The Doctor Wore Petticoats: Women Physicians of the Old West

By Chris Enss | Go to book overview

SUSAN ANDERSON
COLORADO HEALER

I came here (Colorado) to die, but since I didn't get the job done, I
guess I'll just have to live here instead.

—Doctor Susan Anderson, 1907

A dazzling setting sun cast long shadows of birch and eucalyptus trees over the small cabin they surrounded near Fraser, Colorado. The home's sole occupant, Doctor Susan Anderson, admired the golden shafts of light streaming in through a half-opened window and onto the pages of the opened Bible in her lap. A light breeze washed over her delicate frame and she turned her attractive face into the wind. She brushed back her dark hair and closed her blue eyes for a moment. Doctor Anderson was tired. She had moved to Fraser in 1907 to rest and to try to overcome the tuberculosis that had assaulted her lungs. Although the recovery had been slow, she was now on the mend and longed to resume her medical practice.

Women doctors were not well received in western communities in the early nineteenth century. In the one-year period Susan Anderson had lived in the quaint town, her services were called upon very few times and only when male doctors were unavailable.

The attention she gained after stitching up a rancher's injured horse had attracted some human clients, but not many. She was

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