Herstory - Ellis Reynolds Shipp

"I do not wish to make too many resolutions lest I shall not be enabled to execute them, but I believe it is better to make them and break them than do nothing."

Shipp was born Jan. 20, 1872, in Davis County, Iowa, but at the age of five traveled with her family to the new Mormon settlement in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. She met Brigham Young in 1864 and invited him into his larger family and school where she resided until 1866 and her marriage to Milford Bard Young. Others disapproved of Shipp because he was eleven years her senior and twice divorced but Ellis ignored advise of family and friends and Milford gradually took on three more wives.

In 1873, Young delivered a sermon urging women "to come forth as doctors in these Valleys." Within two years, Ellis's sister-wife Maggie and she were sent off to the Woman's Medical College in Philadelphia. She worked hard and graduated with honors despite being pregnant her final year. She returned to Salt Lake establishing a private practice with special focus on obstetrics, diseases of women and minor surgery. She also opened her own School of Obstetrics and nursing while training others women for service in the western Mormon Community. She practiced and taught well into her eighties and was called "Grand Old Lady of Utah." She delivered more than 5,000 babies during this fifty year career in addition to having ten of her own! She did much to educate women in first aid, sanitation and disease prevention. When she died at 92, a renowned doctor wrote that she was the "outstanding woman of the last one hundred years, and I believe it will be another one hundred years before Utah produces another woman whose service to mankind exceeds that which she had rendered."