|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
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
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.
Dr. Florence Yount with a young patient - Courtesy of Sharlot Hall Museum