5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars


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Becky Roorda <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
5 Bank Street: The Listserv for Willa Cather Scholars
Thu, 15 Mar 2007 09:23:19 -0500
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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