The Early College Wars, Part II
By Joseph Keating Jr., PhD
William C. Schulze, MD, DC, circa 1919
The National School of Chiropractic, renamed the National College of Chiropractic (NCC) circa 1919, was another source of irritation to B.J. Palmer. John Howard, the Palmer graduate who founded the school in Davenport in 1906, had departed the Chicago institution by 1919.B.J. met Howard's successor, William C. Schulze, in 1916 (Fountain, 1916), and apparently found him to his liking, despite Schulze's advocacy of various broad-scope methods of practice. The two took turns in appearing at one another's homecoming programs (Fountain, 1917). B.J. described his first address to the National's annual convocation:
...came an invitation to address the National School of CHIROPRACTIC, from the President, Dr. Schultze.[sic] It was accepted with the greatest of pleasure. At 9 a.m. Saturday, April 27th, we were met by Dr. Schultze at the Hotel LaSalle and taken to the school. Here, at 11 a.m. we met the classes in assembly. We were given carte blanche to say what we pleased in any way we wanted as long as our wind lasted. I got started discussing general conditions and how the war was affecting schools, including the CHIROPRACTIC ones (for, wasn't this on my mind most?) and talked for just one long hour. I brot to this student body the request for closer co-operation between their school and themselves; themselves and their school; a little higher appreciation of their Faculty and its each member, etc., etc.
But if Schulze's politeness endeared him to the Developer, his partner at the NCC, Arthur L. Forster, produced a different reaction. Forster had grown disgusted with the public feud between Palmer and Carver; in a sarcastic editorial in the National Journal of Chiropractic he suggested that:
The two Chiefs stand high in the profession at least insofar as their leadership of their respective tribes is concerned...The "thots" of the Chief must be the thoughts of the tribe and when any member of the tribe shows an inclination to say or do anything contrary to the teachings of the Chief, he is shot with word bullets. Chief Bee Jay uses mostly "Guts" bullets and Chief Carve Her employs most large caliber word shells...
B.J. Palmer, Indian Chief
When Forster penned an article concerning chiropractic treatment for various forms of cancer of the stomach, Palmer promptly rebutted:
Any time that Dr. Forster thinks he has us stumped on CHIROPRACTIC questions, he is grandly mistaken. Answering questions, establishing facts, has been our business for years. We had hoped, yet hardly dared, to think that Dr. Forster would actually fall headlong into the trap that we made for him on this article of his, to which he refers, which was NOT Chiropractic...
Palmer's followers seemed to agree with the Developer's differential assessment of Schulze vs. Forster; one PSC graduate indicated that:
I enjoyed some of my course at the National in Chicago. The material presented by Dr. Forster was about what one might expect from him. If he weren't an M.D. he couldn't get by with his stuff, as it is he doesn't get by with any one who knows Chiropractic at all. I had to see him deliver his art instruction, or I would never on earth have believed that any one taught students to adjust in such a manner. Sometime I will have more time and will then explain what he teaches; it is absurd beyond belief. His lectures were not Chiropractic, they were medical and electrical. When asked what was best to do in a case of Infantile Paralysis, he replied, "Use the vibrator."
Arthur L. Forster,MD,DC, circa 1919
The especially sore points between Palmer and Forster involved the latter's call for diagnostic training for chiropractors and higher educational standards (Forster, 1923). B.J. maintained that diagnosis was irrelevant for chiropractors and that the curriculum should be limited to 18 months of training. The pair traded opinions and insults until the mid-1920s, when Forster left the NCC.
However, the spitting match between the Fountain Head and the NCC continued under the National College's new dean and the Journal's new editor (1926-1929), W.A. Budden, DC, ND (Keating & Rehm, 1995). Budden also battled with B.J. for decades (1929-1954) as president of the Western States College, School of Chiropractic & School of Naturopathy in Portland, Oregon.
Though the relationship between the NCC's and the PSC's respective presidents remained generally cordial, Rehm, 1995). Budden also battled with B.J. for decades (1929-1954) as president of the Western States College, School of Chiropractic & School of Naturopathy in Portland, Oregon. And though the relationship between the NCC's and the PSC's respective presidents remained generally cordial, Schulze eventually felt compelled to challenge B.J.'s insistence on the "short course" for chiropractic students. He turned the Developer's motto, "Get the BIG IDEA, and all else follows" back upon him:
W.C. Schulze,M.D.,D.C., circa 1932
...first and foremost, and to be brutally frank about it, we are, as a profession, not well enough educated. We have drilled into too large a number of our people such fallacies as "Get the idea and nothing else matters," when we are all more or less slowly admitting what we should have known all the while, namely, that a river cannot rise higher than its source. Our fellow citizens care not so much what we say or think of ourselves, but rather do they compare us, as individuals making up a profession, with other individuals making up another profession, such as the medical, for instance. And isn't the comparison justified? Regardless of what we practice, should we not first of all, in our general intelligence, compare favorably with our competitors, the medical men? If we admit this we can overcome our defects to a large extent. We turn from "loud speakers" into students. We then cultivate the scientific instinct. We leave this idea in the minds of our fellow citizens: "Well, the Doctor of Chiropractic, seems to be a very intelligent person." But first of all we must recognize, as a profession, that the thing which is holding us back or pulling us down is our own lack of education, generally speaking...
G. Alvin Fisk, DC, PhC, first editor of the Chirogram magazine
The opinions expressed in the NCC's house organ were increasingly endorsed by other elements of the educational community. In an editorial (Fisk, 1923) in The Chirogram, published by the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic (LACC), G.A. Fisk, D.C. seconded Forster's call for higher standards:
One of the finest articles it has been our pleasure to read for many a day was contained in the NCC Journal recently, the author Dr. A.L. Forster. The subject was the necessity of raising the standards of chiropractic education, particularly the pre-chiropractic educational requirements. Some oppose this step. We shall try to believe that their motives are sincere.
That the early pioneers in Chiropractic did not pos-sess a high-school education or its equivalent is no argument to be applied to the present situation. As Dr. Forster aptly states, in those days it was chiropractic that was subjected to a test. Because of its inherent merit, that method has won the public confidence to an extent that assures it a place in the healing art for all time. Now, however, it is not chiropractic but chiropractors who are under examination by the public.
The fact that Chiropractic has won recognition in many states of the Union, instead of assuring it a protected future, as so many seem to assume, is, in fact, the greatest menace to its perpetuation. Herein Dr. BJ Palmer concurs, for he has consistently displayed in his utterances and writings a note of doubt as to the ultimate value of legal recognition to chiropractic. However, we believe his reason for believing so is incorrect. He is against raising the pre-chiropractic educational requirements because he evidently fears it will cut down the output of chiropractors, thereby permitting the opposition to maintain an eternal numerical supremacy. We believe there are enough chiropractors in the country to safeguard the privileges so far won. A sufficient number of people are believers in chiropractic to help defend those rights.
Eventually, even those who considered themselves straight practitioners came to question the advisability of continuing with a limited course of instruction. In a commentary that mirrored the ideas held by Schulze, a field doctor decried the profession's seeming penchant for ignorance:
...To my mind, and I am sure to a great many others, there is no such thing as an absolutely "straight" and finally settled philosophy. That is to say, our philosophy is as yet so young - and is in that process of development where as yet it is not possible to judge a man entirely as to his "orthodoxy" by what we now know, except on a few points that are demonstrable facts upon which all are most certainly agreed, regardless of school training. I hold no brief for Dr. Palmer nor for any one opposed to him, and I am writing this in a strictly impartial spirit as my honest opinion with respect to a very grave matter; so grave, in fact, as to deserve more than a passing thought, or perhaps a lot of senseless, silly enthusiasm....
Charles H. Wood, D.C., N.D. (far right), president of the Los Angeles College of Chiropractic, demonstrates his diagnostic neurometer to friends, circa 1925
And so it went, year in and year out, each side arguing that its vision of chiropractic was superior, and the field split loosely along college lines. A new high in arrogance was reached in 1924, when Palmer introduced his two-pronged, spinal heat sensing instrument, the neurocalometer (NCM). Arguing that no one could find a subluxation as accurately or efficiently by traditional means (i.e., palpation, nerve-tracing), B.J. insisted that practice without the NCM was unethical and possibly hazardous. The Palmer School offered the instrument to the field by means of a 10-year lease at $2,200, and threatened to sue for patent-infringement anyone who made use of one of the many rival devices that sprung onto the market.
Many competing instruments were offered by chiroschools, such as the "diagnostic neurometer" of the LACC. The NCM's introduction (Keating, 1991) prompted the departure from the Palmer School of four core faculty members, who subsequently established the Lincoln Chiropractic College in Indianapolis.
The struggles among the chiroschools reached a cross roads in 1939-40, when the National Chiropractic Association (NCA), formed in 1930 from the merger of two smaller national membership societies (Keating & Rehm, 1993), released its first standards for the accreditation of chiropractic colleges. Alarmed by the NCA's apparent desire to mandate greater than 18 months of chiropractic education, as well as instruction in subjects Palmer and allies considered "not chiropractic" (e.g., physiotherapy, improved basic science instruction), straight college leaders organized the Allied Chiropractic Educational Institutions (see Table 3) and issued an ultimatum:
The Allied Chiropractic Educational Institutions in convention assembled at Kansas City, Missouri, this the 20th day of July, A.D. 1940, present this address to the National Chiropractic Ass. and to the Chiropractic Health Bureau, and each and all allied or independent organizations professedly within the Chiropractic profession...
The challenge issued by the ACEI marked a new era in the chirowars. For the next half century the chiropractic colleges, organized in several competing groups, would do battle in the courtrooms for control of the educational enterprise. In many respects, their continuing struggles mirrored the issues and strategies of the early college wars. And the feuds continue today.
Three of the co-founders in 1926 of the Lincoln Chiropractic College of Indianapolis; left to right: James Firth, DC; Harry E. Vedder, DC and Stephen J. Burich, DC
Frank Dean, MB, DC, president of the Columbia Institue of Chiropractic in New York City, and co-founder of the Allied Chiropractic Educational Insitutions
Click here for previous articles by Joseph Keating Jr., PhD.