Record Attendance For Luncheon

March 27, 2022 at 2:40 AM

 biederman.JPG           The story of a woman doctor, who inspired a successful coal miner strike, attracted a record attendance for the DuBois Area Historical Society's spring luncheon. 

            New York city based journalist and mystery novelist turned biographer Marcia Biederman (left) was the guest speaker concerning her latest book "A Might Force:  Dr. Elizabeth Hayes and her War for Public Health". It was the Society's first luncheon since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic and brought 145 people to the event at Christ Lutheran Church in DuBois.

            Biederman explained that her research into business owners for a potential book led her to the story of the 1945 coal miner strike in Force, Hollywood and Byrnedale. That in turn led her to the story of Dr. Elizabeth Hayes affectionately known as Dr. Betty.

            Betty was the youngest of eight children in the family of Dr. Leo Hayes, according to Biederman. Seven of them went into the medical profession, six becoming doctors and one a nurse, while another was a dietician. Dr. Betty earned her medical degree from Temple University and was practicing in Newfoundland when her father died unexpectedly.

            His wish was for one of his children to follow in his footsteps of being the physician for the miners of the Shawmut Mining Company. Dr. Betty found the mining communities in horrible shape without running water, proper sanitary conditions, and paved roads. Her appeals to the company resulted in her dismissal and triggered a five-month miners' strike to have her reinstated.

            Biederman related how the strike became national news reaching all the way to President Harry Truman. The final result was concessions by the coal company and the restoration of Dr. Betty to her position.

            Those in attendance at the luncheon included some of Dr. Betty's relatives, including several who traveled from Maine to hear Biederman speak.

            Historical Society President Ruth Gregori was the mistress of ceremonies. Catering by Paulette provided the soup and the macaroni salad. Sandwiches came from Subway at the DuBois Mall and cake from Martin's. Due to the size of the crowd, those in attendance moved from the Christ Lutheran's fellowship hall to the church sanctuary to hear Biederman's presentation. The attendance was a new record for a historical society luncheon.


Marcia Biederman (left) sits next to society member Barb Emmer while greeting luncheon attendees and autographing her book.


The record luncheon crowd gathers to hear the speaker at Christ Lutheran Church.



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