A librarian from Florida contacted me earlier this month. She is retiring and looking for new homes for some of her books. She was wondering if I’d like her autographed copy of Adele Comandini’s 1956 biography of Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb, Angel on Snowshoes. Autographed not by Adele Commandini, but by Dr. Kate.
Who is this Dr. Kate?, you are probably wondering. Well, she was one of the only doctors in northern Wisconsin in the first half of the 20th century. She visited her patients by snowshoe, by canoe, and by snomobile. She knew to stop by a home if a red rag was tied to a bush along the road. She took her payments in firewood and vension steaks. She delivered over 2,000 babies and never lost a mother or child. She was so beloved by her community, the high schoolers held a penny drive to raise $10,000 to build her a hospital. They were successful beyond anyone’s dreams–collecting over $130,000 from all over the world. Because of their efforts, Dr. Kate ended up on the TV show This is Your Life and having a best-selling book written about her.
A original signed copy of which is now in my home and in my hands.
Why me? Well, 50 years after all this occurred, I found Dr. Kate’s story and I turned it into a book for the Wisconsin Historical Society Press.
So, yes, Diane Welch Kazlauskas of the University of North Florida, I am delighted to give your book a home. It is a treasure to me.