Early Illinois Women

Dr. Elizabeth Howard Miner (1867-1960), Macomb's first woman physician

Dr. Elizabeth Miner

Holmes Hospital, Macomb, Illinois

Phelps Hospital, Macomb, Illinois

Elizabeth Miner was born in Iowa on Christmas Day, 1867. She earned a degree from Shenandoah Teachers College and taught school prior to her first marriage. When her husband died, Elizabeth married William C. Miner.

Four years later, in 1895, Mrs. Miner graduated from Denver Medical College in Denver, Colorado. She and husband William moved to Macomb, Illinois, where she became Macomb's first woman physician-surgeon. William Miner operated a bookstore that carried textbooks and school-related items for the Western Illinois State Normal School (now Western Illinois University).

During her medical career in Macomb, Dr. Miner served in three of Macomb's Hospitals: Phelps, Holmes, and St. Francis.

The Phelps Hospital was Macomb's first hospital, built in 1900. Funds for the hospital were donated by Marietta Phelps and Dr. S. C. Stremmel, one of Elizabeth Miner's colleagues. The hospital had fourteen rooms, with one ward for men and a separate ward for women. Each ward had five beds. The hospital also contained an operating room. In the 1920s, a third floor was added.

In 1906, Dr. Stremmel donated money to add eight private rooms and a larger operating room. Their were eight physicians on staff, including Dr. Stremmel (chief surgeon) and Dr. Miner (diseases of women). Patients paid $7 per week for a bed in the ward and between $10 and $18 per week for a private room.

Dr. Miner was a charter member and the first secretary of the McDonough County Medical Society organized in 1897. She served as a delegate to the Illinois Medical Society from 1918 to 1938.

In 1935, Dr. Miner was elected Vice President of the Illinois Medical Society, becoming the first woman to hold elected office in the state society. She was also elected president of the Illinois branch of the American Women's Medical Association.

Dr. Miner was also active in other organizations, including the Macomb Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Delphian Society and the First Baptist Church. She was also a member of the Business and Professional Womens Club (founded in 1924, the Club's first president was Caroline Grote)

Dr. Elizabeth Miner practiced medicine for 50 years. Her career continued into the late 1940s. She died at age 93 in Macomb.


  1. "Dr. Elizabeth Miner, 93, of Macomb, Dies", Macomb Daily Journal, Macomb, IL. 1960.
  2. Hallwas, John E. (1990) Macomb: A Pictorial History, G. Bradley Publishing, Inc., St. Louis, MO.

Contributing Library:

Macomb Public Library, Macomb, Illinois

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