Dr. Ellen Miner and Women’s Medical History in Champaign County

The Champaign County Historical Archives recently processed the papers of Dr. Ellen Miner, a Champaign County native who practiced gynecological and obstetrical medicine starting in 1896. Dr. Miner graduated from the Medical Department for Women at Northwestern University in 1893 and returned to Champaign to practice medicine in 1896. Her well-respected practice operated out of her home, and she was an active member of the medical community in Champaign until her retirement. 

Portrait of Ellen Miner

The focal point of the collection is Dr. Miner’s examination ledger with notes from patient consultations. The ledger’s first entry is from 1907, and it contains almost 100 entries, ending in 1917. The ledger entries provide unique insight to the lives and health concerns of local women around the turn of the century. The entries describe a wide range of women, including some who have never seen a physician before, are pregnant with their first child, struggle with irregular menstrual cycles, or have a history of abortions. 

The following pages from the examination ledger document the case of patient with a possible enlarged uterus. Her notes span four pages and document all the examinations and treatments Dr. Miner performed for her patient. She consulted with Dr. McKinney and ‘Dr. N’ on this case, and the patient was finally referred to Dr. McKinney at Burnham hospital for an examination and possible surgery. It is not clear from Dr. Miner’s notes if the patient eventually opted for surgical correction.

Examination ledger pg 34aExamination ledger pg 34b

Click on the photos to see larger images in Flickr.

Examination ledger pg 48aExamination ledger pg 48b


Interested in more women’s medical history? Come in today to use the Miner papers!


-Rebekah, practicum student