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Winter Park Library Archive

Rosie Slaughter Morton

Dedicated, determined, dynamic physician and surgeon

Born in Lynchburg, Virginia on November 28, 1872, Rosalie Slaughter lived a very full life! After overcoming her family's initial opposition to attending medical school and the difficulties that a young woman of that era encountered in getting medical training, she graduated from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania. After completing post-graduate studies in Berlin, Paris, London, and Vienna, Dr. Morton set up medical practices in New York and Washington D.C.. Further travel took her to Russia, Norway, and India, where she did an extensive study of the plague-stricken people of that nation.

In 1905, Dr. Slaughter married George B. Morton of New York, but he died a few years later in 1912.

She saw active service during World War I, working on the French and Salonika (Greek) fronts. Her war-time experiences affected both her personal and professional life for years to come. For her service, she was decorated nine times by the governments of France, Serbia, and the United States.

Upon her return from the war, she continued to practice medicine in New York and Washington D.C.. But she wasn't satisfied with that! She was also extremely active in organizing associations that she thought would better the lives of men and women alike . . . not just in the United States, but in Europe as well. When she saw a need, she was determined to make a difference. A few of the projects that she was involved with were: the American Medical Association's work for disease prevention under a civic program, the Social Science Department of the New York Polyclinic Hospital, the American Women's Hospitals, and the International Serbian Educational Committee.

She moved to Winter Park in 1931, and set up her medical practice here, after a severe case of pneumonia made it imperative to leave the North. After retirement, she continued to lead a very active life. Copies of the Winter Park Topics newspaper are full of articles and other mentions of the numerous events in which Dr. Morton took part. She also played hostess to celebrated visitors from across the globe that she had befriended during her many travels, including other female physicians with whom she had worked. She also entertained many visitors from her home state of Virginia, where she maintained many close ties.

Dr. Morton collected many objects of art during her travels, and frequently shared these with the people of Winter Park, along with tales of her colorful adventures across the many countries she visited. She also penned two books: A Woman Surgeon and A Doctor's Holiday in Iran.

She died on May 5, 1968 in her Winter Park home at the age of 96. Dr. Morton once stated that, "My philosophy of life has been one of action." It seems as though she lived out that philosophy.

This article was written by former archivist, Barbara White, MLIS.

Rosie Slaughter Morton