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Money, Marriage, and MadnessThe Life of Anna Ott$
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Kim E. Nielsen

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043147

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043147.001.0001

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Dr. Anna B. Ott, Local Doctress

Dr. Anna B. Ott, Local Doctress

(p.40) 5. Dr. Anna B. Ott, Local Doctress
Money, Marriage, and Madness

Kim E. Nielsen

University of Illinois Press

In 1856, by establishing herself as physician, marrying George Ott and then moving to Madison, Wisconsin, the newly renamed Mrs. Dr. Anna B. Ott transformed herself. Instead of a local doctor’s wife, instead of an impugned divorcee, Anna became a successful physician and property owner. Very quickly, however, the Ott marriage became very violent and Anna twice attempted to divorce George. This chapter places Ott’s early career in the context of women’s property laws, understandings of marital violence, the growing power of and challenges to institutions for the insane, and the activism of suffragists and women such as Elizabeth Packard.

Keywords:   female physicians, marital violence, Madison Wisconsin, divorce, women’s property laws, the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane, Elizabeth Packard, women’s suffrage

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