Here is the history of the Wisconsin Association of Osteopathic Physicians & Surgeons and Osteopathic Medicine in Wisconsin. History from 1897 to 1940 was gathered from the 1940 newspaper clipping on this page.

The material here presented is from the records and files in the office of the Secretary of the Wisconsin Osteopathic Association; the Secretary's minutes of meetings; the records and files of the Secretary of the State Board of Medical Examiners as furnished by the osteopathic member of the Board; the magazine published by the Milwaukee College of Osteopathy; newspaper clippings and personal letters. Compiled by Kirk W. Shipman, DO, Chairman, Committee on Statistics. Authorized by the Wisconsin Osteopathic Association.



The history of osteopathic medicine in Wisconsin begins in September 1893. In that year Wisconsin shared honors with Minnesota in having Dr. Charlie Still, oldest son of Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the founder of osteopathic medicine, introduce the new science. This is related by Dr. Charlie in a letter to Dr. E. J. Elton which is here quoted in full:

"Dear Doctor:

In the summer of 1893 I was invited to visit Minneapolis for the practice of osteopathy. I accepted the invitation, I wanted to go on to Chicago to visit the World's Fair. I stayed in Minn. one month, during that time a Mr. H.C. Willey of Diamond Bluff, WI and a Mr. Burk came to see me, they wanted me to stop a month in the Bluff, I told them I would if they would guarantee me twenty five patients. They did that without going home, so in about the first of Sept. that year, 1893, I did practice in Diamond Bluff. I had so many patients come over from Red Wing that I decided to go to Red Wing after I had visited the Fair. I got back to Red Wing the first week in October 1893. These are the facts about the first practice in Wisconsin.

Respectfully, CE Still"

Following this brief visit of Dr. Charles Still we have not record of any one practicing in WI until 1897. In July of that year, Dr. Amos H. Hall located in Madison. After two months in Madison, he moved to Menominee where he practiced until 1900.

On September 1, 1897 the Christopher Columbus, great, unique excursion steamer of Lake Michigan for twenty years, steaming into Milwaukee harbor, had among her passengers Dr. Leslie E. Cherry and Dr. Easie S. Cherry, his wife. They located in Milwaukee. On December first Dr. Louise P Crow came to Janesville. These three were responsible for the firm establishment of osteopathic medicine in Wisconsin.

The Doctors Cherry opened the Milwaukee Institute of Osteopathy. The term "Institute of Osteopathy" was currently used when two or more doctors were associated in practice, with some qualifying word, either the name of the city of the doctor, as: "Boston Institute of Osteopathy" or "Patterson Institute of Osteopathy." The schools commonly had an Infirmary where the doctors carried on their practices and which also served as clinics for the students. Announcements usually read: "College and Infirmery" or "School and Infirmary."


During the year 1898, Dr. Anna B. Collins came to Oshkosh, Dr. Ora L. Gage to Racine later moving to Oshkosh, Dr. Warren B. Davis joined the staff of the Milwaukee Institute and Dr. A.U. Jorris to LaCrosse.

The teaching of Osteopathy being one of the purposes of the founders of the Milwaukee Institute, Dr. W.B. Davis, as their representative, attended a meeting of representatives of a number of the schools teaching Osteopathy, held in Kirksville, Missouri in June 1898, for the purpose of forming an organization of the reputable schools to protect themselves and their graduates. The outcome of this meeting was the "Associated Colleges of Osteopathy" the charter members of which were, Milwaukee Insitutute; Northern Insitutte of Osteopathy, Minneapolis, MN; S.S. Still College of Osteopathy, Des Moines, IA; Pacific School of Osteopathy, Los Angeles, CA; Western Institute of Osteopathy, Denver, CO; American School of Osteopathy, Kirksville, MO.

To aid in introducing Osteopathy and to farther the interests of the new school, the Milwaukee School began the publication of the "Wisconsin Osteopath," a well edited, attractive, sixteen page magazine with Dr. Essie Cherry as editor. The first issue was dated August, 1898. The material used consisted of articles on Osteopathy, various diseases, case reports for the layman, professional news, personal mentions, a list of some twenty people who had been benefited by osteopathic treatment, a list of diseases treated at the Institute and the prices charges. These last were: one month, thirteen treatments, $25; two weeks, $15; single treatment $2.50. Considerable space was given to the school.

The first day of September 1898, the Milwaukee College of Osteopathy was opened for school work. It was located in the Mathews Block, Grand Ave. and Third St. The faculty of five; Leslie E. Cherry, D.O., Presdient, Easie S. Cherry, D.O., vice presdient, W.B. Davis, D.O., secretary and treasurer, Wm. D. McNary, B.S., A.B., M.D. and T.P. Bond, was soon enlarged by addition of Lousie P. Crow, D.O., E,o; Tabem Ph.G., H. Thos. Ashlock, Ph.D., D.O., Abbie Davis, D.O., and Geo. O Seeley, M.D.

The course of study was, first term: general discriptive anatomy, including osteology, syndesmology and angiology, Introductory physiology, principles of chemistry, illustrated lectures on histology and pathology of bone. Second term: descriptive and demonstrated anatomy, anatomy of organs of special sense and viscera, physiology, chemistry (analytical and physiological), hygiene, dietetics, physical diagnosis, lectures on physical exercise. Third term: regional anatomy with demonstrations on the cadaver, urinaanalysis, physiology, pathology, histology, toxicology, osteopathic symptomology and diagnosis, clinical demonstrations in osteopathy, dissection of cadaver. Fourth term: topographical and living anatomy, gynecology, obstetrics, minor surgery, fractures and dislocations, lectures on practice of osteopathy, osteopathic jusrisprudence, clinical practice of osteopathy. Four terms of five months each.

The first class had twelve members among whom were E.J. Elton as vice president of class and Eliza Clubertson as treasurer. The school was maintained three years and in 1901 was consolidated with the American School of Osteopathy.

The following is a list of graduates of the Milwaukee school copied from a directory published by Dr. J.A. Quintal, of Kirksville, Mo. in 1904: R.D. Barret, Thomas P. Bond, Ada Chandler, Leslie E. Cherry, Easie E. Cherry, Warren B. Davis, E.J. Elton, Rose U. Klug, Wm. D. McNary, J.F. McNary, Frank Rau, W.A. Sanders, Maud M Sanders, Wm. Saxon, John K. Schuster, Henry Stooa, M.A.S. Smith, W.L. Thompson, O.W. Williams, Rose Williams and from State Board examination records: Eliza Culbertson and Hannah Rice.


In the early days of 1901 two bills were introduces to the Legislature of Wisconsin affecting those practicing the healing art. One by the State Board would increase the length of the four terms in the medical college course to seven months each in a separate year, require every applicant for licensure to take an examination by the Board (only a diploma from a recognized medical college was then required) and allowing osteopaths to be examined in the studies taught in their schools and to be given a certificate to practice within those bounds, but no member on the Board. The other bill introduced by the osteopaths provided for a separate board of examiners for them and other requirements to suit their conditions.

The papers quoted several members of the Board of Medical Examiners in opposition to the bill of the osteopaths. One was reported to have said," The principal objection to the bill...which licenses osteopathists and gives them a legal standing as healers is that it will open the door for "diploma factories." Another, "We do not object to competent osteopathists practicing strictly within the limits of their profession. We do not object to any 'pathy' but we do not want such a sweeping measure as the one proposed." Another, "No hydropath or electropath has ever asked for a special examining board, why should the osteopath have one? The osteopath should take the regular examination of the board. There should be no osteopathist on the Board because he would make out the questions for members of his clan and would leave out everything pertaining to materis medica."

The osteopaths were represented by attorneys Charles Quarles, of Milwaukee, and John McConnel, of LaCrosse. Dr. J.B. Littlejohn and Dr. Carl McConnel , of Chicago, came before the committee of the Legislature and spoke in behalf of the bill. A number of the members of the Legislature championed the cause of the osteopaths urging that they were well qualified and doing good work and should be given representation on the present board of Medical Examiners or a separate board.

Of interest is the following from the Milwaukee Sentinel of March 5, 1901.

Madison, WI-"A lively fight is expected on the floor of the Assembly when the Committee on Health and Sanitation of the lower house makes its report on Senator Roehr's osteopathy bill. The friends of the measure have launched a strong campaign for the bill and petitions from all parts of the state are now pouring into the Assembly urging the passage of the measure. On the other hand, the bill finds many opponents who are asserting their utmost to kill the bill.

Dr. L.E. Cherry of Milwaukee has been the head of the movement that the osteopaths have started for the campaign but he is temporarily absent from the Capital for a week and during that time the bill is in charge of a woman, Dr. Louise P Crow, of Janesville. Dr. Crow is a modest but earnest worker and is meeting with a great deal of success as a lobbyist for the bill. For some days past, she has worked like a beaver among the legislators of the lower house. She is on the Assembly floor every morning before the session begins, waits until it adjourns and then again begins her labors for the bill. She singles out those who are reported to be against the bill argues and reasons with them and in this manner is said to have made many converts for the measure. The bill has not been argues before the Committee on Health and Sanitation but its members have been given a pretty fair knowledge of the measure's scope so thorough has been this little woman's work for this particular piece of legislation."

For weeks this contest went on. The medical fraternity determined to remove the osteopaths from the state and the osteopaths equally determined to maintain their alight foothold. Good men took sides.

Milwaukee Sentinel, April 12, 1901--The Assembly engaged in a bitter fight this morning over the McComb bill. The measure was on the calendar for advancement to third reading and the friends of the osteopaths, who are seeking equal recognition with the graduates of other medical schools, made a strong effort to gain their point. The contest became so heated that the two sides resorted to the sharpest kind of parliamentary tactics and for nearly half an hour proceedings were carried on under a call of the house...The vote indicated that the "regulars" were somewhat stronger that the osteopaths but not strong enough to force the bill to a third reading...The osteopathy bill passed the senate and was before the house this morning for slaughter, the Committee on Public health and Sanitation having by a vote of three to two incorporated a provision in the McComb bill authorizing the State Medical board to examine and license osteopaths. This provision was unsatisfactory to the osteopaths and they wanted to kill it....If they were allowed representation on the state board they say they would not object so strenuously to the medical bill."

The Milwaukee "Evening Wisconsin" reports the conclusion of the battle as follows:

Madison, WI, April 18--The expected peaceful conclusion to the battle between the regular physicians and the osteopaths who have been seeking recognition and the right to practice in Wisconsin, was consummated today in the Assembly. The principle struggle has been on the examination of candidates for practice and the cases the osteopaths should be allowed to treat. The compromise provides for an eighty member on the examining board who shall be an osteopath, and prescribes that the board shall grant license to practice osteopathy to all applicants of good moral character who pass the regular examination of such board in anatomy, histology, physiology, obstetrics, gynecology, pathology, urinanalysis, toxicology, hygiene and diatetics, diagnosis, theory and practice of osteopathy and present to the board a diploma from a regularly conducted college of osteopathy maintaining the standards of the associated colleges of osteopathy in its requirements for matriculation and graduation, and requiring personal attendance for a least four terms of five months each.

All reputable resident graduates of regular colleges of osteopathy who were practicing in this state prior to March 1, 1901, and who shall be recommended to said board by the executive committee of the WSOA, shall, upon application, be granted license to practice osteopathy...osteopaths when so licensed shall have the same rights and privileges and be subject to the same statues and regulations as other physicians, but shall not have the right to give or prescribe drugs or perform surgical operations...It (the amended bill) was unanimously adopted by the Assembly." Thirty-six osteopathic physicians were granted licenses under the provisions of the new law.

In a little over three and one half years these few determined people had so thoroughly introduced osteopathy and proven its worth to the people of Wisconsin that they had gained legal recognition for their practice and protection for the practitioners. This law is a monument to the few who worked for it and was so recognized later by the state association.

On May 4, 1901, the Executive Committee of the WSOA met in Milwaukee and faced the cost of the legislative effort which was found to be about $1,300. An assessment of $45 was levied on each of the thirty-two members to meet the expense.

From a list of five names submitted, the Governor appointed A.U. Jorris, D.O. as the member on the Board of Examiners.

In July 1901, three osteopathic physicians received licenses on examination, these being the first to write the examination under the Board of Medical Examiners.


At the fourth annual meeting of the WSOA, held in Milwaukee on August 7, 1902, for the first time department committees were appointed: Practice of Osteopathy, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Nervous and Mental Diseases and Clinics.

In November 1902, the Legislative and Executive committees in joint meeting drafted a communication to the Board of Medical Examiners recommending that the proposed change in the law, making the professional course four years, as to osteopathy be made three years of eight months each. the law of 1901 required a preliminary education equal to two years of high school work and twenty months of professional training. After 1906 the preliminary education was a full high school course of four years.

The law of 1903 in response to the recommendation of the Executive Committee made the requirements in professional training three years of eight months each after 1904 and after 1909 it was to be four years of seven months each.

The law was changed in 1915 adding surgery to the practice of osteopathy and making the professional course four years of eight months each. Another provision allowed persons licensed to practice osteopathy prior to 1916 who had adequate training in surgery to take the examination in surgery. A number took advantage of this provision and obtained licenses.

At the February 1903 WSOA meeting in Madison, the decision was made to incorporate the WSOA in order to give it equal standing with other like organizations. A new constitution and bylaws was adopted. in June of that year, the necessary steps were taken and the WSOA duly incorporated on June 30, 1903.

Fifty-three doctors of osteopathy were reported practicing in the state in 1905, forty of whom were members of WSOA. W.L. Thompson, D.O. was appointed a member of the State Board of Medical Examiners in 1910 succeeding A.U. Jorris, D.O. who had served on the Board since 1901. Dr. Thompson remained on the Board until 1919. Drs. W.D. and J.F. McNary operated the Green Gables Sanatorium at Hartland for some years. Dr. J.F. McNary presented a request for an investigation of the institution at the 1911 meeting in Madison. Considerable discussion and letter reading was indulged in and the matter referred to the Executive Board for investigation. Their report reads:

To the WSOA,

We, the undersigned, members of the old Executive Board having been appointed by the WSOA on May 5, 1911 as a special committee to investigate Green Gables Sanatorium as conducted by the McNary Bros. at Lake Nagawioka, Hartland, WI, with a view to determining whether said sanatorium is conducted as an osteopathic sanatorium or a medical institution, do hereby respectfully report that we have made a thorough investigation of conditions, and methods of treatment at said sanatorium and it is the opinion of the Committee that sanatorium is conducted in accordance with osteopathic principles and is deserving of the support of the profession.

Upon inquiry among patients, the committee finds that laxatives are used at times in connection with osteopathic treatment, their use and the use of other eliminents (in emergency cases only) being the extent of internal medication, and these being used as palliatives and not as curative agencies...The Committee would emphasize that inquiry among the patients themselves demonstrates the fact that the osteopathic idea is paramount.

The profession however much they thought of the Institution did not give the necessary support and after a struggle it was given up. This was the first effort to establish an osteopathic sanatorium.


By 1912 Dr. L. H. Nordhoff, who had served as secretary for five years brought to the realization that the work performed by the secretary was worthy of renumeration. Twenty-five dollars annually was ordered paid to the secretary.

E.C. Murphy, D.O. was appointed a member of the State Board of Medical examiners in 1919 succeeding Dr. W.L. Thompson.

Although the laws of 1915 provided for the practice of surgery by osteopathic physicians, the Board had not permitted any to take the examination in surgery or granted any license to practice "osteopathy and surgery" up to 1919. Agitation to gain such license was started outside the Association and in consequence the Executive Board and the Legislative Committee held a joint meeting February 9, 1919 to consider the entire matter. The opinion of the meeting was: to assure members that their interests were being guarded; that the law needed definite interpretation; that the best way to get a test was through mandamus proceedings by a doctor of osteopathy whose qualifications would be equal to the requirements; that the Association would back such a one financially; that the law intended to assure osteopathic physicians their right to practice osteopathy as their credentials showed them qualified, including surgery; that the Association does not endorse but discourages any surgical practice by one not so qualified.

At the meeting of Association the following May, a committee was appointed to find and osteopathic physician qualified who would start mandamus proceedings against the State Board of Medical Examiners to compel them to permit him to take the examination in surgery.

Charles Emerson Pollard, of Westfield, IL, made application to the Wisconsin Board of Medical Examiners to take the examination in "Osteopathy and Surgery" in June 1919. The Board refused to allow him to write the examination in surgery. Suit was started against the Board and the case tried in the Circuit Court, Dane County, before Judge E. Ray Stevens. His decision was against the petitioner. The case was appealed to the State Supreme Court. The outcome is set forth in a letter from the office of the Secretary of the Board of Examiners:

"Then at a special meeting of the Board in October, 1920, the following was recorded on the minutes of the books: Mr. Umbreit gave his report verbally on the Supreme Court decision in the Pollard case, the decision being that the Board must admit to the examination in Surgery all Osteopaths who apply to take such examination. After considerable discussion , it was moved by Dr. Abrahm, seconded by Dr. Ripley that this matter be appealed to the United States Supreme. Further discussion followed and the vote, when called for, stood as follows: Ayes 6, No 1. Carried. Later, the decision of the Supreme Court was that osteopaic physicians be allowed to write the examination in surgery and practice accordingly."

In June 1921 the applicants for license to practice "osteopathy and surgery" were given the examination in surgery for the first time. Some took advantage of the retroactive clause in the law and from 1923 to 1928 seven persons who had been licensed to practice osteopathy wrote the examination in surgery and were granted licenses to practice surgery.

In April 1920, formal application was made to the American Osteopathic Association by the WOA to become part of the former organization which was granted June 1, 1920.


The eighteen years following 1921 saw the legal status of osteopathy in Wisconsin maintained without change. The osteopathic association had a steady growth, functioning smoothly and harmoniously.

Doctors of Osteopathy and Surgery had not been allowed to practice in the hospitals of Wisconsin, though legally licensed, due to the influence of the dominant school of practice. The need for hospital facilities was discussed many times in the years following the attempt at Green Gables, Wisconsin in 1911 to establish an institution favorable to Osteopathy. Many plans were discussed and laid aside.

It was 1935 when James A Baird, D.O. made connections with a hospital in Antigo and in 1938 was head of the staff. In 1939 Dr. Baird moved to Marshfield and opened a hospital there. This card appeared in the Wisconsin-Osteo of Nov. 1939. "Marshfield General Hospital. Complete surgical, obstetric, x-ray and laboratory facilities."

On May 1, 1938, the Hustisford Hospital was opened. Paul R. Koogler, D.O. is the owner and chief of staff.


There is no history compiled for the WAOPS from 1941 year on. Researching the history will be an on-going project. If you have any pieces of WAOPS history to help us with this project, please contact the WAOPS office.