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Catherine McCottry, M.D. Papers

About this collection

The Dr. Catherine M. McCottry, M.D. Papers consists of materials about the educational career, professional achievements, and practice in obstetrics and gynecology of Dr. Catherine M. McCottry. Dr. McCottry was the first African-American female physician to practice obstetrics and gynecology in Charleston, South Carolina, and as a physician, integrated Charleston-area hospitals. Dr. Catherine McKee McCottry was born in Charlotte, North Carolina on February 3, 1921. She attended Johnson C. Smith University, and became the first African American female graduate to obtain a degree in medicine, which she received from Howard University School of Medicine in 1945. While at Howard, Dr. McCottry studied under renowned heart surgeon and blood transfusion specialist, Dr. Charles Drew. 

 

In 1952, Dr. McCottry moved to Charleston, to be with her husband, and the two became the first African American medical team in the city. She would formally open her private practice in October 1958 at 116 Smith Street. Prior to the desegregation of Charleston hospitals, Dr. McCottry was also on staff at the old Hospital and Training School for Nurses, located at 135 Cannon Street, and McClennon-Banks Hospital at 25 Courtney Drive. By the time segregation became unlawful in the late 1960s, Dr. McCottry applied to join the obstetrics and gynecology staff of Roper and St. Francis Hospitals and eventually helped to desegregate these hospitals.

 

Dr. McCottry maintained a private practice in Charleston from 1952 until the late 1980s, and thereafter, dedicated her time in retirement to volunteering at with the Franklin C. Fetter Family Health Center of Charleston. She was also committed to the community, and developed programs to combat health issues that affected the Charleston area. She created programs that educated and aided pregnant teenagers with prenatal care, and worked closely with the American Cancer Society in fundraising, sponsoring clinics, and presenting symposia on cancer awareness. Dr. McCottry also initiated programs to educate the community and region about hypertension, cancer, and sickle cell anemia. 

 

Dr. McCottry died at the age of 97 in February 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina.

 

The digital collection consists of photographs, newspaper clippings, and event programs, documenting Dr. McCottry’s professional life and achievements and community work in Charleston, South Carolina.

 
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