Autobiography of A. T. Still
Andrew Taylor Still, D.O.


  • An Effort to Draw the Attention of the People to Osteopathy
  • Failure at Baldwin, Kansas
  • History of Baker University
  • Prayers for the Man Possessed
  • Brother Jim's Skepticism
  • Faith of My Good Wife
  • A Wandering Osteopath
  • My Story in Clinton County
  • Treating Asthma
  • My Studies
  • A Hypnotist
    HAVING finally solved the great problem of Osteopathy, and established the science in my own mind, I determined to try my luck with what I then thought to be a new discovery.  My first effort was to draw the attention of the thinking people of my home in Baldwin, Kans., to it.  Baldwin is the home of the Baldwin and Baker University, which had been located there by three commissioners, appointed by the general conference of the M. E. Church between 1854 and 1856.  My father, Abram Still, L. B. Dennis, and Elder Hood were the commissioners to purchase site.  They advertised for offers by towns, villages, and other places, who wanted a great university, backed by and under the M. E. Church.  Palmyra, afterward Baldwin, made the offer, which was accepted by the locating committee.

    I lived in Palmyra at that time, took an active part in rushing the scheme on, and was appointed by the commissioners of the general conference as agent with my brother Thomas, J. B. Abbott, James Blood, and others, to select and locate a spot for the university building.  We gave the church six hundred and forty acres of land, all in one body.  Myself and two brothers donated four hundred and eighty acres of land for the site of Baldwin and Baker University (as it is now called).  We -- myself, brother, and two men named Barricklow --  purchased and erected a forty horsepower steam-sawmill, and sawed all the lumber for the university and other buildings at Baldwin, as Palmyra was called after the founding of the college, and all the country for twenty miles around.  I was ground agent of the work, and was five years engaged in sawing, building, and doctoring the sick through smallpox, cholera, and all the fevers, and representing the people of Douglass County in the Kansas legislature, during which time we washed and ironed the last wrinkle of human slavery out of the State, as I have told in former chapters.  I was called a good doctor, a faithful legislator, a sober, sound, and loyal man, abounding with truth and justice, and a heart full of love to all.  But, alas! when I said, "God has no use for drugs in disease, and I can prove it by his works"; when I said I could twist a man one way and cure flux, fever, colds, and the diseases of the climate; shake a child and stop scarlet fever, croup, diphtheria, and cure whooping-cough in three days by a wring of its neck, and so on, all my good character was at once gone.  You would have been ashamed of man or any other animal with two legs, if you had heard the prayers that were sent up by men and women to save my soul from bell.  When I asked the privilege of explaining Osteopathy in the Baldwin University, the doors of the structure I had helped build were closed against me.

    I stayed in Kansas, and listened and laughed, until ready to go to Missouri.  I stopped with my brother, E. C. Still.  He had been poor in health for a number of years, and was so reduced he could scarcely walk, and had been led to and turned loose in the pastures of hell by "allopathy," using seventy-five bottles of morphine annually.  I realized that bad could be worse.  I stayed three months with him, got him free from opium, and started on to Kirksville, which I supposed would be the next cussing-post.  I stayed there three months, sent for wife and four babies, who came in May, 1875.  My wife was a Methodist, and could stand cussing pretty well.  She said: "I will stand by you; we'll be cussed together; maybe we can get it done cheaper."  She studied economy, and was as gritty as an eagle, who loves to fight for her young ones.  I did not tell her that when I came to Missouri I found a letter addressed to my brother Edward, from brother James M. Still, of Eudora, Kans., stating that I was crazy, had lost my mind and supply of truth-loving manhood.  I read it and thought, as the eagle stirreth up her nest, so stir away, Jim, till your head lets down some of the milk of reason into some of the starved lobes of your brain.  I believed Jim's brain would ripen in time, so just let him pray, until at the end of eighteen years he said:

    "Hallelujah, Drew, you are right; there is money in it, and I want to study 'Osteopathy.'"  At this time Jim is a member in good standing, and doing much good in the cause.  When he happens to think of it, he says:

    "Osteopathy is the greatest scientific gift of God to man," and regrets that his mind was so far below high-water mark, when it was held up to the mental feast far back in the seventies.  I have told much that I would have held out of this history, but for the reason I took my pen to write the whole truth of my journey with my son and child, "Osteopathy."

    I spent much time in the study of anatomy, physiology, chemistry, and mineralogy.  During the winter of 1878 and 1879 I was called by telegram to my old home in Kansas to treat a member of a family whom I had doctored for ten years previous to my moving to Missouri.  I treated partly by drugs, as in other days, but also gave Osteopathic treatments.  She got well.  From there I went to Henry County, Mo., and spent the spring and summer, where I built up a large practice in a short time.  I had my office at Captain Lowe's, fifteen miles west of Clinton.  Here I had excellent opportunity to notice the effects of osteopathy in chronic diseases, for most of the cases were of the class known as chronic.  My first case was pneumonia of both lungs.  The patient was the wife of Captain Lowe, and was dangerously sick.  I cured her, and scored one more success for Osteopathy.

    While there I cured all cases of pneumonia that came under my care.  Hiram Kepner came with a pair of purulent sore eyes, having ulcerated iris of both.  He was almost blind; but in two months' treatment his eyes were well, and no drugs had been used.  I simply used the blood of the nutrient arteries only.

    At this time a case of erysipelas was brought to me. The patient was the wife of Captain E. V. Stall, whom drugs bad failed to cure.  I made a thorough examination of the great system of facial arteries and veins, treated her strictly by the teachings of Osteopathy, and she was well in thirty-six hours.  I have since treated a great number of cases of erysipelas by this law, and cured all.

    From Henry County I went to Hannibal, and opened an office for the fall and winter.  Shortly after I was established in my new quarters a man came to me with his arm in a sling.  He had fallen and dislocated his elbow, and four doctors had used four ounces of chloroform on him, but failed to reduce the bones.  I set it in about ten minutes without chloroform, and no machinery save my hands.  My method of treatment began to attract attention, and I was asked if I could cure asthma, and I began to treat for that disease.  I have never failed on a case of asthma to date, and after eighteen years' practice can say that for asthma Osteopathy is king.

    Amusement often accompanies annoyances.  An Irish lady came to me with great pain under her shoulder-blade, and asked me if I could make her shoulder easy.  She had asthma in a bad form, though she had only come to be treated for the pain in her shoulder.  I found she had a section of the upper vertebrae out of line, and stopping the pain I set the spine and a few ribs.  In about a mouth she came back to see me without any pain or trace of asthma.  Her superstitious nature was aroused, and she asked if I had "hoodledooed her.

    "Me pain is all gone from around me shoulder and divil the bit of asthma have I felt since you trated me first."

    This was my first case of asthma treated in the new way, and it started me into a new train of thought.  Since I have made a careful study of the disease, and do not hesitate to repeat that Osteopathy is king of asthma.

    I cannot say that the case of the Irishwoman who had charged me with hoodledooing her made any great impression on me at the time.  A few months later I found a man in great distress with asthma.  I got off my horse and "hoodledooed" him.  I discovered that my head could open just as other clamshells, and take in some small amounts of reason, until I had obtained enough knowledge to know the absolute cause, and I was prepared to say yes when asked if I could cure asthma.


    While in Hannibal a very well-dressed lady with sparkling eyes (and diamonds, too) came into my office and said she desired to investigate my method of treatment, and was very anxious to know how I cured people.  She had heard that it was faith cure, Christian science, spiritualism, and a great many kinds of names.  After she had warmed up with her inquiries, she said:

    "I want you to tell me the honest truth; isn't this mostly hypnotism?" I said: "Yes, madam, I set seventeen hips in one day."  She looked wise and skipped.  I set three hips in the presence of Dr. W. 0. Torrey, ex-president of the Missouri State Board of Health.  He had diagnosed all three cases, and decided complete dislocation of the head of the femur from the socket.  He timed me, and I reduced all three of them in four minutes and a quarter, he being the authority before and after the operations.

    I will draw your attention to one more case while in Hannibal, and that is a case of painless obstetrics.  It began and terminated with a painless birth of an eight-pound boy baby in something less than one hour from the first sign of labor.  This was possibly the twentieth case delivered by this method, which I consider worth all the midwifery written to date.

    As I am a great admirer of short sermons, we will drop details and be dismissed.