Frequently Asked Questions

Yes and no. It is true that she was elected and he was not. However, they each ran in a field of six candidates; Angus, one of six Republicans and Mattie, one of six Democrats. Theoretically, they each might have been elected or both might have lost. The entire Democratic ticket was elected (Mattie had the fewest votes among the Democrats, but still had more votes than any Republican who was running), largely on the basis of “free silver,” espoused by William Jennings Bryant, which was the issue that also catapulted some politicians running for election in the western states into office. Nationally, “sound money” or gold was more popular, culminating in the election of William McKinley (Republican) as president in 1897.

She was not. At least two female physicians – Romania Pratt Penrose and Ellen Ferguson – were already practicing in Salt Lake City when Mattie returned from Philadelphia in 1882. Mattie was a pioneer in that she graduated from a medical school where both men and women were students. Penrose and Ferguson graduated from the Women’s Medical College in Boston, Massachusetts.

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