From The Citizen Register, Ossining, N.Y., Thursday, January 26, 1961:

Zip! Goes Pelham’s Dr. Travell, Kennedy Doctor, to Washington

WOMAN CREDITED WITH CURE

By Nina Jones
Pelham
      Events happened in such exciting confusion yesterday in the John W.G. Powell house that “Mrs. Powell just flew out of the house with two packed bags, and never even had a chance to tell me what was happening.
      But I found out from the papers when she left and things quieted down!”       
      That’s how Mrs. Ella Edwards, housekeeper, summed up the flury of callers and telephone and door bells in the household after word got about that Dr. Janet G. Travell (Mrs. Powell, in private life) was going to be appointed personal physician to President Kennedy.
      Dr. Travell had time only to tell her housekeeper she was going to Washington and would be “back in a couple of days.”
      “There wasn’t time to say ANYTHING, with somebody calling every minute!” a still breathless Mrs. Edwards said later. She wasn’t the only breathless one.
Broker Offices Flooded
      The office of Dr. Travell’s investment broker husband, Trainor, Wortham & Co. in Manhattan was also flooded with calls, and staff members of New York Hospital admitted “there have been reporters all over the place all day.”
      The assignment, not yet official, will make Dr. Travell, 58, the first woman ever to serve as the White House physician, and the first civilian to hold the job in almost 40 years. Reports that she had been physician to John Kennedy since he was 10 could not be confirmed.* Local sources say that the association has been for only six years, when she was recommended to him in the treatment of a back ailment. She is generally credited with curing Mr. Kennedy by discovering his left leg was slightly shorter than his right and prescribing a lift for the left shoe.
      The Powells have lived in the large, four-bedroom brick Colonial type house here at 35 Harmon Drive,** a short distance from the railroad station, since 1944.
2 Daughters in Family
       The house is terraced to permit a wide view of the Village of North Pelham. They have a summer place in Massachusetts.
      There are two daughters in the family, Mrs. Edward H. Street, an artist, of Nashville, and Mrs. James McAlee, now of New York. Both women attended, with their parents, the inauguration ceremonies in Washington last week.
      Dr. Travell, described by both neighbors and medical associates as a “plain, pleasant-speaking woman,” obsiously [sic] has little use for feminine frills, and hews hard to her profession. She is one of eight in her immediate family who is a doctor.
      She was graduated in 1926 at the head of her class from the then Cornell University Medical College. She has been associated with New York Hospital in Manhattan, which is affiliated with Cornell, and is a member of the college faculty.
Father Retired
      Her family also includes her father, Dr. Willard Travell, 91, of Manhattan, now retired; a sister, Dr. Virginia Weeks, who practices in Brooklyn; and a stepbrother, Dr. Bates Talcott of Monterey, Calif.  Both Powell daughters were graduated from Pelham Memorial High School.
     Dr. Travell is a registered Republican, and was twice women’s tennis champion of the Pelham Country Club. The Powells will take up residence in Washington.

[Town Historian Notes: * The rumor that Dr. Travell had been treating President Kennedy since age 10 was untrue. ** The correct address of the house is 34 (not 35) Harmon Avenue (not Drive), the style of the house is better described as “Eclectic” than “Colonial,” and the Powell Family moved there in 1942 (not 1944).]

Arthur L. Scinta, Town Historian


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