MRS. LUCINDA H. CORR, M.D., wife of A. C. Corr, M.D., with whom she is in partnership, occupies a distinguished position among the members of her profession in this State, and as a specialist in the treatment of diseases of women and girls she has won a wide reputation for her skill and success. She is also known as the author of works and papers that are a valuable contribution to the medical literature of the county. As a prominent physician, influential author and estimable lady, we are pleased to present her portrait and biography to our readers.
Dr. Corr is a native of Carlinville, born March 9, 1844, and is a daughter of Oliver W. and Deborah Hall, who are represented on another page of this volume. She early showed herself to be a bright and apt scholar, and at the age of seventeen had gained an education in the public schools that fitted her to teach. She began her career as a teacher at Honey Point, afterward teaching in the city schools of Carlinville and other places. She was assistant teacher in this city when there were but three schools here, with a principal for each school. She became a teacher in what was called Central Seminary. The building has since been burned, and the present commodious brick structure occupies its place.
April 20, 1865, Dr. Corr was married to A. C. Corr, who was then a medical student, and is now a prominent physician of this county. She taught one year after marriage. In 1869 she commenced the study of medicine with her husband, who was then practicing in Chesterfield. As a further preparation for the profession, she entered the Women's Medical College, at Chicago, from which she was graduated in 1874, as valedictorian of her class, and to her belongs the distinction of being the only woman of Macoupin County to this date who has graduated from a regular medical college. In September o the same year she opened her office in her native city, and was joined by her husband in March, 1875, following.
The Doctor continued in general practice until 1878, when the demand for her services in special lines required her to relinquish an extensive practice to give her entire attention to the diseases of women and girls, and at that time she opened her home to receive invalids. She further prepared herself for her work at Bellevue Hospital and at the DeMilt Dispensary at New York City, and has met with success in the many difficult cases that have come under he care. She is the only physician in the county that has operated successfully for vesicle calculus, vesico-vaginal fistula, trachelorrhaphy and perinae-orrhaphy.
Our subject is a valued member of the Society of Macoupin County for Medical Improvement, the Illinois State Medical Society, and the National Medical Association; she was a delegate from the State Medical Society to the National Medical Association at Washington, in 1884. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is identified with the Illinois Woman's Christian Temperance Union as one of its most intelligent and active workers. She was Superintendent of the Health Department three years. Dr. Corr is a member of the Queen Isabella Association, and of its Medical Department. The Doctor's writings on medical subjects have brought her into prominence. She is the author of a work entitled "Hygiene and Heredity, with Anatomy and Physiology in Outline Lessons for Blackboard Instruction," and of a volume on obstetrics that is used as a text book in the college from which she was graduated, and is highly recommended for that purpose by her Alma Mater. She has presented several papers at the meetings of the Illinois State Medical Society, that have attracted favorable notice for their scientific and literary merit.
In attaining her present high professional standing, Dr. Corr had many obstacles to contend against, that would have discouraged and embittered a woman of less firm character and heroic mold. The chief of these was the prejudice against a woman entering the professions, particularly that of medicine, as it was thought especially unfit for a lady, and none in this section of the State had ever before thought of defying public opinion on that point by preparing themselves for its arduous duties. Her success has vindicated her fight to choose her own walk in life and has done much to modify the sentiment that a woman is unsexed or less womanly because she enters a field of labor that in times past was considered man's exclusive dominion, if she attempted to practice the healing art in any other capacity than that of nurse, or of wife, mother or sister in the privacy of home. The value of girls is enhanced in proportion as other women will have succeeded, beyond question, in making a living, establishing a reputation and achieving eminence in avocations professional or business, hitherto denied them by the prejudices of society or custom. To do this for women and girls has been the actuating spirit of the subject of this sketch.
We are pleased to be able to append to the above the following admirably written character sketch from the pens of two warm friends of Dr. Lucinda Corr:
In personal appearance Dr. Corr is not at all the ideal strong-minded woman. Five feet tall, straight as an arrow, with plump girlish figure, notwithstanding her forty-seven years, with round fair face, large deep set blue eyes, overshadowed by heavy brows, a full-forehead, and a magnificent head of nut-brown hair four and a half feet long.
Dr. Corr's mother was a woman of unusual strength of character. A Virginian by birth, conservative in her views, inflexible in principle, exclusive in habit, but sympathizing deeply with her girls in all their efforts toward intellectual advancement. From her the Doctor inherited her sunny disposition and the courage that has enabled her to always stand bravely for her convictions.
A typical Western woman, Dr. Corr had advanced ideas on all subjects, even when a girl in years, and like many other girls in Southern families, rebelled against the advice of that clog to womanly progress, the Apostle Paul, and determined to know things for herself. Accordingly she fitted herself for teaching, and when only seventeen years old, taught her first country school. It was while teaching this school that she first met Mr. Albert C. Corr, and began a friendship that ripened into a life long love, and resulted in an almost ideal married life. Dr. Albert C. Corr was then a student of medicine and together they read and discussed subjects beyond the range of most young people.
The close of the school brought separation to the lovers. He went to Chicago to win his diploma. She home to teach and study and prepare herself for the keeping of the home they two should build. The young M.D. came home, the little house was furnished and the bright young bride, settled down to sew on the Doctor's buttons, listen to long stories from half-sick, often hysterical women, and to make $1 do the work of $5. But in listening to these sad stories of sickness and discouragement the listener's tender heart was wrung, and in thinking them over, "the times seemed sadly out of joint,: was there nothing to be done to remedy the evils so constantly before her? Could not women's insight and intuition better reach and help her sisters? So her thoughts turned to the study of medicine.
After her graduation she formed a partnership with her husband and opened an office in her native town. With characteristic unselfishness, and a noble lack of jealousy, Dr. A. C. Corr, her husband, entered into all her plans, and it was his sympathy that upheld her in her work, as step by step she climbed the ladder of success, bravely and heroically, winning her way, until today she stands triumphant, among the best physicians and surgeons in the State. A radical in medicine, as in everything else, Dr. Corr keeps well abreast of the times, and in her house, poor sick humanity can find all the modern inventions and discoveries for its relief, and the skill and courage to use them. "Have your plans been successful?" a friend asked not long ago when meeting Dr. Corr, after a few years absence.
"Plans," said the Doctor, "plans, I never had any plans. These things just grew upon me. You know I love my home and to have my own family in it, but the need seemed so great, for a place where sick women and children could come for treatment and care, that gradually the house has been enlarged and patients have come and we have really a hospital without intending it."
Dr. Corr is an enthusiast in her profession and though a delicate woman, has strength and courage to perform surgical operations, if the case demand, that would try the strength and nerve of the strongest man. It was not for ease that she chose this most laborious of the professions, but because in her generous sympathetic heart, she thought she could do the most good in it; and the long list of those whom her care and skill have raised from beds of hopeless invalidism to health and strength, proves her belief to be well founded. In her well-ordered hospital home everything runs smoothly under her guiding hands; while her Christian faith comforts and upholds "those who tarry for the coming of the angel who opens the way to the world whose portals we call death." Her cheery smile and sympathetic words, bring strength and courage to those who await the slower coming of "one who hath healing in His wings."
While it is true as the Book says, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine," it is also true that "lightest hearts have often heaviest mourning," but whatever Dr. Corr's personal sorrows may be, they are closely locked in her own breast, with the secrets and sins of her weaker sisters, and that she "hath learned of sorrow, sorrow's cure," hosts of care-sick, sorrowing women can testify. The loving heart that underlies her terse words, either quizzical or severe as the case may be, is too plainly apparent to allow even the disordered imagination of an invalid to be wounded thereby.
Of the tender motherliness that is a strong trait in her character, though alas! to her has come no mother's crown, but few who know only of her busy life as Author and Doctor, would have the least idea; but the troop of wise-awake nieces and nephews who at different times have found a home under her roof can bear most living witness to her maternal love and care. A younger sister found a mother in her, so also an orphaned girl and boy, the children of strangers. Both these girls are now happy wives and are mothers of children who are at once the torment and pride of their little foster grandmother.
Of the ideal home life of the Drs. Corr, how shall we speak? The tender companionship and mutual helpfulness that life pursuits have engendered between them, is as unusual as it is beautiful. Few men are capable of such living. A grey turbaned son of Arabia would call Dr. A. C. Corr "a brother of girls." A title purer and sweeter far than any that graced a knight of the round table. To an on-looker there would seem to be so many and diverging interests in Dr. Corr's home, that no one but a general could keep them separate and make all run smoothly, but the bright faced little woman, who sits at her ease in her rocking chair, talking on all sorts of subjects, between office calls, has them well in hand and finds time besides by work of tongue or pen to aid the nine different societies to which she belongs. Some are for the further advancement of women, others for the elevation of the world at large, but all for the bettering of poor humanity and all dear to the Doctor's heart.
This is a tame picture of the first woman doctor in Macoupin County. To the true woman, tender wife and faithful friend, this little sketch is but a feeble offering faintly portraying the love and veneration of her character that fills the hearts ofFrances P. Kimball,