Becky et al,
Thank you so much for this information - I was obviously not
involved in Cather studies in 1998 and who knows how long it
might have taken me to begin looking into past colloquiums!
Also, thanks to Melissa for the reference to O'Brien's
article - I am aware of it, as well as Trowse's article on
Cather's portrayal of the medical profession in her novels
(Willa Cather's Condition). I've not discovered other
articles that deal specifically with illness and/or the
medical profession in Cather - if any of you have leads in
that direction, please do tell! A large part of my
dissertation involves trying to answer questions previously
raised (in both O'Brien and Trowse) regarding Cather's
relationship to illness and the medical profession.
As Becky mentions, I have contacted Jo Ann Middleton
(through Merrill) regarding the possibility of getting hold
of the records. Her response, as noted in my first email,
is that they remain privileged. However, she also suggested
I try to find someone who has managed to "spring" medical
records for another author who may have had interested
family still involved. I know many of you do very good work
with other authors and figured it was worth a shot to put
the question out there.
With many thanks,
> Hi Gabriel,
> You mention Jo Ann Middleton in your original query, so
> you obviously know that she is someone who has researched
> Cather's medical records. I've been away from Cather
> studies for several years, so I don't know what she's
> written about the topic.
> However, I do have notes from the 1998 New York Colloquium
> about her plenary session titled "Cather and Modern
> Medicine." Middleton went through a list of Cather's
> illnesses, including the years:
> 1895 Typhoid pneumonia
> 1898 "the grippe" (6 weeks)
> 1921-1923 appendicitis? Colitis, diverticulitis
> 1932 gall bladder (at first refused surgery, then in
> summer had her gall bladder removed
> 1934 sprained wrist, inflammation
> 1938 smashed hand
> 1941 right wrist swollen
> Under the heading of "continuing medical mysteries":
> 1912 Hospitalized for several weeks
> 1914 Blood poisoning from hat pin
> 1928 Mayo Clinic "a bothering hurt"--thyroid disease?
> (Middleton's speculation at that time)
> The Colloquium was many years ago, but I seem to remember
> Middleton discussing her attempts to see Cather's records
> at the Mayo Clinic. To my mind, she would be the one I
> would contact about Cather's medical history.
> Happy research!
> Becky Roorda