The Colorado College of Osteopathy (1897-1901)

This school was founded by Nettie Bolles, DO - the first woman graduate of the Kirksville school, where she had also taught anatomy - and later run together with her husband.



The ASO‘s first Anatomy teacher, Nettie Bolles, DO, moved to Denver in 1895 and in 1897 founded an osteopathic school, the Western Institute of Osteopathy, in which she also took on the teaching of Anatomy, Obstetrics and Gynecology.1

In 1899 the name of the institution was changed to Bolles Institute of Osteopathy, also in Denver, Colorado, and again, in 1901, to Colorado Osteopathic College and Infirmary Association, as announced in both the Journal of Osteopathy2 and the Journal of the AOA.3:121 It had Nettie H. Bolles as its President, John T. Bass as Vice President, N.A. Bole as Treasurer, and Wilbur F. Ripley as its Secretary.

The first class of four students graduated in 1899. By the end of its run the institution awarded twenty-one degrees in total. The school always maintained a four-period course of nine months each. It was also among the founding members of the ACO, the association of osteopathic colleges, responsible for approving the various training institutions.

Although it was a small school, the Colorado College of Osteopathy always strived to raise its teaching standards, at great personal sacrifice of the people who ran the school.4 

In all the legal forms it took, the Denver school was always on the roster of those recognized by the ACO: whether as the Western Institute of Osteopathy 5 or Bolles Institute of Osteopathy6 or the Colorado College of Osteopathy.3:215

In 1904, Nettie Bolles and her husband N. Alden Bolles decided to retire from teaching, and starting from June of the same  year, the college was absorbed by the ASO, together with the students who had yet to graduate.1,7

  1. The Osteopathic Physician, February 1904:12. 
  2. Journal of Osteopathy, February 1902:89
  3. JAOA, v.1-2, 1901-1903
  4. Booth ER. History of Osteopathy and Twentieth-Century Medical Practice. Cincinnati Press of Jennings and Graham, USA 1905 
  5. The Northern Osteopath, February 1899, v.3 n.1
  6. The Northern Osteopath, v.9 n.2 aug 1902:301-302)

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Historical Schools of Osteopathy

Introduction to the Historical Schools of Osteopathy

Already after a few years from the establishment of the American School of Osteopathy - the first school of osteopathy founded by Andrew Taylor Still -,there was a proliferation of osteopathic educational institutions across the country, Not all as seriour as each others. In this section you will find an account of many of these schools, to any of which we have dedicated an individual article while in this introduction we have you will find a guide to help you locate these institution in the bigger historical picture of the time.


The Milwaukee College of Osteopathy

This school was founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the American state where Charles Still, Andrew Taylor's son, had been practicing and spreading osteopathy for a few months.


The National School of Osteopathy and Infirmary Association (NSO)

The NSO was the second school of osteopathy, established in 1895 the Barbers, Elmer and Helen, both graduated during the second course of osteopathy held at the American School of Osteopathy, ASO, of Kirksville. This institution had a short and controversial history.


Francesca Galiano


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