Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Susan M. Putnam, Mardi B. Perry, January 25, 1979

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:05 - Introduction / impressions of Kentucky

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Partial Transcript: I think we'll start with your first involvements with the FNS and how did you first hear about it. Can you tell me about that, Mrs. Putnam?

Segment Synopsis: Susan Putnam is introduced. She speaks about how she came to work at the Frontier Nursing Service. She talks about the town and her interactions with the local people.

Keywords: Couriers; Courts; Cultures; Errands; F.N.S.; FNS; Feuds; Fundraising; Horseback riding; Hospitals; Impressions; Isolation; Jails; Lectures; Local people; Locals; Money; Moonshine; Moonshining; Mountain people; Mountaineers; Respect; Rounds; Speeches; Towns; Trials; Wendover; Whiskey

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Appalachian Region--Social life and customs; Boston (Mass.); Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Distilling, illicit; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Horses--Care; Prohibition

00:09:17 - Uniforms / square dances / delivering a baby

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Partial Transcript: Let me ask you, did you wear a uniform as a courier? Do you remember what you wore?

Segment Synopsis: Putnam discusses whether couriers for the Frontier Nursing Service wore uniforms. She tells a story about a square dance involving an altercation between two men. She talks about assisting a nurse with a childbirth.

Keywords: Altercations; Boots; Couriers; Deliver babies; Delivery; Efficient; F.N.S.; FNS; Fights; Firearms; Guns; Horseback riding; Horses; Jeans; Mothers; Parties; Square dances; Sterilize; Uniforms; Weapons; Wendover

Subjects: Childbirth; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Medical care--Appalachian Region; Medical care--Kentucky; Midwifery--Appalachian Region; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Nurses; Nursing; Rural health services

00:16:15 - Mary Breckniridge / nurses / animals

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember anything specific about Mary Breckinridge during that summer?

Segment Synopsis: Putnam and Mardi Perry discuss Mary Breckinridge. They mention other nurses that worked for the Frontier Nursing Service. They talk about the animals living at Wendover.

Keywords: Animals; Betty Lester; Bridge; Cards; Changes; Education; England; F.N.S.; FNS; Food; Games; Gladys Peacock; Horses; Hospitals; Isolation; Jeeps; Mary Willeford; Moonshine; Moonshiners; Training; Whiskey

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Distilling, illicit; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Midwifery--Appalachian Region; Midwives--Appalachian Region; Nurses

00:22:26 - Local people / horses

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Partial Transcript: Do you--did most of the mountaineers have--farm? Do you remember anything about the logging industry? Did you see any--um--logging or coal?

Segment Synopsis: Putnam and Perry discuss the local people they encountered while working for the Frontier Nursing Service. They talk about specific horses living at Wendover.

Keywords: Birth control pills; Children; Diets; Experiments; F.N.S.; FNS; Farming; Gardens; Great Depression; Hookworms; Horses; Locals; Mountain people; Mountaineers; Public health; Records; Sanitation; Sores; Tobacco; Worms

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Depressions--1929--Kentucky; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Logging

00:27:22 - Boston Committee / Mary Breckinridge after her accident

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Partial Transcript: Can you tell me about your work with the Boston Committee, Mrs. Putnam?

Segment Synopsis: Putnam discusses her involvement with the Boston Committee of the Frontier Nursing Service. Putnam and Perry talk about Mary Breckinridge's habits after the accident that broke her back.

Keywords: Accidents; Backs; Boston Committee; Broken; Bulletins; Children; Committees; Disasters; F.N.S.; FNS; Families; Local people; Locals; Meetings; Mining accidents; Mountain people; Mountaineers; Nursing; Pain; Regulations

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Coal mine accidents; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Hyden (Ky.)

00:34:01 - Locals / Mary Breckinridge / another child birth

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Partial Transcript: --hair. And done in a great bun in the back of her head. And we used to be troubled by bats and the bats would get into the house every now and then and fly around just under the ceiling.

Segment Synopsis: Putnam tells a story of a woman that handled problems with bats at Wendover. Putnam and Perry talk more about the local people that the Frontier Nursing Service served. Perry tells a story about a childbirth that she was asked to assist with.

Keywords: Bats; Boston Committee; Cooking; Cordial; Deliver babies; Delivery; Eat; F.N.S.; FNS; Floods; Food; Friendly; Help; Helping; Horseback; Local people; Mountain people; Mountaineers; Records; Shy; Supplies; Wendover

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Childbirth; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.

00:43:55 - Transporting a child to Cincinnati

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Partial Transcript: Do you remember anything else you did as a courier?

Segment Synopsis: Perry tells a story about taking a child to the Cincinnati Children's Hospital via train.

Keywords: Children's wards; Cincinnati Children's Hospital; Civilization; Duties; F.N.S.; FNS; Jobs; Mountains; Responsibilities; Toys; Trains; Transportation; Work

Subjects: Children; Cincinnati (Ohio); Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.

00:48:24 - Mountain people / couriers / horses / Mary Breckinridge

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Partial Transcript: When you first arrived, was it as you imagined it would be? Or didn't you have any preconceived notions?

Segment Synopsis: Perry and Putnam talk about their impressions of the local people served by the Frontier Nursing Service. They talk about the couriers, nurses, and horses at Wendover. They talk more about Mary Breckinridge and her family and children.

Keywords: "Wide Neighborhoods"; Classes; Couriers; Courses; English; F.N.S.; FNS; Horses; Jean Hollins; Learning; Local people; Locals; Mountain people; Patriotism; Preconceptions; Schools; Sores; Veterinary medicine; Wars

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Social conditions; Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Families; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing; Nurses; University of Kentucky

00:54:28 - Returning to visit Wendover / funeral / Easter

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Partial Transcript: And Mrs. Perry, you've been back through the years, haven't you?

Segment Synopsis: Perry discusses returning to Wendover multiple times since her days there as a courier. Perry and Putnam mention a few people that worked there for the Frontier Nursing Service. Perry tells a story of a funeral she attended in the area and a story about celebrating Easter in Wendover.

Keywords: Agnes Lewis; Alarm clocks; Betty Lester; Cameras; Children; Church ceremonies; Courier Conclave; Couriers; Easter; Easter eggs; F.N.S.; FNS; Funerals; Hospitals; Mail; Photographs; Pictures; Tea; Wendover

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Coal miners; Coal mines and mining--Appalachian Region; Coal mines and mining--Kentucky; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Holidays--Kentucky; Weather

01:02:59 - Changes to the FNS / committees and fundraisers

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Partial Transcript: How do you think the FNS has changed through the years?

Segment Synopsis: Perry and Putnam discuss changes that have occurred within the Frontier Nursing Service over the years. They also talk more about the FNS committees, including detail about a fundraiser called the Christmas Preview.

Keywords: Boston Committee; Changes; Christmas Preview; Committees; Couriers; Districts; F.N.S.; FNS; Fundraising; Improvements; Jeeps; Money; Speeches; Support

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Mary Breckinridge Hospital; Medicare

01:14:41 - Mary Breckinridge at committee meetings

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Partial Transcript: When Mrs. Breckinridge would come to talk to the group--would--to the committee, would you bring friends to hear--

Segment Synopsis: Perry and Putnam discuss the things Mary Breckinridge would do when she came to speak to the committees of the Frontier Nursing Service. They also discuss Breckinridge's love of animals.

Keywords: Agnes Lewis; Animals; Chickens; Couriers; Discussions; Donations; F.N.S.; FNS; Flowers; Fundraising; Money; Photographs; Pictures; Sex reassignment surgery; Support

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.

01:19:50 - Boston Committee / Board of Governors

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Partial Transcript: The Boston Committee has two categories? Associate and--

Segment Synopsis: Perry and Putnam talk more about the Boston Committee of the Frontier Nursing Service. They discuss Perry's position on the Board of Governors.

Keywords: Betty Lester; Board of Governors; Boston Committee; Christmas Preview; Communities; F.N.S.; FNS; Fundraising; Help; Homes; Local people; Local politics; Locals; Meetings; Money; Mountain people; Public relations; Trustees

Subjects: Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.

01:26:43 - Mardi Cottage / Mary Breckinridge

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Partial Transcript: Isn't Mardi Cottage named after you?

Segment Synopsis: Putnam and Perry discuss a building at Wendover named after Perry because of a large donation she made to the Frontier Nursing Service. They talk more about Mary Breckinridge and their opinions of her. The interview is concluded.

Keywords: "Wide Neighborhoods"; Building; Construction; Couriers; Data; Documentation; Donations; Donors; F.N.S.; FNS; Information; Intellect; Intelligence; Money; Planning; Record keeping; Records; Training

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.