Harbach and the Housebook
Part XI of a Series: To learn more about the Lummis Housebook Digitization Project, read the introductory post So Lummis Pretty Much Knew Everybody, Didn’t He? For the other posts in the series, click here.
In this issue of Harbach and the Housebook you will meet, among others, two women who accomplished a great deal during their fascinating careers. I must admit that I had never heard of the first woman on this list, Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee, but once I started reading about her I couldn’t stop. I was particularly fascinated by the fact that she received war medals from both the United States and Japanese governments. The second, equally accomplished woman, Caroline Severance, played a major role in the development of Los Angeles. I hope you enjoy reading about them as well as the others on this list.
- Anita Newcomb McGee, M.D.—a physician who became known for her medical work with the U.S. and Japanese armies. She received her medical degree from George Washington University (then known as Columbian College), followed by a special post-graduate course in gynecology at Johns Hopkins University. From 1892 to 1896, she was one of the few women practicing medicine in Washington, D.C. She also trained volunteer nurses for army and navy service after the start of the Spanish-American war. In 1898, she was appointed as the only woman Acting Assistant Surgeon in the U.S. Army and placed in charge of the Army’s nurses. Once the war ended, she worked to found the Army Nurses Corps. When war between Russia and Japan was about to break out, she led a group of volunteers to Japan in 1904 and established a field hospital for the Imperial Japanese Army. The Japanese War Minister appointed her as Superior of Nurses, a rank on the same level as officers in the Japanese Army. For her career services, she received the Spanish War Service Medal from the United States and the Imperial Order of the Precious Crown, the Red Cross decoration, and two Russo-Japanese War medals from the Japanese government. She was buried at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.
- Caroline M. Severance—an abolitionist and suffragist who had a major impact on the development of Los Angeles. She started organizing the women of the rapidly growing community, brought the kindergarten movement to the city, and helped establish the Los Angeles Public Library. In 1878, she founded the first Los Angeles Women’s Club. She also worked with Lummis on historic preservation. When California women achieved the right to vote in 1911, Severance was lauded as the spiritual leader of the suffrage movement in Southern California.
- George H. Pepper—an ethnologist and archeologist who conducted field work at Burial Ridge, the largest pre-European burial ground in New York City. He also led the excavation of the “Great House” at Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.
- Alexander Phimster Proctor—one of the nation’s foremost sculptors of animals. Included among his works are the animal sculptures on the monument to President William McKinley in Buffalo, New York. The monument was erected in Buffalo because McKinley had been fatally shot while attending the Pan-American Exposition there in September 1901. Poet Carl Sandburg (who also visited Lummis and signed the house book) wrote a poem about the monument.
- Monica Shannon—a Canadian-born American children’s author. Her 1943 book, Dobry, received the Newbery Medal, given by the American Library Association to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
- A. B. Frost—an illustrator, painter, graphic artist, and writer whose work is best known for its dynamic representation of motion and sequence.
- George Horton—a member of the U.S. diplomatic corps who held several consular offices in Greece and Turkey. He is best known for his book The Blight of Asia, which describes events of the Greco-Turkish War. While U.S. Consul in Athens in 1893, he actively promoted the revival of the Olympics and inspired the U.S. team’s participation.
- Milton J. Ferguson—former California State Librarian and President of the American Library Association.
- Thornton Fitzhugh—an architect whose works include the Pacific Electric Building in downtown Los Angeles and a number of other buildings listed on the U.S. Register of Historic Places.
- Alfred E. Christie—a Canadian-born motion picture director, producer, and screenwriter who was among a number of Canadian movie pioneers in early Hollywood.
- James H. McClintock—a U.S. Army captain who served in Teddy Roosevelt’s “Rough Riders.”
- Peter Newell—an artist and author who built a reputation in the 1880s and 1890s for his humorous drawings and poems, which appeared in such magazines as the Saturday Evening Post and Harper’s Bazaar. He also illustrated the works of such well-known authors as Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll.
The next issue of this blog will include the unusual story of a Harvard-sponsored “test” in which a man who, along with his brother, walked from Boston to Los Angeles to find out whether a person who ate only meat or a person who ate only vegetables during the trip would arrive in better condition. I’ll tell you the outcome of the test when I see you again.