Book ID: CBB734894658

Diploma Mill: The Rise and Fall of Dr. John Buchanan and the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania (2018)


Johnson, David Alan (Author)

Kent State University Press

Publication Date: 2018
Physical Details: 256
Language: English

The absence of medical licensing laws in most states during the years following the American Civil War made it possible for unscrupulous individuals to exploit the weak over- sight and unregulated state issuance of school charters. Diploma Mill traces the rise and spectacular fall of Dr. John Buchanan―educator, author, and criminal―and the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania (EMC) over the course of its three decades’ existence. Founded as a legitimate educational institution, the EMC aspired to carry the banner of eclectic medicine in the eastern United States. Enter Dr. Buchanan, who during his tenure at the EMC assumed control of this small Philadelphia school and issued thousands of dubiously earned diplomas. Buchanan’s political connections shielded his activities at the school for more than a decade. His ambitions for the EMC carried both him and the school into a criminal enterprise, representing the largest and most notorious medical diploma mill in 19th-century America. Despite multiple arrests on various charges during the mid-1870s, Buchanan’s operations at the EMC continued unchecked until an elaborate sting operation in 1880 secured evidence for federal and state charges against him. Hoping to relocate his operations, Buchanan faked his own death and fled the country. The story of John Buchanan and the EMC contains unusually dramatic elements more typical of a novel than a work of history but does not undermine its importance. His activities ultimately resulted in stronger medical licensing laws and cast a shadow upon the minority of physicians practicing eclectic medicine. By relating the history of a criminal enterprise arising within the confines of a legitimate medical school, Diploma Mill represents a unique contribution in the literature of 19th-century American medicine.

Reviewed By

Review Bobby Alan Wintermute (2020) Review of "Diploma Mill: The Rise and Fall of Dr. John Buchanan and the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania". Journal of American History (pp. 1063-1064). unapi

Review Lynn E Miller (2019) Review of "Diploma Mill: The Rise and Fall of Dr. John Buchanan and the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania". Social History of Medicine (pp. 873-875). unapi

Review Toby A. Appel (2019) Review of "Diploma Mill: The Rise and Fall of Dr. John Buchanan and the Eclectic Medical College of Pennsylvania". Bulletin of the History of Medicine (pp. 619-621). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Rogers, Naomi
Corgan, James X.
Jacobson, Matthew
Klein, Jennifer
Thomson, Elaine
Peitzman, Steven Jay
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Physicians; doctors
Medical education and teaching
Professions and professionalization
Professional qualifications; status; remuneration
Women in medicine
Bennett, John Hughes
Kong Pyung Woo
United States
Tennessee (U.S.)
Granada (Spain)
Southern states (U.S.)
19th century
20th century, late
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20th century, early
18th century
16th century
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American Medical Association

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