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Virgil MacMickle papers

Identifier: Coll 107

Scope and Contents note

The Virgil MacMickle Papers contain correspondence, manuscripts, research. notes, business records, and memorabilia. In addition, there is a subsection of papers of George W. Holcomb, whom MacMickle succeeded in the Holcomb-Dixon Company.

MacMickle's correspondence, arranged chronologically, contains letters to and from publishers regarding MacMickle's books and articles, letters from listeners to his radio program (dated December 17, 1936 to September 11, 1937), and correspondence regarding the legal cases for which he did medical research. It also contains letters regarding Governor Sprague's investigation, correspondence concerning his mining and business ventures, and personal letters from friends, colleagues and former patients.

The manuscripts series, arranged alphabetically by title, includes MacMickle's major work, These Battling Health Cults. His other works cover such topics as government, health & medicine, and religion & philosophy (particularly his Mechanism series).

MacMickle's research notes are divided into three types. The first notes are those taken to help provide expert testimony in legal cases. These are arranged alphabetically by the last name of the client. The second subseries consists of notes taken on a particular ailment, and is arranged alphabetically by name.

The series on business ventures begins with MacMickle's own company, Pacific Silica. This series contains various company documents, arranged chronologically. Financial material follows, completed by manuscripts of MacMickle's reports to stockholders. The next subseries contains documents pertaining, to Western Minerals Exploration Company, arranged chronologically. Following Western Minerals are the Holcomb-Dixon Company materials, consisting of general documents and financial material, both arranged chronologically. Mining reports include the series on business ventures. These are arranged alphabetically by the name of the mine or the property.

The series of George Holcomb Papers contains correspondence, manuscripts, financial material and memorabilia. The correspondence dated 1898-1949, is arranged chronologically and relates mainly to his businesses. Holcomb manuscripts are political in nature and are arranged alphabetically by title. These manuscripts include A Problem in the Science of Government, and also what appears to be a revised version, A Solution of a Problem in the Science of Government. The last folder of this section contains untitled manuscripts and manuscript fragments.

Holcomb's financial material consists of company documents arranged chronologically. These are followed by stocks issued to Holcomb and lastly by a minute book to meetings of the Diatomite Company. (It is evidently the second minute book in a series.)

Photographs in the collection consist of testimonial images related to health (c. 1919), mining (c. 1930s), and miscellanous personal images.


  • 1897-1967


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical/Historical note

Virgil MacMickle

Virgil MacMickle was born in 1887 and graduated from Stanhope High School in Stanhope, New Jersey. He earned a degree from the American School of Naturopathy in New York City in 1913. In January of 1914 he received a degree of Doctor of Psycultopathy (a term roughly synonymous with Naturopathy) from Macfadden College of Psycultopathy in Chicago, Illinois.

In March, 1914, MacMickle started a practice in Portland, Oregon, and joined the Oregon Naturopathic Association two years later. In 1921, during a trip to the East Coast, he studied psychotherapy under Andre Tridon, while looking for a publisher for his book, Eat and Be Healthy. In 1923, Universal Press of Chicago published the work, which was eventually distributed to both Britain and the United States.

In 1927, MacMickle was appointed to the naturopathy examining board by Governor I. L. Patterson, and re-appointed by Governor Julius L. Meier in 1931.

In the mid-l930s, a radio program on Portland station KWJJ featured Dr. MacMickle speaking primarily about medicine and politics. Because of both his assertive attack on the fascist elements in our own government and the sensitivity of the government to such talk, the Federal Communications Commission attempted to take him and his show off the air. MacMickle revealed this to his many faithful listeners and urged them to write to the station. Many immediately replied and expressed their desire to see MacMickle's freedom of speech insured.

On May 12, 1941, Dr. MacMickle testified for the defense in the deportation hearing for labor union leader Harry Bridges. During cross-examination the prosecution made attempts to discredit Dr. MacMickle by the use of sensitive questions about MacMickle's political views. All was denied by MacMickle, but in the process he revealed information that raised some doubt about his academic credentials. As a result, on May 16 of that year, Governor Sprague ordered an investigation into how MacMickle attained his degrees, stressing that the investigation was not an attack on MacMickle's political views. The next day MacMickle requested a hearing. Neither the investigation nor the hearing produced anything to impeach MacMickle's good record or his good standing within the professional community.

Virgil MacMickle spent time in the business world as well, running a company named Pacific Silica and succeeding the deceased George W. Holcomb as Vice President of the Holcomb-Dixon Company. While with Pacific Silica he found himself under investigation once again, this time for allegedly misusing stockholders' funds. He was acquitted of this charge on May 3, 1954.

From 1949 to 1952 MacMickle was professor and Dean of the School of Naturopathy at Western States College in Portland, and throughout his career he spent time in various high positions for the Oregon Naturopathic Association. He spent the latter part of his career doing research for legal cases for which he would provide expert testimony.

Dr. MacMickle lived the remainder of his life in Lake Oswego, Oregon. He died about 1975.

George W. Holcomb

George W. Holcomb was born April 8, 1867 in Windsorlocks, Connecticut. In 1878, he and his family moved to Oregon and settled on a farm at Jennings Lodge.

Holcomb started working for Oregon Packing Company in 1889 and, by 1910, worked his way up to president of the company, which eventually became the largest in the Northwest.

Interested in mining and other business ventures, Holcomb went into real estate operations. His various projects included such companies as Atomite, Century Land Company, and Diatomite, which was seized by the government for unpaid taxes in 1931. He also served as Vice President of the Holcomb-Dixon Company until his death.

Holcomb, a strong believer in states' rights, wrote various manuscripts on politics, including A Solution of a Problem in the Science of Government. A Democrat, he was elected as an Oregon State Representative in 1900.

Holcomb was a member of Portland Lodge Number 55 AF and AM and Al Kader Temple of the Shrine.

He died April 9, 1949, at the age of 82.


5 linear feet (10 containers) : 10 boxes

Language of Materials



Virgil MacMickle was a naturopath who practiced in Portland, Oregon. He also served as professor and Dean of the School of Naturopathy at Western States College in Portland. The collection includes personal and business correspondence relating to Virgil MacMickle's work as a naturopath, his politics, and his business ventures. Also included are the papers and records of George W. Holcomb (1867-1949), an Oregon businessman and politician, with whom MacMickle had a business association.


Virgil MacMickle was a naturopath, author, professor and Dean of the School of Naturopathy at Western States College in Portland, Oregon, 1949-1952, and Oregon businessman. Collection consists of correspondence, 1897-1967, both personal and professional, regarding his writings, his radio show on medicine and politics, medical research for legal testimony, and business ventures; manuscripts about medical topics, politics, religion, and philosophy; research notes; business records; photographs; and a subgroup of papers of George W. Holcomb (1867-1949), Oregon businessman and politician.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: Series I: Correspondence Series II: Manuscripts Series III: Research Materials Subseries A: Cases by Client Subseries B: Cases by Ailment Series IV: Business Ventures Subseries A: Pacific Silica Subseries B: Western Minerals Explorations CompanySubseries C: Holcomb-Dixon Company Subseries D: Mining reports Series V: Memorabilia Series VI: George W. Holcomb Papers Subseries A: CorrespondenceSubseries B: ManuscriptsSubseries C: Financial materialSubseries D: Memorabilia Series VII: Photographs

Separated Materials note

Photographs in this collection are stored separately under call number PH072.

Processing Information note

Collection processed by Mike Walker, Manuscripts Processor

Guide to the Virgil MacMickle papers
Preliminary Description
Finding aid prepared by University of Oregon Libraries, Archivists' Toolkit Project Team
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA