Lovejoy, Esther Pohl

Lovejoy, Esther Pohl (b. Clayson)

(1869–1967) physician, health administrator; born near Seabeck, Washington Territory. Raised on the frontier and with little formal education, she was determined to be a doctor and got herself admitted to the medical school of the University of Oregon, becoming its second woman graduate (1894). After practicing obstetrics in Portland, she and her husband, Emil Pohl, also a doctor, went to Alaska to practice. She returned to Portland in 1899, and while continuing her practice, she also became interested in the women's suffrage movement. From 1905–09, the last two years as director, she was on the Portland Board of Health, and she set sanitation standards that gained her and Portland a national reputation. She continued her private practice and from 1917–18, as a member of the American Women's Medical Association, she worked for the American Red Cross in France. She helped set up the American Women's Hospital and returned to France in 1919 to set up the first of their clinics. Back in Portland she continued her crusade for women's right to vote, ran unsuccessfully for Congress (1920), worked for the medical relief of people throughout the world, and promoted the role of women in medicine. She endowed the Pohl scholarships at the University of Oregon (1936) and wrote several books.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.