Tuesday, April 9, 2019


Post by Doris McCraw
Fall in Colorado
photo by author
I’ve had less time to research with the new novel that arrived on April 6, 2019. So for this post, I'm re-posting an older, revised post. I’m sharing some statistics about early women doctors. For this post, I focused on the women who were licensed prior to 1890. This is just a sample of these amazing women.
I've written a number of time of Alida Avery,who was one of the first women doctors in Colorado, arriving in 1874. She worked to be admitted into the Colorado Medical Society. She did not succeed, but her efforts helped those who came later. By 1881, when Colorado began licensing doctors, it didn't matter whether you were male or female. If you met the criteria, you were licensed.
There was Julia Loomis, who was Colorado Springs first female doctor. She arrived sometime between 1876 and 1878. She passed away in 1880. Her contemporary was Harriett Leonard, the first in Manitou Springs. She also arrived between 1876 and 1878. 
Below are additional women who received a Colorado license prior to 1890. This is not a complete list, but a sampling.
Augusta B. Nelson: practiced in Denver, received her license in 1888 and was 59 at the time.
Mary Ogden: practiced in Denver, received her license in 1886 and was 45.
Caroline F. Parker: practiced in Longmont, received her license in 1883 at the age of 43.
Celestia D Messinger: practiced in Leadville and other places was 41 when she was licensed in 1883
Anna Marsh: received her license in 1881, was 43. She started her practice in Greeley.
Madeline Marquette (Baker): was licensed in 1888 at a young 28 and along with Dr. Josepha Williams opened a private sanitarium in Denver.
Mary Mallory: licensed in 1888 also at 42 years of age. She started her practice in Salida, but moved to California in 1890.
Julia McNutt: was 41 in 1884 when she received her license and practiced in San Juan County Colorado
Trail to the North Star mine up King Solomon Mountain, Cunningham Gulch. San Juan County, Colorado. 1875.
 Julia Adams: was 50 in 1881 and practiced in Chaffee County. Her license is #124.
Elnora W. Anderson: was a young 35 in 1881 when she received license #184, setting up a practice in Denver.
There are twenty plus additional women on the list, and with rare exception the age at time of receiving their license is forty or older. Yes, a lot of them set up a practice in Denver, but as you can see by the sample above they also headed out to the mountains and other less populous areas.  The more I learn about these women who followed their dreams the more I want to know. Their desire and fortitude show me that a dream doesn’t end when you reach a certain age, it is ageless. Can I do any less?
Until next time, here’s to history and the stories it tells.
Amazon ebook
My novel "Josie's Dream" is this story of an early women doctor who comes to Colorado in 1879 to settle in the fictional town of Kiowa Wells.  Here is an excerpt from that story:
Since corresponding with Dr. Harriett Leonard, a past student of her medical school and dear friend, despite the difference in age, Josie had been dreaming of coming to Colorado. Dr. Leonard had offered to let her work at the Spa in Manitou Springs where Harriett was the proprietor, but Josie wanted to create a practice in a smaller town, where people really needed her.
Now here she was in Kiowa Wells, on the eastern plains of Colorado just a few miles from the railhead at Kit Carson. Her biggest obstacle now was finding a place to set up her medical practice.
Despite his reservations, her father gave her a medical bag, equipped with the basics. “Something to remind you of this commitment, your Hippocratic oath,” were his parting words.
Her parents, though still in Iowa, were in her heart. Still, she knew it had been time to leave. While others of her friends were getting married, she had gone to medical school, her path clear to her.
Can I help you?” The voice behind her asked, a hand reaching around to grab her bags.
Turning to face the speaker, Josie took in the disheveled appearance, the look of cunning in the eyes.
I can manage, thank you,” Josie replied, taking a firmer hold on her belongings.
Now, there is no need to be rude. I was just tryin’ to be helpful,” the man said as he tugged at her bag.
Stiffening, Josie sternly repeated, “I can manage.”
With a hard yank, the man managed to pull her doctor bag loose and without a thought, Josie swung her large bag at the man, striking him on the legs as he turned to run off. Instead, he found himself flat on the ground.
Calmly, Josie bent, retrieved her property, and knowing he was just stunned, started down the street. She had only gone a few steps when she heard a bellow behind her.
Let me get to the point quickly,” she said as she turned to her tormentor, who stopped so quickly he almost fell. “I have nothing of value you could use. So, unless you are in need of medical care, I suggest you stop while you are ahead.” Now, standing close, she could smell the liquor on him. Her eye took in his inability to stand upright without swaying. But to be fair, his fall might have had something do to with that.

Doctorin’?” he questioned, “you’re lying.”

Doris Gardner-McCraw
Author, Speaker, Historian - specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

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