But Susan Anderson didn’t start out wanting to be a physician. Her goal was to become a telegraph operator. Her father however encouraged her to attend medical school, which she did at the University of Michigan.
Being a female physician in the early 20th century proved to be challenging, as patients were reluctant to see a woman. After moving around a few times, she settled in Fraser, Colorado in 1907, a place with a cold and dry climate that was better for her tuberculosis.
Here she thrived. She treated families, ranchers, loggers, railroad workers, and even an occasional horse or cow. “The vast majority of her patients required her to make house calls, though she never owned a horse or a car. Instead, she dressed in layers, wore high hip boots, and trekked through deep snows and freezing temperatures to reach her patients.”
In return, she was usually paid in firewood or food.
“Doc Susie” was a physician to the people of Fraser for almost 50 years, until she retired in 1956.