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Maxine Bennett papers

Call Number: RH MS 993


Nebraska native Eleanor Maxine Bennett (1915-) served as an Otolaryngologist and Professor Emeritus of the University Medical School, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. This collection of her papers reflects these activities, as well as her personal and family history, including professional and personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, and photographs.


  • Creation: 1830-2002
  • Creation: 1906-2002.
  • Creation: 1830 [?] - 1940.
  • Creation: circa 1870-1979
  • Creation: 1963, 1971-1980


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Maxine Bennett, M.D.

Eleanor Maxine Bennett was born July 14, 1915 in Beaver City, Nebraska to Irvin Allen Bennett (1883-1969) and Mary Fay (Polly) Kline Bennett (1885-1986). She graduated from Cambridge High School in 1932 and attended Hastings College for four years, graduating in 1936. Bennett taught high school algebra, geometry, biology, general science, physical education and served as assistant principal at Ansley, Nebraska from 1936-1937.

In 1938, Bennett entered the University of Nebraska College of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska. She graduated in 1942 and relocated to Madison, Wisconsin for her internship at Madison General Hospital. During her internship, Bennett assisted Dr. Wellwood Nesbit, an otolaryngologist, in several surgeries, after which Nesbit invited Bennett to be his assistant in his office and private practice. Bennett accepted his offer and worked with Nesbit until she qualified for her medical board exams in 1949, which she took and passed in New York City.

In 1950, Bennett became the Medical Director of the Bureau for Handicapped Children (BHC) in the Wisconsin Department of Education. Bennett left the BHC in 1953 and became a full time faculty member at the University Medical School, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin. She was an associate Professor in the Department of Surgery, Division of Otolaryngology.

In 1963, Bennett became the chairperson of the Ear, Nose, and Throat program at the University Medical School (Madison), advancing to the position of Professor. During this time, Bennett also became active in the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, Home Study Faculty, became a member of the examining board, and in 1967 became the first woman accepted into the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, also known as the Triological Society.

In 1968-1969, Bennett spent a sabbatical year working at Columbia University's Medical School with Dr. Daniel Baker, chairman of Otolaryngology. Bennett traveled with a group of Otolaryngologists to Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Budapest in 1970.

Bennett retired from the University Medical School at Madison in 1978. During that same year, she was awarded the Emeritus Professor of Surgery Division of Otolaryngology. After retiring, Bennett became involved as the secretary and president of the Wisconsin Otolaryngology Society and vice-President and chairman of the Middle Section of the Triological Society. In 1988, she received the Wisconsin Medical Alumni Association Emeritus Professor Faculty Award. In 1992, she became a member of the State Medical Society Fifty Years club for her fifty years as a doctor.


14.75 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

The Maxine Bennett papers date from circa 1830 to 2002 and are arranged in five series: Correspondence, Family papers, Personal papers, Memorabilia, and Audiovisual materials. Folder arrangement is generally alphabetical but for Correspondence, which is arranged chronologically.

Correspondence is primarily personal, containing greeting cards and notes from friends. Family Papers contain Bennett and Kline family genealogy, ancestral charts, and written accounts. Personal Papers include writings by Osey Gail French Peterson; papers of Margaret Jo Prouty, a friend of Bennett's; and travel information, including journals. Memorabilia contains certificates and awards. Audiovisual materials contain family photographs, cassette recordings, 8 mm movies, and slides.

Photographs for the collection are located at RH MS-P 993 and RH MS-P 993(f). Oversize textual materials are at RH MS Q252 and RH MS R204. Cassette tapes can be found at RH Cassette Tape 41. 8mm movies can be found at RH Movie 4.


Series List

Correspondence, 1906-2002
Comprised primarily of personal correspondence arranged in chronological order, including greeting cards and notes from friends.
Family papers, 1830 [?] - 1940
Comprised of records, genealogies, and written accounts primarily regarding the Bennett, Kline, and Trobough families. Contains some photographs. Arranged alphabetically by creator or, if unknown, format.
Personal papers
Comprised of three subseries: Personal and Biographical Information, including some papers of Martha Peterson, Osey Gail French Peterson, and Jo Prouty, arranged alphabetically by subject or creator; Organizations, arranged alphabetically by creating organization; and Collected material, consisting of printed materials and ephemera, arranged alphabetically by subject.
Comprised of plaques, certificates, and artifacts related to Bennett's education in Nebraska, as well as her professional service and achievements.
Photographs, circa 1870-1979
Comprised of family photographs dating back to the mid- to late 1800s, as well as portraits of Bennett throughout her life and career, and slides documenting vacation and travel.
Audiovisual materials, 1963, 1971-1980
Comprised of audio recordings of speeches and presentations by others, as well as personal recordings (cassette), and motion picture home recording footage of Saran Church, Kansas; Cambridge; and Door County, Wisconsin (8-mm films).

Physical Location

RH MS 993

Physical Location

RH MS-P 993

Physical Location

RH MS-P 993(f)

Physical Location

RH MS Q252

Physical Location

RH MS R204

Physical Location

RH Cassette Tape 41

Physical Location

RH Movie 4

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts, Maxine Bennett, 2000, 2003.

Separated Materials

Morantz, Regina Markell, Cynthia Stodola Pomerleau, and Carol Hansen Fenichel. In Her Own Words: Oral Histories of Women Physicians. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1982 Available at Spencer Research Library at RH C11228.

Smith, Dean, 1931. A Coach's Life. New York: Random House, 1999. Available at Spencer Research Library at RH C11214.

Guide to the Maxine Bennett Collection
Finding aid prepared by skt, 2007. Finding aid encoded by skt, 2007.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Support for the processing of this collection was provided by the G. Baley Price Spencer Research Library Fellowship Fund.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Maxine Bennett papers, Kansas Collection, RH MS 993, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States