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Woman of the Century/Caroline Matilda Dodson

DODSON, Miss Caroline Matilda, physician, born near Keosauqua, Iowa, 17th December, 1845. CAROLINE MATILDA DODSON.jpgCAROLINE MATILDA DODSON. Her father, Stiles Richard Dodson, was the son of Richard Dodson and Hannah Watson, being a descendant of Thomas and Mary Dodson, of whom the doctor's mother was also a descendant. Her mother, Mrs. Caroline Matilda Dodson, was the daughter of Stephen Harrison, and Mary Dodson. Miss Dodson's father and mother were natives of Huntington Valley, Pa. On 28th July, 1836, they were united in marriage. The mother, Mrs. C. Matilda Dodson, was a woman of strong character and advanced thought. About six weeks after marriage they left Pennsylvania for the West and settled in Van Buren county, Iowa. Stiles R. Dodson died 28th October, 1847, leaving his widow with four daughters, the youngest not two years of age. That winter the mother taught school in her own house. In the spring of 1848 she returned with her family to her father's house in Pennsylvania. Caroline was baptized in November, 1857, and she was henceforth a laborer by the side of her mother, in the Baptist Church. Study at home under private teachers and at the district school supplemented the early lessons from the mother. At about twelve she was sent to an academy and normal institute. She began to teach in the winter of 1861. Returning at intervals to school, she followed the profession of teaching until the fall of 1871 when she matriculated at the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, and entered upon the three year course just inaugurated. Dr. Ann Preston was then Dean. The summer of 1872 she spent in the Nurses' Training School of the Woman's Hospital of Philadelphia. The course required was completed and a certificate of the Training School for Nurses was given her. The summer of 1873 she spent in the same hospital as student in the wards and out practice. She received her diploma in March, 1874, and went to Ypsilanti, Mich., for further study with Dr. Ruth A. Gerry, one of the first women to practice medicine. After a year spent in hospital and private practice with that worthy medical pioneer, she went to Rochester, N. Y., and there in connection with practice opened a drug store. In 1877, her mother having gone West again, she started for Iowa, going by the Hudson and Great Lakes. She lost a car load of valuables in the riot at Pittsburgh, Pa. After her trip West she returned to Philadelphia and worked at whatever promised a shadow of support. For a time five dollars per week was depended upon to meet the living expenses of three, but otters came, and among them, unsolicited, one from the Philadelphia Society for Organizing Charity to act as superintendent of one of its districts. The position was accepted, and for eight years was filled in connection with her practice of medicine. As a teacher she has written and spoken boldly for the better methods of education, and advocated broadening the opportunities for study. She has read widely on subjects concerning the movements of women, and her voice and pen have been used with earnestness in their interest. She saw that a general movement might help to educate the masses and to spread a knowledge of self-care. To this end, after much deliberation, a call was issued for a public meeting to be held in Association Hall, Philadelphia, 23rd July, 1890, and an organization was effected under the name of the National Woman's Health Association of America. The association was chartered 1st November, 1890. and Dr. Dodson was elected first president. The plan of the association is broad and provides for extensive branch work.