Women’s History Month: Dr. Anna Darrow – 2nd woman licensed as a physician in Florida

Dr. Anna Darrow, second woman to be licensed as a physician in the State of Florida.
Dr. Anna Darrow, second woman to be licensed as a physician in the State of Florida.

Doctors Roy and Anna Darrow moved to Florida in 1911. The Darrows had first traveled to Florida in 1909 to take the Florida medical exam. Both passed, but Dr. Anna scored 98 percent, the highest grade ever scored up until that time. She was the second woman to be licensed as a physician in the State of Florida. It was two years before they could make arrangements to leave their home in Chicago.

Anna Libertina Lindstedt was born on September 16, 1878, in Jasper County, Indiana, to Swedish immigrant parents.  The Lindstedt family moved to Chicago when Anna was thirteen.  Anna soon married Charles Roy Darrow.  After first settling in Long Beach, Calif., the Darrows moved to Ogden, Utah, to open a furniture store.  When a customer could not pay for a purchase, the customer, an art teacher, gave Anna art lessons to pay for the furniture. Later, Anna became an accomplished painter.

In 1903, Anna became ill during pregnancy.  Anna recovered.  As a result, both Darrows decided to enroll in Dr. Still’s College of Osteopathy in Kirksville, Mo. After the birth of their second child , the Darows returned to Chicago, taking night work at the Jenner Medical College and enrolling in the Chicago College of Medicine and Surgery now known  Loyola University Medical School.  While both graduated, Anna graduated with honors in 1909. Unfortunately, Roy contracted influenza, which brought on a heart condition.  A patient of the Darrows, a land agent for Flagler in Florida, secured a position for Roy as a surgeon with the Flagler railway to allow Roy to recover in a warmer client.

in 1909, the Darrows relocated to Florida.  As noted, both passed the examination to practice medicine.  The Darrows practiced for ten years in the Florida wilderness for little or no compensation; in Tantie (Okeechobee), where Anna helped patients throughout that area in intolerable conditions.  She acquired the sobriquet “Doc Anner” in Okeechobee before moving to Stuart in 1922, and then two years later, the Darrows relocated to Fort Lauderdale again to practice medicine but in better circumsta  Roy passed away in 1926. Doc Anner continued to practice until 1949.  Anna retired to Coral Gables where she passed away in 1959.

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