This book is dedicated to the memory of Katherine Louise Storm, MD, a woman of extraordinary and diverse achievements.
The F.W. Stow Collection is located at The Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.Within it is a volume identified as “Gen st 1.” A selection of pages within that volume has been typed on a vintage typewriter. In addition, many, many pages of handwritten notes on various sizes of paper can be found in that volume. The following statement appears on “page 2”:
“Dirck Storm arrived in New Amsterdam in the fall of 1662. He sailed from Amsterdam with his wife and three small children on the ‘Fox’ in August of that year.…”
Some scholars are convinced that “Dirck” is Katherine Louise Storm’s ancestor. I was not able to either corroborate or disprove that conclusion. I did establish that Katherine Storm was born February 6, 1857, in Columbia County, New York and subsequently taught in the public schools of that county.
The name “Storm” is prominent in the historic church records of Columbia County villages such as Germantown, Gallatin, Copake and Hillsdale, as is, incidentally, the name “Fonda,” thought to be ancestors of “Henry” of “Grapes of Wrath” (movie) fame. The given name “Katherine” was popular within the Storm families although the name was often spelled with a “C” rather than a “K.”
Dr. Storm graduated from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania on May 3, 1893. Such graduation automatically qualified her to practice medicine in the State of Pennsylvania. Matriculation records in Philadelphia verify that her place of birth was Columbia County, New York, and her parents were Peter and Ruth.
Having attained superior scores on the Medical Admissions Examinations of both New Jersey and New York, Dr. Storm opened her medical practice in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1894. She enjoyed early success and became an advisor to other members of the medical societies. She discovered that during surgical recovery periods the healing process could be accelerated through the application of fabricated braces and supports. She designed and constructed the braces and supports on her sewing machine in Perkasie, Pennsylvania from where she commuted to Philadelphia each day. These made-to measure supports captured the interest of other surgeons. They called upon Dr. Storm’s design skill and products for their own patients. Soon the demand far exceeded the time and equipment available to Dr. Storm. She was issued her first patent in 1906 (US Patent 825,561), opened a manufacturing plant at 1541Diamond Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, hired William Lehman Yerkes as manager, and enjoyed a phenomenal success in producing and marketing her products.