Wednesday, March 21, 2018


In both "Josie's Dream" and "Chasing A Chance" I mention women doctors. It is not necessarily the medical aspect I am interested in, although that is fascinating, but the stories of the women and their time in history. So in honor of National Women's History month, I'm sharing my fascination and some research on women doctors.

The medical school, The Keokuk School of Physicians and Surgeons, was a real college. It has also been called the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Keokuk. It began in La Porte, Indiana in 1846 before moving to Madison, Wisconsin in 1847 then to Rock Island, Illinois in 1848. The school had a year long session in Davenport, Iowa before its permanent home in Keokuk in 1850. As part of the University of Iowa it was technically co-ed from the beginning.  

Josephine, the Josie of "Josie's Dream", was a graduate of the Keokuk school as was the real life doctor Harriet Leonard of Manitou Springs, Colorado. Dr. Leonard was the proprietor of the Bath house, an unusual position for a woman. Her ad in the July 1878 local paper read: Mrs. H. A. Leonard M.D. ELECTRICIAN. Special attention given to nervous and chronic diseases. Office in the Mineral Bath House, Manitou.  Although many women physicians were homeopaths, the medical treatment of choice during that time, Harriet was an allopath. Dr. Harriet Leonard

The other woman physician mentions is Dr. Alida Avery. Dr. Avery arrived in Colorado in 1874 after leaving Vassar College where she had been on staff for six years. In fact she was one of the early members of that faculty. Much has been written about this early Colorado physician, her work on women's suffrage, and her years at Vassar. Dr. Alida Avery

One of my enduring passions is researching the early Colorado Women Physicians and documenting their lives. When possible, I try to include these women or their stories in my fiction and well as non-fiction writing. So as you read "Josie's Dream" or the mention of Josie in "Chasing A Chance", know that it comes from a place of love and fascination with these early pioneering doctors of Colorado.

Doris Gardner-McCraw -
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women's History
Member of National League of American Pen Women,
Women Writing the West,
Pikes Peak Posse of the Westerners

Angela Raines - author: Where Love & History Meet
For a list of Angela Raines Books: Here 
Photo and Poem: Click Here 
Angela Raines FaceBook: Click Here

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