In 2008, the Texas Chiropractic College (TCC), the fourth-oldest surviving chiropractic school (after Palmer, Western States, and National) will celebrate its centennial. Founded in San Antonio by an early graduate of the Carver Chiropractic College, John N. Stone, DC, the school passed through several owners and chief executive officers (see Table 1) until 1948, when the TCC Alumni Association bought it and converted it to a nonprofit corporate structure.
The frequency of early turnover in administrations (five CEOs in the first 16 years of operation) has deprived the institution of many details that might otherwise enable better appreciation of its roots. There are, for example, no known surviving photographs of TCC's first three CEOs, and precious little information about faculty, coursework and facilities. What visions did these doctors offer for their institution? How did they cope with a hostile allopathic community? What became of them when they departed the school? Since the overwhelming majority of the early alumni of TCC have passed on, there are very few left to provide first-hand recollections of those early days. (Dr. Harvey Watkins, a 1921 alumnus, is a very noteworthy exception.)
The TCC achieved much greater stability in its next period, although there were years (1929-1945) of great financial strain. James R. Drain, DC, a 1912 Palmer alumnus, became a co-owner in 1920, and served as president and CEO from 1924 through 1948. Jim Drain was a communicator, remembered by some as the "Will Rogers of chiropractic," and authored two books and numerous articles for professional magazines.1,2 His written record, and that of co-owners Charles B. Loftin, DC, and Herbert E. Weiser, DC - and longtime faculty member H.E. Turley, DC - have helped to flesh out this period somewhat.3
College catalogues dating to the early 1920s provide a visual record of the school and its several campuses. Yearbooks were published in 1930 and 1931, but the tradition apparently did not become established until later years (see Table 2). A number of wonderful photographs of college faculty and students, dating to the mid-1920s, have been preserved in the college library archives.4 However, we would always like more!
The TCC published its own magazine during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, but there are no issues available in the college archives. Variously known as The Digest, The Chiropractic Digest and the Texas Digest, this periodical presumably would help to flesh out the details of college life and events during those early decades - if only we could locate any issues. We have issues of the TCC News dating to July 1949, but there are many earlier issues yet to be found and retrieved.
Fortunately, the college has preserved issues of the Texas Chiropractor, published by the state association, back to the late 1940s, and the Texas Chiropractic Association has kindly supplemented this by loaning issues back to 1943. As well, Shelby Elliott, DC, an alumnus of both the TCC and Logan College, and TCC's president emeritus, saved nearly every issue of the state journal from 1951 forward, so we are well-supplied in this respect.
The college has commissioned a book on its 100-year saga. To this end, several of the librarians, faculty members and administrators have been collaborating to collect and organize the vast array of information that must be retrieved and arranged in order to make sense of the institution's century of operations. It is this writer's pleasure to work with these folks to gather and interpret decades of documents, photos, publications, press releases, board meeting minutes, correspondence, anecdotes and the like. We hope to be able to "plug" the many holes in the database, and I'd like to take this opportunity to alert alumni and the profession to the need to recover the TCC's missing "family jewels."
Lurking in the attics, basements and garages of chiropractors and their families in Texas and around the nation are historical treasures waiting to be rediscovered. Now is the time to venture into those dusty corners, especially in places where you suspect there's nothing to be found, and investigate your professional past. Whatever you find, please let us know. I can be reached at , and TCC's archivist, Karen Bulow, MLS, can be reached at the college (281-487-4168; ). Thanks for your help!
- Drain, James R. Chiropractic Thoughts. San Antonio: Texas Chiropractic College, 1927.
- Drain, James R. Man Tomorrow. San Antonio: Standard Printing Company, 1949.
- Keating JC, Davison RD. That "Down in Dixie" school: Texas Chiropractic College between the wars. Chiropractic History 1997 (June);17(1):17-35.
- Davison RD, Keating JC. A synopsis of the contents of the Texas Chiropractic College Library Special Collections. Chiropractic History 1997 (June);17(1):37-40.
Click here for previous articles by Joseph Keating Jr., PhD.