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Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Company

Page 204


The real value of an individual to his community or to his country is determined by his serviceableness - the extent of his activity as a direct or indirect factor in the world's progress and benefit. Judged by this standard Dr. Lucinda H. Corr well deserves to be numbered among the prominent and representative people of Macoupin county where in the practice of her profession her work has been of great benefit to her fellowmen while in other connections, too, the high standards of life which she has ever maintained in relation to the home and to intellectual and moral progress have had their direct effect upon the public welfare.

Dr. Corr was born in Carlinville, Illinois, March 9, 1844, a daughter of Oliver Wiley and Deborah (Redman) Hall, the former a native of North Carolina and the latter of Virginia. Her paternal grandparents were James and Mary (Walker) Hall, natives of North Carolina, and her great-grandfather was William Hall, a soldier of the Revolutionary war, who married a Miss Holland. The maternal grandparents of Mrs. Lucinda Corr were John and Elizabeth (Fourth) Redman, the latter of German descent. Both Mr. and Mrs. Redman, however, were natives of Virginia and in that state their daughter, Mrs. Hall, was also born. She became the mother of Lucinda Hall Corr, who was reared in Carlinville and was educated in the public schools, after which she taught in the country and city schools. All through her student days she manifested special aptitude in her work so that she was able to take up the profession of teaching when but seventeen years of age, being first employed at Honey Point and afterward in Carlinville and other places. She was assistant principal in Carlinville when there were but three schools there, with a principal for each school, and at one time she taught in the Central Seminary in a building that, destroyed by fire, was the predecessor of the present brick structure. On the 20th of April, 1865, she gave her hand in marriage to Dr. A. C. Corr, who was then a medical student. She continued teaching school near her home that she might look after the interests of and care for the aged mother of her husband while he was completing his medical studies. 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 as 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 never 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 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, bu few who know only of her busy life as author and doctor would have the least idea; but the troop of wide-awake nieces and nephews who at different times have found a home under her roof can bear most loving witness to her maternal love and a home under her roof can bear most loving 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 like pursuits have engendered between them is as unusual as it is beautiful. Few men are capable of such living. A gray turbaned son of Arabia would call Dr. A. C. Carr "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 word 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 of

Frances P. Kimball, St. Paul, Minnesota
Virginia D. Pearce, Meridian, Mississippi."

Throughout their married life Dr. Corr was the able assistant and ofttimes the inspiration of her husband in his labors. It has been said of them: "The home life of the doctor and his wife has had a golden thread reaching out from it to many families in this city. * * * Being deprived of children of their own, they were always reaching out to help the orphans and homeless, believing that the childless home and the homeless child should be brought together. It was her husband's wish that she should study medicine that she might be still more closely associated with him in all of his interest, and after reading with him for a time in 1871 she entered the Woman's Hospital and Medical College of Chicago, from which she was graduated in 1874 with valedictorian honors. She afterward pursued post-graduate work in New York and Chicago hospitals and in 1874 began practicing in Carlinville, her native town, where she has followed her profession continuously since. Her husband, then practicing in Chesterville, joined her in Carlinville in March, 1875. Dr. Lucinda Corr continued in general practice until 1878, when the demand for her services in special lines made it necessary that she concentrate her entire attention upon the diseases of women, at which time she opened her home to receive invalids. She further prepared herself for this work at Bellevue Hospital and at the DeMilt Dispensary of New York city and has been very successful in the treatment of many difficult cases. She is the only physician in the county that has operated successfully for vesicle calculus, vesicovaginal fistula, trachelorrhapy and perinaeorrhaphy.

Dr. Corr is the first woman of Macoupin county to graduate from a regular medical college. In attaining her present high professional standing she had many obstacles to contend against that would have discouraged and embittered a woman of less firm character and heroic mold. The child of these was the prejudice against a woman's 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 herself for its arduous duties. her success has vindicated her right 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 of wife, mother of sister int eh privacy of home.

Dr. Corr has represented the county in state and national medical associations and was twice president of the Macoupin Medical Society of which she became a member in 1874 and of which she and her husband prepared a history called "Twenty Years of Medicine in Macoupin County, Illinois." She is serving her second year as vice president of the Carlinville Women's Club and has just closed eighteen months' service as president of the Carlinville chapter of the American Women's League. She also belongs to the Springfield Chapter, D. A. R.

Two warm friends of Dr. Lucinda Corr once wrote the following character sketch: "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, 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 towards intellectual advancement. From her the doctor inherited her sunny disposition and the courage that has enabled her always to 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 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. When Dr. A. C. Corr graduated from the medical department of Northwestern University in 1868 the young couple at once set up housekeeping in the Congregational parsonage at Chesterfield and the little home 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 one dollar do the work of five. 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 woman's insight and intuition better reach and help her sisters? So her thoughts turned to the study of medicine.

1911 Index
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