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Effort to Form Combine of Cooper and Stanford Leads to Bitter Strife

Effort to Form Combine of Cooper and Stanford Leads to Bitter Strife

The effort of Dr. Charles N. Ellinwood to secure the affiliation of Cooper Medical College and the Lane Hospital with Stanford University has led to bitter dissension among the Directors, the withdrawal under pressure of Dr. Ellinwood from the presidency, and the utterance of charges against him by others of the Directors that he kept to his own use certain moneys left by the widow of Dr. Lane, and intended by her for the use of the institution. It was all because Dr. Lane, Founder of Cooper College and Lane Hospital, was dissatisfied with the way these institutions were being conducted and sought to effect an affiliation with Stanford that the trouble has arisen. E. R. Taylor, who was vice-president, is now acting president, and has announced that he will forever be a stumbling block in the way of affiliation.

That arrangements were being made for the coalition of the medical school with the University has for some time past been known to those intimate with college affairs, although denied by both Dr. Ellinwood and by Dr. David Starr Jordan at the time. Now, Dr. Ellinwood makes a statement reflecting upon the ability of the Directors , in return for the charge made against him that he failed to deliver the property valued at over $ 300, 000 left him by Mrs. Lane. He denies that he was willed the property on condition that he turn the same over to the college.

"At a stormy meeting of the Directors," Dr. Ellinwood said today, "I told them that Dr. Lane was dissatisfied with their lack of interest, and that he had said that their conduct had made it manifest that the college would not be perpetuated as an independent medical college. Therefore, Dr. Lane began negotiations for a combination with Stanford, asking for my cooperation. Since that time such arrangements have been under way, leading to dissension among the Directors and causing them to put in my place E. R. Taylor - poet, doctor, lawyer, dean of Hasting's Law College, and vice-president of the Cooper Medical College. Taylor promised the Directors that he would be a stumbling block in the way of such a combination."

Dr. Ellinwood states that he had given $10,000 out of his own pocket for the Lane Lectures which were discontinued because of the lack of interest and the lack of courtesy shown to the famous physicians brought from abroad. He adds that he had intended to give $50,000 more. The college library now contains 25,000 volumes presented by him.

Dr. Levi Cooper Lane, founder of the hospital and patron of the college, left his entire fortune to his widow, who in turn left one-third of her estate to these institutions. The remaining amount was left to Dr. Ellinwood in consideration of lifelong friendship without any conditions of any kind, says the doctor, in spite of the charges of the trustees.

The San Francisco Chronicle of 21 February 1907 carried the Faculty's response to Dr. Ellinwood's allegations: [45]

Say Ellinwood Betrayed Trust

Statement of Cooper Faculty

20 February 1907

Dr. Ellinwood, having stated his excuse for his having dealt with the Lane moneys in the manner in which he has and having declared that there was at present strife and jealousy existing among the men who had removed him from the presidency of Cooper Medical College and from the presidency of the faculty of that college, and having perpetrated the libel upon the memory of Dr. Lane, that he, Dr. Lane, had stated to him that the men connected with the college were beginning to develop characteristics which would divert the institution from the purposes for which he had intended it, and that he himself had some fear of being removed, it becomes our duty to state in as brief a form as possible the facts of the case.

Dr. and Mrs. Lane had long intended that all the property they could leave at their death should go to Cooper Medical College, mainly for the endowment of the Lane Course of Medical Lectures and for the building and maintenance of a memorial medical library. To that end they made wills giving all of their property to the college. After these wills were made they were legally advised that only one-third of their estate could be disposed of by will for the purpose intended and that some other disposition for the benefit of Cooper Medical College must be made if possible.

Finally they deemed it best to make mutual and concurrent wills under which each left all of his property to the other. It being understood between them that the survivor would carry out the wishes of both.

Dr. Lane, having predeceased his wife, all of his property became Mrs. Lane's by virtue of his will, made in the manner before mentioned. Mrs. Lane thereupon made a new will wherein for the purposes of carrying out the wishes of the doctor and herself, and so that if possible the moral obligation of seeing to it that all of her property, not only that which she had in her own right, but that which she had derived from Dr. Lane by his will, should be received by the college, she provided in her will that one-third of her property should go to the college for the purpose of a library and the remaining two-thirds to a cousin of Dr. Lane's which cousin at this time was fully informed of the wishes of both Dr. Lane and his wife.

Subsequently by reason of occurrences not necessary to be stated, Mrs. Lane thought well to make another will wherein she substituted as to the two-thirds of the property, "Dr. C. N. Ellinwood, president of Cooper Medical College," in place of the cousin of Dr. Lane, leaving the one-third as before to Cooper Medical College for the purpose of the library. The will last mentioned was probated as the last will and testament of Mrs. Lane and under it Dr. Ellinwood received in money bout $ 90, 000 and in addition other properties worth at least $ 200, 000. More than a year after the reception by Dr. Ellinwood of these moneys and properties left by Mrs. Lane, Dr. Ellinwood was asked by the board of directors as to what he intended to do about the endowment of the Lane Medical Lecture Course - nearly the dearest thing to Dr. Lane's heart at the time of his death.

Dr. Ellinwood replied that Mrs. Lane intended that the lecture course should be endowed out of the proceeds of the Broadway block and declined at that time to make any endowment, although he had at that time in cash nearly $100,000 received from Mrs. Lane's estate; and quite recently he has declared to the directors that the lecture course was a failure (he alone of everybody connected with the college being of that opinion), and that he did not now at least intend to endow that course.

Out of all these great properties received by Dr. Ellinwood he has paid $6000 for the purchase of 25,000 volumes of medical books.

Calls It Imagination

Dr. Ellinwood made the following statement in reply:

The conclusions arrived at in the signed article on the Cooper College controversy are matters of opinion and imagination. Mrs. Lane's will speaks for itself with more force and exactness than any one can do with their imagination. The courts have settled the question years ago and I am not reviewing the case today. The Lane Medical Lectures I have always advocated and maintained since Dr. Lane's death. The course of 1906 did not command the attention of the profession or the interest of the faculty which it ought to have done, and this is probably accounted for by the catastrophe of last April and the conditions following. Over three thousand invitations were extended to the profession to attend this course and only eighty-four answers were received, and of these thirty-four were acceptances.

No Legal Action Likely

There is no possibility that the trustees of Cooper Medical College will take any legal steps to force Dr. Ellinwood to give up any portion of the legacy he received from Mrs. Lane. Dr. Taylor admits that there is no ground for any legal action if Dr. Ellinwood maintains his present position in the controversy. It is claimed by Dr. Taylor that Cooper Medical College and Lane Hospital are in flourishing financial condition and can get along very nicely without any financial assistance from Dr. Ellinwood or any one else.

In the San Francisco Bulletin of 21 February 1907 Dr. Taylor refutes Ellinwood's claim that there was strife in the Cooper Faculty over an affiliation with Stanford: [46]

Taylor Favors Union with Stanford

Replies to Attack of Deposed President of Cooper College

To prevent affiliation of Stanford University with Cooper Medical College was not the reason Dr. C. N. Ellinwood was removed from the presidency of the latter institution, according to Dr. Taylor, now acting president of Cooper College. In an interview given to The Bulletin this morning Dr. Taylor flatly contradicts the statement made yesterday by Dr. Ellinwood and says that such a combination is possible. Dr. Taylor' statement follows:

I want to say in reply to some statements therein of Dr. Ellinwood, which are personal to myself, and as to what is said by him in regard to the alleged proposed combination of Cooper Medical College with Stanford University:

That Dr. Lane's wishes for such combination were prompted by an dissatisfaction of his with his confreres in the service of Cooper Medical College is untrue. The fact is that Dr. Lane had come to realize that medical education had taken on such a wide range and required the constant personal labors of certain of the professors which could only be met by the payment of salaries, that without a large endowment in addition to the fees of students, or without the combination with some university which could afford to pay the needed salaries, an independent medical college, no matter though the one be of as high a rank as Cooper, might possibly not be able to endure. He naturally, therefore, looked to Stanford, which, with its law and other great departments, needed only a medical department of high rank to become a university in the widest sense. He, however, died before anything was done beyond his having a conversation or two with Dr. Jordan.

That I "promised the trustees that I would be a stumbling block in the way of such a combination" is untrue. So far from my being now, or having ever been, or having announced myself as intending to be a stumbling block in the way of any combination of Cooper College with Stanford University, it is owing to me perhaps almost entirely that such a combination can now be made. When Dr. Lane talked the matter over with me (I having been for many years an intimate friend of his and his legal adviser) it was pointed out to him that it would be entirely feasible to release the corporation's property from the strict conditions he had imposed upon it when he first conveyed it to Cooper Medical College; for with those conditions existing the college would have been compelled to maintain an independent existence, in default of which the property would be lost to it and to medicine. These measures advised by me were adopted by him and by reason thereof all of the college property remains in the corporation free and clear of every condition whatsoever. As my wife was the daughter of Governor Stanford's eldest brother, and as one of my sons is a graduate of Stanford, it is hardly likely that I would stand in the way of anything likely to enure to the benefit of Stanford. The fact is I am not opposed and have never been opposed to a combination with Stanford, provided the combination can be made on terms which are just to Cooper Medical College and to the name and memory of Dr. Lane.

Dr. Ellinwood's dismissal from the presidency of the Board of Directors and of the Faculty had no more to do with any "dissension" arising out of the proposed combination with Stanford than last year's violets. There has been no "dissension" much less "bitter dissension." in regard to the combination, but there has been objection to Dr. Ellinwood's assuming to act therein individually when a committee had been especially appointed for the purpose (of which he was one), the members of the committee having been instructed by the board to do nothing in the way of negotiation, individually, with Stanford, and only as a committee.

The plain truth is that Dr. Ellinwood, having been tried for more than five years as president of Cooper Medical College, has been found wanting in the qualifications necessary to such a position. He had, for a considerable time before his dismissal, lost the confidence of his associates, and it was no longer possible to continue him in office with due regard to the interests of the institution. I have not been put in the place of Dr. Ellinwood, but by virtue of my office of vice-president (which I have held ever since the foundation of the college twenty-six hears ago) I became the acting president on Dr. Ellinwood ceasing to hold the office of president. I have not been elected president of the college, nor do I expect to be, nor do I wish to be. My main work in life lies in the teaching of the law and my paramount duty is to Hasting's College of the Law; but as long as I live I shall do what is possible for me to do to subserve the best interests of Cooper Medical College and to keep bright the name and memory of Dr. Lane. As to Dr. Ellinwood, having received the Lane moneys in consideration of "lifelong friendship," it is tolerably evident that as only one-third could be given to the college under the law, two thirds were given to Dr. Ellinwood by reason of the fact that at the time of the bequest he was president of the college, and it was deemed that a sufficient moral obligation was thereby imposed as would induce Dr. Ellinwood to combine the two-thirds with the one-third in the erection and maintenance of a medical library in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Lane and in the endowment of the Lane Course of Medical Lectures.

Edward R. Taylor

The San Francisco Chronicle of 22 February 1907 carried a lengthy interview with Dr. Ellinwood that was in part an offer to support Cooper Medical College on his own terms, but chiefly a caustic response to Dr. Taylor's disparaging remarks about him on the previous day [47]

Ellinwood Offers to Endow Cooper College

He Denounces Taylor

The Cooper Medical College controversy has resulted in an extraordinary situation, which is not without its humorous features. It has crystallized into a personal issue between Dr. Charles N. Ellinwood and Dr. Edward. R. Taylor, and the bitter personal strife between these men, it is claimed by some friends of the medical college is likely to injure an educational institution of great importance.

Yesterday Dr. Ellinwood, the deposed president of the institution announced that, far from desiring to withhold funds left to him by Mrs. Lane from the College, he was anxious to permanently endow a costly post-graduate course which would make Cooper College the Mecca for medical learning in the West, but that he could not conscientiously make this endowment while the affairs of the institution were conducted by Dr. Taylor as they have been in the past.

Dr. Ellinwood declared flatly that if Dr. Taylor would get down and out he would do more for Cooper College in the way of endowment than the directors of that institution ever expected even in their most sanguine moments.

When Dr. Edward R. Taylor was informed of the declaration of Dr. Ellinwood he laughed scornfully.

"It has taken Dr. Ellinwood a very long time to come to the point, and even yet I have my doubts; but, so far as I am concerned , I wish to have no further dealing with him. I am through with Dr. Ellinwood.

"I cannot say whether the directors would accept an endowment from Dr. Ellinwood upon the terms he mentions or not, but, as far as I am concerned, I would not entertain his proposition."

Dr. Taylor also denies that he tried to prevent the affiliation of Cooper College and Stanford University: but Dr. Ellinwood retaliates with the statement that, while Dr. Taylor has not openly tried to block the negotiations, his position as a member of the board of directors and the faculty of the medical college was of itself sufficient to prevent the successful conclusion of the negotiations.

Ellinwood Accuses Taylor

He says that the trustees of Stanford University would object to have any dealings with Dr. Taylor looking toward affiliation, as he was dismissed from the board of trustees of Stanford several years ago at the command of Mrs. Stanford because he brought suit for his wife, a niece of the late Governor Stanford, and others against her to enforce the payment of certain legacies. Mrs. Stanford, according to Dr. Ellinwood, placed a ban on Dr. Taylor which makes the affiliation of the two institutions impossible while he is interested in one of them.

"Dr. Taylor's imagination has often led him astray," declared Dr. Ellinwood yesterday. "He has made other mistakes which may be attributed to excessive imagination, such as the writing of poetry. I think that he also imagined that he was going to receive a considerable portion of the estate of Mrs. Lane. His actions and expressions have showed that he had such expectations and that he was grievously disappointed when they were not fulfilled. I do not know the precise reason why Mrs. Lane did not leave Dr. Taylor any of her property, neither do I know why she left it to me, but I do know that before her death Dr. Taylor read her a great many of his poems. Whether Dr. Taylor's poetry had any effect upon the making of her will to his exclusion or not, I cannot say"

Says Nature is Low

Dr. Taylor does not deny that he read his poems to Mrs. Lane, but he refuses to meet Dr. Ellinwood in a discussion of this phase of the controversy.

"It is just like Ellinwood's low nature to say such things," declared Dr. Taylor angrily when asked about the matter.

In addition to being the acting president of Cooper Medical College, Dr. Taylor is dean of the Hasting's College of Law, which is affiliated with the University of California, of which Dr. Ellinwood is a regent. Yesterday Dr. Ellinwood declared that he thought the connection between Hastings and the State University should be severed. He said:

"Dr. Taylor is no more popular as dean of the Hasting's College of Law than he is as president of Cooper. He does not command the confidence of either the medical or legal profession, and for this reason, if for no other, he should retire. My reasons for thinking that the Hasting's College and the State University should sever connection is because I think the State University should build up its own law school, which is now getting along very nicely."

Dr. Ellinwood's Retort

Concerning the causes of the present controversy in Cooper Medical College Dr. Ellinwood said:

"For many years every proposal and suggestion that I have made for the betterment of the institution, the improvement of the course of instruction and the management of the financial affairs of the college has been persistently opposed by Dr. Edward R. Taylor. I have always had the interests of the institution at heart. I have felt the same duty and the same affection toward it that my friend, Dr. Lane, did, and knowing his wishes intimately, I planned to carry them all out. But I was always hampered and opposed by Dr. Taylor at every turn. The mere fact that I made a suggestion was sufficient reason for Dr. Taylor to turn it down. I was able to carry out none of my ideas, and naturally, I became disgusted.

"I do not think that anyone realizes better than I do the needs of the institution today. To make Cooper College what Dr. Lane wished it to be there should be a comprehensive postgraduate course, which would enable graduates to specialize in any subject without having to go East to study. I would engage the most eminent anatomist and one of the greatest workers and teachers in tropical medicine as special instructors in this course. Such a course would attract medical men from all over the West. I am ready to endow this course permanently any time but Dr. Taylor and the directors must come to me before I will take another step in the matter.

"This controversy is not over yet. My interest in Cooper College has not been killed by actions which are dictated by mere foolish personal jealously, and I still have hopes that it will come out all right."

There will probably be a meeting of the directors of Cooper Medical College within the next few days to consider a communication from Dr. Ellinwood.

The case against Ellinwood, as viewed by various local and Cooper physicians, was reported in the San Francisco Call for 22 February 1907: [48]

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