Bridget “Biddy” Mason: A Black Pioneer Midwife of Nineteenth-century Los Angeles

A midwife, a cattle-herder, a cross-country pioneer, a slave set free, a landowner in Los Angeles, a founder of the First African Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles, and a wealthy woman and socially prominent philanthropist: Bridget “Biddy” Mason was all of these and much more.
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About Author: Jane Beal

Jane Beal, PhD, is a writer, educator, and midwife. She has served with homebirth practices in the Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco metro areas and in birth centers in the US, Uganda, and the Philippines. She is the author of Epiphany: Birth Poems, Transfiguration: A Midwife’s Birth Poems, and The Lives of Midwives from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment (in progress). She currently serves as the educational director for BirthWorks International and teaches at the University of La Verne in southern California. To learn more, please visit and

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