H 27

Title: The Leslie E. Keeley Institutes of the Maritime Provinces Company (Fredericton, N.B.) fonds. -- 1894-1895. -- 2.5 cm of textual material

Administrative History: Leslie E. Keeley, 1834-1900, served as a surgeon in the Union Army during the Civil War following his medical education at Rush Medical College in Chicago (1864). In 1866, he settled in Dwight, Illinois as a surgeon for the Chicago and Alton Railroad. Keeley's interest in alcoholism led to the opening his first clinic, the Keeley Institute, in Dwight, 1879. He claimed to have discovered a specific remedy for alcohol and drug addictions and began treating patients with his "Double Chloride of Gold Cure," the ingredients of which included gold salts with other compounds.

By 1890, the success of the Institute encouraged Dr. Keeley to establish franchised branches. By 1893, there were 92 Keeley Institutes in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The first Leslie E. Keeley Institute of the Maritime Provinces was incorporated in Fredericton, New Brunswick on October 2, 1894. Some of the Directors of the Fredericton branch included Archibald Fitz Randolph, Fredericton's leading wholesale merchant and founder of the People's Bank of New Brunswick; George Frederick Gregory, Mayor of Fredericton for five years; John James Fraser, New Brunswick's Lieutenant Governor; Charles Nelson Skinner, Q.C., of Saint John, who served as a member of both the provincial and federal legislatures, and as a probate Judge of Saint John; and Willard Kitchen, also a Mayor of Fredericton, who operated the largest furniture emporium in the city.

Funding for the Keeley Institute in Fredericton came from the board of directors, physicians, and other potential backers who believed in Keeley's remedies. The money that was received went towards the purchase of "the sole right to use the Dr. Leslie E. Keeley remedies within the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island" from the Dwight company and from George Parent of Montreal, owner of the Canadian rights, for $14,000. The Board of Directors of the Keeley Institute in Fredericton purchased the Elmcroft property located on the Saint John River, just outside the city, to house their treatment center.

The Board of Directors attempted to take an active role in the Institute's management. However, mismanagement and immorality, withholding payments to the Dwight company and Parent, and the disappearance of the house physician made this impossible. As a result, the Keeley Institute in Fredericton closed its doors in March 1896. The North American Keeley movement outlived the Fredericton collapse by a few years, but other institutes were shut down due to an increase in opposition of the medical profession. By 1900, the majority of the Keeley Institutes were shut down after the death of Leslie E. Keeley. The last institute to close its doors was in Dwight, Illinois in 1966.

Source: Warsh, Cheryl Krasnick. "Adventures in Maritime Quackery: The Leslie E. Keeley Gold Cure Institute of Fredericton, N.B." Acadiensis, Vol. XVII, No. 2, Spring 1988.

Scope and Content: This fonds contains minutes of the Board of Directors and Stockholders, memos regarding upcoming meetings, a listing of stock holders of the Leslie E. Keeley Institute in Fredericton, N.B., and some correspondence, 1894-1895.


Title: Title is based on name of creator.

Access: Unrestricted.

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Last Update: 2001/07/10