When it starts to get seriously warm in Phoenix, thoughts turn to cooler times and milder climates. This year, I was reminded of Christmas in New England, and from there, my mind wandered to a presentation by the chair of the Palmer College board of trustees during the Conference on Chiropractic History in Mexico City in 2004.1 She presented a review of the Christmas cards sent out by her family in the 1950s, and concluded with the observation that "your family's Christmas cards are important, too!
Taking this to heart, the thought occurred that Christmas and its celebrations have been a part of many chiropractors' lives, and might be reflected in the images disseminated within the profession and to the public. Lo and behold, there was enough to make for a jolly presentation. Although I had access to very few ChiroChristmas cards, per se, there was plenty of Christmas imagery to be found in chiropractic periodicals. So, here goes:
Christmas imagery has ranged from the uncomplicated to the decidedly ornate and creative. The simplicity of candles, bells, evergreen trees and pine cones can be found on the covers of December issues of several national chiropractic periodicals:
Healing hands clasped in prayer were a frequent motif on the covers of many November/December issues of the Digest of Chiropractic Economics. "Peace on Earth" was a common theme as well, as suggested by a dove carrying the quintessential olive branch of peace.
A bit of creativity can be seen in several Christmas covers. The ICA International Review of Chiropractic for December 1958 offered the story of Christ in the form of a case record on its cover. The November/December 1926 issue of the Columbian, magazine of the Columbia Institute of Chiropractic (now New York Chiropractic College), used its cover to decorate a Christmas tree with the images of its administrators and faculty (among them Drs. Ernest Napolitano and Reggie Gold). The LACC's periodical, the Chirogram, featured a plant on which the names of administrators, faculty and members of the board of regents' names were written.
Simplicity seemed to be more the theme for the November/December issues of the Digest in 1992 and 1994, when a floral pattern and a serene winter scene graced the periodical's covers. Of course, Santa Claus has been a favorite topic in December issues, and has appeared in many styles and contexts:
Especially noteworthy in the Santa Claus category are a series of covers from the ACA Journal of Chiropractic for December (1986, 1988-1992, 1994-1996), apparently all from the same artist's hands: those of Shirley Keefe-Stout of Clayton-Davis & Associates, Inc.
Well, that's enough yuletide imagery for today. Here's wishing you a happy holiday, whatever it may be. Ho, ho, ho!
- Herrity, Rachelle. "The Twenty-Fourth Annual Conference of the Association for the History of Chiropractic." Chiropractic History 2004 (Winter);24(2):9-11.
Click here for previous articles by Joseph Keating Jr., PhD.