Leonora King

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Leonora Howard King
Dr Leonora Howard King.jpg
Dr Leonora Howard King
Born (1851-04-17)April 17, 1851
Farmersville (now Athens), Canada West
Died June 30, 1925(1925-06-30) (aged 74)

Leonora Howard King (April 17, 1851 – June 30, 1925) was a Canadian physician and medical missionary who spent 47 years practising medicine in China.[1] She was the first Canadian doctor to work in China.[2]

Leonora Annetta Howard was the daughter of Peter T. and Dorothy E. Howard. She was born in Lansdowne, County Leeds, Canada West (Ontario), March 17, 1851. She was raised in Farmersville (now Athens). She was educated in Athens, Ontario and in New York. She qualified for and served as a teacher.[3]

King was unable to attend medical school in Canada and received her medical degree from the University of Michigan in 1876.[4][5] After joining the Women's Foreign Missionary Society of the American Methodist Episcopal Missionary Society,[5][6] she left for China in 1877 where she was a missionary doctor with the American Methodist Episcopal Missionary Society in the northern Chinese province of Chihli.[7] She took up her residence in Peking.

In August, 1879, Dr King attended Lady Li, the wife of Li Hung Chang, then seriously ill, in Tien-Tsin. On Lady Li's recovery, she remained in Tien-Tsin, in practice with the use of a temple being given to her for the purpose. She founded, in Tien-Tsin, the Methodist Episcopal Mission Hospital in 1880. In 1885 Dr. King opened a medical school for Chinese women and girls who had been educated in mission schools. In 1886, Lady Li built Dr. King another hospital, which was later known as Government Hospital for Women and Children, Tien-Tsin, China. During the war between China and Japan, Dr. Howard opened her hospital to wounded soldiers as opposed to women and children.[3] At the close of the war Dr. King the first Western woman was made a Mandarin an honour of the Imperial Chinese Order of the Double Dragon.[1]

In 1884 she married Rev. Alexander King, a member of the London Missionary Society.[5][8]

In 2000, she was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.[7] In 2004, she was inducted into the American Medical Women's Association’s International Women in Medicine Hall of Fame.[1]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Margaret Negodaeff-Tomsik (1999). Honour Due: The Story of Dr. Leonora Howard King. Canadian Medical Association. ISBN 978-0-920169-33-9. 


  1. ^ a b c "Canadian physician selected for the 2004 American Medical Women's Association International Women in Medicine Hall of Fame". Canadian Medical Association. 
  2. ^ "Dr. Leonora Howard King". 
  3. ^ a b Morgan, Henry James Types of Canadian women and of women who are or have been connected with Canada : (Toronto, 1903) [1]
  4. ^ Foster, Merna (2004). 100 Canadian heroines: famous and forgotten faces. Dundurn Press. p. 124. ISBN 1-55002-514-7. 
  5. ^ a b c Wright, David C. (August 2001). Honour Due: The Story of Dr. Leonora Howard King.(Review). Canadian Journal of History. 36. 
  6. ^ Negodaeff-Tomsik, M (1996). "Shut out of medicine in Canada, Dr. Leonora Howard King blazed a trail in China". Canadian Medical Association Journal. 155 (12): 1741–1743. PMC 1335511Freely accessible. PMID 8976342. 
  7. ^ a b "Dr. Lenora King". Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. 
  8. ^ Semple, Neil (1996). The Lord's dominion: the history of Canadian Methodism. McGill-Queens University Press. p. 323. ISBN 0-7735-1400-7.