At the turn of the 20th century, cities around the world were rife with syphilis, yet no blood test could prove it. Two women in Green Bay, Wisconsin found their lives destroyed by that simple fact. Mary, an illiterate maid, and Mollie, a college-educated socialite, fell victim to the physical violence and mental abuse of celebrated surgeon Dr. John R. Minahan. To silence them, he claimed they had that shameful and dreaded disease. But as medical science advanced and suffragettes marched for their rights, Mary and Mollie found the courage to stand up for theirs.  


This is the only full account written about Dr. John R. Minahan, whose family dominated Green Bay’s professional, business, and political arenas from 1892 to 1954. Dr. Minahan’s wealth built a college stadium, science center, and six-story office building—all named for him—while history lost, or perhaps erased, Mary’s and Mollie’s heroic stories—until now.




A gripping tale of two women … Drews brings history to life …  The skillful excavation of these stories of class and gender inequity adds a great deal to our understanding of Green Bay’s history by amplifying voices that deserve to be heard. ~ Eric Genrich, Mayor of Green Bay



This true crime history is absolutely compelling in its progression, social inspection, and contrast between two women from different walks of life who take courageous stands against Green Bay's famous surgeon and closet abuser, Dr. J.R. Minahan. ~D. Donovan, Sr. Editor Midwest Book Review


A fascinating story … It captures the essence of two women at the turn of the 20th century that society sees as less than equal to one of the community’s leading men … References to landmarks in and around Green Bay add to the compelling story.  ~ James Boyd, Mayor of De Pere


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1893 Fort Howard

and Green Bay

 Dr. John R.  Minahan

Mary Cenefelt the Maid

Mollie Bertles

the Socialite

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