Bluff Park as soon as had a big function to play in conserving kids in Jefferson County wholesome.
Within the early Nineteen Twenties, a big home sitting on 10 acres on Shades Mountain was transformed into the Kids’s Recent Air Farm, with the aim of offering a wholesome ambiance, nutritious meals and medical care for teenagers who have been malnourished. Pediatricians, ear, nostril and throat specialists and dentists recurrently examined and handled the kids who have been despatched to the farm.
Based by Dr. Henry Edmonds, pastor of Impartial Presbyterian Church, and initially funded by lodge proprietor Robert Meyer, the farm handled and educated lots of of youngsters, together with many with tuberculosis, and finally turned a mission for members of the church.
“At one level, there have been greater than 200 members on numerous farm-related committees there. One group of younger individuals who repaint the farm’s furnishings each spring. Others labored on the farm with the kids,” wrote Lynn Edge in her lately launched e book, “From Metal Mills to Stethoscopes: A Historical past of the Birmingham Medical Occupation.”
Fundraising actions for the farm included “Rooster Sunday” — when everyone attending Sunday faculty was anticipated to convey a dwell hen, which both offered eggs or Sunday dinner.
Edge’s e book, launched in January by Vestavia Hills-based Legacy Publishing, recounts many tales of the metro space’s medical historical past, all the way in which from Davy Crockett’s cease in Jones Valley, feverish with malaria, to UAB’s growth of remdesivir, a drug used to deal with the coronavirus.
A longtime Birmingham journalist and creator, Edge, together with different collaborating writers, shines a lightweight on dozens of tales about medical pioneers within the space, some well-known, however others important however extra obscure.
“One of many ones I really like from Birmingham is Dr. Annie Mae Robinson, one of many metropolis’s early feminine docs and an outspoken suffragist,” Edge stated. “She wasn’t about to let males have rights that ladies didn’t, and he or she was one of many early physicians who informed us that smoking wasn’t good for us — males or girls!”
In a query reply session with the Hoover Solar, she talks a bit about what she discovered.
Q: What led you to jot down a e book about Birmingham’s medical historical past?
A: Legacy Publishing approached me in regards to the e book and it seemed like one thing I wish to tackle
Q: How did you collect your data? How lengthy did it take you to tug all of it collectively?
A: I learn heaps and much and plenty of books in regards to the historical past of Jefferson County for starters. I wished to jot down the e book from a perspective of what was occurring within the county and the way that affected what was occurring in drugs. The Jefferson County Medical Society had stored superb data of what occurred of their conferences. That was an exquisite useful resource. In fact, I interviewed docs right here on the town. Naturally, they’d a wealth of information about how drugs turned such an essential “trade” in Alabama. I additionally learn many, many, many newspaper articles from archives all around the state (and a few out of the state as nicely). I labored on the e book for greater than a yr.
Q: You coated an extended interval of historical past. Why was it essential to go to this point again and finish at this second in historical past?
A: To inform the story of how the county turned one of many world’s main medical sources, it’s a must to discuss when it wasn’t — when metal mills have been what fueled the economic system of the county. And to speak about that, it’s a must to talk about what made the county “metal wealthy.” The pure sources which might be proper underneath our ft (actually) began the entire thing. With the
metal trade got here medical wants and with medical wants got here the expansion of the medical trade right here.
Ending the e book was such a fluid factor. Once I began writing, “pandemic” was not more than a phrase. By the point I completed, we have been in the course of one. Due to the pervasive medical presence right here, Birmingham naturally turned part of the analysis attempting to stop the unfold of COVID-19 and save lives. The story of the medical career in Jefferson County is never-ending. There are new discoveries daily. I lastly simply needed to say, “Okay. The e book ends right here. The rest should be coated in a sequel.”
Q: Did you face any explicit challenges in getting it completed?
A: One of many largest, in fact, was simply the abundance of knowledge accessible. I discovered myself beginning out to jot down about one topic after which having to analysis numerous different topics as a result of they have been so intently associated to my authentic “aim.” It was loads like beginning down a highway from Level A to Level B and discovering that there have been tiny trails branching off from my principal highway – and all of them needed to be explored.
For instance, I used to be writing one story about an early feminine physician – Dr. Laura Burton – in Birmingham, which you’d assume can be a reasonably easy story, aside from the truth that her ex-husband, additionally a Birmingham physician, murdered her. You then’ve received to discover why this occurred and what occurred to the feminine physician who shared a observe with Dr. Burton.
Once I was writing about Lou Wooster, I began out exploring how the native madam turned a hero in the course of the cholera epidemic in Birmingham and ended up looking for out if there was any reality to the rumor that she had an affair with John Wilkes Sales space.
Q: I perceive you additionally received to jot down about not less than one in every of your family members. Inform us about that.
A: Frank Dulaney R.N. I heard tales about him once I was rising up. His mom and my great-grandmother have been sisters.
Frank set out on a path when he was younger and he didn’t change his targets. He all the time wished to be a nurse and he turned the primary male to graduate from an accredited nursing faculty in Alabama. He turned Babe Ruth’s private nurse towards the top of the Babe’s life. His portrait hung within the corridor at Carraway Hospital. When a member of the family needed to be at Carraway, that individual often took the time to cease by the portrait and pay respects to Lavaughn, because the household known as him. One in every of our household’s claims to fame!
Q: What was probably the most profound factor you took away from engaged on this e book?
A: Maybe that life will not be so simple as one would think about. A lot is intertwined. If all the primary “substances” for making metal weren’t proper right here within the county, there wouldn’t
have been metal mills and there most likely wouldn’t have been the expansion of the medical career right here.
The opposite factor, I suppose, is “the extra issues change, the extra they keep the identical.” Birmingham had a yellow fever outbreak early in its historical past. There was the cholera epidemic within the 1800s. Individuals didn’t know how you can cope with these occasions. Generally they have been informed to not fear, the issue would simply go away. There have been some fairly offbeat strategies about what to do about these ailments (“abstain from Ardent Spirits”). Sound acquainted?
The identical themes you discover in chapters one and two, you discover within the epilogue. Our problem is to study from every one in every of these occasions and develop from the information we achieve.
Q: How does this e book join with the others you’ve written?
A: Humorous. It doesn’t actually. A number of of my different books are journey guides and I’ve written a biography of Elvis Presley. I similar to digging into issues and studying as I write.
Q: What’s subsequent for you?
A: I’m engaged on a biography of Dr. Carl Marbury, a previous president of Alabama A&M. Collectively, Dr. Marbury and I are engaged on a e book in regards to the “mulatto story.” I’ve nearly completed a novella I’m writing (It began out being just a little story a couple of lady who wished to be a spy since she was a toddler and eventually received to be one. It took a darkish flip and ended up being a cautionary story about being cautious what you would like for.). And I’ve been approached about taking up another tasks for Legacy.
Signed copies of “From Metal Mills to Stethoscopes: A Historical past of the Birmingham Medical Occupation” are at present accessible on the Alabama Booksmith in Homewood.