York’s Wonder Women: The stories of four more movers and shakers
Kathryn L. Fourhman’s bio lists her as Pennsylvania’s first female coroner. And she’s known locally as author of a book about her experiences as a coroner: “Death is a Funny Thing.” She is one of 50 women feted in ‘Legacies,’ the 1984 American Association of University Women. Background posts: A short test of your women’s history knowledge and Mildred and Russell Chapman, ‘Black History Profiles,’ Part I.
The York Daily Record/Sunday News continues to work its way through the 50 women celebrated in AAUW’s “Legacies: Remembrances of York County Women.”
The newspaper updated bios of Sister Gilmary Simmons, Nellie Leber Longsworth, Kathryn L. Fourhman and Mildred K. Binder.
All four achievers were alive at the time “Legacies” was published in 1984, and their stories had expanded with their many activities… .
Sister Gilmary Simmons
Three of the four women – Simmons, Longsworth and Fourhman – moved from York County after 1984 – either permanently or for a period of years and may not be known to newcomers.
Some of the updated profiles have become blog posts (see below), and many others are available in Women’s History Profiles, distributed to York County schools (e-mail me your address and I’ll mail you a free copy).
Electronic versions of about 40 of the 50 updated so far are available at www.newslibrary.com for a small downloading fee.
The post York author’s works adapted to the big screen: ‘Legacies,’ Part Last contains a list of all 50.
Here are the four most recent updated bios:
Sister Gilmary Simmons
Born: Kathryn Eileen Simmons on Sept. 26, 1922, in York
Home: Maryknoll, N.Y.
Known for: Her service as a physician-missionary coordinating medical care for war refugees in Korea and later organizing ecumenical health-care-providing missionary groups as a consultant for the Christian Medical Commission
Education: B.S. in pre-med and chemistry, Trinity College in Washington, D.C.; M.D., Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia (1948); pediatrics residency, Duke University in Durham, N.C. (1951)
Occupation: Retired Medical Mission Sister with the Maryknoll Sisters, a religious community she joined in 1954; former medical director of Maryknoll Hospital in Pusan, Korea; former assistant professor of pediatrics, Catholic Medical College in Seoul; former staff consultant to the Christian Medical Commission of the World Council of Churches in Switzerland
Accomplishments/community involvement: She served as a physician-missionary in Korea, organizing a medical team for war refugee care (1954 to 1970); then she was the first Catholic and first woman hired as a staff consultant to the Christian Medical Commission of the World Council of Churches (1971 to 1974); she became Center Council Coordinator for the Maryknoll Sisters Center while caring for her aging parents in York (1974 to 1984); she then went for a refresher course in medicine at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City and worked at the Maryknoll Sisters Center until her health declined. (She’s lived in Maryknoll Sisters Residential Care since 2003.)
Honors/awards/recognition: Quoted in the 1991 book, “The Meaning of Life” by David Friend and the editors of Life magazine; honorary doctor of science degrees from Trinity College in Washington and Regis College in Boston; citations from the minister of health and social affairs of the Republic of Korea (1960); the Korean Cabinet (1962); the Korean president (1962), the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania via the Women’s Medical College of Philadelphia (1963); the Senate of the State of Pennsylvania (1963); Trinity College Alumni Achievement Award (1979)
Nellie Leber Longsworth
Born: 1933 in York
Home: Bethesda, Md.
Family: Children Mark Stewart, Jennifer King and Jeffrey Stewart Longsworth and five grandchildren
Known for: Lobbying for historic preservation in communities and states around the country
Education: B.A. in American studies, Smith College in Northampton, Mass.; Loeb Fellowship in Advanced Environmental Design at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University (1986-87)
Occupation: Lobbyist and consultant, Society for Historical Archaeology and the American Cultural Resource Association
Accomplishments/community involvement: Retired president and founder (1975 to 1998), Preservation Action Inc., a nonprofit citizens’ lobby for historic preservation and neighborhood conservation, including involvement in the 1980 historic rehabilitation tax credits, annual appropriations for the state historic preservation offices, programs to protect American farmland, tribal offices, Save America’s Treasures and Preserve America.
Since retiring from PAI in 1998, she’s continued to lobby Congress, federal agencies and local communities such as Savannah, Ga., San Antonio, Texas, and Philadelphia for preservation and blight reduction. She’s also lectured at various colleges and universities on the politics of historic preservation.
Honors/awards/recognition: The Louise DuPont Crowninshield Award, which is the highest preservation award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation (2007); the 1997 Trustees Award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Policy from the National Trust for Historic Preservation); 1997 Institutional Builders Award from the Partners for Livable Communities; the Gordon Gray Award for Outstanding Achievement in Support of Historic Preservation in the United States and Public Service Award from the National Trust; Presidential Citation from the National Institute of Architects; Cultural Achievement Award from the U.S. Department of the Interior; Special Citation for Achievement in the Passage of the 1980 Historic Preservation Act Amendments from the National Conference of State Preservation Officers; honorary doctor of laws for achievement in historic preservation, Goucher College in Towson, Md.
Kathryn L. Fourhman
Home: Spring Grove
Known for: Being the first elected female coroner in Pennsylvania and serving 24 years
Education: Attended York Hospital School of Nursing (1948-50)
Occupation: Retired coroner, York County
Family: Five children, 12 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren
Accomplishments: Served as York County coroner from 1972 until her retirement in 1998. She started working in the coroner’s office in 1967 and served two physician-coroners before becoming deputy coroner, acting coroner and then running successfully for office in 1973. During her time on the job, she handled nearly 11,000 cases herself. She published a book about her experiences called “Death is a Funny Thing,” the proceeds of which benefited the York City Dollars for Scholars.
Community involvement: A founder of York City Dollars for Scholars program, which provides scholarships for city students
Mildred K. Binder
Born: Jan. 5, 1918
Died: Oct. 31, 2007
Family: Parents, the late Jemie Irving Binder and Emma Jane (Billet) Binder
Known for: More than four decades of work at the York County Board of Assistance
Education: A.B. in sociology, Hood College (1940)
Occupation: Executive director, York County Board of Assistance (1959 to 1983)
Accomplishments: Started at the then-new York County Board of Assistance in 1942 as a caseworker and for 41 years continued to work there, initiating programs to help the public, public officials and her consumers understand the problems and needs of welfare recipients.
Community involvement: Board member, York County Historical Society; executive committee member, York County Employment and Training Commission; board member, York County Council’s committee on alcoholism; member, American Public Welfare Association, American Association of University Women, York Transportation Club, College Club of York and the Hood College Club
Honors/awards/recognition: Boss of the Year award, American Business Women’s Association (1973); commendations by the Pennsylvania Gov. Dick Thornburgh and the state House of Representatives; Who’s Who of American Women (1981-82)
Others in this series:
York author’s works adapted to the big screen: ‘Legacies,’ Part Last.
Sources: American Association of University Women’s “Legacies: Remembrances of York County Women” and the York Daily Record/Sunday News