Andrew Taylor Still
Medical doctor. Born August 6, 1828, Lee County, Virginia. Died December 12, 1917 Kirksville, Missouri.
Andrew Taylor Still was born in Virginia and raised in Tennessee. His father, a Methodist circuit-riding preacher and a physician, took the family across the country until settling in Douglas County, Kansas in 1853. There Andrew Still began his medical training. At that time to become a doctor men would read medical texts and work with an already practicing physician. Still completed this process and soon set up business as a country doctor.
In 1856, he and his brother donated 480 acres of land for the establishment of Baker University. Later, in 1857, he represented Douglas County in the territorial legislature. Still was a passionate abolitionist. He argued that Kansas must not become a slave state. He was successful in his endeavor, and Kansas entered the Union as a free state. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Still signed up for service with the Union side.
At the close of his service to the state he returned home to face the events that would change his ideas about medicine forever.
Upon returning home Still lost three of his children from his first wife to spinal meningitis and the child of his second wife to pneumonia. After loosing his children Still began to question the medical practices of his day. He decided that better methods must be out there, and began to search for them.
Still focused his studies on anatomy and the power of the body to cure itself without medicines. He rejected the use of drugs as cures. He began to research healing methods such as magnetic healing, bonesetting, Grahamism, hydropathy, homeopathy, and eclecticism. In 1874, Dr. Still created his new form of medicine that would be called osteopathy.
Osteopathy was met with much resistance within the medical community, and most of all by Still’s family. He wished to present his theories at Baker, which he had helped to found, but the family refused this. So he moved to Kirksville, Missouri, and founded the American School of Osteopathy. The school was slow to start, but once word spread of Still’s success, many students came to learn this new medicine.
Still spent the rest of his life running the school and working on his secondary passion of invention. Still passed on December 12, 1917; but the school went on, still educating students in the art of osteopathy to this day.
Entry: Still, Andrew Taylor
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: May 2011
Date Modified: January 2013
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