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Dynamic Chiropractic – July 3, 1995, Vol. 13, Issue 14

Five Generations of Chiropractic

By Editorial Staff

Sylva Ashworth - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Sylva Ashworth, among the first women chiropractors, was founder of the Universal Chiropractors' Assoc., and matriarch of the Cleveland family. Her daughter, Ruth, married Carl Cleveland Sr.

Dr. Carl Cleveland Sr. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Dr. Carl Cleveland Sr., a founding father of chiropractic education, raised funds for jailed DCs and their families in the early 1920s.
Ruth Cleveland - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Ruth met her future husband, Carl Cleveland Sr., while both were students at Palmer. The couple would co-found Central Chiropractic College in 1922.
Dr. Carl Cleveland Jr. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Dr. Carl Cleveland Jr., president of CCCKC (1967-1981) and CCCLA (1982-1992), is the chancellor of the Cleveland colleges.
Dr. Mildred Cleveland - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Dr. Mildred Cleveland, wife of Dr. Cleveland Jr., and clinic director for many years.
Dr. Carl Cleveland III presents his daughter Ashley with her DC degree. - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

Dr. Carl Cleveland III, president of the Cleveland campuses in Kansas City and Los Angeles, presents daughter Ashley with her DC degree from CCCLA. Ashley is the fifth generation of chiropractors that began with Dr. Sylva Ashworth.

Dr. Carl Cleveland Sr., Dr. Ruth Cleveland, and Dr. Perl Griffin were determined that chiropractic education would play an important role in health care when they founded and opened the non-profit Central Chiropractic College at the Cleveland's residence, 436 Prospect, Kansas City, Missouri in 1922, five years before chiropractic was legally recognized in Missouri.

The founders of Central Chiropractic College, along with R.C. Jackson, comprised the early faculty. The first class had only three students enrolled in a 27-month program, which included x-ray and human dissection. In 1924 the college was renamed Cleveland Chiropractic College, and in 1929 moved to 37th and Troost, where it remained for almost 50 years. The present campus is at 6401 Rockhill Rd.

Dr. Cleveland Sr., met his wife, Ruth, while attending Palmer College. Ruth was the daughter of Dr. Sylva Ashworth, one of the first woman chiropractors. After receiving their degrees in 1917, the Clevelands briefly practiced in Iowa, where Carl Jr., was born in 1918. One year later the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, to take up residency at the site of their soon to be established college.

Dr. Cleveland Sr., became politically active in bringing attention to jailed chiropractors, raising funds to feed their families and providing the DCs with portable tables so patients could continue to be seen. He even hired brass bands to play outside the jails to publicize the wrongful incarcerations.

Meanwhile, Carl Jr., studied chiropractic with his parents, and naturally grew into the profession. Cleveland Sr., purchased the Ratledge Chiropractic College in Los Angeles in 1950, and renamed it the Cleveland Chiropractic College of Los Angeles. In 1967, Cleveland Jr. became president of CCCKC, while his father presided of CCCLA until 1982. In 1976, CCCLA relocated to its present site in central Los Angeles.

Dr. Cleveland Sr., retired in 1982 after 60 years as a chiropractic college president. Dr. Cleveland Jr., was president of CCCKC until 1981, and president of CCCLA from 1982-1992. Today he serves as chancellor of the Cleveland colleges.

Dr. Carl Cleveland III, became president of CCCKC in 1982. Today he is the president of both Cleveland campuses. His daughter, Ashely, graduated from CCCKC summa cum laude this spring, carrying on the Cleveland chiropractic tradition into a fifth generation.


Callender A. Women in Chiropractic. In Wiese G, Peterson D, ed: Chiropractic: An Illustrated History, Mosby-Year Book, Inc., St. Louis, Missouri, 1995.

Wiese G, Peterson D. Chiropractic Schools and Colleges. Ibid.

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