Ionia Rollin Whipper (ca. 1874-1953) was a leader in health care services to the city's women, especially its unwed mothers.

Dr. Whipper was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, and was educated in the District of Columbia public schools and graduated from Howard University Medical School in 1903 with a specialty in obstetrics. She worked in the maternity ward of Freedmen's Hospital. The experience led her to reach out to young mothers who had no other support, providing care for them in her home/office at 511 Florida Avenue, NW. This became the Ionia R. Whipper Home for Unwed Mothers. It moved to 2000 Channing Street, NE, in 1951 and remained the only maternity home for African American women in the city well into the 1960s. In 1978 it became a shelter for abused girls between the ages of 12 and 21.


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