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Parents’ words breathe life into 1930s
November 2, 2014, Abilene Reporter-News, Abilene, Texas, Janet Van Vleet
“It’s an extraordinary experience to get to know your parents when they were young and full of dreams,” [Fitzgerald] said in a telephone interview from Shreveport, Louisiana …

In the News

  • More Thoughts on Gender Issues in “The Courtship of Two Doctors”
    Medical Education History blog, Tom Weber, October 31, 2014
    While the letters suggest Baker did not see herself as trailblazer, she was one simply because of the choices she made. She was probably just following her own desires by pursuing a career as a physician and in her presentation of femininity. Still, she had entered a world where people like her were few, which certainly took courage.
  • Alice Baker and the Early Years of Women in Medical Schools
    Medical Education History blog, Tom Weber, October 10, 2014
    In the 1930s, [Alice] Baker was entering a profession that still had not seen many women. A small number of women began entering medical practice in the late 1840s … Their entry had several causes including a growing women’s suffrage movement and the increased popularity of the public health reform movement that had a large female contingency. Elizabeth Blackwell became the first female graduate from a medical school when she received her M.D. degree from Geneva Medical College in 1849.
  • Medical Education Through Love Letters
    Medical Education History blog, Tom Weber, October 5, 2014
    Holoubek is forthright in his writing and unfailingly polite, just as one might expect from a Nebraskan. Baker is very self-deprecating, often apologizing for her letters, but she also has a quiet strength that reads clearly throughout her writings. … Their time for laughing at a new Charlie McCarthy broadcast or catching a preview screening of The Buccaneer is limited, of course, because they are medical students and interns …. They are constantly working themselves to the point of exhaustion.

It Was Just A Fascination: Louisiana Author Chronicles Parents’ Love Story Through Their Letters
June 2013, City Social Magazine, Baton Rouge, Rosalind Tuminello
The letter from Clarkson, Nebraska, dated August 22, 1937, began,”Dear Alice” and closed with “Sincerely, Joe.”  By March 23, 1938, the same author’s salutation had changed to “My Darling,” and was signed “Love, Joe.”  In the span of a few months, what began as friendly generic correspondence between two young medical students who had met for the first time the summer of 1937 at the Mayo Clinic blossomed into enduring love.  It would be 10 months until they would see each other again.

Book Donation
Summer 2013, LSU Alumni Magazine, Volume 89, No. 2 [Page 16], Baton Rouge
Dr. Charlie Roberts, president of LSU Alumni Association, receives donation of “The Courtship of Two Doctors,” a book of letters drawing on the long-distance courtship of Drs. Alice Baker and Joe Holoubek. Alice Baker was an alumna of LSU-Baton Rouge, the eighth woman to graduate from LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, and a founding member of the clinical faculty of LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport

Louisiana Love Story: Doctors’ long marriage began with letters, Bible
February 9, 2013, The Advocate, Baton Rouge
Their faith journey together began in June 1938 with what is often called ‘the love chapter’ of the Holy Bible.
“My mother wrote a letter to my father about a beautiful sermon she had just heard about I Corinthians 13, the beautiful passage that describes how love endures and love never fails,” said Martha Holoubek Fitzgerald …

Couple’s letters from the 1930s tell of love, medicine
October 16, 2012, Omaha Literature/, Kirk Zebolsky
“Perhaps like a romance novel, this great new book of letters … proceeds from shyness to professions of love. Mainly, though, it shows how two medical students met, learned their profession and became doctors, and … wrote themselves into a lasting marriage. Both were effective writers in that time when people often hand-wrote letters. This well-done book should be on best-seller lists.”

“Sensing the Story Within”  (author essay)
October 15, 2012, Southern Writers Magazine, November/December issue
“The last Michelangelo statue I encountered was a modest one, about 21 inches high. Crouching Boy is a well-muscled nude with head and chest folded over its knees. Chisel marks are still visible in the rough marble.I was reminded of something I once read, that Michelangelo could simply look at a block of stone and sense the work of art within, the energy and beauty of the figure awaiting release from constraints. And I realized that’s an instinct that drives artists and craftsmen of all types, including writers of non-fiction.”

“Charming book … readers will fall under the spell
October 15, 2012, Library Journal
Former Shreveport Times columnist Fitzgerald, daughter of the late doctors Alice and Joe Holoubek, collects a series of letters that detail her parents’ courtship, from their first meeting at a Mayo Clinic fellowship in 1937 to their marriage two years later. These two young people awaken to their strong feelings for each other despite distance, busy internships, uncertain futures, and the illnesses that befell both. As biographer Joan Reardon (As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto) recently showed, collections of personal correspondence can provide a fascinating slice of life and the interplay of unique personalities. The Holoubeks’ letters show them to have been enormously likable, and the book shines with their modesty, consideration for each other, and concerns for humanity.

VERDICT: This charming book is replete with enough medical references to interest any student of medical history. Other readers will fall under the spell of the music, automobiles, and social mores of the 1930s. For everyone.

‘A great joy’: Author recounts parents’ courtship through their letters
October 7, 2012, the Alexandria Daily Town Talk, Jodi Belgard
“She didn’t take offense easily,” Fitzgerald said of Alice Baker Holoubek. “My mother was a young woman who succeeded in a man’s world, but with a surprising amount of ease and self-confidence.”

Daughter writes about parents’ romantic lives
September 10, 2012, the Rochester [Minnesota] Post-Bulletin, Jeff Hansel
“They fell for each other as Mayo Clinic medical students, and after they parted ways to continue their studies, hundreds of letters over a two-year period helped the 1,100 miles between them melt away. They were doctors in love.”

Book celebrates lost art of letter writing
August 11, 2012, the Shreveport Times, John Andrew Prime
“A new book publishing this week celebrates not only a timeless love story but a dying art, that of writing honest-to-goodness letters with thought and foresight.”


Catholic TV Network, Boston | April 12, 2013, 9:30 a.m. CT
This is The Day with co-hosts Father Robert Reed and Jay Fadden

WPYR 1380 Catholic Radio | 15 minutes, February 6, 2013, 7:30-7:45 a.m. CT
Wake Up, Baton Rouge! with co-hosts Staci Gulino and Johnny Hebert
On “Letters to Luke”

Atlanta Live! WATC-TV | 15 minutes, November 26, 2012/6 p.m. CT
with host Rick Goins

WPYR 1380 Catholic Radio | 30 minutes, October 29, 7:30-8 a.m. CT
Wake Up, Baton Rouge! with co-hosts Staci Gulino, Dave Dawson and Johnny Hebert
On “The Courtship of Two Doctors”

Big Blend Radio and Magazine | 20 minutes,  October 22/7:30-8 p.m. CT

KRGI, Grand Island, Nebraska, Brad Fossberg | October 16

 KVNO News, Omaha Public Radio, Robyn Wisch | October 15
“Doctors’ letters document love, medicine across states”

Strategies for Living, KEEL 710, Shreveport, Dave McMillian | September 30, 9:05 a.m. to 10 a.m.

From My Mama’s Kitchen, BlogtalkRadio, Johnny Tan | September 18,  10-11 a.m. CST

 Strategies for Living, Cable Channel 12, Bossier City, Dave McMillian | September 17, noon-12:30 p.m.

Red River Radio KDAQ, Shreveport, Kate Archer Kent | Friday, August 17

KPXJ CW 21 News, Shreveport, Ed Walsh | Thursday, August 16