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Wyoming’s First Female Physician #367: Lillian Heath Oral History Interview

Wyoming’s first female physician Dr. Lillian Heath graduated from medical school in 1893. She knew her male colleagues valued her medical knowledge but described her female patients in Rawlins as catty. One woman declared, “I expect to employ her, but I don’t expect to pay her.”

Dr. Heath often wore boy’s clothing to disguise her gender when attending patients after dark. She put her braided hair up into a cap and packed a pistol.

Her expertise administering ether was respected in Rawlins. She recounted:

Wyoming's First Female Physician.mp3

The doctors in the neighborhood, I served them as well as Doctor McGee because they said I was a perfect anesthetist. I had learned how to give it without any ill effects and I never had a bubble. Well, I loved it and I worked at it.

Learn more by listening to the Lillian Heath oral history interview at UW’s American Heritage Center.