Carver College was a "straight" chiropractic institution, although Willard sparred with "old dad chiro" over the appropriateness of "suggestive therapeutics" (psychological interventions).2 During Willard Carver's leadership, the college offered a curriculum of 18 months.Early graduates departed the school with a firm commitment to relieving "obstructive nerve pressure"8 and a sense of "Americanism" in their struggle with political medicine.12 As well, they learned a unique set of theories, techniques and terminology (relatology, poseology) for the adjustive arts, all the product of Dr. Carver's fertile mind. With their mentor, they pioneered the "structural approach" to chiropractic,10,13 an alternative to the "segmentalism" of the Palmers.6,11 A great many Carver alumni would become significant figures in the history of the profession.
Willard Carver provided a mighty role model for his students and alumni.They stood in awe of his determination to establish the legal basis of chiropractic in the Sooner State and elsewhere.His 1917 charge that the Oklahoma Senate had been bribed to block passage of a chiropractic statute landed him in jail when the Senate charged him with contempt.4 But it didn't deter the self-designated, "Constructor of Chiropractic" whose continuing efforts saw a law passed in Oklahoma in 1921.
Dr. Carver operated his Oklahoma City school continuously until 1929, when a severe illness prompted him to turn the reins of the institution over to 1921 graduate Bera A. Smith, DC, a member of an extended chiropractic family.However, Willard was soon dismayed to learn that Dr. Smith had introduced a "nauseating conglomeration" of courses and equipment that Dr. Carver abhorred: physiotherapeutics, including radionics.Carver again took control of the Oklahoma City school on January 28, 1933, and promptly had all the offending devices removed from campus.He would remain as head of the college until his passing on December 23, 1943.4
[Editor's note: Complete references will be published with part 2 of this article.]
Joseph Keating Jr., PhD
Click here for previous articles by Joseph Keating Jr., PhD.