silvia tuscano | 26/10/2022

Andrew Paxton Davis, explorer of all kinds of therapies

Photo source: Davis, A.P. Neuropathy Illustrated. Graves & Hersey Printers, Long Beach, Cal. 1915.

Belfast, New York, USA, 10 marzo 1835 – Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California, USA, 19th December 1919, MD, DO, DC.

Graduated in traditional and osteopathic medicine, Andrew Paxton Davis was lecturer in the first course of osteopathy at the ASO of Kirksville, and in exchange obtained the title of DO.

Dr Andrew Paxton Davis studied phytotherapy, thompson medicine and eclectic medicine. In 1867 he obtained a degree in Medicine and Surgery at the Rush Medical College of Chicago and in 1877 the degree of homeopathy at the Pulte Homeopathic College of Cincinnati. In 1880 he specialized in ophthalmology and homeopathy in New York.1

In the Winter of 1892-93 he was a student in the first course held at the American School of Osteopathy and at the same time a professor of Surgery and Obstetrics.2

Immediately after being awarded the DO, Davis left Kirksville and continued his course of studies and research. Like different other students of the first hour, his vision of osteopathy in part differed from that of its founder A.T. Still.

In the osteopathic literature almost no trace remains of his passage. At pages 365-366 of the first edition of A.T. Still Autobiography, an affidavit from January 13 1893, Kirksville, is reported, authenticated by notary William T. Porter and signed by three doctors – Andrew P. Davis, William Smith and F. S. Davis – which state to know osteopathy and to believe it to be an advanced system for the cure of diseases without resorting to medicines.3

In the table XXI of an atlas dated 1897 there is a short article on Dr A.P. Davis, described as a great scholar who proved the validity of osteopathy, founder of the Quincy Osteopathic Institute, Illinois,4 as also confirmed by Fred L. Rowe in the preface to the volume Osteopathy Illustrated: a drugless system of healing.

In 1898 was awarded a Diploma in Chiropractic by D.D. Palmer.1-2

In 1899 published the volume Osteopathy Illustrated, a substantial osteopathy guide of more than 800 pages.

In 1901 founded the Davray Neuropathic System of Treatment together with the chiropractor Allen Raymond. In 1902 went back to study in a chiropractic course in Davenport. He then went to Chicago to follow a course in ophthalmology at the McCormick Optical College.

Despite continuing his studies in ever so different fields, he continued to declare himself both an osteopath and a chiropractor. In 1903 went to Palmer’s aid, who was often accused by the osteopaths to be an imitator, contributing to circulate an authenticated declaration stating that osteopathy and chiropractic were as different from each other as day and night. Having Davis studied both disciplines, his word would have some weight in court.1

In 1904 held a course in chiropractic in Dallas and in 1905 published the book Neurology, a volume which he advertised to osteopaths and chiropractors as a useful supplement.

A short article in the editorial of he Osteopathic Physician of May 1906 depicted A.P. Davis, and pointed out how he had become detached from osteopathy and later also from chiropractic, looking with irony at his many studies and discoveries in too many fields of medicine, citing for example allopathy, homeopathy, eclecticism, physio medicine, electrotherapy, suggestion, hypnotism and the more recent neuropathy.5

In 1910 Davis became associated with M. A. Kassmir, who held both a diploma in osteopathy awarded by the school of West Virginia and a diploma in chiropractic. Kassmir founded the Union College of Osteopathy, affiliated with Pittsburgh Osteopathic Hospital. Davis was appointed Dean. Five out of ten teachers had the title of MD in the school’s teaching staff, while the other teachers listed in the institute’s commercial had various qualifications, including diplomas in osteopathy, chiropractic, naturopathy and ophthalmology.1

In January 1910, an editorial of the Osteopathic Physician condemned the existence of osteopathic schools less serious, specifically referring to this institute. A student in fact confessed to have been awarded a diploma after only one month of course. The article reports that this title of dubious validity was awarded to 16 people, concluding that only the recognition and the regulation of osteopathy would have prevented the proliferation of such intiatives.6

Thirteen of the graduates of the neuropathy and ophthalmology offered by the Union College of Osteopathy in 1911 signed a declaration7 in which they referred to be completely satisfied with the teaching received. Davis used them in his own support when he launched the Bullis and Davis School of Neuropathy, Ophthalmology and Chiropractic in Los Angeles that same year, of which there is no information after 1912.

In 1914 he founded the Davis College of Neuropathy in Los Angeles.8 On the frontispiece of the volume u, issued in 1915, Davis presents himself as the president of such institution.

He died in 1919.

Andrew Paxton Davis became interested in the osteopathy of A.T. Still in his personal research, aiming at building his own model of care. As soon as he completed the year of the course and obtained his diploma, he abandoned Kirksville to continue the study of other health disciplines.

Nevertheless he tried to take possession of osteopathy, attributing to himself the merit of having grasped its importance and of having divulged it, since its discoverer had not been able to do so.9

  • Davis, A.P. Osteopathy Illustrated: a drugless system of healing. Fred L. Rowe, Cincinnati, Ohio (USA), 1899.
  • Davis, A.P. Neurology, embracing Neuro-Ophthalmology: The New Science for the Successful Treatment of all Functional Human Ills. Fred L. Rowe, Cincinnati, Ohio (USA), 1905.
  • Davis, A.P. Neuropathy: The New Science of Drugless Healing Amply Illustrated and Explained. F.L. Rowe Publisher, Cincinnati, Ohio (USA), 1909.

Davis, A.P. Neuropathy Illustrated. Graves & Hersey Printers, Long Beach, Cal. 1915.

  1. Gibbons, R.W. “Skeletons in the Medical Closet: Pioneer Chiropractic and Osteopathic Schools in Western Pennsylvania, 1910-1944”. Pittsburgh History Spring 1993.

  2. Gevitz N. The “diplomate in osteopathy”: from “School of bones” to “School of medicine”. JAOA. 2014 Feb;114(2):114-24.
  3. Still, A.T. Autobiography, with a history of the discovery and development of the science of osteopathy, together with an account of the founding of the American School of Osteopathy. Published by the author, Kirksville, 1897.
  4. Atlas of Lewis County Missouri, compiled and published by the Western Atlas Co of Keokuk, Iowa, 1897
  5. Editorial “A Medical Wetnurse”, The Osteopathic Physician, May 1906, vol.9, n.5.
  6. Editorial “Fake Osteopath Schools”, The Osteopathic Physician, January 1910, vol.17, n.1.
  7. Zarbuck, Merwyn V. Chiropractic Parallax – part. 2
  8. Keating, J.C. Jr. “Chronology of the Hollywood College”
  9. Davis, A.P. Osteopathy Illustrated: a drugless system of healing. Fred L. Rowe, Cincinnati, Ohio (USA), 1899

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