Kate Pelham was supposed to grow up to be a proper young lady in Boston, not serve as the only doctor in the wilderness of northern Wisconsin in the early 20th century. But despite her father’s wishes, she was determined to be doctor. However, after medical school, her husband’s health brought them to northern Wisconsin. Soon she knew every back road and cabin as she served as the only doctor in the area. She visited patients by car, by snowmobile, by canoe, and by snowshoe—whatever it took. She never sent a bill. Instead she was paid in firewood and vegetables.But what she dreamed of more than anything for her patients was a hospital. And that’s when the kids of the community got involved. They set out to collect a million pennies—$10,000—to help Dr. Kate build a hospital. What they didn’t know was that their local efforts would set off a worldwide campaign. As the news spread, coins poured in from countries across the world. Student carted bushels of pennies. Dr. Kate read thousands of letters. She starred on national television and her story was told in a national bestseller. And in 1954, she became the Lakeland Memorial Hospital’s first Chief of Staff.
- Wisconsin Media Lab’s Dr. Kate teaching resources
- Click for a YouTube Video of Dr. Kate on the television show This is Your Life!
- Dr. Kate’s 1956 obituary in Time magazine
- The Dr. Kate Museum in Woodruff, Wisconsin
- My research field trip to the Dr. Kate Museum
- Dr. Kate Museum: historical facts and videos – Dr. Kate Museum
- World’s Largest Penny: a memorial to Dr. Kate – Wisconsin Historical Society
- Doctor Kate: Angel on Snowshoes digital book of Adele Comandini’s 1956 biography– Reinhart Publishers
- Dr. Kate Pinterest board