Database entry - Dr. Minnie Frances Howard

Dr. Minnie Frances Howard
08/12/1872 - 1965
Memphis, MO - ?

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Dr. Minnie Howard, one very few women physicians practicing in the American West in the early 20th century, became known as one of Idaho's most energetic and influential women.

Dr. Howard studied medicine with her husband, William Forrest Howard, at the Kansas City Medical College (later merged with the University of Kansas) and graduated in 1899 after earning straight A's. The couple first set up a medical practice in Kansas, but moved to Pocatello, Idaho in 1902 and established the Pocatello General Hospital in 1907. Dr. Minnie, as she was known to her family, friends, and patients, left the practice officially when the couple's third son was born in 1908. All four sons followed their parents into medicine.

Dr. Howard secured a grant from Andrew Carnegie to help found the Pocatello Carnegie Library in 1908. She was also the first co-chair of the American Red Cross of Bannock and Caribou counties, a member of the American Medical Association, the Department of Indian Welfare, and the Daughters of the American Revolution. From 1931 to 1956, Dr. Minnie Howard was appointed Bannock County Historian by the Idaho State Historical Society. Minnie was particularly interested in American Indian health care and was a friend of Shoshone Chief Pocatello's daughter. She would often visit the reservation to provide medical care and help distribute food. Concerned about alcohol use on the reservation, Dr. Minnie was active in the Women's Christian Temperance Union.

Additionally, Dr. Howard was fascinated with Old Fort Hall, an important point on the Oregon Trail that had been lost to history. With the help of two friends, she located and marked the site she believed to be Old Fort Hall and her claims were vindicated in 1933. In 1983, Howard Mountain near Pocatello was named in her and her husband's honor.