Ellis Reynolds Shipp

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Ellis Reynolds Shipp.

Ellis Reynolds Shipp (January 20, 1847 – January 31, 1939)[1] was one of the first female doctors in Utah and west of the Mississippi. She founded the School of Nursing and Obstetrics in 1879, and was on the board of the Deseret Hospital Association. Shipp successfully combined motherhood and a medical practice, saying, "It is to me the crowning joy of a woman’s life to be a mother."[2] In her 50-year medical career, she delivered more than 5000 babies, and led the School of Nursing and Obstetrics in training 500 women who became licensed midwives.[3][4]


Born Ellis Reynolds, she came with her family to Utah Territory in 1852. Her family was among the early Mormon pioneer settlers of Pleasant Grove, Utah. In 1866, Ellis Reynolds married Milford Shipp. She bore a total of ten children, six of whom survived infancy.[5]

Shipp began studying at the University of Deseret,[6] then in Philadelphia at the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1875, leaving her children behind in Utah Territory in the care of her husband's three other wives. Brigham Young sponsored her education in the Eastern United States and she later did further medical studies at the University of Michigan.

Shipp wrote the words to "Father, Cheer Our Souls Tonight",[7] which is now a hymn of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). In 1910, she published a book of her own poems entitled, Life Lines.[8]

Shipp served as a member of the General Board of the Relief Society from 1898 to 1907. She also served on the general board of the Young Women's Mutual Improvement Association.[9]

Shipp died at age 92 in Salt Lake City on January 31, 1939, of cancer in her neck.[1]


A neighborhood park in Salt Lake City, Utah, is named in Shipp's honor; it is located near where she lived and practiced medicine.[10] A public health center in West Valley, Utah, is also named in her honor.[11]

One of the women's dorms in Heritage Halls at Brigham Young University is named after Shipp.

For her work in medicine, Shipp is honored with a display room in the Pioneer Memorial Museum, which is maintained by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.[12]


  1. ^ a b "Certificate of Death". State Board of Health, State of Utah. February 4, 1939. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  2. ^ "Ellis Reynolds Shipp—Mother and Doctor". LDS Church. Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  3. ^ Karen Kay Jaworski. "Ellis Reynolds Shipp". University of Utah. Archived from the original on 2011-06-08. Retrieved 2011-08-01. 
  4. ^ "The History of Ellis Reynolds Shipp, Utah". Online Utah. Retrieved 2011-08-01. 
  5. ^ Jaworski, Karen Kay. "Ellis Reynolds Shipp". Utah History Encyclopedia. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. Archived from the original on 2010-03-26. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  6. ^ Davis Bitton; Thomas G. Alexander. "Shipp, Ellis Reynolds (1847-1939)". The A to Z of Mormonism. Scarecrow Press. p. 210. Retrieved 2014-09-01. 
  7. ^ "Father, Cheer Our Souls Tonight". LDS Church. Retrieved 2011-08-01. 
  8. ^ Shipp, Ellis Reynolds (1910). Life Lines: Poems. Salt Lake City, Utah: Skelton Publishing Company. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  9. ^ "Dr. Ellis Reynolds Shipp". University of Utah. 2004-03-15. Archived from the original on 2010-03-26. Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  10. ^ Ellis Reynolds Shipp Park
  11. ^ Ellis Reynolds Shipp Public Health Center
  12. ^ "Utah Pioneer Memorial Museum". Daughters of Utah Pioneers. Retrieved 2011-12-21.