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Mrs. Shortridge, DO


In 1874, Dr. Andrew Taylor Still developed the practice of osteopathy, a form of holistic medical care still studied and practiced today. Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, called DOs, train like MDs, but they differ in philosophy and approach to patient care.

Dr. Still founded the first osteopathic medical school in Kirksville, Missouri, in 1892. So, when on this date in 1900, the Devils Lake Inter-Ocean noted that a Doctor of Osteopathy from Devils Lake was in Lakota, surveying the area for future practice, it was still a relatively new field of health care.

The DO in question was a little atypical from the standard physician in many ways. First of all, the doctor was a woman, and though she and her husband hailed from Missouri, they were well-known in North Dakota political and societal circles. Anna B. Shortridge was the wife of Eli C. Shortridge, the state’s third governor.

During her time as "first lady of North Dakota," Mrs. Shortridge was known more for her hospitality than her healing hands. She was described in the first issue of the publication Western Womanhood, which stated: "Born in the South and accustomed to the advantages incident to good birth and comfortable circumstances, Mrs. Shortridge hears with the dignity, refinement, and warm hospitality natural to her birth and position, the generous freedom and sociability typical of Westerners. She is a woman of good height and slender figure, with sparkling blue eyes and a wealth of dark hair. She receives two days in each week, and, as she is rather fond of callers, those who are considerate enough to remember receiving days are sure of a cordial welcome."

However, Mr. Shortridge only served one term from 1893-1895, and as he busied himself afterward with other matters, obviously so did his wife. After the former Governor passed away in February of 1908, Anna Shortridge turned to her medical occupation, and a little more than a year later, reports from her many friends had drifted back to Bismarck, with the following report appearing in the Bismarck Tribune:

“Mrs. Shortridge, a former resident of Bismarck, who is so pleasantly remembered by many people here during the time she was in the executive mansion while the late Governor Shortridge was at the head of state affairs, is very nicely located in a fine new suite of offices in Devils Lake, and is enjoying an extensive practice, if the statements of her many friends are to be believed. She is called to all parts of that section of the state. ... Since the recent death of the ex-governor, she has been able to recuperate her overtaxed energies and now feels more vigorous than her years."

This DO healed herself.

Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker







Bismarck Daily Tribune, November 5, 1909

Devils Lake Inter Ocean, Chatauqua edition, June 25, 1900

Western Womanhood, Vol. 1, issue 1, page 1