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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54926
Doc. No:TL24880
Call number:‭1462804‬
Main Entry:Darcy Larie Stevens
Title & Author:“Gross immorality?” Weighing the evidence in the case against Dr. William MeffertDarcy Larie Stevens
College:Emporia State University
Date:2008
Degree:M.A.
student score:2008
Page No:119
Abstract:In 1902, a group of prominent Emporia men began a veritable crusade against Dr. William Meffert, a successful local physician. The Emporia Committee accused Meffert of "gross immorality," submitted various documents to support their claim, and petitioned the state medical board to revoke his license. Meffert's supporters countered with character witnesses, affidavits, and petitions of support. In spite of the questionable nature of Emporia Committee evidence and the competent defense of Meffert's attorneys, the medical board revoked Meffert's license in July 1902. Meffert's attorneys challenged the medical board's decision, by filing a series of stays, restraining orders, and appeals over the next two and a half years. However, in November 1904, the United States Supreme Court upheld the right of the medical board to revoke Meffert's license, officially ending the legal battle. Yet, neither the medical board, the Supreme Court, nor threats of being arrested issued by the Emporia Gazette prevented Meffert's patients from seeking his care. Finally, in 1906, Meffert and the Emporia Committee called a truce. Two months later, Meffert's license was restored by the Kansas medical board. This case study illustrates how one small town dealt with some of the social issues that arose during the Progressive Era. The Meffert case provides insight into how Progressives worked for social change and exposes some of the shortcomings of reformers. The case also debunks the myth of the "small-town." Contrary to the assertions of William Allen White and other Progressives, citizens of small towns, including Emporia, were not united by some idealized set of wholesome virtues. Small towns experienced the same transformation in values that towns of every size experienced during this era. An examination of the Meffert case, therefore, provides an opportunity to gain a broader understanding of the history of Progressive Era America.
Subject:Social sciences; American studies; American history; Law; 0323:American studies; 0398:Law; 0337:American history
Added Entry:G. Schneider
Added Entry:Emporia State University