Mary Warfield '17
Mary Warfield ‘17 was the daughter of President Ethelbert Warfield. She graduated from the Woman’s Medical College in 1922 and was the college physician and anatomy professor at Converse College until 1930. She spent summers vacationing in the remote mountainous Blowing Rock region of North Carolina and began helping the local mountain residents with medical issues. She wrote to Wilson College in 1931, “Blowing Rock in summer is very gay with its big hotels, beautiful country estates and cottages full of city people seeking the mountain top, four thousand feet above the sea. In winter all are closed. About five hundred people have had no doctor in winter. A man asked me if I would go to see a sick girl who lived in a cabin ‘a little more’n a mile beyond where a car could go’. After miles on a bumpy road, there was a cabin. A woman there said, ‘Ain’t ther nobody to show yer? I’d be afeard to go down in thar myself, hits all woods’. So she went to the next cabin to ‘git thar boy to go a piece.’ We went three miles down and down in a deep cove. Inside the cabin – one room, no light save from the door and fireplace and one tiny window with all but one of the panes of glass broken and holes well stuffed with rags. In one corner was a frame with sacking stretched over it, some dirty quilts and dirty pillows. On it was huddled a 16 year old girl fully dressed, with no vestige of color in her face. Tuberculosis. Too late! A month or more ago we might have helped, but not now. What chance had she? No care, no bathing, no quiet, no air, no diet. The family consisted of a hard-faced father, a gaunt woman, five girls and three boys – all living in that one room. I did what I could.”
Mary established a clinic which she ran until 1947 when she turned it over to a younger doctor. Mary Warfield died after a brief illness in 1953.