COA Hidden Stories: On the Tracks of Chicago Quacks

31 Jul 2017 10:34 AM | Erin Matson (Administrator)

“Will you please give me information regarding the Chicago Health Institute, 36 West Randolph Street, City?”  William Fishbein, of Chicago, wrote the American Medical Association (AMA) on December 10, 1928.


Photo courtesy of AMA Archives.

The AMA’s response called the advertisement full of “scare stuff” from “men’s specialist” type of quacks. According to the AMA, the thing belonged to the class of fake medical institutes. The Bureau of Investigation assured the inquirer that they were reaching out to the Illinois Department of Registration and Education in Springfield to learn who the physicians were behind this outfit.  The AMA doggedly went after the quacks inside the Chicago Health Institute or “the sucker mill” as the Chicago Tribune referred to it over the years, exposing the unlicensed physicians and advising the public against the untruths going on behind the walls of 36 West Randolph Street.


Photo courtesy of AMA Archives.

Join us Tuesday, August 8 at 6:00 PM at DePaul University for the Chicago Open Archives Spotlight Event Workshop as we piece together the AMA’s case against a Chicago quack, the Chicago Health Institute.

The COA Spotlight Event Workshop is designed for Chicago Area Archivists members and allies who are interested in hosting an archives month event that follows the 2017 theme. The 2017 theme, Hidden Stories, will give visitors an opportunity to uncover a story from your collections using specific “clues” (documents, artifacts, images, maps) that create a narrative. During the workshop members of the COA Working Group will demonstrate a 'building a narrative' activity, brainstorm hidden story ideas with you, and discuss our vision for encouraging visitors to attend multiple COA events. 

For more information and to register, visit the Workshop events page.

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