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Hannah Sandusky

Called “the angel” and “the saint” by her patients, midwife Hannah Sandusky was remarkable both for the sheer number of births she oversaw and for the respect that male doctors granted her for her skills. Sandusky learned midwifery from her mother before immigrating to Pittsburgh with her husband and son in 1861, where she began working as a midwife and healer in the Jewish immigrant community. Sandusky, who was called “Bobba (Granny) Hannah” for her skills with traditional folk remedies, soon caught the attention of a local doctor, who began asking her to help with his difficult deliveries and brought groups of young doctors to observe her and learn from her. She travelled to Germany for a year to seek help for her son’s eye troubles and studied at a school for midwifery, earning a degree before returning to the US, which may make her the first credentialed midwife in the US. While no records remain of the births she attended before the Birth Registration Act of 1870, Sandusky delivered 3,571 registered births, the last in 1909, when she was 82 years old.

Hannah Sandusky
Full image
Hannah Sandusky.
Photo courtesy of the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center.
Date of Birth
Place of Birth
Kovno, Kaunas
Date of Death
November 15, 1917

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Hannah Sandusky." (Viewed on December 16, 2018) <>.


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