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Synopsis

The Eclectic Medical Institute, known by its friends as "Old EMI" (and "Old EMC" when reorganized in 1910), was an American institution in origin, concept, and practice. For nearly a century, EMI was known as the "Mecca of eclectic thinking" and the "Mother Institute" of reformed medicine. A Profile of Alternative Medicine recounts the history of eclectic medicine which, along with hydropathy, homeopathy, physiomedicalism, chiropractic, ad osteopathy, competed with regular medicine (allopathy) in the nineteenth century. Unlike most alternative medical colleges that closed without leaving significant documentation, EMI left complete student records, faculty files, deans' papers, financial records, and minutes of the board of trustees. These records provide an important window into sectarian medicine's many challenges; into the tensions between the school and its board of trustees; and between the school and the American Medical Association as EMI unsuccessfully struggled with the AMA's Council on Medical Education to obtain a class-A rating. This history of EMI is set within the broader context of American medicine and recounts the internal feuds, successes, adversity, and ultimate failure of this bastion of freedom in medical thought.

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