Current Project

My dissertation project reinterprets the cultural foundations of a uniquely American medical system. In the 1880s, Andrew Taylor Still, an obscure country doctor working in northern Missouri, invented osteopathic medicine. Still and his followers eschewed medication and physiology, posited that diseases were the by-product of misaligned bones and organs, and treated their patients with musculoskeletal manipulation. I argue that osteopathic medicine was the distinct product of central Midwestern cultural values. My project adds to the documented organizational and intellectual history of osteopathy by exploring its cultural foundations beyond technical debates between the osteopaths, medical regulators, and mainstream physicians. I aim to take Still and his medical system through the cultural turn – considering how central Midwestern values, language, symbols, and systems of representation helped mold the “lightening bone setter” and shaped his osteopathic worldview.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

“Admitted Upon Arrival: The Family’s Role in Late Nineteenth Century Missouri Asylum Admissions.” Ageless Arts: The Journal of the Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science 1 (2015): 128–134.


Views From the Arrowhead Art Collection, with Sharron Hunt. Kansas City, 2016.

Samuel Clarke Pomeroy; Andrew Horatio Reeder; Benjamin “Pap” Singleton; Benjamin Franklin Stringfellow. Encyclopedia entries for Civil War on the Western Border: The Missouri-Kansas Conflict, 1854–1865. The Kansas City Public Library.

“Dorothea Dix Visits Missouri, Spring 1859.” The Happenings of the Saint Joseph Museums (September, 2014): 1.

“Bring Ancestors to Life in History.” Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society Journal 33, no. 2 (Fall 2013): 1–4.


“Working Group – Public History and the Potential of Sports History Museums.” Challenging the Exclusive Past: the Joint Annual Meeting of the National Council on Public History and the Society for History in the Federal Government. Baltimore, MD, March 18, 2016.

“Missouri’s McMurphy: Edgar Pindell and the Custodial Debate over Criminal Insanity.” 2014 History / Humanities Conference. University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, May 10, 2014.

“‘I am in Your Hands’: Medical Confidence and Advertising in Western Missouri, 1850–1880.” The 56th Annual Missouri Conference on History. The Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City, MO, March 17, 2014.

“Admitted Upon Arrival: the Family’s Role in Missouri Asylum Admissions.” The 16th Annual Meeting of the Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science. The St. Louis College of Pharmacy, St. Louis, MO, February 27, 2014.

“The Unlikely Superintendent: How a Former-Confederate Gentlemen Physician became an Insane Asylum Superintendent in Reconstruction Missouri.” The 29th Annual Ohio Valley History Conference. Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY, October 10, 2013.

“Madness in Gilded Age St. Joseph: Superintendent George Catlett and Missouri State Lunatic Asylum #2.” Ninth Annual HGSA Conference of Graduate Research in History and the Humanities. University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO, May 4, 2013.

Invited Lectures

“Reading Pedal Cars as Material Culture.” Gallery Talk. National Museum of Toys and Miniatures, Kansas City, MO, November 14, 2015.

“I am in Your Hands: Medical Advertising and Confidence in Northwest Missouri, 1850-1880.” Clendening Library Seminar Series. University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, MO, May 8, 2014.