Arthur Emanuel Hertzler was born on July 25, 1870, in West Point, Iowa. His education began in a one-room school house, he went on to Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas, and then graduated with his doctorate from Northwester University Medical School in 1894.
He was living in Moundridge caring for his ailing father, when a tornado hit the Halstead area. After visiting to assist in caring for the affected individuals in the community, Hertzler decided to establish his practice in Halstead and took up residency in 1895. During his career, Dr. Hertzler established the Hertzler Clinic and the Halstead Hospital before selling the latter it to the local Diocese. Dr. Hertzler frequently traveled long distances by horse and buggy, automobile, and train to serve his patients. He was a true pioneer and throughout his career he pursued through blizzards, storms, damaged roads, his personal bouts of typhoid fever and other illnesses to serve his community; performing exams in homes and even surgery on kitchen tables, before hospitals were more readily available.
Dr. Hertzler was quite the colorful character in his own right; he was an avid gun collector and received a plethora of medals for his sharp-shooting (the 3rd floor of the Hospital had a gun range for his staff to practice), evident through his life is his love and appreciation of serving children in the community, as well as, his other various hobbies, including his love of baseball. Although he was well-regarded by his patients, Hertzler’s fame is also due to the success of his book, The Horse and Buggy Doctor, published in 1938. His book provides an intriguing collection of stories of being a country doctor and various reflections and historical references to the changes in the medical world over his lifetime. Over 250,000 copies of The Horse and Buggy Doctor and Dr. Hertzler have been sold and treasured by readers across America.
The Hertzler Research Foundation was established in Dr. Hertzler’s honor by his wife, Dr. Irene Koeneke in 1948; the foundation later transitioned into the Kansas Learning Center to help facilitate health education for local communities and residents. We now serve students and residents state-wide and enjoy carrying on the legacy of the legendary Dr. Arthur Hertzler.
Knapp MD, Jennifer, & Schremmer MD, Robert D; The Life and Times of a Kansas Horse and Buggy Doctor and His Recollections on the Care of Children; presentation materials; Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, MO.
Hertzler MD, Arthur E; The Horse and Buggy Doctor. Blue Ribbon Books (1941).