Texas College - The Search

By Joseph Keating Jr., PhD

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.

Table 1: Chief executive officers of the Texas Chiropractic College, 1908 to present.
Term Name and Title
1908-1913 J.N. Stone, DC, founder
1913-1918 A.R. Littrell, MD, DC, president
1918-1920 J.M. McLeese, DC, president and dean
1920-1924 B.F. Gurden, DC, president
1924-1948 James R. Drain, DC, PhC, president
1948-1951 Ben L. Parker, MA, DC, dean
1951-1962 Julius C. Troilo, DC, PhC, AB, dean
1962-1965 Julius C. Troilo, DC, PhC, AB, president
1966-1976 William D. Harper, MS, DC, president
1977-1985 Johnny B. Barfoot, BA, DC, president
1985-1986 Hugh MacDonell, executive vice president
1986-1990 Lewis W. Ogle, EdD, president
1990-2003 Shelby M. Elliott, DC, president
2004-present Richard Brassard, DC, president

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark 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. image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark 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.

Table 2: Dates of yearbooks of the Texas Chiropractic College preserved in the college's library archives.

1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s

1930 1949 1951 1966 1970 1984 1990-91 2000
1931   1953 1967 1971 1986-87 1991-92 2001
    1955 1968 1972 1987-88 1993 2002
      1969 1978 1988-89 1994 2003
image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark 1989-90 1995 2004

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark 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.

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark 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."

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark       image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark       image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

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!


  1. Drain, James R. Chiropractic Thoughts. San Antonio: Texas Chiropractic College, 1927.
  2. Drain, James R. Man Tomorrow. San Antonio: Standard Printing Company, 1949.
  3. Keating JC, Davison RD. That "Down in Dixie" school: Texas Chiropractic College between the wars. Chiropractic History 1997 (June);17(1):17-35.
  4. 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.

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