Oregon's Doctor to the World: Esther Pohl Lovejoy and a Life in Activism

Kimberly Jensen

Esther Clayson Pohl Lovejoy, whose long life stretched from 1869 to 1967, challenged convention from the time she was a young girl. Her professional life began as one of Oregon's earliest women physicians, and her commitment to public health and medical relief took her into the international arena, where she was chair of the American Women's Hospitals after World War I and the first president of the Medical Women's International Association.

Most disease, suffering, and death, she believed, were the result of wars and social and economic inequities, and she was determined to combat those conditions through organized action. Lovejoy's early life and career in the Pacific Northwest gave her key experiences and strategies to use "constructive resistance," the ability to take effective action against unjust power. She took a political and pragmatic approach to what she called "woman's big job"-achieving a full female citizenship-and emphasized the importance of votes for women. In this engaging biography, Kimberly Jensen tells the story of this important western woman, exploring her approach to politics, health, and society and her civic, economic, and medical activism.

Kimberly Jensen is professor of history and gender studies at Western Oregon University and the author of Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the First World War.

Esther Lovejoy's life intersected with some of the most important currents of the twentieth century: feminism, the rise of companionate marriage, universal suffrage, governmental reform, migration, labor rights, public health, the professionalization of medical and social work, anti-militarism, and global citizenship. Jensen illuminates the life of this fascinating, important leader and ably demonstrates the centrality of Oregon and the western U.S. to these currents.

—Marjorie Feld, author of Lillian Wald: A Biography

Oregon's Doctor to the World is cutting edge in its presentation of a transnational history of women's participation in international health care, and its early chapters deepen understanding of the Northwest and national woman suffrage movement and women's partisan activism. As a whole, this book creates a picture of almost a century of women's public activism.

—Melanie Gustafson, author of Women and the Republican Party, 1854-1924.

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