History Comes to Life at the Vail Public Library
Kathy Naples as Doc Susie
Dr. Susan Anderson, or "Doc Susie," is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable figures from Grand County's past. She arrived in Fraser in 1907, at the age of 37, thinking she would die within the year of the tuberculosis she had contracted while nursing patients in Greeley, Colorado. Beloved Doc Susie remained in Fraser, practicing medicine, for nearly 50 years.
She was a graduate of University of Michigan, an "authentic lady physician," licensed in both Colorado and Wyoming. She arrived at a time of tremendous growth and change in Fraser and Tabernash, having to prove herself first in treating an injured horse before the locals would allow her to treat their injuries and illnesses. She went on to treat all types of maladies and injuries suffered in work on the railroad, in the lumber camps, and on the local ranches, and to serve as coroner for the county during the tumultuous days of the construction of the Moffat Tunnel. While many times she doubted the wisdom of her decision to live and practice in Grand County, the community worked hard to make sure she was appreciated and cared for.
Doc Susie's home still stands in Fraser and the Cozens Ranch Museum holds an exhibit of her tools and equipment. Her story is an inspiration to young women who seek a career in the medical fields. There are many in Fraser who still remember this remarkable woman, who lived a full and vital life right up to the age of 90.
Kathy Naples is a librarian by training and avocation, having a lifelong love of the challenge of research. Her history interests include the roles of women and children throughout history, having explored those roles in the many locations where she has lived--Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado. Kathy has interpreted a number of the pioneering women of Grand County, Colorado, as a part of the local history interpretive group, Grand County Characters (www.grandcountycharacters.org). These women range from early pioneers, such as Mary York Cozens and Margaret Bourne Crawford, who had to do literally everything for themselves and lived a very circumscribed lifestyle, to some of the more modern women, such as Elizabeth Jones Free and Dr. Susan Anderson, who were allowed to expand their horizons beyond their immediate hearth and home.