Ollie Josephine Prescott Baird Bennett

Ollie Josephine Prescott Baird Bennett (March 27, 1874 – February 4, 1957)[1][2] was one of the first five women doctors to serve in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and as a first lieutenant in World War I. She instructed more than three hundred nurses and enlisted men in the administration of anesthesia at Camp McClellan, Alabama and served from May 1, 1918 - October 5, 1918.[3][2]

Early life

Ollie Josephine Prescott Baird Bennett was born in Decatur, Macon County, Illinois to John and America Stackhouse. She graduated from University of Pittsburgh and Boston Medical School.[3]

World War I

Ollie Josephine Prescott Baird was the first female medical officer commissioned in the U.S. Army. Upon joining the army she was sent to an anesthesia course at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York. She was one of three contract physician anesthetists who served stateside. Mary Botsford and Dolores Pinero were the other women.[4]

Dr. Baird was assigned to Fort McClellan, near Anniston, Alabama, where she instructed nurses and enlisted men in how to dispense anesthesia. She was also in charge of anesthesia for two operating rooms and gave anesthesia to five to seven patients every day.[4]

She designed her own uniform because the U.S. Army did not have uniforms for female physicians. According to Dr. Baird she was told that she was not allowed to wear insignia, but the commanding officer of the hospital gave her permission to wear a cord on her hat denoting lieutenant.[5][4]

Following her military service, she was appointed to the War Industries Board.[6]

Personal life

Ollie Josephine Stackhouse married George L. Prescott on July 15, 1889 in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois.[7] She had one daughter by this marriage, Olive, Mrs. E.W. Digges.[3][2] On July 3, 1909 she married William F. Baird in Boston, Massachusetts[8] and had two children. She was twice widowed. On February 4, 1934 she married Christopher C. Bennett.[9]

Dr. Bennett was active in her community. In 1928, she joined the Mary Washington Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). She was a charter member of the Women's City Club, and was a member of the Washington Branch of the Association of the American University Women's Club, the Maryland Historical Society, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, the National Genealogy Society, the Order of the Eastern Star, and the National Presbyterian Church. Genealogy and historical research were her hobbies.[3]

Ollie Josephine Prescott Baird Bennett died on February 4, 1957 in Alexandria, Virginia and was interred in Arlington National Cemetery.[2]

References

  1. Patterson, Michael Robert. "Arlington National Cemetery Website".
  2. Interment Control Forms, 1928–1962. Interment Control Forms, A1 2110-B. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. The National Archives at College Park, College Park, Maryland.
  3. District of Columbia Daughters of the American Revolution (DCDAR) Memory Book Volume IV. Washington, DC: District of Columbia Daughters of the American Revolution (DCDAR). 1958. p. 92.
  4. Bellafaire, Judith (2009). Women Doctors in War. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-60344-146-9.
  5. "National Museums Liverpool Blog".
  6. Bellafaire, Judith (2009). Women Doctors in War. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-60344-146-9.
  7. “Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871–1920.” Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2010. Illinois Department of Public Health records. "Marriage Records, 1871–present." Division of Vital Records, Springfield, Illinois.
  8. Michigan. Divorce records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan.
  9. United States Congress House Committee on Military Affairs (1943). Hearings. p. 87.
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