Dr. Kenneth Leiby

Interviewee:  Dr. Kenneth Leiby (second wife also in attendance)
Date of birth/age at interview:  estimate 1907/estimated 78
Interviewer:  Rita Durrant
Interview date:  July 28, 1985
Interview location:  Leiby home on Main Street, New Hope, PA (now the Mansion Inn)
Interview length:  1 hour, 10 minutes
Time span discussed:  1929 to 1985

Summary:  Seven months after closing his practice of 52 years, Kenneth remembers many events, people, medicines, treatments, and 2500 baby deliveries, including delivering babies of his delivered babies! He reviews his impressive home and office located on Main Street, the 1955 flood, and finishes with reminisces of the famous artists of New Hope and Solebury and his collection of their works.

Time markers:
00:00:20 – practiced 52 years in New Hope; closed practice January 1, 1985
00:01:10 – born in North Dakota; education at University of North Dakota and University of Pennsylvania; graduated medical school 1931; intern at Phildelphia General Hospital to 1933
00:01:30 – deciding where to practice; brother said “do not come back to North Dakota”
00:02:21 – older cousin Raymond Leiby had practiced in New Hope
00:03:00 – came over the hill into Solebury and New Hope, said, ”This is it”
00:03:45 – opened office October 9, 1933;Mrs. Everett waiting as first patient, grandmother of the 1985 police chief; office visit $1.00, home visit $1.50; helped Dr. Erdman in Buckingham
00:05:00 – married 1934 to Winifred Rainford; buying big house, built by Crook; remodeling
00:07:41 – dug new well; supplied water to neighbors as needed
00:08:32 – purchased lot behind house; original deed easement allowed access from behind
00:09:20 – credits the saving of the Parry Mansion to Dr. Arthur Ricker and his friends; Ricker led citizens to co-sign the note on behalf of the New Hope Historical Society
00:10:39 – New Hope with trees on Main Street; New Hope was quieter
00:12:15 – canal closed in 1931; visited Lumberville earlier and saw barges
00:13:30 – Depression; student loan at 4% interest; tuition $1,200 a year; his education and degrees
00:15:35 – diseases of his days, scarlet fever; penicillin, antibiotics, sulfa drugs
00:18:01 – typhoid because of poor well
00:18:40 – fear of polio
00:19:41 – lectured to parents on inoculations for selves
00:21:30 – tonsillectomies routine, done in his house; $25.00 each
00:23:05 – discussion of diseases, medical response
00:25:45 – delivered 2500, 13 for a woman in Lambertville
00:26:50 – Paul Whiteman his patient, cancer phobia
00:27:45 – treated Bucks County Playhouse actors:  Esther Williams needed penicillin “you know where”
00:29:00 – in most houses in area in 50 years; after closing office could not continue house calls due to high cost of malpractice insurance
00:30:11 – why he went into Medicine
00:31:56 – emotionally difficult when patients told him he could not close his practice
00:33:00 – nurses’ story, Janet (last name unknown) and Mary Ellen Jaeger Chamberlain
00:34:00 – first wife died 1948; story of meeting his second wife, blending family of 5 children
00:35:42 – dislike of kerosene heaters
00:36:39 – delivering babies to babies he delivered; early days total cost of delivery and care, $25.00; sending patients to hospitals
00:39:28 – visiting patients on snowy days
00:40:13 – flood of 1955, details of the flood levels, problems, people working together; flood stories
00:44:45 – story of Jim Skillman arriving at the office, mid flood, with a disjointed shoulder
00:45:55 – social life changes on Main Street over 50 years
00:48:35 – World War II draft situation for doctors
00:50:10 – his typical working day
00:51:35 – tape interruption
00:52:03 – medical discussion, drugs and reactions to them (intermittent interruptions in tape)
00:56:51 – 1960s; changes in society, morals of time and pressure of change
01:01:06 – Jim Magill’s photographs
01:02:10 – artists he knew; owned paintings by Daniel Garber, who was a good friend, William Lathrop, Harry Leith-Ross, Kenneth Nunamaker, Alfred NunamakerGeorge SotterRanulph ByeJohn FollinsbeeBill SmithHenry SnellBill Taylor  (Note:  Kenneth donated 14 of these important paintings to the Michener Art Museum )

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