William D. Harper, Jr, MS, DC: Anything Can Cause Anything

Keating, Joseph C.
March 2008
Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association;Mar2008, Vol. 52 Issue 1, p38
Academic Journal
Trained as an engineer and a chiropractor, William D. Harper, Jr. made his career in the healing arts as instructor, writer and president of the Texas Chiropractic College (TCC). A native of Texas who grew up in various locales in the Lone Star State, in Mexico and in the Boston area, he took his bachelor's and master's degree in engineering in 1933 and 1934 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his chiropractic degree at TCC in 1942. Dissatisfied with the "foot-on-the-hose" concept of subluxation syndrome (D.D. Palmer's second theory), Dr. Harper studied and wrote about aberrant neural irritation as an alternative explanation for disease and for the broad clinical value he perceived in the chiropractic art. In this he paralleled much of D.D. Palmer's third theory of chiropractic. His often reprinted textbook, Anything Can Cause Anything, brought together much of what he had lectured and written about in numerous published articles. He was well prepared for the defense of chiropractic that he offered in 1965 in the trial of the England case in federal district court in Louisiana. The case was lost when the court ruled that the legislature rather than the judiciary should decide whether to permit chiropractors to practice, but Harper's performance was considered excellent. He went on to guide the TCC as president from 1965 through 1976, its first 11 years after relocating from San Antonio to Pasadena, Texas. Harper built the school - its faculty, staff and facilities - from very meager beginnings to a small but financially viable institution when he departed. Along the way he found fault with both chiropractic political camps that vied for federal recognition as the accrediting agency for chiropractic colleges in the United States. Dr. Bill Harper was a maverick determined to do things his way, and in many respects he was successful. He left a mark on the profession that merits critical analysis.


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