We've all heard of Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley, women who were part of shaping the wild west. But I recently ran across a woman who turned just as many heads as Jane and Annie even if she isn't a household name. Dr. Sofie Herzog, born in Austria in 1846 as Sofie Daligath was an amazing and interesting woman full of determination.
Sofie married Dr. August Herzog at the age of fourteen. It's hard to say where her love for medicine came from since both the men in her life, her father and her husband, were doctors. But beyond that many other family members could have weighed on her decision because in a 1920 interview Dr. Sofie Herzog boasted of twenty-one doctors in her immediate family. Perhaps all of them influenced her decision to go against society's norms and become a female doctor. I'm sure once she started her profession many people would like to have thanked the encouraging parties.
Sofie had fifteen children over the next nineteen years, six of which were twins, and eight of the children didn't make it to adulthood. Yet, still she managed to study medicine at the University of Vienna. Her husband and father being doctors may have weighed heavily on the University allowing her to attend because it would be another twenty-six years before the University of Vienna would award a degree to a woman. But still the female Dr. Herzog used 1871 as the date she began practicing medicine. Though she did not receive a degree from U of V she very well may have received her midwifery certificate.
|Vienna University (Courtesy of Wikipedia)|
By Bwag - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39542407
|New York Naval Hospital (Courtesy of Wikipedia)|
Sofie practiced medicine in Hobokin, New Jersey where she had a successful practice. After nine years of practicing, her husband passed away. Sofie grew restless with her children grown and decided to move to Texas. She moved to Brazoria, Texas, a small rural community. The people were shocked by Sofie. Very few had ever seen a female doctor. Nor had they seen a woman who cut her hair short like a man. But Sofie was all about convenience and her long curly hair was too hard to deal with so she cut it. She also rode astride her horse in a split skirt that also sent the tongues a wagging.
The small town saw its fair share of gunfights. Clients would visit the good doctor to have the bullets removed. Sofie bragged that she had only failed at finding and removing two bullets in her lifetime. She was revolutionary even in her bullet removal where she introduced groundbreaking procedures. She kept the shells she removed and when she'd gotten twenty-four, she had them made into a necklace which she wore for good luck. The community soon fell in love with the unconventional doctor and began calling her Dr. Sophie.
She began investing in choice real estate and became a respected entrepreneur in the Brazoria area. She built a hotel called The Southern across the street from her practice. And having gotten angry with the Catholic church she had built and furnished an Episcopal church in her community. After twenty years of being a widow, Dr. Sofie once again shocked the community by marrying at the age of sixty-seven.
While Dr. Sofie wore the hat of men in her lifetime, she always found it easy to be a woman, mother, and grandmother, too. She loved to dote and brag on her grandchildren and she enjoyed crocheting doilies, scarfs, shawls, afghans, and bedspreads for her family. She took her projects to work with her and would steal away for a few minutes to add a row to her project.
Sofie from her earlier years was always willing to take the quickest form of transportation for medical emergencies. The doctor gained even more admiration from her community and colleagues when she was hired as the surgeon of the local railroad lines of Brownsville, St. Louis, and Mexico. She was the only woman in the world to be a railway surgeon.
Doctor Sofie remained active until she suffered a stroke and passed away in a Houston hospital at the of 79.
I'm giving away a copy of choice of one of my books INCLUDING my new release Novella Sword of the Matchmaker which is part of the Winds of Change series. To enter answer one of the questions below or ask me a question. Don't forget to leave your email addy so I can contact you should you win!
Do you think it was easier or harder to wear multiple hats then compared to now and why?
What impressed you most about Dr. Sofie?
Do you think you could have the courage and determination of Dr. Sofie? Why or Why not?
After the death of her cruel father, Brithwin is determined never again to live under the harsh rule of any man. Independent and resourceful, she longs to be left alone to manage her father’s estate. But she soon discovers a woman has few choices when the king decrees she is to marry Royce, the Lord of Rosencraig. As if the unwelcome marriage isn’t enough, her new husband accuses her of murdering his family, and she is faced with a challenge of either proving her innocence or facing possible execution.
Royce of Hawkwood returns home after setting down a rebellion to find his family brutally murdered. When all fingers point to his betrothed and attempts are made on his life, Royce must wade through murky waters to uncover the truth. Yet Brithwin’s wise and kind nature begin to break down the walls of his heart, and he soon finds himself in a race to discover who is behind the evil plot before Brithwin is the next victim.
Debbie Lynne Costello has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina. She has worked in many capacities in her church and is currently the Children's Director. Debbie Lynne has shown and raised Shetland Sheepdogs for eighteen years and still enjoys litters now and then. In their spare time, she and her husband take pleasure in camping and riding their Arabian and Tennessee Walking horses.
Very interesting post! I love reading about women who were ahead of their time. In some ways I think it was harder to wear multiple hats back then because it took longer to do some of the things such as laundry, cooking, etc. and because society had certain expectations. But it also seems like there were fewer distractions back then. My email address is lindasmatchett(at)yahoo(dot)com.ReplyDelete
I agree, Linda. People weren't as accepting of women in the workplace of men and then add to that all the regular responsibilities. Sofie was one hard working, tough lady! Thanks for coming by and good luck!Delete
Wow! What a woman! There isn't much about her that's not impressive...all those children, her drive and determination, her bravery in going back to Austria. I'm all set with your books (yay me) but thank you for this post, and I can only pray this is fodder for a new book from you!!!!!ReplyDelete
I know, right! I have a family of Doctors in Shattered Memories. Maybe JO needs to be a doctor!Delete
What an amazing woman. Loved reading about Dr. Sophie. It was harder to wear multiple hats in Dr. Sophie's day because it was not welcome.ReplyDelete
So true. Today women do just about anything a man does!Delete
Very interesting post about a fascinating Lady. Its interesting about them being scandalized about her riding astride. I'm rather inclined to think Nineteenth century people were more sensitive then those of past ages, after all before side saddles were invented, that's probably how most women would have ridden.ReplyDelete
I never thought about that. But you're right. How else could they have ridden? It is funny how things come and go and how the different generations see things so differently. Short hair on woman today is very normal.Delete
Thank you for sharing about this amazing woman. So many accomplishments and yet she loved being a homemaker, mother and grandmother. Fifteen children over nineteen years and medical school also!ReplyDelete
She was amazing, wasn't she? Either of those things alone would have been astounding but to do BOTH! Oh my goodness. I'd have love to have met Dr. Sofie.Delete
Dr. Sofie Herzog's story needs to be shared. What a strong and accomplished lady during her era. It would not of been easy being a mother, caring for her large family and assisting her husband while in medical school. Her determination, strength, and faith had to be strong to endure all she did with multiple losses and ridicule for her profession. Thank you for sharing about Dr. Herzog. Unsung heroes need to be celebrated that impacted American history.ReplyDelete
marilynridgway78 at gmail [dot[com
Marilyn, that was beautifully said. Thank you for stopping by and for sharing. Good luck in the giveaway!Delete
What an absolutely amazing woman Dr. Sofie Herzog's was. I am most impressed she was able to mother that many children and still have time to assist her husband. I have 12 children myself so I know it's not easy to find time for both. It definitely was not as easy to wear multiple hats during that time period since more men though a woman's place was to be seen and not heard and be a homemaker and mother only. Fascinating post,ReplyDelete
Cnnamongirl at aol dot com
Wow Deanne 12 children! What a blessing. Your holidays must be so much fun! If anyone can understand what Sofie accomplished it would be you. :o) You must stay very busy!Delete
What an interesting woman! So sad she lost so many children. That must of been frustrating to not successfully treat her own. The grieving she must have done. Thanx for the giveaway.ReplyDelete
Hey Jennifer, thanks for coming by. I can't imagine the sorrow she must have faced with each loss. And being a doctor had to make it that much harder feeling so helpless. Thank you for stopping by and good luck in the giveaway!Delete
I think what impressed me most about Dr. Sofie Herzog was her determination. She never gave up!ReplyDelete
Debbie- your newly released novella, Sword of the Matchmaker, sounds awesome!!!
Thanks for the opportunity of this giveaway!
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Thank you Alison! I loved this woman's determination, too. What an inspiration. Thanks for coming by and your sweet words!Delete
Congratulations, Deanne. You are my winner. I'll be contacting you shortly.ReplyDelete