Dr. Edith Eugenie Johnson (1873-1966)
Publication Date: Wednesday Dec 14, 1994

Dr. Edith Eugenie Johnson (1873-1966)

Edith Johnson was one of nine children raised by Danish parents in rural Nebraska. She taught school for a few years before being admitted to Cornell University Medical School to fulfill her lifelong ambition to be a physician.

In 1907, two years after joining her parents in Palo Alto, Dr. Johnson began medical practice from an office in the family home at 375 Hawthorne Ave., north of downtown. The Palo Alto city park across the street was named in her honor when it was completed in 1986.

Although Dr. Johnson shared office space downtown for much of her long career, some patients continued to be seen in her home for more than 50 years, until she was nearly 90.

Established community physicians quickly gained respect for Palo Alto's first woman doctor and utilized her skills, particularly in obstetrics. She delivered more than 3,500 babies in the Palo Alto area during a 30-year period, charging low-income patients little or nothing. For her selfless care of patients during the 1918 influenza pandemic, many called her the "White Angel."

--Peter Gauvin
This is the 39th in a series of profiles on the "Creators of the Legacy," 56 people who are being honored this year by the Palo Alto Centennial for their roles in creating Palo Alto in all its aspects. 

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