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Dr. Helena Wink portrait
Dr. Helena Wink portrait
TitleDr. Helena Wink portrait
Date of Original191-?
DescriptionA portrait of Dr. Helena Wink standing wearing a dress, hat, dark jacket, and holding her gloves in her right hand.
General SubjectWomen
Health & Medicine
Subject (LCTGM)Women
Personal NameWink, Helena Knauf, 1854-1936
LocationJamestown (N.D.)
Stutsman County (N.D.)
Item NumberST276
Format of OriginalPhotographic prints
Dimensions of Original32 x 18 cm.
Transcription"Dr. Wink"--Handwritten on back of photograph.
NotesPhotographer unknown.
Biography/HistoryThe first female doctor in Dakota Territory, first successful appendectomy in Dakota Territory, and it was on her kitchen table.

Dr. Helena Wink set up practice in Jamestown on August 3, 1883.
Young Helena Knauf always wanted to be a doctor. Her parents had taught their children to value education and service to others. In a time when many farm children did not attend school, the Knauf children learned to fit in school lessons with work on their Michigan farm. Helena earned a teaching certificate, taught in country schools, and saved her salary to pay for medical college. In 1880, female doctors were not accepted by society. But twenty-six-year-old Helena enrolled in the medical department of the University of Michigan and graduated in the spring of 1883 with sixteen other women. These seventeen were the only women out of 117 graduates. After Helena's parents died, ten of her brothers and sisters moved west to the rich farmland near Jamestown, Dakota Territory. Helena joined her family in August 1883. She began her practice shortly after and became the only female doctor in the area. In 1886 Helena Knauf married Mathias Wink, a Jamestown local teamster. Dr. Wink became skilled in treating many kinds of ailments. In the late 1800's, before Jamestown had any hospitals, she brought nine-year-old Lizzie Stuff to her home to treat her ruptured appendix. With the help of three other doctors, Dr. Wink performed one of the earliest appendectomies in the Midwest while the girl lay on her dining-room table. Tending her young patient, Dr. Wink didn't sleep for the next three days and nights. Because of her skill and vigilance, Lizzie survived. Dr. Wink worked until her death in 1936 at the age of eighty-one.
Bibliographic ReferenceBlumhagen, Karen. "Pioneer doctor of the Prairie." 1999.
Repository InstitutionStutsman County Memorial Museum
Repository CollectionStutsman County Memorial Museum Photographs
Credit LineStutsman County Memorial Museum, Jamestown, N.D. (ST276)
Rights ManagementOwned by Stutsman County Memorial Museum.
Ordering InformationStutsman County Memorial Museum
Phone: 701-252-6741
Address: Box 1002, Jamestown, N.D. 58401
Open: Memorial Day - September, 10am-5pm Weekdays and 1pm-5pm Weekends.
GrantNHPRC SNAP Grant 2008-2009, NAR08-RC-10021-08
Digital IDdmST276
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