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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Hughes, Mary Elizabeth

8 Nov. 1841–28 Apr. 1888

Mary Elizabeth Hughes, pioneer woman physician, was born in Ebensburg, Pa., the second daughter of Ezekiel and Harriet Russell Hughes. Her father was a native of Wales, an engineer, and an active member of the Presbyterian church. Details of her childhood and early education appear unknown, but she attended the Cleveland Homeopathic College in Cleveland, Ohio, and her diploma conferred the degree of doctor of medicine on 15 Feb. 1871. Relatives report that she did postgraduate work and completed an internship in New York City before moving to Tryon, N.C., to establish a practice about 1872. There she specialized in the illnesses and diseases of women and children as well as engaging in general practice. In 1879 she was also listed among the graduates of the Chicago Homeopathic Medical College.

Shortly before her death, apparently from tuberculosis, Dr. Hughes went to the Hughes home in Iowa City, Iowa, where her parents had moved in 1867; her father had died in 1882 but her mother still lived there. She died in Iowa City at age forty-six and was buried in the city's Oakland Cemetery following a funeral that was private at her own request.


History of the Cleveland Homeopathic College from 1860 to 1880 (n.d.).

Hughes family papers (in possession of Miss Helen Hughes, Iowa City, Iowa).

Information from Mr. Dale M. Bentz (Librarian, University of Iowa).

Martin Kaufman, Homeopathy in America (1971).

William Harvey King, History of Homeopathy, vols. 2, 3 (1905).

Records of Oakland Cemetery (Iowa City, Iowa).

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