Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Elizabeth Lansing, June 6, 1980

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:00 - Introduction to the Frontier Nursing Service

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Partial Transcript: The following is an unrehearsed interview with Elizabeth Lansing for the Frontier Nursing Service Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Elizabeth Lansing talks about her background and how she came to be familiar with the Frontier Nursing Service. She also discusses her family and how they were involved in the Nursing Service as well.

Keywords: Brothers; Committed; Mothers

Subjects: Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Hospitals; Nurses

00:00:52 - Lansing's writings and books

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Partial Transcript: And, um, when I started writing, I, uh, I--well I've written several books.

Segment Synopsis: Lansing goes into detail about her writing and what inspired her. The nurses were something she talked about a lot. Her writing really came from the nurses.

Keywords: Buses; Inspirations; Pictures; Trains

Subjects: Authors.; Books; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Nurses; Stories; Writing

00:06:18 - Journey to the Frontier Nursing Service

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Partial Transcript: And there we had another lovely greeting.

Segment Synopsis: Lansing starts to talk about when she arrived at the hospital and how everyone was so wonderful; some of the nicest people she has ever met. She felt as if anywhere she went she was welcomed with opened arms and very cheerfully. Lansing starts describing her journey in a jeep. She tells about how they couldn't cross the bridge like they normally would because the water was too high. She also explains how that made her feel.

Keywords: Bridges; Greetings; Mail; Nice people; Rivers; Roads; Weakening moment; Wedged

Subjects: Buildings; Floods; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Hospitals; Mail

00:11:18 - The barn and horses

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Partial Transcript: And once again I get this glorious welcome from all the different people.

Segment Synopsis: Lansing starts by talking about the horses inside of the barn. Then she talks about the people that were there, and how there were about 3 or 4 girls that were there that took care of horses.

Keywords: Barns; Glorious welcome; Jeeps

Subjects: Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Horses; Population; Work

00:11:45 - Tea time

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Partial Transcript: You know where the barn is, right across from the Garden House basically.

Segment Synopsis: Lansing starts by talking about how she went up to the Garden House to have tea. She also asks if "Nice Ellen" was still the cook there and interviewer replies with a "yes" and they both agreed how great the food is there. Lansing talks about how she and the people surrounding her talked about all the commotion and such.

Keywords: Ellen; Gardens; Red Bird; Tea

Subjects: Communication; Food; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.

00:13:13 - Tea time with Mrs. Breckinridge

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Partial Transcript: And Mrs. B just, there she was.

Segment Synopsis: Lansing starts by talking about the tea time they had with the Koreans and Mrs. Breckinridge. She also talks about how formal Mrs. Breckinridge was and how much of a hard worker she was. Lansing also added how much Mrs. Breckinridge loved children.

Keywords: Hard workers; Koreans; Mary Breckinridge; Mrs. B

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

00:14:47 - Young Elizabeth Lansing

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Partial Transcript: Some pe--I mean very happily when I was young, I was brought up very near a woman much like that.

Segment Synopsis: Lansing starts by describing her happy, young self. Then she goes on to say that when she was in this era, the women were tough and powerful. Lansing notes that Mrs. Breckinridge was one of those loud voiced women, and comments on that a little.

Keywords: Happy; Mary Breckinridge; Tough; Young

Subjects: Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965; Childhood; Respect; Schools

00:23:54 - The house

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Partial Transcript: Did you stay at the Big House though?

Segment Synopsis: Lansing starts by talking about the Big House at Wendover as she entered it. She also tells the interviewer about the books she had in her suitcase. There were books all over the house.

Keywords: Bookcase; Living room; Suitcase

Subjects: Books; Building; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Stories

00:27:31 - The idea for her book

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Partial Transcript: When you walked over to Wendover, did you already have your idea for the book?

Segment Synopsis: Lansing starts by talking about her book again with the interviewer. She used setting and people to help her write but she knew that she wanted to write about a career, which is why she chose the nurses.

Keywords: "An awful stick"; Careers; Ideas; Rivalries; Setting; Wendover; Young

Subjects: Authors.; Books; Boston (Mass.); Doctors; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Nurses; Stories; Writing

00:29:49 - Six books

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Partial Transcript: So from your three weeks there, you, uh--

Segment Synopsis: Lansing starts by talking about her six books that she has written. Lansing tells the interviewer that she's not a specific type of writer or person in general, meaning that she doesn't feel she needs to be exactly specific in her writing or her life. Lansing says that she never took notes while visiting the FNS, though she states that she should have.

Keywords: Journals; Six; Specific

Subjects: Authors.; Books; Diary; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Horses; Nurses; Stories; Writing

00:31:37 - Mary Breckinridge as a leader

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Partial Transcript: I don't honestly think the whole time that I was there I heard one cross word.

Segment Synopsis: Lansing discusses Mrs. Breckinridge's expectations of her employees.

Keywords: Country; Criticism; Critique; Ellen; Expectations; Leadership; Memory; Mistakes; Remembering; Reprimand; Training

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

00:32:48 - Evening socials

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Partial Transcript: So at the end of a day you were pretty tired.

Segment Synopsis: Lansing starts by talking about the things that she did in the evening hours. The interviewer asked her how tired Lansing was by the end of the days that she spent there, and she replies that she always felt dead by the end of the day. Lansing explains that they never really did anything social in the evenings, and went into further detail about the topic.

Keywords: Evening; Tea; Tired

Subjects: Death; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Social life and customs; Stories

00:34:44 - Sunday service

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Partial Transcript: We used to have--on Sundays you ha--they'd have a service there.

Segment Synopsis: Lansing starts by talking about how they would have service on Sundays. Then, Lansing talks about the last time she had come down to visit the FNS.

Keywords: Church services; Last time; Sundays

Subjects: Appalachian Region--Religion; Bible; Church; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Houses

00:35:19 - The last memory

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Partial Transcript: I remember the last time I went down...

Segment Synopsis: Lansing ends the interview by talking about the people of the places she's been as a whole. She describes everyone in such a bright light and sounds slightly emotional and overwhelmed as she talks about them. Lansing sounds so happy and joyful reminiscing on her past times there. She also describes more about her books and the nurses that made her books possible.

Keywords: Careers; Experiences; Joy

Subjects: Authors.; Books; Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.; Growth; Nurses; Population; Public works; Stories; Writing