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Lucy O. Oxley, M.D. Collection

Identifier: WC-29

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of photographs, memorabilia, awards, awards, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and a scrapbook documenting the personal life and professional career. Of specific interest are images of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine graduating class of 1935 and later reunions of that class.


  • Majority of material found in 1905-1995

Language of Materials

Collection is in English

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Lucy Orintha Oxley was born in 1913 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Reverend Edmond Harrison and Winifred (Turner) Oxley. She was the oldest of the three children of the union. Both of Oxley’s parents received college degrees. In fact, her father Edmond holds the honor of being the first African American to graduate Harvard University’s Divinity School in 1909. Her mother, Winifred, graduated from Howard University Teachers’ College, doing post-graduate work at the University of Michigan and Cornell. An Episcopal minister, Reverend Edmond Oxley moved his family to Cincinnati when Lucy was just three years old. Here he became the Rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

Lucy’s primary school education took place at the Dyer School where she skipped the sixth grade and later became valedictorian of her eighth grade class. She then attended Woodward High School where she actively participated in the French club, won an oratorical contest, and served as the Correspondence Editor of the school paper, The Oracle. She graduated high school in 1929 and entered the University of Cincinnati, in what was then a six-year, B.A. to M.D. program.

Oxley faced numerous obstacles while at UC in both her social and academic life, even from the very beginning. During her application interview, she was asked by the Board of Admissions why she simply wouldn’t go to Meharry or another Black college? Oxley told them it was “because her family could not afford to send her to Meharry or somewhere out-of-state.” She turned to Dr. A. C. Bachmeyer, Dean of the College of Medicine, and said “Dr. Bachmeyer if you give me the chance, I won’t let you down.” And she didn’t. She graduated in 1935 not only as the College of Medicine’s first African American graduate, but also as the class’ only female. It’s quite possible that at twenty-two years, she was the youngest member of her graduating class as well. Her young age however did not stop her from graduating in the top 15 of her class.

Oxley faced continued discrimination while seeking an internship position. When applying for an internship at the Cincinnati General Hospital, she was denied for the sole reason of her color. “You’re a Negro and we don’t want you” Oxley remembers being told. She was granted an internship and residency at Freedman’s Hospital at Howard University.

Upon completing her internship she moved to Greensboro, NC to serve as the founding Medical Director at Bennett College for Women. Oxley then relocated to Wilberforce, Ohio to become medical director for student health at Central State University and Wilberforce College.

In 1940, she returned to Cincinnati to begin a private practice as a general practitioner in her Father’s study. After moving her practice to several locations, Dr. Oxley settled in at 1621 Dexter Avenue in East Walnut Hills where she served her community for the next thirty years. Her practice grew throughout the years, and she was remembered for her children’s Christmas parties, and the extended “family” she made of her patients, their children, parents and grandparents. She had over 200 patients at the time of her death from lung cancer in June, 1991.


3 Linear Feet


This collection consists of photographs, memorabilia, awards, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and a scrapbook documenting the personal life and professional career of Dr. Lucy Orintha Oxley, a beloved family medicine doctor and general practitioner in Cincinnati, Ohio. Lucy Oxley was the first African American to graduate from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1935.


Because of its small size, the collection is arranged at the item level, first by location of the document which is determined by size, e.g. Oversize Drawer 1, then chronologically.

Physical Location

Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions

Custodial History

This collection was donated to the Winkler Center by Janis Smith-Gomez (Lucy Oxley’s granddaughter) on March 6, 2018.


Accruals are expected

Finding Aid for the Lucy O. Oxley, M.D. Collection
In Progress
Gino Pasi
April 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding Aid Written in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Cincinnati, Health Sciences Library, Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions Repository

Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library
231 Albert Sabin Way
Cincinnati Ohio 45267-0574