Otto W. Shelksohn

OTTO W. SHELKSOHN, M. D. Occupying a prominent place among the medical men of Lincoln County is Dr. Otto W. Shelksohn, of Sylvan Grove, Kansas, where he has been in active and successful practice for a number of years. Doctor Shelksohn is an example of a self-made man, in that he conquered early drawbacks of environment and lack of opportunity through his own efforts and has won his way far toward the front through the recognition of his own ability and a determination to excel in his chosen profession.

Otto W. Shelksohn was born October 18, 1868, at Homestead, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, where his young mother died in his infancy, he being the only child of his parents. His father, F. X. Shelksohn, was born in Alsace-Lorraine, that unhappy province part German and part French. He was a chemist and after coming to the United States lived in Pennsylvania and died at Pittsburgh in 1874. The youth was reared in the home of his uncle, Blanchette, and had school opportunities only until he was twelve years old. At that time the majority of the residents in the neighborhood of Homestead, Pennsylvania, were hard-working people, life in many cases being a real struggle for existence, and the ambitious youth, secretly cherishing his hope of a medical career, found the practical question of self-support the most pressing for some years. In the meanwhile, however through self-denials that Doctor Shelksohn accepted probably without complaint or regret, he prepared himself for the entrance examination, when but nineteen years of age, at the Baltimore Medical College, Baltimore, Maryland, and worked his way through college and was graduated with his medical degree in 1894. He entered into practice in the same year in the City of Washington, District of Columbia, and two years later came to Kansas and engaged in practice at Natoma until 1898, when he came to Sylvan Grove, and here through the subsequent years has built up a solid and substantial practice in medicine and surgery. He is one of the scientific men of his profession who never claims to be too learned to hope to learn more and occasionally takes advantage of post-graduate courses in cities where such advantages are always at hand, pursuing one of these along special lines in 1908, at the Chicago Polyclinic School. He has served as coroner of Lincoln County and belongs to the Kansas State Medical Society and the American Medical Association.

Doctor Shelksohn married at Sylvan Grove, in 1905, Miss Ida Witte, who is a daughter of Herman and Alvina (Myer) Witte, a pioneer family of this section. Doctor and Mrs. Shelksohn have one son, Oliver Wendell, who was born March 3, 1914. Politically the Doctor is a republican and fraternally is a Mason. In 1916 he built his fine modern residence on Main Street, Sylvan Grove, and maintains his office on the same street. Both personally and professionally he is held in high esteem and his professional services are very often requested in serious cases with other practitioners, who value his consultation advice.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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