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Emily Young O'Brien, 1866-1945


1866 - 1945

Emily Young O’Brien was horn in Lisbon, N. H., October 28, 1866, and as a girl early acquired a love for the mountains and forests of northern New England. She graduated from Boston University in 1891, as valedictorian of her class, and from the Boston University Medical School in 1893. She practised medicine for a few years at the end of the last century and was at one time on the house staff of the Westborough State Hospital, not a common achievement for a woman in those days. In 1895 she married Robert Lincoln O’Brien, living first in Washington and later in the neighborhood of Boston. During the first World War she did a great deal of work in the hospitals and recreation centers of Camp Devens and later gave her attention to the disabled veterans. She was head of the Disabled Veterans' Hospital Service from its founding at the close of the first World War.

All her life she loved the out-of-doors and particularly the mountains, starting with tramping and camping in her girlhood. In 1914 she made her first trip to Europe and her first acquaintance with the Alps, climbing the Grand Muveran with her children. Later she made many more trips to the mountains of Europe and Canada, climbing in the Dolomites, Oberland, Chamonix and Zermatt regions, the Selkirks and Rockies. At the age of 59 she traversed the Grépon and at 63 did the Jungfrau, Mönch and Wetterhorn. Several years later she was still doing smaller expeditions in the Alps, as well as climbing, summer and winter, in the Presidential Range which she greatly loved.

M. O’B. U.