Scope and Content
Title: Eleanor Rodgerson Papers
Date (inclusive): 1928-2005
6.8 linear feet
Abstract: Dr. Eleanor Rodgerson (1909-2007) was an obstetrician-gynecologist in private
practice in Sacramento, California. She also served on the faculty of the University of California,
Davis School of Medicine. Her Papers contain correspondence written while she was a resident at the
Chicago Maternity Center, her articles, including those published in
Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine, newspaper clippings from her column "Questions
Women Ask," a manuscript copy of her autobiography, "The Next Best Thing," travel diaries, and four
scrapbooks from vacations taken with her children.
Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as
many are stored offsite.
University of California, Davis. General Library. Department of
Davis, California 95616-5292
Collection number: D-439
Language of Material: Collection materials in English.
Eleanor Rodgerson was born on August 8, 1909 in Sacramento to Robert Rodgerson (1865-1942) and Nellie
Jane (Chisholm) Rodgerson (1874-1967). She graduated from Sacramento High School in 1927 and received
her AA degree from Sacramento City College in 1929. Eleanor graduated from Stanford University in 1931
and then went on to earn an M.D. degree also from Stanford in 1935.
She interned at Stanford Hospitals during 1934-1935 and was then a resident in obstetrics and gynecology
at Children's Hospital, San Francisco, in 1935-1936. She interned further in obstetrics at Chicago
Lying-In Hospital in 1937-1938 and the following year she was the obstetrics resident for the Chicago
In 1939, Rodgerson returned to Sacramento where she established a private obstetrics and gynecology
practice and simultaneously served (on a volunteer basis) as the resident physician at Sacramento's
Fairhaven Home for unmarried mothers.
On January 15, 1942, she married Donald A McKinnon (1913-1978) who was also a local
obstetrician-gynecologist. She and Donald had four children: John Robert McKinnon (b. 1943), Donald
Chisholm McKinnon (b. 1944), Jane Ruble McKinnon (b. 1947), and William Rodgerson McKinnon (b. 1948).
During Rodgerson's career in Sacramento, she was a member of the staff of Sutter General Hospital and
Mercy Hospital. She was also the obstetrician for Fairhaven Home for Girls. She was a Diplomat of the
American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a member of the American College of Obstetrics and
Gynecology, the American Medical Association, and the California Medical Association.
Following the birth of her fourth and last child in 1948, she took a break of ten years from her medical
practice to focus on raising her family. Returning to her medical practice, she also started a writing
career with a syndicated newspaper column titled "Questions Women Ask" as Eleanor B. Rodgerson, M.D. In
1966, she and her husband Donald spent a month in Afghanistan, volunteering as obstetricians and medical
trainers for the Afghans. In the 1970s she was a member of the faculty of the University of California,
Davis School of Medicine. She also worked for the Student Health Clinic at Sacramento State College
where she retired from active medical practice at the age of 70 in 1979.
Her writing career continued through the rest of her life with numerous magazine articles as a member of
the editorial board of the magazine,
Sierra Sacramento Valley Medicine.
Rodgerson passed away on April 24, 2007, at the age of 97.
Source: Eleanor Rodgerson McKinnon Death Notice,
Sacramento Bee, May 6, 2007.
Scope and Content
The Eleanor Rodgerson Papers contain correspondence, writings, and memorabilia of a Sacramento,
Series 1, Correspondence, contains outgoing, incoming, and third party correspondence. The majority of
the correspondence consists of letters written by Rodgerson in 1938 while she was a resident at the
Chicago Maternity Center.
The second series, Writings, is organized into three subseries: Diaries, Manuscripts, and Published.
Included in this series are travel diaries, a manuscript version of Rodgerson's autobiography, "The Next
Best Thing," published articles including those in
Sacramento Medicine and
Sacramento Valley Medicine
and newspaper clippings of her column, "Questions Women Ask."
The last series, Memorabilia, contains materials related to Rodgerson and her family. Included are
several photographs of family members, newspaper clippings, and four scrapbooks from vacations taken
with her children.
Arrangement of the Collection
The Papers are arranged into three series: 1. Correspondence, 2. Writings, and 3. Memorabilia.
D-405, McKinnon and Ruble Families Papers: The Rodgerson Papers are connected to the McKinnon and Ruble
Families Papers. Dr. Rodgerson's husband was Dr. Donald McKinnon, also a practicing Sacramento physician.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online
public access catalog.
Collection is open for research.
Gift of Eleanor Rodgerson, February 2006.
Sara Gunasekara processed these papers and created and encoded this finding aid in September 2007.
Preliminary processing work on this collection was conducted by Jenny Hodge in March 2006.
[Identification of item], Eleanor Rodgerson Papers, D-439, Department of Special Collections, General
Library, University of California, Davis.
Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17, of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to
publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections.
Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections, General Library,
University of California, Davis as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or
imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.