Date of Award

2010

Degree Name

History

College

College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree

M.A.

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Kevin Barksdale

Second Advisor

Kat Williams

Third Advisor

Greta Rensenbrink

Abstract

Mary Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service have been the focus of intense scholarly effort over the last twenty years. Scholarship on Mary Breckinridge has centered on her healthcare reform work in Appalachia and its effects on the local residents and culture. This thesis examines the oral contraceptive trial that the FNS performed in Leslie County in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Although Breckinridge and the FNS maintained a restrictive contraceptive stance, they paradoxically permitted the contraceptive trial to be conducted on their patients in Leslie County. The decision to participate in the contraceptive trial resulted from a complex interaction of politics, personal relationships, prior beliefs, and pressure from outside forces. These influences combined to lead Mary Breckinridge to a decision that would have been unimaginable earlier in her career.

Subject

Oral contraceptives

Subject

Frontier Nursing Service, Inc.

Subject

Breckinridge, Mary, 1881-1965