at night, or anything like that?

Segment Synopsis: Rockstroh discusses Mary Breckinridge's views on social classes, and gives her opinion about Major Breckinridge. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: Breckinridge's father; Clifton Rodes Breckinridge; Frieda Caffin; Judge Lewis; Major Breckinridge; Social life

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Classism; Judges--Kentucky; Social classes; Wendover (Ky.)