History of Women
Published in

History of Women

The Brave Debutante With Leprosy

The inspiring but heartbreaking story of a woman who caught a feared disease and worked to end its stigma

Sister Hilary Ross with a patient at Carville / Credit: National Hansen’s Disease Museum

Edwina Parra was 19-year-old debutante in New Orleans, newly engaged to a medical student, when she saw a doctor about a symptom that puzzled her — pale rose spots on her thighs that had appeared months earlier.

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If history was a Hollywood movie, the editing room floor would be littered with the stories of women clipped to make room for men’s stories. We are here to tell those stories.

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Janice Harayda

Janice Harayda

Critic, novelist, award-winning journalist. Former book columnist for Glamour and book editor of The Plain Dealer.

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