Woman of the Century/Ida Joe Brooks
BROOKS. Miss Ida Joe, educator, physician and surgeon, born in Muscatine, Iowa, 28th April, 1853. She is the daughter of Rev. Joseph Brooks. When she was very young, her parents moved to St. Louis, Mo., and she there entered the public schools, beginning in the primary department of the Clay school, when Dr. William T. Harris began his career as a teacher. Her father removed to the South after the war, and Miss Brooks went to Little Rock, Ark., in 1870. Two years afterwards, in conversation with a friend, she warmly argued that women should earn their own money, and he made a wager that she would not do it herself. As a joke, he found her a school in Fouche Bottom, where the gnats were so thick that a smudge had to be kept continually burning. She accepted the position and taught there IDA JOE BROOKS. faithfully and well. In 1873 Miss Brooks, with a liking for the work, began to teach in the public schools of Little Rock. The following year she was made principal of the grammar school, and in 1876 she was made principal of the Little Rock high school. In 1877 she was elected president of the State Teachers' Association. In the same year her father died, and the family came to shortened means, but were sustained by the independence and noble work of the daughter. In 1881 the Little Rock University was opened. Having become a Master of Arts, she was placed in charge of the mathematical department, where she taught until, in 18S8, she entered the Boston University School of Medicine, a course which had for years been her desire- She was graduated there with high honors, and afterwards took a post-graduate course on nervous diseases in the Westborough Insane Hospital. She spent one year as house officer in the Massachusetts Homeopathic Hospital, being assigned half the time on the surgical and half the time on the medical work. That was an unusual appointment. Returning to Little Rock in September, 1891, she began the practice of her profession and from the start won recognition and patronage. Dr. Brooks is an earnest woman suffragist and a thorough temperance advocate.