Sofie Herzog: The First Woman Surgeon in Texas

By Rachel Penland

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Dr. Sofie and her famous bullet necklace

Texas is known for its tall tales and colorful characters who tamed the land. Exaggeration characterizes some of these stories but some are true. Such is the case with the state’s first female surgeon, Dr. Sofie Herzog, a legend in our region.

 

Sofie Deligath was born in Vienna, Austria, on February 4, 1846. Her family consisted of twenty-one prominent and successful doctors and surgeons, including her father. Sophie married another successful surgeon, Dr. August Herzog, at the tender age of fourteen. Over the next few years she gave birth to fifteen children, including three sets of twins! Sadly eight of her children did not survive to adulthood. During this time her husband accepted a position at the United States Naval Hospital in New York, moving the family to the states

Sophie Herzog

Dr. Sofie Herzog. Photo courtesy of Brazoria Heritage Society Photo Collection.

The series of events that brought Sofie Herzog to Brazoria, Texas, began with her youngest child, Elfriede Marie. The young school teacher met Randolph Prell of Brazoria in Philadelphia and married him in Hoboken on January 22, 1894. Elfriede and her new husband relocated to Texas, where Randolph worked as a merchant. Although Sofie did not move to Brazoria at that time, she eventually made the move south to experience something new and to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren.

Sophie Herzog

Dr. Sofie Herzog. Photo courtesy of W. D. Hornaday Collection, Prints and Photographs Collection, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

For the PDF of the full article click here.

For more information on Dr. Sofie Herzog, see the following links.

logoClick here to learn more about Dr. Sofie on the Brazoria Heritage Foundation’s website.

 

 

tsha-new-logoClick here to read a biography of Dr. Sofie available on the Texas State Historical Association’s The Handbook of Texas.

 

 

Click here or below to watch a short film by author Rachel Penland made for the Houston History class.

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