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Notes on the Life of Dr. William S. Sadler
Meredith Sprunger
December 1989

1. William S. Sadler was born in Spencer, Indiana, to Samuel C. Sadler and Sarah I. (Wilson) Sadler on June 24, 1875. His father was a graduate of the Chicago Conservatory of Music; he was a teacher and performer.

2. While living in Wabash, Indiana, he spent much time listening to a relative, General McNaught, one-time Chief of scouts to General U. S. Grant, tell stories about the Civil War. Further exposure to history came from General Lew Wallace, a close neighbor, who at the time was writing Ben Hur.

3, Through associates of General McNaught, Sadler received the opportunity to deliver his first formal speech at the age of eight. Addressing a high school commencement in Indianapolis, Indiana, on "The crucial Battles of History."

4. Sadler's parents would not allow him to attend public schools following the death of his sister because they were afraid that he might contract a communicable disease; thus, he received most of his formal education from his parents, tutors, and through his own initiative.

5. At fourteen he left his home in Wabash and moved to Battle Creek, Michigan. He worked as a bell boy in the world renowned Battle Creek Sanitarium headed by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg and attended Battle Creek College. (Organized group to study rhetoric and Latin - his propensity for organizational activities.)

6.. During a visit to Fort Wayne, Indiana he visited a Christian Church and the minister discovered his speaking ability and asked him to supply his pulpit during a two week vacation. He received letters of commendation and the local newspaper called him "the boy preacher." ( On March 7, 1899, he became a licensed minister of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, and in 1901 he became an ordained minister. He rarely revealed this fact to his associates.)

7. William K. Kellogg, Harvey's brother, began manufacturing health foods in 1893. Sadler became a salesman to groceries and was very successful.

8. In 1895, Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, founder of the Chicago Medical Mission, sent Sadler to Chicago to be secretary of the medical mission--which was operated by the International Medical Missionary and Benevolent Society. Here he initiated the magazine, The Life Boat, and edited it for six years; circulation reached 150,000. He worked with "skid row" people. He took training at the Moody Bible Institute and graduated with the highest grades of anyone up to that time.

Young Sadler sought training in speech at the University of Chicago and a lady professor after hearing his first speech said, "Get out of here. I can't teach you anything. You're very bad; your gestures are atrocious. But you are so effective I wouldn't change anything about you. I'll ruin you if I change you." Many years later when he delivered a commencement address at the

University of Chicago she came up afterwards and said, "You're just as bad as ever, but so damn effective. You can just hold an audience spellbound; I'm so glad that we didn't change you."

9. In 1897 Sadler married Lena Kellogg, niece of Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. In 1899 their first son was born but only lived nine months. Sadler agreed to study medicine with Lena.

10. They entered Cooper Medical College in San Francisco in 1901. Operated a home for Christian medical students, tutored in chemistry, and Sadler was asked to teach Exegetical Theology at the Seventh Day Adventist seminary in San Francisco. Kellogg urged them to return to Chicago to finish their medical training. The entered the University of Chicago (Rush Medical College) to finish their training. Sadler paid his expenses by lecturing and in special detective work.

11. Because of his successful and daring detective work he was offered an executive position in the governmental intelligence organization which later became the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

12. In 1906 the graduated from medical school and began their medical practice together. In 1907 their second son, William Samuel, Jr., was born. People sought Sadler's organizational ability. Dr. David Paulson requested his help in the organization of the Hinsdale Sanitarium. A Guggenheim family was interested in establishing a sanitarium and hotel, spending six million dollars, and offered 51% of the stock to the Saddlers if they administered the operation. Sadler refused to sign the contract. Dr. John Harvey Kellogg was interested in the Hull House (founded by Jane Addams) social service center and invited Sadler to work with this project.

13. Dr. Sadler gave up surgery and enter into psychiatry. In 1911 he went to Europe and studied under Freud.

14. Before the age of 40, he stayed up all night during one night of each week and dictated to two secretaries. He had a remarkable memory. From a few notes he could construct the entire patient's medical history. While dictating books he mentioned that words just flowed before his eyes as though on a movie screen. In spite of a heavy work load he was always cheerful & optimistic.

15. He established a private clinic for physicians in Chicago, where at no cost, accredited physicians could receive in a two year course "65 hours of didactic and 65 hours of clinical work." (In 1907 Sadler founded the Chicago Institute of Physiologic Therapeutics which rendered diagnostic and surgical services.)

16. Merle Crowell, editor of the Ladies Home Journal in 1910 asked Sadler to write some articles on health for the magazine. Sadler approached the American Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons for advice. Both organizations agreed that it was time for the American public to be instructed in the essentials of preventive medicine.

17. Sadler wrote 42 books and many magazine articles, many of which were outgrowths of his Chautauqua lectures. He lectured on Americanitis for twenty years before putting in book form.

18. During world War I he participated in an under-cover organization of security. The Secretary of State (Stimson) heard him lecture on anthropology and war and asked him to put it in book form. He dictated Long Heads and Round Heads to his secretary over one weekend.

19. In 1911 Sadler began lecturing on various phases of spiritualism which culminated in a book, The Mind at Mischief, published by Funk and Wagnalls in 1929 and became a best seller. He worked with Howard Thurston, the magician, in exposing frauds and mediums.

20. Sadler instituted a clinic for ministers, priests, and rabbis, "a pastoral psychiatry clinic" to help the clergy understand psychic and psychological problems. He was asked by the president of McCormick Theological Seminary, Dr. John Timothy Stone, to teach a course in pastoral counseling,. This teaching started in 1930 and continued until 1955. One student said, "I felt that while he had a quiet personality, he was an extremely dynamic man. It was like a 16 cylinder idling; we knew that there was a lot there if he ever wanted to apply it and so it gave a vitality and a quality to his lectures and relationships." He had a great sense of humor. He was also a professor at the post graduate medical school of he University of Chicago.

21. He held memberships in: Life Fellow American College of Surgeons, Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow of the American Medical Association, Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Member of American Psycho-Pathological Association, Member of Illinois Psychiatric Association, The Chicago Society for Personality Study, The Chicago Medical Society, The Illinois State Medical Society, Board Member of W K. Kellogg Foundation, The Eugene Field Society, International Mark Twain Society, National Association of Authors and Journalists, Founder Member of Gorgas Memorial Institute in Tropical and Preventive Medicine and member of its governing board. In 1911 Sadler became chairman of the International Lyceu Association Program Committee.

22. Dr. William S. Sadler died on April 26, 1969, just three months before reaching the age of ninety-four. He was active to the end of his life. The evening of his death he gave this final farewell to his loved ones: "The transition from this world to the next is very easy. There is no pain. It is easy to leave the pains of this world for the pleasures of the next, and I am going to enjoy every moment of it. I am very conscious of everything that is going on here tonight. I could go on visiting with you for hours but it would be of no use. The chapter is closed. The last lines have been written; the book is finished. This world is very real, but the next one is much more real." He was an extraordinary man whose purpose was to use his talents and training for the good of his fellow man.

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