Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890–1920
Biography of L. Rosa Hirichman Gantt (or Gannt), 1875-1935
By Courtney Griffin and Quinton Roof, students of Maggy Carmack, Presbyterian College, Clinton, South Carolina.
Legislative Chair, South Carolina Equal Suffrage League.
Love Rosa Hirichmann Gantt (pr Gannt) spent her life assisting people in any way she could ranging from tending to the sick to advocating for woman suffrage. Rosa was born in Camden, SC on December 29, 1875 to Solomon Hirichmann and Lena Debrena Hirichmann. As a child, she attended the public schools of Charleston. In 1898, she entered the Medical College of South Carolina in Charleston and in 1901 became one of the first two women to finish the three-year program with a M.D. degree. After graduating in 1901, she completed her postgraduate work at the New York Ophthalmic and Aural Institute and the Eye and Ear Clinic of New York. Rosa returned to South Carolina where she served as resident physician at Winthrop Normal and Industrial School 1904-05. She married Robert Joseph Gantt, a lawyer, on March 16, 1905.
Rosa Gantt was the first woman to practice medicine in Spartanburg, SC, where she was an ear, eye, nose and throat specialist. She was very involved in public health issues, including tuberculosis, rural health, maternal health, and school health initiatives. Some of her most important work was the fight led by the South Carolina Medical Association and the State Federation of Women's Clubs to secure medical inspections for school children. Dr. Gantt also fought pellagra (a vitamin B3 deficiency), sought medical help for Appalachians, and worked to combat delinquency among young girls. She also advocated educating the public about the dangers of unsanitary living conditions of the mill villages.
Dr. Gantt was active in many organizations. From 1909-1918 she served as the secretary of the Spartanburg Medical Society. During World War I, she sat on the board of medical examiners for the draft. When the Medical Women's National Association was first created, she served as the recording secretary treasurer and later became the president in 1931 and 1932. During this time, she organized American Women's Hospitals to provide medical services overseas. She also presented two papers before the Southern Medical Association's annual sessions. Along with holding all of these positions, Dr. Gantt was responsible for organizing a few associations of her own; the Spartanburg Health League, the Spartanburg Anti-Tuberculosis Association, and the public health and legislation committees of the South Carolina Federation of Women's Clubs.
Rosa Gantt's prolific involvement in public medical health advocacy translated into advocacy for women's rights. In 1914 and 1915, she served as legislative chairman of the South Carolina Equal Suffrage League. In January 1915 she was one of several women and men who addressed the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of a bill to call for a state suffrage amendment. Their main arguments were that that women suffrage was just and desirable and that women wanted the vote.
Dr. Gantt passed away in Philadelphia on November 16, 1935.
“Gantt, Love Rosa Hirichmann,” in Edward T. James and Barbara Sicherman, eds. Notable American Women: A Biographical Dictionary. Vol. 2 (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971), p.10.
Gantt, L. Rosa H., Woman's Who's Who of America: A Biographical Dictionary of Contemporary Women of the United States and Canada, 1914-1915, ed. by John William Leonard. (New York, NY: American Commonwealth Company, 1914), p. 314
Susan Dick Hoffius and E. Brooke Fox. The Medical University of South Carolina. (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2011), p.18.
Jacob Rader Marcus. United States Jewry, 1776 - 1985. (Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1989), p.322.
Antoinette Elizabeth Taylor, "South Carolina and the Enfranchisement of Women: The Later Years," South Carolina Historical Magazine, 80:4 (Oct., 1979):298-310.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/27567582 Accessed: 4-13-2016.