Suffragist, NAWSA, women's rights, Spanish-American War
'Started to Manila', headlined the Oregonian newspaper on 18 August 1898, 'Two Portland Nurses Take Their Leave.' Dr. Frances Woods, along with fellow Portland, Oregon resident Lena Killiam, was on her way to the Philippines to serve in the Spanish-American War. Eager to take part, but knowing she would never be allowed to go as a woman doctor, Dr. Woods grasped the option of volunteering as a nurse. 'I feel just as patriotic and earnest as a man', she declared. 'But, you know, they have a way of turning aside lady physicians and giving men the first chances to go to the front. I wanted to go to the war from the first. This was my first chance and I gladly accepted it'. Woods' war service would help shape her world views and the course of her career, drawing her into the public arena as a lecturer and suffragist. Her attitudes and experiences were deeply entwined with the fabric of her times. Late nineteenth-century American thinking about the war and about citizenship turned upon perceptions of race, rights, gender, and patriotism. All of these ideas were bolstered by the experiences and image of a vigorous westward-expanding nation. As a white woman of privilege who viewed herself as a patriot and activist, Woods seized upon the emerging opportunities of her era and developed her own complex, often contradictory, perspectives toward the war, expansionism, and equal rights. A study of her life experiences and their intersection with the central political and gender issues of her day opens a unique and personal window on the America of the turn of the twentieth century.
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Lindell, Lisa, "A Woman of Her Time: Dr. Frances Woods and the Intersection of War, Expansionism and Equal Rights" (2014). Hilton M. Briggs Library Faculty Publications. 24.