History of Osteopathy
(and Twentieth-Century Medical Practice)

E. R. Booth, Ph.D, D.O.



No pleasure is comparable to the standing upon the vantage ground of truth. - BACON.

The starting of the first school for the teaching of a new science find the presentation of old sciences from an entirely new standpoint is an Herculean task. The American School of Osteopathy is the first and only institution known to history to hold this unique position. At the time it was started, Osteopathy, as a complete system of therapeutics, was an idea in the mind of only one man, Dr. A. T. Still; and its practical applications were unknown to all but him, his sons, and a few friends. Anatomy and physiology had long been taught in medical colleges, but not as they must be taught to make them of practical value in most cases in which Osteopathy is to be applied. Dr. Still was not a teacher by training. He was not skilled in the arts of the pedagogue. He was not surrounded by men who had achieved prominence as educators. In fact, his radical ideas, his originality, his short cut methods of doing things, all tended to repel, at first, the man or woman educated in the conventional methods of the schools. The osteopathic idea had to grow in the mind of the educated man just as it had grown in the mind of the founder of Osteopathy. Hence almost every one, and especially the scientist, looked with suspicion at first upon the new system. If some of its wonderful work had not been forced upon his attention, he could not have been induced to give it a serious thought. Even when he had seen the lame walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, and practically all manner of diseases cured, be easily convinced himself that it was all done by some mysterious power possessed by its founder.

Not until he felt that he had fully established Osteopathy upon a scientific basis and demonstrated its efficacy in the treatment of almost all kinds of diseases, would Dr. Still consent to the organization of a school. As already stated, many believed that he had a special gift for healing, and that it was impossible for others to do what he did almost as if by magic; but Dr. Still claimed as early as 1874 that he could teach his art to others. He often tried to interest M. D.'s in his work, and told them he had something he could teach, but most of them would not listen. After he had taught his sons the fundamental principles of Osteopathy and their applications, the people said it was a family trait, and the art would die with the passing of the Still family. But Dr. Still persisted in the claim that any one with a thorough knowledge of the structure and functions of the human body, and ability to apply mechanical principles in the manipulation of the most wonderful of all machines, could learn to do what he was capable of doing. He claimed that "'common sense applied in a mechanical way was the fundamental principle underlying the successful treatment of all diseases of the human family."


The success of Dr. Still and his sons, Charles E., Harry M., Herman J., and Fred, in 1890-1, brought them more patients than they were able to treat; hence there was a demand for more osteopaths to handle the rapidly increasing practice of this new method of treating human ailments. Many also who had seen the work began to believe that Dr. Still was right when he claimed others could learn his method as well as he, and importuned him to start a school wherein they could learn the sciences necessary to enable them to apply in practice the principles he taught them. Many difficulties confronted him in this work. Almost every one is familiar with the essentials of an ordinary school or college, and many who have graduated from a medical college would consider themselves competent to organize such a school or fill successfully some important chair. But the osteopathic idea was new and must be worked out along new lines. Only those, mostly the plain, common people, who had seen the effects of Osteopathy, accepted it without qualification. Many looked upon it with suspicion, doubted the success of an osteopathic college, and lacked faith in the future of Osteopathy. Even Dr. W. D. Dobson, now Professor of Chemistry in the American. School of Osteopathy, could not be convinced of its merits. Dr. Dobson was at that time President of the State Normal School at Kirksville. He says:

"Before Dr. Still started his school he would often come up here and stay till twelve or one o'clock talking about his work. He wanted me to resign from the Normal and organize his school. He offered to enter into a contract in writing to give me one-half of all the money he would ever make out of it.

Dr. Dobson was absorbed in his own school work and gave the matter but little attention, although he had seen evidence of the success of osteopathic treatment in his own family. It is evident how difficult it was to secure instructors. In fact, it was almost impossible to get experienced teachers, because even those favorably disposed did not care to incur the ridicule, the censure, and the probable ostracism that would follow in the wake of such a course.

These are only a few of the difficulties that lay in the way of the organization of the first school of Osteopathy. But the indomitable courage of Dr. Still knew no such thing as failure. As always, obstacles and opposition spurred him on to greater activity with renewed energy. Grant it that mistakes were made at first. The wonder is, when we consider the situation, that so few were made and so much was done in such an incredibly short time. Within five years after the starting of the American School of Osteopathy, at least five hundred students were regularly enrolled in osteopathic schools pursuing a course of study requiring twenty months for its completion, under skilled instructors, many of whom were graduates of colleges. Not a few who came to scoff turned away filled with admiration and enthusiasm for the new science, or remained to study its principles and learn its practice.


The early success of the parent school in winning pupils and its financial success, in spite of itself, doubtless had much to do with the starting of other schools. The school business was thought by many to be a sure and easy way of making money. The real meaning of a school in the latter part of the nineteenth century did not seem to have entered the mind of many who were already engaged or sought to engage in the work of education. And the bad reputation, from an educational as well as a moral standpoint, of some of those connected with the so-called teaching and training of osteopaths had a deleterious effect. That the reputation of some of them could not bear illumination is an open secret, and that the impressions they have left have proven injurious to Osteopathy is an historic fact. Dr. Still himself was so impressed with this sad condition of affairs that he thought of leaving the work of teaching to others. Everything seemed to be at cross purposes. The fact that so many faked the people and virtually robbed them of honest money, is said by those closest to him at that time, to have moved him to tears on more than one occasion. No wonder he had moments of despondency and wished that he was out of the school work. But he has never been known to abandon a good work once begun. Many others realized what an osteopathic education is, and labored day and night, almost from the start, to provide for that thorough preparation of osteopaths which was required of aspirants for honors in the other learned professions. They were powerful factors in advancing the science and placing it upon the high plane it now occupies.


Some of those who first gathered about Dr. Still had not been trained in scientific methods. They cared for nothing but results. They always sought the most direct way for accomplishing certain definite ends, and that way, in the opinion of many of them, was the only way. Far be it from me to cast reflections upon those pioneers in Osteopathy. Next to its revered founder they deserve credit at least equal to any others, and many of them are the peers of any who later began to study under more favorable conditions. To denounce them for their short-comings would be like berating the farmer because he was not a merchant, a mechanic because he was not an artist, or a scholar because he was not a professor. But history shows that many of them fell far short of Dr. Still's ideals, and that they did not at that time comprehend what was necessary to prepare men and women to meet the demands of professional life on the basis of present-day requirements. Dr. C. XL T. Hulett so ably stated this thought in an address on "Pseudo Osteopathic Schools," at the annual convention of the American Osteopathic Association in Indianapolis, in July, 1899, that I can not refrain from quoting a paragraph. He says:

"But the reason which explains all other reasons, and which underlies the whole subject, is the fact that the early graduates of the American School of Osteopathy were not qualified to plan and carry out a system of education such as is necessary to fully furnish students for its practice. They did not know, because they had not been taught. The Old Doctor's conception of the errors of the medical profession was so vivid that to the students' minds it was all inclusive, and some of them went out convinced that the entire store of supposed knowledge of the medical profession was a mass of error and should be wholly disregarded, and Osteopathy built up of a little anatomy and some clinic work. Physiology, pathology, symptomatology, chemistry, everything, was totally tabooed, and students were strictly forbidden to 'waste their time on any such foolishness.' In fact, the idea was cultivated that 'a good physiologist made a poor operator,' and that, therefore, scholastic attainments or ambitions were not to be considered as of special advantage in the lifework of an osteopathist. Those who did not see the fallacy of this position (and there were many who did), were, therefore, not wholly to blame if they considered that they were doing a legitimate act in founding a school on such lines. This, of course, was very unfortunate. Every one now sees its error, but that does not change history, nor does it undo the harm (and in a sense the injustice) to many students, who, through hard experience, are getting in their practice what ought to have been given them in their course; or, if they have not the realization of their needs which leads them to such result, they simply settle down to being, what the Old Doctor calls, 'engine wipers."'

As early as 1897 the parent school recognized the fact that much of its early work was defective, and in several instances discredited the qualifications of its own graduates, even some who had grades of 99 and 100 in anatomy and Osteopathy. The unfriendly rivalry then existing between the original school and others that had been started, may have been caused in part by the belief that the latter were just as able to prepare osteopaths as the former, and by the honestly growing belief of the American School of Osteopathy, that all schools must be more careful as to the qualifications of their graduates. The idea that any one after taking a few lessons in manipulation, or after reading a book on Osteopathy, was competent to enter upon the practice of the general art of healing, had already done so much harm that those familiar with the situation saw that the educational qualifications of osteopaths must receive more careful consideration; and those in authority began to put forth every effort to lift the schools from the crude and chaotic condition which had prevailed.

Too often has the impression gone forth, sometimes from professed osteopaths who know little of the science, but generally from those financially opposed to Osteopathy, that any one can give an osteopathic treatment. No more mistaken notion could be promulgated and doubtless the opposition often makes use of such erroneous ideas in the attempt to bring Osteopathy into disrepute. C. P. McConnell, M. D., D. O., discusses the "Technique of Osteopathy" in the Journal of Osteopathy for July, 1904, in which he says:

"I believe the time is rapidly approaching when it will be universally recognized that it requires greater ability to become an expert osteopathist than an expert physician of the other schools.

Also, there will be greater and more marked divergence of ability among the osteopathists themselves than among the practitioners of other schools. Osteopathy is the school of medicine that without exception treats the individual's condition as it actually exists. The other schools pay too much attention to grouping symptoms, to investigating morbid anatomy, to classifying and naming diseases, and to treating the disease or condition from an etiological point of view on the one hand, and simply compiling a formula to combat a supposed or real pathological state on the other. Herein must be shown the genuine skill of the osteopathist. He must be possessor of a technique that is original and adaptable in every instance as well as containing the quality of finesse."


As soon as the first school of Osteopathy was organized and began its work, every missile within reach of the opposition was hurled against it. As is well known, anatomy is the keystone to Osteopathy. While dissection is not as essential to the osteopath as to the surgeon, it is necessary to that thorough knowledge of the human body which every osteopath should possess. As the medical colleges and the drug doctors had a monopoly of the dead of Missouri available for dissecting purposes, they refused to let those not in the fold, those striving to learn anatomy in ways not sanctioned by them, have dead bodies for that purpose. But the progress of the school was not to be checked by such narrow-minded opposition. Sufficient material was obtained for demonstration purpose; and possibly the lack of cadavers for all the students to work upon, had much to do with creating a greater enthusiasm for the study of the living human body, the real foundation for the practical work of the osteopath. In fact, the obstacles thrown in the way of the study of anatomy by the early osteopaths may account for the superior skill in practice which some of them seemed to possess.

The inability to get sufficient material for dissecting purposes in Missouri, caused the authorities of the school to go to other states, but not without much trouble. The securing of bodies from Illinois caused Dr. William Smith to be indicted for "stealing a sheet." As there was no law against the exportation of bodies from the state, Dr. Smith could not be charged with a crime on that account; but as a certain cadaver was wrapped in a sheet and it did not appear that the sheet was obtained by Dr. Smith by the usual process of buying and selling, the charge of larceny was made. A requisition by the governor of Illinois was made upon the governor of Missouri for the return of the culprit to the former state for trial and vindication of the law. The requisition was refused by successive governors of Missouri. Meantime, Dr. Smith was not allowed to venture beyond the boundaries of Missouri, especially into Illinois, and part of the time was kept under armed guard by his friends, to prevent his removal to Illinois by detectives who were in Kirksville, presumably for that purpose. The indictment stood till 1899, when it was withdrawn and Dr. Smith was permitted to go to any part of the United States without let or hindrance. A law passed in 1903 gives the American School of Osteopathy the same right to dissecting material as the medical schools of the state.

The Boston Institute of Osteopathy, the Pacific College of Osteopathy, the Southern School of Osteopathy, the Colorado College of Osteopathy, and probably others, also, had their troubles in securing material for dissection because of the obstacles thrown in their way by the drug doctors. The first named school appealed to the legislature of Massachusetts for relief. The bill was a simple one asking only for the right of dissection. President Capen, of Tuft's College; Dr. H. Williams, dean of the medical and dental schools of the same college; and Dr. Draper, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society, appeared before the committee to which the bill was referred and made speeches against its passage. The bill was defeated in the committee by a vote of 10 to 3. But justice could not be withheld and progress could not be stayed. The senate, by a vote of 17 to 10, substituted the osteopathic dissection bill for the adverse report of the committee. It passed the house without much opposition, and was signed by Governor Crane May 16, 1901. Thus the medical fraternity was again chastised for its attempt to prevent the thorough qualification of those with whom they had so recently been called upon to compete.


None of the osteopathic colleges are endowed. While probably all of them are at present self-sustaining, they are not money-making institutions. Many of the ablest teachers are giving their time and talents to the work without adequate compensation. Many of them also are fully competent to serve humanity as no other class of persons can, if they could afford to devote all their energies to the development of the science. That the best work may be done, it is hoped that some millionaire may come forward and liberally endow one or more osteopathic colleges, taking every precaution to insure the development of the science and art of healing along osteopathic lines. It does not require the prevision of a prophet to see that such a person, probably next to Dr. Still himself, would become the most prominent figure of his generation in the advancement of the well being of his race.


The American School of Osteopathy was the first of its kind known to history. For four years it stood alone and did the pioneer work which secured its subsequent success and made possible the organization of other schools for like purposes. They had a precedent for their guidance, they were relieved of the work and worry incident to the pathfinder. All honor to those who were instrumental in doing that early work so well!

The history of the first school of Osteopathy is inseparably connected with the life of Dr. Andrew Taylor Still. Kirksville, Missouri, had become a Mecca for the afflicted. Many who received the benefits of Dr. Still's treatment saw the reasonableness of the principles and practice of Osteopathy and desired to become students of the new science. Requiring assistance in his growing practice, Dr. Still began by giving such instruction as was necessary to prepare helpers in his own work. His first pupil in Osteopathy was his son, Harry M. Still. This was about the year 1887. His oldest son, Charles E. Still, was the next pupil, and his other two sons, Herman F. and Fred, soon took up the study and practice under their father.

The first charter for the school was taken out May 10, 1892, under the law governing scientific institutions. The Journal of Osteopathy for July, 1898, contains Dr. Still's account of the work of the school under that charter.

"At that time many came, and asked me to teach them how to cure the sick. I hesitated, as teaching had not been the business of my life, but as I had four children whom I wanted taught the principles and philosophy which I had proven to be master of disease in so many places, I concluded to hire Dr. William Smith, of Edinburgh, Scotland, to give them training in anatomy and physiology, which was the foundation on which I had succeeded in all the diseases I had cured by the new method 'Osteopathy,' and without a drug.

"After I had arranged with Dr. Smith to teach my sons there were others asked to be admitted to the class, which was done, and we had a class of about twenty. School began in November, 1892, and ran through the winter. In March, 1893, Dr. Smith left me, and went into practice as physician and surgeon in Kansas City.

The following winter I employed Mrs. Nettie Bolles to fill the place vacated by Dr. Smith. I gave her Gray's Anatomy and the Quiz Compend, and told herr to do the best she could, and she did well. By this time our class had doubled. Mrs. Bolles conducted the next school of over thirty."

A new charter was issued October 30, 1894, under the law regulating educational institutions. Article three, which clearly sets forth the purposes and powers of the school, is as follows

"The object of this corporation is to establish a College of Osteopathy, the design of which is to improve our present system of surgery, obstetrics, and treatment of diseases generally, and place the same on a more rational and scientific basis, and to impart information to the medical profession, and to grant and confer such honors and degrees as are usually granted and conferred by reputable medical colleges; to issue diplomas in testimony of the same to all students graduating from said school under the seal of the corporation, with the signature of each member of the faculty and of the president of the college."

There is but little doubt but the American School of Osteopathy has a right, under its charter, to confer the degree Medical Doctor (M. D.) upon its graduates. Many wanted that done, but Dr. Still, with his usual foresight, would not consent. He maintained that Osteopathy is such a radical departure from the practice of all schools of M. D.'s that it should not be designated by the same degree. The title conferred upon graduates of all the recognized colleges is Doctor of Osteopathy, or as first stated Diplomate in Osteopathy, with the abbreviation D. O.

The first building used for school purposes was a small frame structure about 14 by 28 feet. It, with the lot surrounding it, was purchased in the summer of 1891. It stood where the present three-story brick building, sixty-four by one hundred and seventy-six feet, with its sixty-eight recitation and treating rooms, now stands. To make room for the new building it was moved across the street, where it still stands, and is an object of interest to every osteopath.

The problem of teaching Osteopathy to others was one of the most difficult questions Dr. Still had to solve. In the Kirksville Journal, November 5, 1896, he gives an account of the task he had before him in starting the American School of Osteopathy and in erecting and equipping the large building necessary to accomplish his purpose. The quotation below, taken from that account, is a fair sample of his habit of going back to previous experiences to illustrate his thought. The writer remembers very vividly how he sometimes thought Dr. Still was not direct in his statements; but failure to comprehend just what he was aiming at generally proved to be due to a lack of interpreting power.

"I was raised a Methodist. I found the idea of class meetings was a very good thing. The class leader would ask us how we had prepared and what arrangements we had made to die, and so on all along the road to heaven; if we had read the Bible, been to Sunday School, visited the sick, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, paid our quarterage, and fed the Lord's horse which the preacher had ridden, and so on, and all was pronounced good and marked 'O. K.' "

He then applied the same method of self-examination to determine whether or not he was prepared to construct the building he had in mind and conduct a school on such a scale as he foresaw would be necessary to supply the rapidly increasing demand for osteopathic physicians. Then came the all-important question which he put into the following words:

"Then came other questions equally as great, which pertain to conducting the business of a great institution of learning. Many important positions will have to be filled by persons who must have the necessary attainments to do the duty devolved upon that office. Then all must be combined and have one head that is mentally qualified with long experience to select competent persons to fill all places of trust and honor in the whole institution, with the nerve and judgment to execute."

In March, 1893, the first class completed the courses then required, but was not really graduated till March 2, 1894. The following received diplomas: Arthur A. Bird, Mrs. Nettie H. Bolles, A. P. Davis, F. F. Davis, A. A. Goodman, Miss Mamie Harter, J. O. Hatton, Arthur G. Hildreth, J. D. Hill, Airs. L. J. Ferns, Aiiller Machin, F. Polmeteer, Wm. Smith, Charles E. Still, Herman T. Still, Edward C. Still, Fred Still (deceased), M. L. Ward.

The course of study at that time was very incomplete compared with what it is now. Anatomy was then and always has been the basis of Osteopathy. It will be seen from the following quotation from the Journal of Osteopathy for May, 1894, that anatomy first, last, and all the time, with its practical applications, was the slogan of the school. "The course can be completed in two years - two terms of five months each, to be spent upon Anatomy. The remainder of the time to be devoted to practical work under the direction of an experienced operator."

The status of the school during its early history is clearly set forth in the following by Dr. Carl P. McConnell, which appeared in The Bulletin for April, 1904.

"A decade ago the American School was the only osteopathic school in existence. I well remember my first lessons in the little cottage across from where the present building stands. The school work was unsystematized and distinctly in embryo. Anatomy and less physiology, exclusive of clinical instruction, comprised the didactic part of the curriculum. Classroom practice of Osteopathy and principles of Osteopathy did not appear until later. But what was lost in systematic class roam instruction was certainly more than compensated for by the personal and clinical instruction of Dr. Still and the staff of infirmary physicians. The infirmary practice had grown to such a magnitude that the school at this period was almost incidental to the practice. From the very inception of the schoolwork the student was kept busy assisting the physicians, and his studies were carried on the best he could. Through it all Dr. Still gave his personal supervision to every case, and he was never too tired, or too busy to bring out the salient features of each case.

"There were six of us that started in the early autumn of 1894, and more would have begun the study then if any encouragement had been offered. I remember, with us we simply insisted on beginning the work and had to beg them to take our money. The new building was just being constructed and they felt that the students would be a source of extra responsibility. I cherish above everything else the personal instruction Dr. Still gave us every morning in the week for several months. All of you know what an early riser he is. Well, he had us down at the infirmary from 6:30 to 7, and for two hours be hammered Osteopathy into us. And you are probably well aware that he hits the nail on the head at every stroke. Then for the rest of the day we were portioned off as assistants to him (at that time he personally worked in the treating rooms) and the corps of physicians. One thing is certain we received the pure unadulterated Osteopathy; and if our subsequent actions and work have not been consistent and right, no one is to blame but ourselves.

"Several schools of Osteopathy have arisen and passed into oblivion since them, although a number have remained staunch and true. A decade has certainly been a short time for so much school history; but then we are living in a rapid age. The curriculum has been gradually enlarged, a little chemistry was added, then pathology, still later surgery and classroom obstetrics, etc., until now we can boast of a thoroughly graduated course. The only thing lacking at present in our colleges is more time to complete the various branches, a longer period for clinical advantages, and greater opportunity for surgical diagnosis. I have repeatedly observed that in order for the student to become at all expert with the osteopathic sense of touch requires six months to a year of several hours daily practice."

The catalogue of the school for 1897-8 contains the following:

"In October, 1895, a class of twenty-seven was enrolled, followed by a class of twenty-three in January, 1896. Of these two classes, twenty-eight were from the State of Missouri, while the others represented five different states. These classes recited to one teacher in one classroom, 20x25, the recitations taking up only two hours a day. In May, 1896, work was begun on an addition that doubled the capacity of the building, but even before that was completed, the rapidly increasing demand made it necessary to begin work on a second addition, which trebled the size of the original edifice. The whole building, which was completed in January, 1897, is four stories high, contains sixty-seven rooms, aggregating 30,000 square feet of floor space, and costing $80,000."

At the time the first bill was introduced into the Missouri legislature, early in 1895, to legalize the practice of Osteopathy, there really was no school in existence for the teaching of all the branches pertaining to the science; and even in October of the same year but little had been done toward providing for a complete course. At the commencement, June 22, 1897, Dr. Will Potter, the valedictorian of the class, according to the report of his speech as printed in the July issue of the Journal of Osteopathy, said:

"When the October division of this class matriculated, a little less than two years ago, there was really no school of Osteopathy in existence. We were only a little private class of twenty-six members. We were taught by one man. Our recitations occupied one hour each day. We met in a little 14x16 upstairs room, in what was at that time an exclusively infirmary building. Very little attention was paid to the school feature of the institution, and many patients who were taking treatment scarcely realized that there was a class in the building.

"We were told that the methods of teaching Osteopathy were only experimental and these experiments had not always been attended with success. The curriculum, as outlined to us was a six months' course in book anatomy, with the balance of the time spent in the regular operating rooms of the infirmary, where the student would be given the privilege of learning what he could of Osteopathy by assisting and watching others at work. These were all of their promises to us, and all we had a right to expect under our contracts."

Dr. Still calls attention many times in his lectures and writings to the necessity of thorough preparation. The following from the Autobiography, pages 178, 192, and 193, are cited as illustrations:

"Simply standing by and seeing work done by a competent operator will not qualify you to take the responsibilities of life in your hands. You must be thoroughly acquainted with all that is meant by anatomy - not merely familiar with the names of a few bones, muscles, nerves, veins, and arteries, but you must know them all as found in the latest standard authors.

"Osteopathy can not be imparted by books. Neither can it be taught to a person intelligently who does not fully understand anatomy from books and dissection.

"One who does not know this preparatory branch is completely lost in our operating rooms. He does not act from reason, because he does not know enough of anatomy to reason from. Therefore, a treatise attempting to tell people how to treat diseases by our methods would be worse than useless to every person who has not been carefully drilled in our clinics. It is the philosophy of Osteopathy that the operator needs; therefore, it is indispensable that you know all, or you will fail badly and get no further than the quackery of 'hit or miss.""

Osteopathy was a growing science from the time the idea first entered Dr. Still's mind, and it has not ceased to grow. The founder, in his seventy-eighth year, is still the leading personality in that growth. He, and his sons, and the ablest exponents of the science, are conservatively progressive. They adhere strictly to the fundamental principle enunciated in the beginning, but discover new applications almost daily. Dr. Still has said over and over that he has only opened up the new field; his followers must develop it.

The same process of development is evident in the growth of the first school. Dr. Still laid the firm foundation for all school work in the study of anatomy, as shown by the above quotations. The anatomy, as then taught, practically included physiology and pathology. With the lengthening and enriching of the course other subjects were added so that, in 1897, the curriculum included practically all the studies found in the best medical colleges, except materia medica and major surgery. Credit for these rapid strides in improving the course should be divided. First, Dr. Still, with his prophetic vision, saw that Osteopathy would soon hold a position co-ordinate with the oldest schools of medicine, and must be prepared to meet the reasonable demands made upon it by all classes of people - the high and the low, the rich and, the poor, the learned and the unlearned. He opposed the presentation of any and all subjects from the viewpoint of the professor in the medical college. The osteopathic idea must prevail in everything; hence differences of opinion often arose between him and those trained in other methods. Second, he had gathered about him a large number of learned men and women who insisted that an osteopathic education should not be inferior to that of any other school of practice. Third, the people, as shown in the discussions relative to the enactment of the laws of the several states, insisted upon an educated profession.

As a result of these influences, we find the following course of study announced in the summer of 1897, and a faithful and reasonably successful attempt made to carry it into effect at once:

"The course of instruction extends over two years, and is divided into four terms of five months each.

"The first term is devoted to Descriptive Anatomy, including Osteology, Syndesmology, Myology, Angiology, and Neurology; Histology, including the description and recognition of the normal tissues of the body; the principles of Chemistry and Physics.

"The second term includes Descriptive Anatomy of the Viscera, and organs of special sense; Regional Anatomy with demonstrations on the cadaver; Didactic and Laboratory work in Chemistry; Physiological Chemistry, Urinalysis and Toxicology; Physiology of circulation, respiration, digestion, absorption, assimilation, secretion, and excretion; Principles of Osteopathy.

"The third term includes Regional Anatomy and Pathology with demonstrations on the cadaver; Surface Anatomy, Advanced Physiology, Symptomatology and Pathology; Clinical demonstrations in Osteopathy.

"The fourth term includes Pathological Anatomy, Minor Surgery, Gynecology, and Obstetrics; Clinical practice in Osteopathy."

June 22, 1897, is said by the Journal o f Osteopathy for July, 1897, to be the "First Commencement Day" of the American School of Osteopathy. It is true that the school had been running five years, but part of that time under a charter received by Dr. Still in May, 1892, which was unsatisfactory. The first class was really graduated under the old charter, March 2, 1894. The new charter was secured in 1894, and "the class of '97 was the first to formally graduate under the recognition of the organic law of a great state and to go forth under the protecting aegis of legislative authority." Dr. A. T. Still has been President of the Board of Trustees and the Faculty since its organization. The other members of the original Board were Harry M. Still, Chas. E. Still, Herman T. Still, Thomas A. Still, and Blanch Still. H. E. Patterson, A. G. Hildreth, C. M. T. Hulett, M. E. Still, Judge Andrew Ellison, Geo. M. Laughlin, Warren Hamilton, and M. D. Campbell have also served on the Board. C. M. T. Hulett, J. M. Littlejohn, and Geo. M. Laughlin have Tendered service as Dean of the Faculty.

The American School of Osteopathy has graduated over 3,000 pupils, who are distributed all over the United States, and several are practicing in foreign countries.


It is not the purpose of this chapter to give an account of the rise and fall of a number of schools which were started upon an insecure foundation, maintained a questionable standing for varying lengths of time, and finally passed out of existence. One of them is noticed because of its early entrance upon the work and its prominence at one time.

The National School of Osteopathy and Infirmary Association, of Baxter Springs, Cherokee County, Kansas, was chartered by the Secretary of State of Kansas, June 27, 1895. E. D. Barber, Helen M. Barber, C. W. Daniels, J. M. Newhouse, and A. L. Barber are mentioned in the charter. Later the school was located in Kansas City, Missouri, and a new charter was secured from the stato in 1897.

The fact that Dr. Barber issued a book which presumed to make Osteopathy so plain that a layman or short term student could practice it, and the continuation of the short course in violation of the law, produced a vigorous opposition on the part of reputable osteopaths and aroused all the energies of the parent school against the methods of the new claimant for patronage. The litigation referred to in Chapter V, grew out of the noncompliance of the school with the law requiring at least twenty months attendance before issuing a diploma.

In the fall of 1898 an attempt was made to reorganize the school on a two-year basis, with an enlarged faculty. It also tried to gain admission to the Associated Colleges of Osteopathy in 1599, and again in 1900, but did not succeed. The fact that the school did not promptly institute a two years' course, as did all the others, and failure to get into the Associated Colleges of Osteopathy, were probably the chief factors that finally led to its suspension in 1900.


The Pacific School of Osteopathy was established in May, 1896, at Anaheim, California. It was the first school of the kind to require, from the beginning, a twenty months' course of study, and also the first to introduce, and to make compulsory, a three years' course.

The first articles of incorporation were dated July 14th, 1896. It was reincorporated on June 1st, 1897, under the laws of the State of California, as the Pacific School of Osteopathy and Infirmary, and the location of the school was changed to Los Angeles. Until 1902, the school was conducted with no clear distinction between the Board of Directors and the Faculty of the school, the officers of the Board acting as the officers of the Faculty. They were Dr. C. A. Bailey, President; Dr. D. L. Tasker, Vice-President; Dr. R. D. Emery, Secretary ; D. W. Dudley, Treasurer. The Faculty of the school was reorganized in July, 1902, and Professor C. A. Whiting, Sc. D., D. O., was elected Chairman of the Faculty.

In January, 1904, a new corporation was formed under the name of the Pacific College of Osteopathy, which purchased the school. The officers of the Board of Directors are Geo. R. Burton, D. O., President; Frank A. Keyes, D. O., Vice-President; Jennie Stephenson, D. O., Secretary and Treasurer ; and C. A. Whiting, D. O., Dean of the Faculty.

During 1903-4 the college was conducted at South Pasadena, but at the opening of the session in September, 1904, it returned to Los Angeles, and is now occupying a building erected for school purposes by the stockholders.

The first class was graduated January 5, 1898. The school has conferred the degree of Doctor of Osteopathy upon 110 students who have taken the full two years' course, and the postgraduate degree of Doctor of the Science of Osteopathy (Dsc. O.) upon four.


This school was established in June, 1890, by Drs. E. C. Pickier, F. D. Parker, and L. M. Rheem. This was the third osteopathic school ever established. With Dr. Pickier, President; Dr. Parker, Vice-President; and Dr. Rheem, Secretary and Treasurer, the school continued till May, 1900, when it was sold to Dr. Rheem, who then became its President. A year later it changed hands again, and Dr. Pickier was re-elected to the presidency. In January, 1902, the school, with its patronage and good will, was transferred to the S . S. Still College, Des Moines, Iowa, with which it was consolidated. The school was continued at Minneapolis till June, 1902.

Drs. L. M. Rheem, D. E. Henry, and E. J. Freeman served successively as Dean. The first class graduated in 1898. About 230 graduated before the consolidation, most of whom are engaged in practice in the north and northwest, and many of whom have done valiant work for Osteopathy in legislative halls as well as in the field of practice.


The Colorado College of Osteopathy, Denver, was organized in September, 1897, as the Western Institute of Osteopathy. In 1899 the name was changed to the Bolles Institute of Osteopathy, and in 1901 it was reorganized as a stock company under the latter name.

Dr. Nettie H. Bolles was President, and Dr. N. A. Bolles was Dean of the school from its organization. The first class, consisting of four students, was graduated in June, 1899. Twenty-one have received the diploma of the school.

The school always maintained a course of four terms of five months each. It was a charter member of the Associated Colleges of Osteopathy, and has held a high place in that influential organization. Although a small school, its efforts were exerted towards the elevation of the standard of osteopathic education, even to the personal sacrifice of those upon whom the work of conducting it fell. It was transferred to the American School of Osteopathy in 1904, and the institution was closed with the graduation of the June class of that year.


Dr. Geo. F. Nason interested the practitioners in the south and the citizens of Franklin, Kentucky, in the organization of the Southern School of Osteopathy. It was established in March, 1898. It was projected especially to accommodate the Southern and Central states. The incorporators were Geo. F. Nason, John S. Oldham, and J. S. Gaylord. The school is housed in a well-appointed building, designed and built especially for teaching Osteopathy.

Dr. J. S. Gaylord was the first President. He was succeeded by Dr. J. S. Oldham in September, 1900, who was succeeded by Dr. Robert W. Bowling, the present incumbent. Dr. Bowling has also been Dean of the Faculty since the school was established.

The first class, numbering 26, entered in March, 1898, 21 of whom graduated. At present 225 graduates attest the merits of the Southern School of Osteopathy.


The California College of Osteopathy, located in San Francisco, California, was founded in 1898 by Alden H. Potter, D. 0., and Joseph A. Parker, D. O. The college was incorporated March 18, 1898. J. A. Parker was the first President, and Alden H. Potter, Secretary and Treasurer. It was opened in the Pariott Building, Market Street, San Francisco, but soon moved to 603 Sutter Street. It is now located at 1368 Geary Street.

In March, 1901, Dr. Parker withdrew his interests from the college and W. P. Burke, M. D., D. O., was chosen President. On June 29, 1903, Alden H. Potter, D. O., was elected President, but withdrew from the college before the opening of the next term, and B. P. Shepherd, B. M. E., D. O., Vice-President. These, with Isaac Burke, D. O., Secretary and Treasurer; Mary V. Stuart, D. O., Corresponding Secretary; and Agnes G. Madden, D. O., make up the Board of Trustees of the College.

The first class completed the course in June, 1900, seven members receiving diplomas. Sixty-two have graduated from the school, most of whom are practicing on the Pacific coast.


The Milwaukee College of Osteopathy was incorporated in May, 1898, by Dr. L. E. and Dr. Essie S. Cherry, and W. B. Davis, as the Milwaukee Institute of Osteopathy. The name was changed in 1900, The first class, consisting of eleven students, matriculated in September, 1898, and graduated in June, 1900, after taking the full twenty months' course.

The compromise law, as passed in 1901 (Chapter IV) stipulated a four years' course after the expiration of two years. Thus the college was limited in its life, as the management could not compete with colleges giving the shorter course. Hence arrangements were made with the American School of Osteopathy to take the students of the Milwaukee College of Osteopathy at. the expiration of the school year, June, 1901. The total number of graduates was twenty-five.


In June, 1898, Drs. S. S. and Ella B. Still, Colonel and Mrs. A. L. Conger, W. L. Riggs, and W. W. G. Helm secured articles of incorporation for this institution, located at Des Moines, Iowa. Colonel Conger was a prominent manufacturer of Akron, Ohio, who had been treated at Kirksville, and all the others had been connected with the American School of Osteopathy, either as teachers or students. Dr. S. S. Still was elected President, A. L. Conger, Secretary, and Dr. W. W. G. Helm, Treasurer. About the time of the opening of the school, Dr. A. Still Craig and Dr. J. W. Hofsess were associated with the founders in its conduct.

Colonel A. L. Conger, the Secretary, died within a year of the organization of the college, and his place was filled by Dr. Helm until December, 1899, when his stock was purchased by Colonel A. B. Shaw, who has since filled the position of Secretary and Treasurer.

The college opened for regular work in September, 1898, with a class of more than forty pupils, in a large two-story building on Locust Street, opposite the site of the present building. The college now occupies a substantial brick college building at 1422 Locust Street, with modern conveniences, four floors, 60 by 100 feet in size, and thoroughly equipped. The laboratories are perfectly lighted and ventilated, and the dissecting room, which is 30 by 50 in size, has light and ventilation on three sides, hot and cold water, and cement floor. The main auditorium room has a seating capacity of 500. The demonstration room, etc., are well appointed. In 1903 the college established a hospital in the brick building which had originally been leased for college purposes. It is a well appointed, though small, hospital for acute, bed-ridden, and surgical cases. A complete surgical amphitheater was constructed in connection with it, where the regular surgical clinics are given.

In 1902 the college purchased and consolidated into its organization the Northern College of Osteopathy of Minneapolis. It subsequently merged into its organization the Northwestern College of Osteopathy of Fargo, North Dakota, of which Mrs. DeLendrecie was President. During the winter of 1903-4, the stockholders perfected a business transaction with Dr. C. E. Still and Dr. Warren Hamilton of Kirksville, Missouri, whereby they transferred to the latter their stock in the college. Since then the college has been under the management of the parent school, but has remained at Des Moines. Excluding the schools consolidated with the S. S. Still College, it has 734 graduates.


The Massachusetts College of Osteopathy, Boston, was organized under the name of the Boston Institute of Osteopathy. It was incorporated October 31, 1898, with Dr. C. E. Achorn, President; Dr. S. A. Ellis, Vice-President; and Dr. Ada A. Achorn, Secretary and Treasurer, who were also the incorporators. The name was changed by process of law, January 30, 1903. At that time the old directory resigned, a new one was formed, and the following officers were elected: Dr. W. E. Harris, President; Dr. H. F. Crawford, Vice-President; Dr. F. K. Byrkit, Secretary; and F. M. Slagle, Treasurer. F. M. Slagle has served as Dean since February, 1902. The faculty is composed of local osteopaths.

The Massachusetts College of Osteopathy was one of the first to recognize the necessity for a longer course of study and put its views into practice. In the spring of 1902, it was decided to change the course from twenty months to twenty-four months, by adding the fifth term of four months. The class of September, 1902, was enrolled as the first class of twenty-four months. In the spring of 1903, the course was again changed to one of three years of nine months each, and the September term, 1903, was the first class enrolled under a regular three years' course of nine months each. The students have access to several local hospitals. The total number of graduates is 127. The school is located at 588 Huntington Avenue.


In the autumn of 1898, Drs. S. C. Mathews and V. A. Hook, located in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, for the practice of Osteopathy. They interested several influential businessmen in the subject, effected an organization, and secured a charter for the Atlantic School of Osteopathy, February 21, 1899. Dr. V. A. Hook, Mr. J. C. Bell, and Dr. J. W. Banning, in turn, served as President. The first term opened in February, 1899. The school first occupied rooms in the Simon Long Building. The increasing attendance soon made it necessary to secure more commodious quarters. In 1900, the directors purchased the property of the Central Methodist Episcopal Church, which they remodeled and added to so as to adapt it to the requirements of the school. Night classes, which had been conducted several years, were discontinued in. 1903. The first class to complete the full course graduated in February, 1901, with 26 to receive diplomas. In all there are 184 graduates, most of them practicing in the East.

In order to secure the greater advantages of a large city, the college was moved to Buffalo, New York, the latter part of 1904, between the closing of one term and the opening of the next. It is now located at 1331 Main Street. Its faculty has been enlarged and strengthened, and the school seems to have been put upon a better business and professional footing. Dr. C. W. Proctor is President.


The Philadelphia College and Infirmary of osteopathy was established by Drs. O. J. Snyder and Mason W. Pressly in the early part of 1899. The college opened in the Stephen Girard Building, but soon removed to the Witherspoon Building. Its accommodations there became too limited, and it was removed to a much more desirable location at Thirty-third and Arch Streets.

In August, 1904, the school was reorganized. Drs. Snyder and Pressly retired and the management was placed under the control of the alumni of the college, with an enlarged faculty composed of practitioners in the city, graduates of several different osteopathic colleges. Most of the members of the old faculty remain. The college has maintained a two years' course from the beginning. It also conducted night classes for a while, but they were discontinued in 1903. Dr. O. J. Snyder was President from 1899 to 1943. Since then Drs. J. A. Burt and C. W. McCurdy have served in turn as Dean of the Faculty. The college has 79 graduates.


This college was organized in May, 1900, by Drs. J. M., J. B., and D. Littlejohn. It is incorporated under the laws of the state of Illinois. The college buildings are located at 495-497 West Monroe Street, Chicago. An annex in the rear is used for laboratory purposes.

It has been the aim of the school to give special attention to surgery under osteopathic supervision. The regular course was two years fill 1904, when it began its three years' course. Provisions are made for a fourth year, a postgraduate course, which includes major surgery. The students have access to the clinics at Cook County Hospital, the same as students from medical colleges.

Dr. J. M. Littlejohn has been President of the college from its beginning. The faculty is composed of local osteopaths and several M. D.s, who present special subjects. There are 114 graduates, six of whom have taken the four-year course.