Frontier Nursing University’s story started back in 1925 with one woman: Mary Carson Breckinridge. Now, the Kentucky Chautauqua, a touring series of solo performances, has brought her to life for this generation to see her legacy – and you have the opportunity to see it for yourself.
Mrs. Breckinridge was the first American trained nurse-midwife in the 1920s. Living in the the mountains of eastern Kentucky, she recognized a need for better healthcare systems and made it her mission to improve infant and maternal care. She established the Frontier Nursing Service in 1925, and after astonishing success in birth outcomes, founded the Frontier Graduate School of Midwifery (now known as Frontier Nursing University) in 1939.
Though her work in infant and maternal healthcare were invaluable throughout the last 40 years of her life, Mrs. Breckinridge had a lasting legacy.
The Kentucky Humanities Council’s Kentucky Chautauqua team, who has brought to life more than 70 people from Kentucky’s past, now features Mary C. Breckinridge in its lineup of dramatizations. Mrs. Breckinridge’s character is portrayed by Janet Scott, who is thrilled to be representing such an inspirational figure in history.
“I often hear people say that they have been waiting for a Chautauqua of Mary Breckinridge and the more I worked, the more I saw why she is so widely beloved,” says Scott. “To honor the life of such a woman, to offer the message of boundless courage and compassion embodied in her life choices, is to present a story of saintlike heroineism.”
The Chautauqua performers travel to schools and community organizations throughout the state, and are available for booking in 2017-2018 for audiences of 40 or more – perfect for your classroom, organization or community group.
Frontier Nursing University is excited for Mrs. Breckinridge’s story to continue to be spread, as a message of hope and inspiration to all who hear it.
“In a time when movie heroes have enormous moral influence and people want their own stories to be heard, Mary Breckinridge’s life offers a model that has profound positive impact,” says Scott.
“The story of Mary Carson Breckinridge and the Frontier Nursing Service have had impact that has surpassed my highest hopes and revealed the necessity for her life giving words and message in our world today.”
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