Partner Edna Rockstroh

Queer Places:
Frontier Nursing University, 195 School St, Hyden, KY 41749

Freda M. Caffin (1892 - July 18, 1972) was a Marin County resident and nurse. Caffin and her future companion Edna Rockstroh worked at the Maternity Center Association in New York City before pursuing their midwifery education in England.

Freda Caffin was born in England and came to the US as a small girl with her parents, Charles Henry Caffin (1854–1918), an Anglo-American writer and art critic, and Caroline Scurfield, a British actress and writer. She took her nurse’s training in New York City and worked with the Henry Street Nursing Service in that city. During World War I, she served as a nurse with the Red Cross in France.

After the war, she worked for the Maternity Center Association in New York City. In 1922 she returned to France to develop the health services in Soisson.

She took further training in England and returned to the United States to work for the Frontier Nursing Service in Leslie County, Ky, founded by Mary Carson Breckinridge, riding out daily on horseback to care for Appalachian families. Mary Carson Breckinridge returned to the U.S. in 1925 and on May 28 of that year founded the Kentucky Committee for Mothers and Babies, which soon became the Frontier Nursing Service, which provided general health care, vaccinations, pre/post natal care, and birth services. She was joined by two midwives she met in London, Edna Rockstroh and Freda Caffin.[1]:498 Mary Breckinridge, her father Colonel Breckinridge (took care of the horses), nurses Edna, Freda set up the first nurses clinic in 1925 and lived together in Hyden.

Caffin moved to California in 1927 with Rockstroh. In 1942 she moved to San Anselmo and later to Novato. She was a visiting nurse for the Red Cross from 1942 to 1963 in Marin County. She moved to Santa Cruz, always with Rockstroh, when she retired in 1963.

She is survived by a sister, Elna Layton of San Francisco.


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