How Soon We Forget. . . .

By Judith Maginnis Kuster

Not long ago I asked a graduate assistant to "pull Templin-Darley" for me. Several hours later she returned saying that she'd checked all the files, including past records, and we had never treated a Templin Darley in either our speech or audiology clinic! Mildred Templin. Frederic Darley. Both important pioneers in our field. Both from Minnesota where I teach. Although I was amused, it also made me sad.

Other names, many of whom have received the highest honors granted by our association are linked firmly together (e.g. Backus and Beasley, Berry and Eisenson, Bryngelson and Glaspey, Darley and Spiesterbach, Kantner and West, Luper and Mulder, Van Riper and Irwin). And some names were on the tip of the tongue in training programs not that long ago (e.g. Ainsworth, Fairbanks, Froeschels, Johnson, Koepp-Baker, Lee, McDonald, McGinnis, Milisen, Moore, Mykelbust, Newby, Palmer, Schuell, Travis, Wepman, West, Westlake). Although these names are still perhaps faint echoes in our programs, many of today's students do not even recognize most of the important fathers and mothers of our field. They appear to have no sense of "where we've been."

I asked twelve graduate students in our department which of the above names they had ever heard of. Van Riper -- 12. Johnson -- nine. Templin -- five. Darley -- three. Schuell -- one. The rest of the names -- none. Checking several introductory texts, I found nothing about the history of speech-language pathology.

Although there may be other universities doing it, the only course I could find devoted to the history of speech-language pathology was an elective at Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

On the facade over an entrance to The National Archives is William Shakespeare's famous "What is past is prologue" (from The Tempest). The door leads to a treasure trove of national history. The Internet has become another treasure trove of history, including an historical perspective of the field of speech-language pathology and audiology.

One outstanding contribution, A Bibliography Of Writings On The History Of Logopedics, Phoniatrics, Communication Disorders, And Allied Subjects by Jeffrey Wollock and Jorge Perelló was originally prepared by Wollock at the request of the History Committee of the International Association of Logopedics and Phoniatrics in 1989. Numerous additional entries and corrections were submitted by Perelló. Starting in 1817, the bibliography consists mainly of items which contribute to the history of of our field.

Getting Here: The First Hundred Years of Speech-Language Therapy in America by Judith Felson Duchan is a "Short History" of the field of speech-language pathology from 1900-2000. This site could be adopted as the "chapter" on the history of our field for an introductory course or for a graduate research class. Duchan highlights the contributions of several pioneers in our discipline and throughout her website including among many others:

Pioneers in the area of fluency disorders are found on Judith Kuster's Stuttering Home Page under Pioneers. Nicolas Johnson, son of stuttering pioneer Wendell Johnson (1906-1965) has dedicated an extensive site in memory of his father.

The work of Lionel Logue, (1880-1953), an Australian SLP who worked with British royalty is highlighted by Caroline Bowen.

Our profession is old enough to have a rich history. The discipline will be stronger as we help future generations understand and appreciate where they come from.


Judith Kuster is in the department of speech, hearing, and rehabilitation services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her by email at All of Kuster’s Internet columns are on the ASHA Web site in HTML format with active links although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.

Kuster, JM, How Soon We Forget. . . . , ASHA Leader, December 24, 2002, p. 10