In 1930 my father, Harvey Gesch, was born at home and was probably delivered by one of these midwives.
Winter 2013 Issue Excerpts
“Grandma Gable, she brought Ralph”: Midwifery and the Lincoln, Nebraska, Department of Health in the Early Twentieth Century - Rebecca J. Anderson
Eight midwives gathered at Lincoln’s North Side Neighborhood House on a cool and rainy July afternoon in 1915 to meet with Dr. Chauncey Chapman, the Lincoln Department of Health’s newly appointed superintendent. Chapman had officially begun his duties just the day before and one of the first items on his agenda was the organization of the midwives. Earlier in his career, Chapman had worked with Chicago’s health department, which had been regulating and supervising midwives since 1896. Chapman hoped that the Lincoln midwives would voluntarily agree to a similar arrangement. At the time that he called the midwives together, he was aware of nine midwives who had attended one-sixth of all the births registered in Lincoln the previous year. Unfortunately, Dr. Chapman was unaware until shortly before the meeting that most of the midwives could not understand English. So while they were all gathered together, visiting nurse Catherine Wollgast, whose parents had brought her to the United States from Germany as a young child, did her best to translate Chapman’s message.