Ethel Dunham and Martha Eliot were both born in the late 1800s and met in college. From that moment forward, their individual careers and mutual relationship were tightly entwined.

After medical school at John Hopkins, they both attained major positions at Yale and Harvard. They also worked in social service for the U.S. Children's Bureau, as leaders in administration and policy.

Later, their scientific research made great strides in child health. For one, Ethel established standards of care for both full-term and premature newborns. And Martha improved the prevention and early diagnosis of rickets.

Over the years, Ethel and Martha coordinated career choices for the sake of their domestic life together. Agonized by brief periods apart, they remained a devoted couple for nearly sixty years until 1969 – when death did them part.

This Rainbow Minute was read by Dustin Richardson.

“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.