Charles Frederic Menninger, M. D., one of Topeka's most prominent and successful physicians, was born at Tell City, Ind., July 11, 1862. His father, August Valentine Menninger, a successful lumber manufacturer and dealer, was a man of vigorous intellect, who, though denied much in the way of school advantages, had not neglected other opportunities of education, and by extensive and thoughtful reading, and being endowed with an unusually retentive memory, became a man of fine attainments and of broad culture. Resolving that his eight children should have those advantages denied him, he used every possible means at his command to provide for their thorough education, for he was a firm believer in the value of the higher education; and to the example and inspiration of that wise and unselfish father Dr. Menninger attributes whatever of success he has attained in his life's work. He had a natural genius for mechanics and also was a student of bee culture, being perhaps one of the best posted men on that subject in the State of Indiana during his day. He and his wife, who was Katharine Schmidtberger before her marriage, were both born in Germany, but they were married in Pittsburgh, Pa. The mother was a devout, Christian woman, whose whole life was marked by charitable deeds. The father was a Catholic and the mother a Lutheran at the time of their marriage, but the religious training of the children was left entirely to the mother, and they were therefore reared in the Lutheran faith, which the father later espoused and he was a member of the Lutheran church at the time of his death. Both parents died in Tell City, Ind.
Dr. Menninger was reared in his native Indiana city and was educated in the public schools there and at the Central Indiana Normal School, at Danville, Ind., where he graduated in 1882. He then came to Kansas and became one of the instructors in Campbell College, at Holton, Kan., remaining a member of that faculty five years. He then studied medicine at Hahnemann Medical College, Chicago, Ill., and was graduated in that institution in 1889. He at once located in Topeka, where he has since most successfully practiced his profession. Dr. Menninger maintains that a true preparation for the profession includes not only a study of medicine itself, but also a broad knowledge along all lines. While he first graduated in a homeopathic school, he does not claim to practice homeopathy, nor allopathy, but is a physician in the broadest sense, a healer of the sick. Dr. Menninger has taken several post-graduate courses, the first of which was taken in the Polyclinic School of Chicago, in 1902, the second at the American Medical Missionary College at Battle Creek, Mich., in 1903, and the third in the New York Postgraduate School, in 1905. He received the degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts from Campbell College, and the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine from Washburn College. He has been a member of the faculty of the latter school for the past four years, being professor of physiologic and pathologic chemistry, lecturer on dietetics, and associate professor of clinical medicine of the Kansas Medical College Department of Washburn College. He is also a member of the staff of Christ Hospital, at Topeka.
Dr. Menninger was married Jan. 15, 1885, to Miss Flora Vesta Knisely, a native of Pennsylvania, who came to Dickinson county, Kansas, with her mother, brothers and sisters, when a little girl. Being the daughter of a widowed mother, who was in very modest circumstances, and having several younger brothers and sisters, it early devolved upon her to assist in earning the means for her own higher education and that of the other children. She became a teacher before she had reached the age of sixteen, but a natural talent for the profession greatly counterbalanced her immature years. She taught in all sixteen consecutive years, and in the meantime attended Campbell College, where she completed both the teachers' and the science course, and there she was a pupil of Dr. Menninger, who later became her husband. She is a woman of strong character and distinctive personality, and became known as one of the leading primary teachers in the state and as an unusually strong and capable institute worker. She taught several terms in the public schools after her marriage, but in recent years has turned her splendid talent as a teacher to Bible instruction to classes of women in Topeka. During the year 1909 more than 400 women of Topeka, some of them the wives of leading business and professional men, were enrolled in her Bible classes. She uses a system of Bible instruction, entirely her own, which covers a four-years course, by which time a student under her is supposed to have fully completed a study of the Bible. Mrs. Menninger's position in this line is unique, there probably not being another woman in the land who is so extensively engaged in this line of religious work. She possesses the marvelous faculty of being able to hold all the students who enroll in her classes. Her work in this line in Topeka has attracted attention all over the United States, and in 1909 her services were sought and obtained as an instructor in the Winona Summer Bible School, at Winona Lake, Ind., which is a department of the National Presbyterian Assembly. Both Dr. and Mrs. Menninger are members of the First Presbyterian Church of Topeka. In the Bible classes of Mrs. Menninger are enrolled members of all denominations, including the Catholic.
Dr. and Mrs. Menninger have three sonsCarl A., Edwin A., and William Claire, aged respectively eighteen, fifteen and twelve years.
Dr. Menninger is an ex-president of the Shawnee County Medical Society, is a member of the Kansas State Medical Society, and of the American Medical Association. He is a member of the Commercial Club, and is a director of the Topeka City Library. He is also a director of the State Savings Bank and of the Capital Building & Loan Association, and is secretary of the board of directors of the Young Men's Christian Association of the State of Kansas.Pages 1424-1426 from volume III, part 2 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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