CONTACT
Florence Brookhart Yount  (b. 1909, d. 1988)
Dr. Florence Yount (on right) with
a young patient
Old Masonic Temple building (former office of
Dr. Yount), 107 N. Cortez Street, Prescott
Florence Brookhart Yount, one of Prescott's early female physicians, earned a reputation as an excellent doctor who specialized in pediatrics and obstetrics. Yount dedicated her entire medical career to Prescott patients, delivering whole families and subsequent generations. She also became a community leader by establishing a well- baby clinic and during World War II, organizing citizens to build a new hospital.

Region: North Central Arizona
Theme: Women in Science and Medicine

Florence Brookhart grew up in Washington, Iowa, the only girl among four brothers. Her father, Smith Wildman Brookhart, served in the U.S. Senate. Interested from an early age in science, Florence Brookhart received the support of her family when she decided to pursue a medical career. She attended the George Washington University Medical School in Washington, D.C., where she was one of five women in a class of eighty-eight.

Florence met C.D. Ned Yount Jr. when both were medical students, and married him in 1936. She moved to Prescott in 1937 after she finished her residency in pediatrics at the Children's Hospital in Chicago. She went into practice with her husband and father-in-law, who was also a physician, in the Old Masonic Temple Building. Their office had its own x-ray equipment and a laboratory. Florence gained many loyal patients; she made house calls, provided emergency care to children at the local hospital, and accepted payment "in-kind" when patients were short on cash. Although she faced some gender discrimination early on, she quickly won over patients and their families by providing excellent medical care.

During the Great Depression, Florence set up a well-baby clinic at an existing medical clinic in Prescott. She stressed the importance of a good diet, conducted physical check-ups, and provided immunizations. During these years, Arizona had a very high infant mortality rate. A Yavapai County physician credited her clinic with keeping babies healthy during one summer when not a single child died.

World War II brought new challenges as many of the younger doctors, including Florence's husband, left to serve in the war. She continued caring for patients, working with the older physicians who were still in town. She also took over many obstetric cases for physicians who were away. After Prescott's only hospital, Mercy Hospital, burned down in 1940, Florence Yount worked in the tradition of many other women throughout Arizona who had strived to create community hospitals. She encouraged others to get involved in building a new hospital, and town leaders decided to remodel the unused Jefferson School for that purpose. Florence helped to gather needed supplies, which was very difficult during the war because most goods were funneled toward the war effort. They succeeded in opening the Prescott Community Hospital on March 1, 1943, and Dr. Yount delivered the first baby born there that evening. Several years later, after the community outgrew this hospital, she organized the medical community to campaign for another new hospital.

Florence retired in 1973 but remained busy gardening, participating in her Methodist church and "rock hounding." She also had a strong interest in history and researched the history of territorial medicine, her church, and the town's hospitals.

The Old Masonic Temple, at 107 N. Cortez Street in Prescott was the site of Dr. Yount's office.

Photo Credits:
Dr. Florence Yount with a young patient - Courtesy of Sharlot Hall Museum

 

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