To Historical Society
Lincoln Sentinel-Republican, 11 September 1980The manuscript of an unpublished book written by the late Albert Collom Johnson, one-time Lincoln Doctor of Osteopathy, will be presented to the Lincoln County Historical Society at its meeting now scheduled for Sept. 15. The original manuscript, “With These Hands,” has been in the possession of Mrs. Clara Stevens, longtime friend of the late doctor, for a number of years.
It has been copied and placed in a binder for the pleasure of Lincoln Countians through the efforts of Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. Edna Healy, Lincoln, and Marianna Kistler Beach, formerly of Lincoln and now of Hays. Both Mrs. Healy and Mrs. Beach were also acquainted with the late Dr. Johnson.
According to Mrs. Stevens, “With These Hands” was written after Dr. Johnson retired from his surgical career. More than 150 pages of the autobiographical work deals with the 12 years he spent at Lincoln after his arrival in June of 1915, just eight days after graduation from the American School of Osteopathy, later named the Kirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery.
Dr. Johnson established the first osteopathic hospital in Kansas here at Lincoln, and practiced here for 12 years before joining a clinic at Cleveland, Ohio. One child, a son David, was born to Albert and Emmy Johnson here at Lincoln.
Johnson’s story related that in 1944 he founded the Art Center Hospital Osteopathic Hospital at Detroit, Mich., later becoming Doctor Emeritus of that institution. His credentials also included a fellowship in the Kirksville College in the early 1960s for outstanding meritorious surgery.
In 1966, after 40 years away Dr. Johnson revised Lincoln. More than 200 people attended a reception in his honor, hosted by friends in the community, among them a former patient and friend, now Mrs. Stevens.
In 1972, Dr. Johnson contacted his good friend asking for her opinion of his book manuscript. Shortly afterward he revealed to her the fact of his terminal illness, and left the manuscript in her care. Since his death the Lincoln woman has shared the work with others in the community who agreed that it would be of considerable general interest, and the decision to copy, assemble and donate the manuscript to the local museum was made by the three, Mrs. Stevens, Mrs. Healy and Mrs. Beach.
In addition to relating the personal story of his osteopathic career, the writer’s memoirs include interesting references to the physical aspects of Lincoln Center as it appeared to the newcomer in 1915. Flagstone sidewalks were new to the easterner who wrote of “yellow limestone slabs.” He wrote of earlier day businesses and merchants, druggists. He described his brief residence at the Windsor Hotel and recalled the beauty of vivid sunsets viewed from his home-hospital, now Leonard and Lillian Heinze’s home, at that time situated approximately where the home of Dr. and Mrs. Herb Songer is located. The beauty of the mockingbirds’ song, clear and starry nights, and the spaciousness of the prairie held great appeal to the doctor throughout his lifetime. He recalled, along with dust storms and blizzards, the difficulties of making house calls in his Model T on “gumbo” roads after rainstorms.
The manuscript will be available for checkout from The Kyne House, says Mrs. Stevens.
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