Title: Osteopathic Physician
Birthdate: February 8, 1875
Death Date: September 1, 1928
Plot Location: Section 11, Lot 29, northeast

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Janet was sometimes called Jennie in her childhood. Her mother’s name was listed as Jennie on some documents although her legal name may have been Jane or Jannette. Janet had an older sister, Margaret, and an older brother, Edward. A lengthy life did not seem to be in this family’s genes since nobody lived beyond 50 except Margaret, and three of them died of heart disease.

Janet’s father, a blacksmith, died when she was 14 and her mother died five years later. She married a machinist, Howard Penrose, on December 23, 1899. He changed jobs later and became a printer by 1910, and they never had any children. The first sign that Janet wasn’t content to be a homemaker appeared in that year’s census. At first she told the enumerator that she was a student of osteopathy but it was crossed out, and written instead was the word “none.”

But she did pursue her studies at what is now known as the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Osteopathy is a complementary therapy used alongside conventional treatment to improve health. It emphasizes the physical manipulation of the body’s muscle tissue and bones, when appropriate. 

In the early 1900s, Janet and her peers primarily treated patients for chronic conditions. Gradually it was shown that Osteopathy could treat other types of diseases and deserved to be viewed as more than just a system of body manipulation. Today, Osteopaths and MDs are virtually indistinguishable. They must complete a residency in their area of specialty and pass the same licensing exam before they can treat people and prescribe medicines.

Janet graduated from the college with a doctorate and was listed in a business directory as an Osteopath in 1912. This may have caused some marital discord. For whatever reason, Howard divorced her in 1916 and remarried in 1917. 

The uphill climb as a career woman called for even more determination after Janet was on her own. She surely would have taken advantage of her right to vote for the first time in 1920. Thanks to the ratification of the 19th Amendment that gave women that right, the total vote count in the presidential election rose from 18.5 million in 1916 to 26.8 million in 1920.

Fortunately, Janet soon found meaning in the words of songwriter Sammy Cahn, “love is lovelier the second time around.” She married  William James Taylor on October 4, 1923. He was an advertising salesman, ten years younger than her, and undoubtedly supportive of her career. Sadly, their season of love was short, because she received a diagnosis of cancer. Her life of highs and lows would end in severe depression, described here as “melancholia” on her death certificate.  She died less than five years after the happiness of her wedding day.

William saw that she was buried in the same plot as her parents here in Section 11. His pride in her career is seen in his purposely including her title of Doctor in her inscription. He died just three years later, in 1931,  and was buried in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. Ironically, he became another member of Janet’s family that didn’t live to age 50.

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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