Female Doctor

This is not a photo of my relative necessarily though she would have had children about this age in 1909

I’ve heard for a long time about one female doctor in my family lineage: my grandfather’s cousin. I had hoped to find more about her before I wrote this post but I’m finding the story already very interesting and can always follow up if I get more. For example, I hope to locate photos of her.

Two siblings in a family of twelve children who lived on a farm near Detroit in the 1800s went to China to be missionaries. One was my great-grandfather, Junius. The other was his sister Louisa. They and their spouses were teachers there.

Leila Louise Doolittle, my grandfather’s cousin, was born in New York in 1875 to Louisa Judson and Justus Doolittle.

Some history from mission records: “In  1902  the  Kuling  Medical  Mission  was  organized for  the  purpose  of  caring  for  the  sick … Together  with  the  growth  of  the  foreign  settlement, the  Medical  Mission  grew  and  prospered,  and  in  1909 land  was  purchased  on  which  three  years  later  a  building was  erected  with  accommodations  for  a  chapel,  a  dispensary, and  for  about  twenty  men  patients. A  few  years  later  another  piece  of  property  was secured  for  a  Women’s  Hospital,  and  in  1920  a  building was  erected  on  this  site  as  a  memorial  to  the  late  (Mrs.) 

Leila  Berkin,  M.D.  who  personally  planned  and  carried on  the  work  for  the  first  ten  years  of  the  Kuling  Medical Mission.”

Leila died in China in 1915, leaving behind two children, ages 10 and 11. Since Leila married an Englishman in China, and when he remarried, it was to an Englishwoman, that branch of our family ended up back in England where descendants are today.

Dr. Leila Berkin, B 22 Apr 1875 • Clinton, New York, United States, D 19 October 1915, Kuling, Jiangxi, China. Buried Kuling Foreign Cemetery.

This area looks bleak to me but in the 20s and 30s it was a resort.

I hope my relations did more walking rather than making locals carry them.

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