Dr. Louise Southgate

Early female physician and women’s rights activist. Louise Southgate was born on February 20, 1857 in Walton, Boone County, Kentucky. Her parents were Bernard Southgate and Elinor Fleming. She attended Laura Memorial College in Cincinnati (later became part of the University of Cincinnati Medical College). Louise Southgate earned her medical degree in 1893 and did her internship at the Cincinnati Presbyterian Hospital.

During most of her career as a physician, Southgate practiced in Covington, Kentucky. For many years she was affiliated with Booth Memorial Hospital. In 1905, Southgate spent some time at the Settlement School in Hindman, Kentucky. She provided medical care to the residents of the area and helped teach classes. In 1910, Southgate purchased the old Thomas Kennedy Home at 124 Garrard Street, which had been built in 1791. Dr. Southgate was the great-granddaughter of Kennedy. She operated her practice from this building for many years.

Dr. Southgate focused her practice on meeting the health care needs of women and children. She assisted young girls in the juvenile court system and provided examinations to children who otherwise would not have been able to afford one. Southgate was also an early proponent of birth control in Northern Kentucky. In 1910, Southgate spoke for the Kentucky Equal Rights Association’s state convention in Covington. Her topic was, “The Sisterhood of Women.”

Dr. Louise Southgate died on August 14, 1941 in Walton, Kentucky. She was 84 years of age. She was laid to rest in Linden Grove Cemetery in Covington. In April 1990, St. Luke Hospital dedicated its women’s center in Dr. Southgate’s memory. Dr. Southgate was also remembered in the Kentucky Women Remembered exhibit in Frankfort, Kentucky in 2000.

Kentucky Post, March 20, 1995, p. 4k, June 7, 1995, p. 2kk and March 25, 2000, p. 6k; Kentucky Death Certificate, 1941; Alvin C. Poweleit, Bicentennial of Physicians in Northern Kentucky Past and Present (Newport: Vesper Printing) 1977, p. 78; http://www.womeninkentucky.com/site/healthmed/l_southgate.html.

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