A Narrative History
The People of Iowa
JAMES BISGARD, M. D. has been practicing medicine at Harlan in Shelby County for over thirty-five years. His name is an honored one in medical circles there, and since a son has joined him it is probable that Harlan will have the
benefit of the special talents and skill of the Bisgard family for many years to come.
Doctor Bisgard is a native of Denmark, born in the City of Copenhagen, April
5, 1868. He grew up there, attending common schools and completing a
two-year literary course. He was twenty years of age when he came to America.
Some relatives of the family had come out to Shelby County, Iowa, and their
presence here attracted him. After coming to Iowa he began the study of medicine and in 1894 was graduated from the medical department of the University of Nebraska. He immediately located in Harlan, and his professional
qualifications, his attractive personality and his reputation for earnest and serious work attracted to him a practice which has steadily grown through all the years.
Doctor Bisgard has three times pursued post-graduate courses in Chicago.
Three years ago, when his son returned from his studies in Europe, they
established the Bisgard Hospital. This is an institution that has meant a great
deal to the people of Harlan, who are probably proud of having a modern,
up-to-date hospital. It is a ten-bed hospital, and is owned and operated by the
Doctors Bisgard. Doctor Bisgard also owns two farms, comprising over 500
acres, these being operated by tenants on the share basis. He is a member of
the Shelby County, Iowa State and American Medical Associations, is a
Republican and a Knight Templar Mason, and he and his family attend the Congregational Church.
Doctor Bisgard married Mary Mortenson, who was born in Shelby County. They
have three children: J. Dewey, Mrs. L. C. White, of Harlan, and Carl D., who
graduated from medical college in 1928 and has received special training in
the Columbia Hospital of New York City. J. Dewey Bisgard graduated from
Harvard Medical College in 1922, had two years of training as an interne in the
Massachusetts General Hospital and for six months was abroad attending clinics
and doing hospital work in Rome, Florence, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Paris and
other centers. He then returned to Iowa and joined his father in practice and
in the management of the hospital. Dr. Dewey Bisgard married Miss Dowling,
daughter of H. P. Dowling, president of the Shelby County Savings Bank.
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