FIRST WOMAN DOCTOR OF DEADWOOD
Dr. Stanford visited Mr. Inman at the mouth of Nevada Gulch
yesterday, and today she again went to visit Mr. Inman, who was
very low. Dr. Stanford has hopes of his pulling through if he can
hang on for a few days.
—Black Hills Daily Times, August 1893
The rough-and-tumble town of Deadwood, South Dakota, was home to a variety of notorious western characters in the mid-1800s. Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok, and Calamity Jane were just a few of the infamous names associated with the gold-mining camp. These three legends of the West were at one time patients of the first woman doctor in the area, Doctor Flora Hayward Stanford.
Doctor Stanford opened a practice in Deadwood in 1888 and began seeing to the healthcare needs of hundreds of prospectors, prostitutes, business owners, and their families. She entered the medical profession late in her life, receiving her degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 1878, at the age of forty. Doctor Stanford established her first practice in Washington, D.C., where she lived with her husband, Valentine Stanford, and their two children, Emma and Victor.
Having a doctor for a wife upset Valentine's traditional sense of family. He did not agree with his wife's work and considered it “unseemly for a woman to be a doctor.”