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The forgotten role of women in 19th-century medicine

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Talk of Iowa, hosted by Charity Nebbe

Mrs. Dr. Rebecca Keck of Davenport pulled her family out of poverty by selling her healing tonics in the 1870s but was seen as a quack, even in her family, generations later. At least until her great-great-granddaughter Greta Nettleton uncovered her family's lost history and shared her findings in a 2013 book, The Quack's Daughter: A True Story about the Private Life of a Victorian College Girl.

She continued her research into medical history and returns to Talk of Iowa to share with host Charity Nebbe prominent women in 19th-century medicine, many tied to the University of Iowa— the first co-education medical school in the country.

Then, Nebbe speaks with author and Iowa Writer's Workshop graduate Sabrina Orah Mark about her memoir, Happily: A Personal History with Fairytales.


  • Greta Nettleton, author, medical historian
  • Sabrina Orah Mark, writer and poet
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Dani Gehr is a producer for River to River and Talk of Iowa. Dani came to Iowa from her hometown in the northwest suburbs of Chicago to attend Iowa State University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in journalism, international studies and French. Before coming to IPR, Dani covered local government in Story County for the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register.