March is Women’s History month and this month we are honoring Dr. Martha Logan Bailey, the Dillsburg physician who welcomed the children of Dillsburg into her office for children’s story hour in the summer of 1953. By December of that year the Dillsburg Woman’s Club opened the Dillsburg Public Library in the Community Building with Dr. Bailey’s support. (York Gazette, December 1, 1953)
Martha was born in 1882 and grew up in Dillsburg on the corner of North Baltimore and West Church Streets. Her father practiced medicine from his office in their home and young Martha often assisted him with patient care. In 1903 she graduated from Wilson College as a teacher. She taught for the next 11 years, including a year at an Alabama mission school for African American children. (History of Dillsburg, PA 1901-1950, 2001)
In 1917 Dr. Bailey graduated from the Woman’s Medical College of Philadelphia. She stayed in Philadelphia for 3 years, working with Spanish Flu victims in the 1918 epidemic. Philadelphia was especially hard hit by the flu; in one 5 week period 12,000 people died. Dr. Bailey declined an appointment to teach gynecology at the Women’s Medical College and returned to Dillsburg in 1920 to reopen her father’s medical practice.
Five years later she furthered her education in Vienna, advancing her understanding of gynecology and endocrinology. She was employed by the PA Dept. of Health, and worked to set up maternal and child health centers in small communities, conduct regular examinations of preschoolers and inspect the many one-room schoolhouses in Pennsylvania. She served as the Director of Civil Defense Medical Services for Northern York County during WWII, and was involved in establishing the Pennsylvania and Cumberland County Medical Societies. In 1957 Dr. Bailey was appointed by then Governor George Leader to be part of a group tasked with identifying the problems faced by older Pennsylvanians, determining ways to expand and improve services for them, and increasing public awareness of these issues. (Dr. Martha Bailey was another Pioneering York County Woman Physician, York Daily Record, 2019)
Dr. Bailey was recognized and rewarded for her many efforts to improve social conditions and medical practice in Pennsylvania. She received the Pennsylvania Week Award for being an outstanding professional woman, the Distinguished Daughters of Pennsylvania Medal and the Commonwealth Citation from the Womans’ Medical College of Pennsylvania. She retired from practice at the age of 79 and died in 1965 at the age of 83. (Find a Grave, 2018)
Here at the Dillsburg Public Library we are honored to have been associated with Dr. Logan Bailey, a champion of libraries, whose tireless work on behalf of the citizens of Dillsburg and Pennsylvania has left a lasting legacy for us all.