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Epic New Book Chronicles Great-Grandmother's Life as 'Pioneer Midwife'

Written by Susan E. Fleming about the life of her great-grandmother, ‘Seattle Pioneer Midwife: Alice Ada Wood Ellis Midwife, Nurse, & Mother to All’ gives a rare and vital glimpse into the history of childbirth in America. Fusing a saga of overcoming challenge in the early 1900s with a heroic story of passion, Fleming’s book will be cherished by everyone from modern-day midwives to those gripped with the nation’s unshared history.


Chewelah, WA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/28/2014 -- While the turn of the twentieth century sparked dramatic social and industrial change, many landmark developments have lost the recognition they deserve over time. A compelling new book by author Susan E. Fleming brings one such ‘lost’ achievement back into the spotlight – the transition of childbirth from the home to the hospital.

Fleming shares this history through the eyes of her own great-grandmother, a true unsung American hero who served as a pioneer to modern midwifery. Alice Ada Wood Ellis’s story is told through gripping detail in ‘Seattle Pioneer Midwife: Alice Ada Wood Ellis Midwife, Nurse, & Mother to All’.


"This is the captivating story of my great-grandmother Alice Ada Wood Ellis - who was a single mother with two small children - Myrtle who was 2 ½ years old and Marie who was a 6 month-old baby. She travelled to Seattle in 1900 on a locomotive steam train to join the Alaska-Yukon-Klondike Gold Rush Stampede. She built a home in Green Lake. Soon after she placed two beds in her front parlor in her home and helped women with birthing. She fulfilled her calling as a pioneer midwife-nurse.

This epic saga includes life in 1895 nursing schools, train robbers, birthing in the home, Alaska Yukon Pacific Exposition, women's suffrage, bubonic plague and unclaimed children. Stories from the 1918 Great Pandemic Flu and the Great Depression conclude this remarkable journey. This is Alice's story."

Early reviews for the book have been overwhelmingly positive. Ira Kantrowitz-Gordon, Director of the Graduate Nurse-Midwifery Education Program at the University of Washington, comments, “This book will be of interest to anyone with an interest in the history of childbirth in America and anyone who wants to understand the roots of midwifery in caring for women and families wherever they may be during the important times of their lives” .

Aron Schuftan MD OBGYN adds, “This book eloquently captures the joys, fears, and intensity of childbirth that only one who has the privilege of participating in it on a daily basis can convey. Alice was a true pioneer. As practitioners of her craft we are forever indebted to her courage and sacrifice”

The book’s wholly unique perspective has seen Fleming receive prestigious invites to present her work to midwifery and nursing students across the State of Washington. Public events have been scheduled in Seattle at University Book Store on April 11th @ 7:00pm and in Spokane at Auntie’s Book Store on March 6th @ 7:00 pm. More information can be found at the book’s official website: https://www.seattlepioneermidwife.com.

‘Seattle Pioneer Midwife: Alice Ada Wood Ellis Midwife, Nurse, & Mother to All’ is available now: http://amzn.to/1gFpZDq.

About Susan Fleming
Susan Fleming is currently an Assistant Professor at Washington State University College of Nursing. She has been a registered nurse for over 30 years and has worked with moms and babies since the 1970s. She teaches nursing students and researches birthing and technology. She received her PhD in 2011 and for her dissertation she interviewed 14 childbearing women about their 116 birthing experiences. She is a Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist. Read more at http://directory.nursing.wsu.edu/default.aspx?id=119 or https://www.seattlepioneermidwife.com.