The True Story of a Country Physician in the Colorado Rockies

Cornell, Virginia

Primary Category: Literature / Nonfiction

Genre: Biography

Annotated by:
McEntyre, Marilyn
  • Date of entry: Jun-19-1997


This lively biography is a work of love based on newspaper accounts and an abundance of local anecdotes about "Doc Susie," Susan Anderson, who received her M.D. from the University of Michigan in 1907, and who maintained a single-handed rural practice in the almost inaccessible heights of the Rockies from shortly after her training was completed to 1956. She lived to tell a great many stories about arduous and ill-equipped visits to out-of-the-way sites in lumber camps and makeshift farmhouses in several feet of snow through dangerous mountain passes.

After her death at the age of 90 in 1960 her survivors added their recollections to the body of lore. An authentic hero tale about what made it worth her while to withstand tuberculosis, unreliable transportation and supplies, impoverished patients, snow, and solitude, this book may remind readers of a quality of "gumption" that is one of the still admirable aspects of the American pioneer legacy.


Certainly those interested in the history of women in medicine ought to include this story on their reading lists. It is simply and well told, and conveys Dr. Anderson's truly heroic determination to follow her vocation with integrity despite both professional condescension from her medical peers and initial suspicions of a woman doctor on the part of patients without sentimentalizing or sensationalizing what is in fact a moving and remarkable story. A scene near the end where she lunches with several doctors in Denver, having brought an ailing child to the hospital there provides an almost comic contrast between rural and urban medicine of the time.



Place Published

New York



Page Count