The Electric Physician by Doris

Doris McCraw
Doris McCraw





Post copyright 2015 by Doris McCraw



Picture 048

I have spoken of Dr. Harriet Leonard in post before, but felt she deserved to have folks know more about her.

Born in New York in 1829 and died in Colorado in 1907 at the age of 79 (?). She was married to John  Leonard and they had seven children, with four surviving to adulthood according to the 1900 census. John died in 1895/6.

Along with Julia E. Loomis, the first woman doctor in Colorado Springs, Harriet Leonard was the first woman doctor in Manitou Springs, Colorado. Her advertisement appears as early as July of 1878. Her ad read: Mrs. H. A. Leonard M.D. ELECTRICIAN. Special attention given to nervous and chronic diseases. Office in the Mineral Bath House. Manitou. This form of treatment was not that unusual in the 1870’s. You can read more at:

Dr. Leonard later became the proprietor of the Bath house, a rather unusual position for a women. None the less, Harriet was constantly working and learning. There is some indication she may have gone to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, (originally known as Hot Springs) for a time, but no definite proof has been found at this point. It would not be out the question as the town has numerous hot springs. The springs in Manitou are mineral, and not hot springs. It would make sense given her history.

An additional difference between Dr. Leonard and the other female physicians, she was an allopath, while Dr. Loomis and others were homeopaths. Dr. Leonard graduated from the Keokuk College for Physicians and Surgeons.  Dr. Loomis a graduate of the Cleveland Homeopathic College for Women as were the two other women doctors who joined these two early pioneers.

As the journey continues, more and more information sheds light on these early pioneers. It is a passion, and a trust to find and tell their stories. For now, Harriet A. Leonard is the focus.Her end came when she fell and  broke her femur. At her age she declined quickly, passing away in September of 1907. She appeared to have an interesting life. Stay tuned as the pages of time are pulled back and we learn more about Dr. Leonard and others like her who ventured to the West and Colorado to follow their dreams of being healers. 

home for his heart angela raines

also available as an ebook on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

Doris Gardner-McCraw/Angela Raines
Author, Speaker, Historian-specializing in
Colorado and Women’s History

Author Page:
Photo and Poem:


22 thoughts on “The Electric Physician by Doris

  1. Another interesting lady! Had no idea there would be so many early women doctors. I thought they were a new thing when I started nursing training in the 1960’s. Thanks for the stories, Doris. What fun to research these neat ladies it must be.


    1. Neva, The more I research these amazing women, the more I realize I need to know. Their stories continue to fascinate me as I come across new information all the time. Doris


  2. Your posts are so intriguing, Doris. I could read them all day long. To learn that early pioneers in medicine (especially women) who were on the cusp of something great is very interesting (and mind boggling). Dr. Leonard’s use of homeopathic medicine in synch with the modern medicine at the time shows a far-thinking woman. Reading the link about Dr. Bryan’s of electricity in healing is almost unbelievable since the year was 1870. It’s fascinating stuff!


    1. Linda, I agree. The early experiments with ‘new’ ways of treating disease, it is mind-blowing. I do think, especially here, where many were arriving to find cures, the doctors were more inventive. The more I learn the more I need to put the pictures into place. That these women were forward thinking is a definite. Doris


    1. Thank you Erin. These women, maybe because of the time and location are surprising me all the time. So glad you enjoyed this one. Doris


    1. Thank you Joe. For those who have been on this blog, I talk about these amazing women a lot. I want to make sure their lives and stories do not get lost to time. Doris


  3. Doris, this is very interesting. As far as I know, electricity was used to treat venereal diseases–in fact, a great uncle of mine, a doctor, specialized in that before medicines for them came along. I can’t imagine that a female doctor would be dealing in that treatment though. The mind boggles!


    1. Andrea, I don’t know for sure about Harriet, but from what I have learned about her, it wouldn’t surprise me. Your great uncle sounds fascinating. From what I’ve read, electricity was used for many things, and I keep learning about more all the time.

      Thank you for stopping by and adding to my knowledge. I do appreciate it. Doris

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Stephanie. If you ever want to have an educational, fun read, these old advertisements will fit the bill. Doris


  4. Great post as always, Doris! You give us such insight into the time period, the person, and the profession (I’ve never heard of ‘electric medicine.’!! Thanks for posts that are not only entertaining, but educational as well! 🙂


    1. Gayle, that is my goal. To make history come alive and fun, either through blog post, in person ‘historic characters’ or lectures. To me these women, and men had lives worth remembering. Thank you for the supportive comment. Doris


    1. S. J., I agree. The women who lived back then and their lives are so worth the effort to research and share. I also agree, there is so much to be learned from their lives and professions. Thank you for the incentive to keep ‘researching’. Doris


  5. These women are all fabulous to read about, Doris. Wouldn’t it be marvellous if you had a photo/image of each of the women to add to your collection in the book I’m eagerly waiting to read!


    1. I keep searching for images of what they looked like, but they are eluding me Nancy. It is frustrating. Just need to work on getting some more writing done. I am working on a small one of the women who are, like Harriet, buried in Evergreen Cemetery. I am so glad you are enjoying their stories. Doris


    1. Cher’ley, each story I find just adds to the honor I have that these women are driving me to tell their stories. They were amazing, yet I don’t think they believed they were doing anything but what they were called in their hearts to do. Thanks. Doris


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