Digger Odell Publications ©2009


The Keeley Institute Dwight, Illinois (1880-1920)

 In 1870, the leaders of several inebriate homes and asylums met in New York City to found the American Association for the Study and Cure of Inebriety – the first such professional organization. In 1876 they began publishing the Quarterly Journal of Inebriety.  This increased visibility of the issue and spurred the establishment of private and for profit addiction cure institutes.


Drunkenness is A Disease And I Can Cure It.

 Dr. Leslie E. Keeley (1832-1901) a self-proclaimed Civil War Surgeon came to Dwight, Illinois after the war and continued his study of alcoholics that began among the Union soldiers. In 1879, in a small wooden frame building, the Keeley Institute was founded with the proclamation by Dr. Leslie E. Keeley that “Drunkenness is a disease and I can cure it.”  He was challenged by Joseph Medill, editor of the Chicago Times, who selected six of the worst alcoholics he could find in Chicago.  At the end of their  Keeley treatment Medill was surprised, saying, ‘I scarcely recognized them. They went away sots-and returned gentlemen.” After years of experimentation, Keeley came to the conclusion that he had both a cure for both drunkenness and opium addiction.

The business grew slowly at first as Keeley began advertising his Double Chloride of Gold Remedies in magazines and newspapers around the country. Initially his business was a combination of mail-order and local clientele. In 1886, not satisfied with the treatment, he “shut up his institution that he might devote his entire time to experimenting for better results.” After eighteen months, he reopened at which time he added the hypodermic treatment.


Keeley Cure Rate

Keeley claimed a 95 percent cure rate - a claim that was repeated assailed by his detractors. The Christian Advocate put the number closer to 50% relapsing. In the May 9 1895 issue they reviewed statistics from eminent physicians and others such as hospital superintendents and specialists:  “After an observation extending over a period of eighteen years, we have come to believe that no treatment for drunkness is of much value.” Another says, “Before taking charge of this institution I know of thirteen persons who had been at one time or another under my care, case of the excessive use of intoxicating liquors, who went to one of the numerous Keeley Institutes; all with one exception, of these cases went back to the old habits of inebriety. the one exceptional case does not attribute his present freedom from his old habit to the Keeley Cure, cut is positively of the opinion that he was harmed, temporarily, at least both mentally and physically, by the drugs that were used.” Whatever the success rate, Keeley had a lasting and profound impact on the treatment of alcoholism and drug abuse.


Religious Opposition

 Keeleyism, as it came to be called, proposed that all habitual drunkenness was a disease, and that religion, and other moral considerations, without physical treatment, could not save the addicted. Keeley did not invent the idea that alcoholism is a disease. It was postulated in England as early as 1838 when Dr. Boddington announced, “all habitual drunkenness is a disease.” 


Much of the public and the church viewed of alcoholism ‘habit, sin, or crime’, and they did not speak of drunkards being cured as in the disease sense, but as being reformed. The American Association for the Study and Cure of Inebriates took the disease point of view.


Since Keeley’s view of alcoholism as a disease was at odds with that of the church, he met resistance from religious groups which mounted as converts brought back a message disparaging pledge-signing, moral influence and even religion in general. His early literature, stated “Alcoholism is a disease of Christendom, which he dubbed “an heirloom of Noah.


Criticism of him appeared in religious publications, “The Keeley Institutes, generally speaking, are pervaded by a spirit of indifference, and in some cases of enmity, to the Church and religion, losing no chance to denounce both as valueless touching inebriety; that many of them claim that the Keeley League is what men should join; that it is worth more to them than ten churches would be.


The Keeley response was, “We Keeley men, know that drunkenness is a disease which can only be cured by scientific treatment.” As he became more successful, he was less critical of the churches and them of him. In fact, he enlisted them to refer clients to his Institutes.

The Rapid Rise to Success


Leslie E. Keeley Company had its principal place of business in Dwight, Illinois. Keeley was the owner, inventor and proprietor of what he dubbed, “The Double Chloride of Gold Remedies” for the treatment and cure of opium, liquor, and tobacco habits and neurasthenia.  Keeley’s primary associates were J. B. Oughton, a drug clerk, in charge of compounding and Major Curtis J. Judd, secretary and treasurer. The process of compounding and the formula for the medicines was a tightly guarded secret among them.


With his new treatments and shrewd business acumen his popularity grew. In 1891, it was reported that as many as 600 patients were in the ‘shot line’ at Dwight waiting for their treatment. The hypodermic treatments were said by some to be painful and often induced vomiting. Keeley treated both men and women. Women were treated in a separate ladies home. The men were free to leave the grounds but had rigid rules they had to follow: no drinking, gambling, car riding and they were required to attend lectures and of course be on time for their shots. 


Starting in 1891, The Keeley Company sold the rights to sell and administer their medicines through franchised branches throughout the country.  In 1892 he advertised having sixty (60) branches; by 1893, at the height of their success, they had one hundred eighteen (118) Keeley Institutes – claiming to have at least one in every state of the union. The Keeley Company negotiated a contract with the Surgeon General of the United States for the use of the ‘Keeley Cure’ in the branches of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers across the country. 

Keeley Building Circa 1905

Success begat success, his annual income for 1891 was 1.4 million dollars. One journal writer quipped, “Dr. Keeley is said to be getting very wealthy from his inebriate-cure establishments – struck a bichloride of gold mine, so to speak.” Cash was coming in so fast the principals had trouble deciding where to invest it wisely. They bought farm mortgages and created a real-estate firm to handle the transactions. The firm speculated in farmlands in Illinois and adjoining states.

The Keeley League and its Purpose

By John J. Flinn, chairman ex. com. National Keeley League

 The formation of the first club of cured inebriates ever organized in the world in Dwight Ill, April 1891, was an inspiration. The handful of men who organized the first Keeley Club were gentlemen. That they were taking Keeley treatment is ample evidence of this fact, for there never has been a time when the rules at Dwight have so relaxed as to permit those who were not gentlemen…to take their places in the lines for treatment.  The ‘loafer’ the ‘bum’ the ‘blackguard’ or the ‘city tough’ would find the atmosphere of the Dwight Institute, or any of tis branches, very unpleasant. Not only were they gentlemen, but were men of prominence. The first meeting of the Keeley Club was held in a blacksmith’s shop, hence the horseshoe emblem of the Keeley League.


 In the treatment at Dwight is used what are known as “Dr. Keeley’s Double Chloride Of Gold Remedies”. The founders of the first Keeley Club wanted a name.  They wanted a significant name - a name which would be closely associated and identified with the Keeley treatment.  “The Double Chloride of Gold Club” would not sound well they thought. Why not take a little liberty with the name and use the more euphonious term “Bichloride of Gold Club”.


The national convention of Delegate from graduates of Dwight and branch Keeley Institutes was held at Dwight in Spring of 1892. The total membership at this time was 4000 from Dwight and about 2000 from outside. At this convention was born the “Keeley League”. In seventeen months the Bichloride of Gold Club with a membership of a dozen or so had grown into the Keeley League with a membership of over 10,000. In less than seventeen months the little club at Dwight had become the parent of 150 clubs scattered throughout the United States.


The mission of the Keeley League ‘is to further the cause of temperance among all people by curing the drunkard of the disease of intemperance and preventing the young of the country, by education and example, from contracting it.; to extend the knowledge of the Keeley remedies; to establish state and auxiliary leagues, and by medical, moral and Christian methods, with the help of Almighty God, to discourage and annihilate the use of liquor as a beverage in any way that may seem opportune or the occasion may demand.’



 By 1891, the Keeley Company needing more space, contracted to build a hotel, office and laboratory buildings. Construction specs called for limestone foundations, and brick and terra cotta walls at a cost of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Unfortunately, these buildings were entirely destroyed by fire on February 4, 1902 for a loss of about $300,000. They re-erected the office, laboratory building, clubhouse and the Livingston Hotel with a power station for heating and lighting. At the urging of the contractors, it was decided to go with fireproof construction at a cost of $142,978.00. The project was completed in January of 1904.

The Livingston Hotel

The Leslie E. Keeley Company owned and operated the Livingston Hotel, located in the center of Dwight. Serving as a headquarters for tourists, it was a three story colonial with large airy rooms, many with baths connected. Rooms could be had from $2.50 to $5.00 per day.  It boasted exclusive parlors for women and a spacious dining room. With its wide halls, a large veranda, which graced the front of the building, and the best furnishings, it provided first class service and accommodations to Keeley clients.

Hotel Front

A Crescendo of Criticism

 Unfortunate combinations of events lead to the decline of the Keeley business. First, the composition of the ‘Gold Remedies’ was exposed by the efforts of doctors and chemists. There was no “Double Chloride of Gold” found in them and most authorities thought them to be quack medicines because the formula was kept ‘secret’. Furthermore, the ‘cure rate’ was repeatedly shown to be much lower than the number The Keeley Company touted.


Second, scrutiny by the Food and Drug Administration, undermined the public’s confidence in their efficacy. In 1905, it was revealed that most of the Keeley medicines contained high dosages of morphine, cocaine, alcohol and cannabis.


Perhaps because he never sold his medicines outside of his Institutions or because of the ‘good’ he was doing, Keeley managed to avoid much of the negative press given to other “patent medicine” men of his time.  Even Samuel Hopkins Adams who in 1906 wrote a series of articles for Colliers Magazine exposing the dangers of ‘patent medicines’ and their fraudulent advertising, which were later republished as The Great American Fraud, seemed to give Keeley a pass.


Of "institutions" for the regeneration of drunkards there are many. Some of them are entirely reputable, but these do not make blanket promises of cure. The famous "Keeley Cure," which formerly made the most extravagant claims, is now conducted on a much sounder basis, and actually produces results in a certain percentage of cases, though its former claim of more than eighty per cent. cured and less than twenty per cent. lost would be much nearer the truth if reversed. As the Keeley Institutes do not now, so far as I can judge, promise to cure all forms of drunkenness nor attempt to take pay for cases which they know to be incurable, I do not include them in the swindling category.


Third, in September 1898, the Treasury Department ruled that the Double Chloride of Gold Remedies were taxable as medicinal proprietary preparations and required a tax stamp be affixed to each bottle as it left the factory. Keeley fought the decision arguing that the medicines furnished to the institute at Dwight, Ill., were owned by the proprietor, and were not to be taxed on the grounds that they were never sold but were used in the treatment of patients at his private sanitarium.


The government said that that the remedies were used for patients under treatment had no bearing on their taxability, unless it could be shown they were compounded for a specific person.


Keeley’s counsel argued that the remedies used at the Institute should be exempt on the same grounds that medicines used in hospitals are exempt.


The government ruled that remedies used in hospitals are not exempt but that medicines, compounded upon the written prescription of the visiting or resident physician were.  And that the Keeley Institute used stock proprietary remedies, the same remedies for each class of cases.


One of the remedies, which is administered by hypodermic injection, is placed in a common tray.  The patients, marching in a line, are given, by injecting beneath the skin of the arm, a syringeful of the medicine from the common tray. A proprietor of any patent medicine could as properly claim exemption for his product as does the counsel for Keeley’s Remedies, and whether intended for sale directly to the patients, for the use of other similar institutes in treating their patients, or for the Keeley Institute at Dwight; and the stamp tax must be computed upon the retail price of a single bottle.


The Medical World, 1898

Where are all the Keeley cures? Only yesterday they were located in every city and even in every thriving town; today you have to make diligent inquiry where one can be found…. The Quarterly Journal of Inebriety says that during the year 1896, twenty-two so-called Keeley gold cures suspended and dissolved; twenty-seven gold cure homes, where specific treatment for alcohol and opium were given, have gone out of business; five new companies have been formed to sell rights to use secret inebriate cures; three ex-superintendents of cure establishments have committed suicide.


The following letter sent to the Dwight Keeley Institute caused a furor in the United States Senate when read during the discussion of an amendment for banning of liquor. The letter outraged the public and added fuel to the prohibitionists’ fires.


                                                KENTUCKY DISTILLERS’ DISTRIBUTING CO.

                                                                Kansas City, Mo. December 3, 1913

Keeley Institute,

                Dwight, Ill.


The Keeley Institute is an institution for reclaiming drunkards.  Our customers are your prospective patients.

We can put you on your desk a mailing list of over 50,000 individual consumers of liquor.  the list is the result of thousands of dollars of advertising.  Each individual on the list is a regular user of liquor.

The list of names is new, live and active.  We know because we have circularized ti regularly.  We will furnish this list in quantities at the prices listed below.  Remittance to accompany each order.

                40,000 to 50,000-------------------------------$400



We will not furnish this list in lots of less than 10,000.  Discontinuance of business January 1 is the occasion of our selling our mailing list.

Yours truly,

                                                                                                                KENTUCKY DISTILLERS’ CO.

                                                                                                                W. FRANKLIN, President


As prohibition approached, the Keeley Empire began to crumble.  “The Keeley Institute at White Plains is apparently, the only one of the ‘cure’ places that has run aground of hard times.  When the writer of this article called there the place was practically abandoned.  Just one person could be found on the premises, and he said he was not the superintendent, but ‘the man in charge’ and admitted that ‘prohibition or something else has put business on the blink.’


Keeley’s business never regained the success attained in the early 1890s. Near the end, the company advertised, in an attempt to capitalize on their past success, that 400,000 clients had been treated.  In 1920, the government under the direction of the U. S. Public Health Service, leased the two Keeley Institute buildings and the Livingston Hotel for $30,000 per year. The structures were converted into a public service hospital housing about 200 patients. It operated in the late 1940s as the Dwight Veterans Hospital. Alcohol Anonymous meeting were held at the facility until it closed in 1966.


Leslie E. Keeley v. Hargreaves

The Northeast Reporter 1908

At age 68, Keeley died suddenly at his winter home in Los Angeles February 21, 1900 setting off a legal battle between the company and Fred B. Hargraves, one of the early partners. The other original partners, Curtis J. Judd, John R. Oughton, and James Halpin had signed agreements that each member of the firm should jealously guard all information pertaining to the compounding of the remedies. Furthermore, should any of them leave the company; they would still be bound to secrecy.


In March of 1886, Hargreaves relation with the partnership was severed for a “valuable consideration.”  He retained several notes and a mortgage which he subsequently sold to the Keeley Company in September of 1887. Likewise, Halpin sold his interest in the company to the remaining partners in March of 1886. The company incorporated with Keeley, Judd and Oughton as partners with Keeley in command of every aspect of the business.


The new corporation grew profitably and rapidly as they opened branch offices around the country and the rest of the world. The immense profits must have set unfavorable with Hargreaves because, after Keeley’s death, Hargreaves, who knew the secret of the remedies, conspired to “wrongfully” use this knowledge to form his own corporation to sell and administer such remedies. The Keeley Company sought an injunction to restrain Fredrick Hargreaves from disclosing to his new partners or any other party any knowledge that was acquired from Keeley or from his former partnership.


Hargeaves countered that it was both he and Keeley that made the discovery of the remedies, prepared and compounded them for sale on the market. They mutually agreed to call the venture the Leslie E. Keeley Company but that he never transferred or parted with his interest in the formula and claimed Keeley unjustly forced him to retire.

Hargreaves further alleged, that the Keeley Company in the conduct of its business, practiced fraud upon the public by representing the remedies to contain gold, when, in fact, they did not; by falsely representing its remedies to have been put up under the personal supervision of Dr. Keeley, long after his death, and using the name of Dr. Keeley on the labels put on the bottles with stating he was dead.


The evidence showed Dr. Keeley made the discovery alone. He had come to Dwight in 1866 and began to practice medicine. The record disclosed nothing of his life before that time, except that he was a native of Ireland, was a graduate of Rush Medical College in 1864, and according to his own statement, was a surgeon in the Union Army during the Civil War. Evidence was presented that Keeley had “experimented” with his remedy prior to 1880 and that he had had a long standing interest in a medical cure for drunkenness.


Hargreaves, a London England native, settled in Gardner, a few miles from Dwight in 1872.  He was a practicing pastor of the Presbyterian Church who then went to Dwight to the First Presbyterian Church and then shortly pastor of the Presbyterian Church at the Pound Schoolhouse six miles south of Dwight. He soon left this church on account of his drinking and switched to practicing law in the justices’ court at Dwight, despite having no training or having been admitted to the bar. In 1887, he went on the lecture circuit and later was vice president of the Illinois State Temperance League until 1880 when his association with Keeley began. Both men were acquainted with a whiskey cure of one Dr. Dodd. Keeley told Hargeeaves he had tried it himself and had good results.

Together they took tried the remedy on a local saloonkeeper and decided to market it as a patent medicine, but Keeley, concerned about his professional reputation was unwilling to do so. While discussing it, they treated one Mr. Campbell, who was briefly taken into the business. Together, they traveled to Bloomington to get the business going.  There, Hargreaves wrote circulars, letters and newspaper articles.


Upon returning to Dwight, they bought out Campbell’s interest. In April, 1880 Hargreave wrote and published, “A review of Dr. L. Keeley’s Recent Discovery of the Chloride of Gold Cure for Drunkennes,” which he signed as vice-president of the Illinois State Temperance League. In the review, he described fifteen years of research and experimentation by Keeley which resulted in the discovery of the remedy. It was alleged by others members of the company that Hargreaves was no chemist or physician but a man of literary skill, who had no knowledge of and nothing to do with the manufacture of the medicines, but was simply writing advertising material under the direction of Dr. Keeley.


Hargreaves denied this and asserted that Keeley’s army experience was mythical and that in the case of the opium cure, it was he who did the investigating and preparation of the medicine. He claimed to have known all the formulas of all of the remedies from the times of their origins. He stated that Oughton, who was now president of the Keeley Company, was engaged selling compounding and selling the Keeley remedies, so why shouldn’t he? In the end, Hargreaves, was barred by the court from conducting business and the suit was settled.


After Keeley’s death, J. H. Oughton took over as head of the Keeley enterprise. His son, Dr. James H. Oughton, followed in his footsteps, until he died in 1935, after being shot by one of four robbers who invaded the business office of the hospital.


Changes 1926-1947

 After the downsizing in 1920, the company must have moved to smaller quarters. They no longer advertised a cure for alcohol, opium or nervous exhaustion. The refocus was on a mail order business helping people overcome nicotine addiction. The company had come full circle.

 The Keeley Home treatment for the Tobacco habit. A sane, scientific treatment, based upon the famous Dr. Keekely’s private prescription and used successfully for more than forty years.  Money back guarantee. Contains no habit forming drugs.


Dr. Keeley’s will be remembered not only for the “Gold Cure Remedies”, which to be sure were a fraud put upon the public, but also as a man who changed the perception and treatment of alcoholism. In several ways Keeley was a visionary. His “shot treatment” was an early form of ‘aversion therapy’ and the introduction of his “Gold Club” as a means to keep the rehabilitated sober, was a model social support system widely in use today.


Keeley Institute Branches

 Beginning in 1891, Keeley franchised Keeley Institutes around the country, and eventually in Canada, England, Australia, and Mexico to use and administer Keeley medicines. It was said, and probably true, that there was at least one Keeley Institute in every state of the Union. The number of branches cited in 1893 was one hundred eighteen (118). By 1905, estimates put the number at forty-two (42) in the United States.


Branch Institutes were widely spread and varied greatly in their size and success. Opening a franchise was expensive and the management of them was fraught with difficulty. They were very profitable for Keeley, providing him with a generous revenue stream for every branch opened. He drew up elaborate contracts with investors dictating the terms of their rights to sell and administer his medicines. He sought quality operators, preferably doctors, and strove to maintain at the branch institutes, the exact type of service and experience patients received at Dwight. The full story of Keeley includes much of what happened outside of Dwight.


Keeley Institute Memphis, Tennessee

William Faulkner’s father, Murray and other Faulkner family members, made taking “the cure” at the Memphis Institute, a family tradition. The ‘cure’ was viewed as no more than a short vacation. William and his brother would wait in facilities furnished by the Institute while their father dried out.


The Journal of the Michigan State Medical Society, Volume 6, November 1907

The Keeley "Cure."—Although we do not hear as much these days of the "gold cure" as formerly, a recent exposure of this colossal fake is not without interest. A pamphlet has been sent us, by whom it does not appear, giving in full the opinion of Judge Cochran of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of the Memphis Keeley Institute, appellants, vs. The Leslie E. Keeley Company, appellee.


From this opinion it appears that the Memphis concern had been enjoined by the original Keeley Company from claiming that it had a right to use the Keeley remedies, and the contract between the two had been cancelled. This decision had been appealed by the Memphis Institute on the ground that the Keeley Company has built up and maintained its business by fraudulent representations; did not, in fact, come into court "with clean hands," and therefore is not entitled to the protection which had been granted it by the lower court. The higher court maintained that there was abundant evidence to prove that the Keeley business obtained its start and has reached its eminence by gross misrepresentations and that a company thus preying upon the public should not be protected in its frauds by the court. For these reasons, the appeal was decided in favor of the Memphis Institute.


The evidence showed conclusively that these remedies for the liquor, opium and tobacco habits are advertised as the "Double Chloride of Gold Cure," and that the company also has a remedy for neurasthenia known as "Gold Neuro-tine." To make the claim that these medicines contain gold more impressive, the labels are in gold and contain the words : "Gold cure for opium habit, gold cure for drunkenness, gold cure for tobacco habit"—all in gold. It is also stated on the labels: "Gold is especially beneficial in its action on the mental forces. It gives the patient courage, hope and renewed will power; and is the only medical agent that will effectually and forever relieve all craving or necessity for alcohol in any form. The remedy can in no way act injuriously on the patient." Quotations are also made from the literature sent out by the company, showing that the statement that the remedies contain gold is again and again made.


The evidence showed, as every physician knows, that there is no such salt as the "double chloride of gold," and furthermore that there is no gold in any form whatsoever in any of the so-called remedies.


Interesting light was thrown on the formation of the original Keeley Company by a witness, one F. B. Hargraves. Before connecting himself with Leslie E. Keeley, Hargraves had been a preacher in the Wesleyan Methodist Church in England and then a lawyer. This is another instance of the statement which Dr. McCormack made in his address last fall, to the effect that many of the quack doctors have previously been quack preachers. From the evidence of this man Hargraves, it appears that in 1880, both he and Keeley were residing in Dwight, Ill. Independently they saw some newspaper reference to a cure for drunkenness and decided to try it on one Pat Conway, saloonkeeper of that place. Pat took the stuff and in about a week lost his desire for whiskey. However, he made strenuous efforts to drink again and "one Sunday got a drink to stick and became gloriously drunk," after which he would take the medicine no more. This test was sufficient for Hargraves, who formed a partnership with Keeley. This was the origin of the gold cure, the company being known as that of "Leslie E. Keeley, M. D." The cure was then tried with good effect on Major Campbell, appropriately of Kentucky, and he came into the firm. In 1881, a company with the same name was formed between Keeley, Hargraves, J. R. Oughton, a drug clerk, Major C. J. Judd and Fr. James Halpin, a catholic priest, of Dwight. Keeley did not appear personally and would say, "I am the big spider in the back office; always throw a little mystery around me; keep me in the background."


Hargraves further testified that he knew the formula and that the remedies contained no gold. Gold had been used but once. The third patient treated, a sewing machine agent, was given chloride of gold and sodium in pill form. It nearly killed the man and was never afterwards employed. Some other remedy was hit upon, but they never gave up the name, "gold cure." Keeley claimed that it sounded well and justified its use by saying that there is "gold in everything, gold in sea water, in mud— in everything. There is a trace of gold in it and that is enough." In the safe at the laboratory they kept a few drams of gold chloride and sodium chloride and these were shown to visitors as samples of the ingredients of the sterling remedies. Hargraves went on to relate that on one occasion gold was put into a certain number of bottles, the latter being arranged so that they would be selected by the agent of a Chicago chemist, who had been engaged to make an analysis. This gold was, of course, found and the certificate of the chemist was widely used in advertising.


The testimony used to controvert that of Hargraves seemed unconvincing to Judge Cochran, justly so as appears from his review of it.


The Keeley Company held further that even if the remedies did not contain gold, this is no reason why they should not be protected. In denying their right to protection, the Judge quotes the well-known case of the Fig Syrup Company against Stearns restraining them from using the name "Fig Syrup." The injunction was not granted, because it was shown that the original company fraudulently represented to the public that the chief ingredient was the syrup of figs, although there was but a trace of the latter, the main ingredient being senna. Judge Taft in denying the injunction said:


"This is a fraud upon the public. It is true, it may be a harmless ‘humbug’ to palm off upon the public as syrup of figs what is syrup of senna, but it is nevertheless of such a character that a court of equity will not encourage it by extending any relief to the person who seeks to protect a business which has grown out of and is dependent upon such deceit."


In no branch of business will this principle of refusal to protect a fraudulent article be more often applicable than in the manufacture of patent medicines. There has been at least one other decision along the same line and it is to be hoped that more will follow.

Keeley Institute Blair Nebraska (1891-1909)

From the Omaha Clinic December 1891

Dr. Milroy:

In May last, Mrs. H. heard of the Keeley institution In Dwight and inasmuch as neurasthenia was there treated successfully, she became convinced that she could find relief from her trouble.  At about the same time the branch of this establishment at Blair, Nebraska was opened and accompanied by her husband she visited it. She was told she must return home and have an operation performed first. She had brought with her from Blair, a ‘pair’ of the bottles of neurasthenia medicine, with instructions to take this while undergoing the treatment mentioned, preparatory to her return for the neurasthenia treatment proper. The patient returned to Blair for the long expected treatment.  this consisted of hypodermic injections four times daily, and medicine to be taken every two hours….She stated that with the beginning of the hypodermic injections she had become stupefied and had remained so until after her return to Omaha….


Dr. Thomas: …

Dr. Keeley’s method of using a secret remedy is of course quackery, but he cures where we fail, and if it is chloride of gold let us use chloride of gold.  If we do not know anything about, I for one will not condemn it….


Dr. Pinney:

As to the chloride of gold, I believe that is a misnomer and a delusion.  We all know that the various preparations of gold are poisonous, particularly chloride of of gold and Ter chloride…. I do not believe that the preparations of gold are used at all in any instance.  I am satisfied it is strychnia and atropine which are used in the Keeley treatment.


Dr. Porterfield:

About two years ago, I took two gentlemen having had delirium tremens, down (to Dwight) myself and presented them to Dr. Keeley. The doctor is a very commanding looking individual and impresses one with the idea that if they do not eobey every rule…they will be put on the next train for home.

He informed these two patients of mine that he had thirty barrels of whiskey in the cellar, and they had the privilege of drinking all of it during the treatment, but he would guarantee they would not want any. In addition to the hypodermic treatment, every two hours he administered a tablespoon of a mixture which looked and tasted like ordinary compound tincture of cinchona. Everything is done with military precision, and they have to take off their hats to the doctor. He has the whole town under his control, and it is utterly impossible for any one to get any whiskey there.  He practically owns the town, and all the drugstores (there are no saloons), and the manager of his hospital is the mayor of the town and three others connected with the hospital are members of the city council.


Dr. Brownrigg:

One of the first things the patient must do on going to the Keeley Institute (Dwight) is to deposit enough money to pay for three week’s treatment, to pay for his board outside and all his expenses….The second requirement is that he must take his medicine regularly every two hours and appear at certain hours for hypodermic treatment.  He must be absolutely punctual….

I was so fortunate as to room side by side with Dr. Houston, of Dwight, Ill., a year ago last summer, and I inquired of him in regard to Dr. Keeley.  he said that he settle ther to practice medicine …. He said that Keeley ruled with a rod of iron; that every bit of money a man had was deposited with him when he first came, and if they got out of town they would have to walk out.  he said the men would often come to him and beg for a little money to get some morphine or whiskey to brace them up.


Dr. Schooler:

I understand from the Chair that the allotted time for the discussion has passed, but I will say that we have a branch of the Keeley Institute at Des Moines, in charge of a regular physician, managed and manipulated however, by a real estate and loan agent.

Dr. Milroy: …So far as the Keeley treatment is concerned, that has been fully discussed, and I am of the same opinion as that expressed by everyone, I believe, who has spoken on the subject, that it is a hoax.

Keeley Institute Salt Lake City Utah (1891-1917)

Located at 164 E. and 1 S. St. was established in 1891- owner was Leslie E. Keeley Co., Director was W. M. Brown. (1901)


Feb. 16, 1891: Dr. Arthur I. Groves, who has charge of the Keeley Institute here, gave a lecture at the Phillips’ Congregational Church on the subject of the Keeley cure and showing the results of the treatment of patients. Grove sought to distinguish the Keeley Remedies from the quackery advertised everywhere.  He claimed to have worked at Dwight, in charge of the institute before coming to Salt Lake City.  He also claimed to personally know Dr. Keeley, the war veteran, army surgeon and now surgeon to the Chicago and Alton Railway and that Dr. Keeley’s cure was not a sudden discovery but came gradually from the long years of patient study and scientific research. “he has all the regular physician’s prejudice with reference to anything which in the nomenclature of the profession, is called, ‘quackery’. About eleven years ago, his practice became so large and his correspondence so heavy that he was forced to got into print.  Now the pressure has become so great, he has found it necessary to establish branch institutes in several states and place physicians in charge, who like himself, have received thorough instruction in his office at Dwight.


The details of the Keeley cure are unique in their simplicity.  The patient is furnished with a quantity of internal remedy which he takes every tow hours during the time he is awake.  Four times a day he receives a hypodermic injection which is given at regular hours.  He is not debarred from stimulants of any kind, with the sole exception that cigarettes are positively prohibited. He is required to take frequent baths and to retire early.


The rules of diet are simply to eat anything which does not disagree with him.  He can drink whatever whiskey or beer he has been accustomed to until the treatment induces him to drop it voluntarily. He can use tobacco in any shape except cigarettes. He is subject to no retrains whatever, but as the medicine and hypodermic injections are both graduated to fit particular cases he must be watched carefully by the attendant physician. The treatment produces no unpleasant sensation.  On the contrary, the patient’s appetite invariably increases after the first few days and his general health is better in every way. Up to this date, at Dwight and other institutions less than five percent have returned to their former ways…


There are certain persons who in desperate efforts to compel Dr. Keeley to make known his secret, and to accomplish this purpose, are asserting his medicines are injurious to health and are producing fatal effects…. Dr. Keeley’s reason for not making known to the public his secret is that he feels he is doing more good for the cause of humanity by not doing so, as it would no doubt fall into the hands of some men who would abuse it and thereby cause you all to doubt its real worth.


I find that here in Salt Lake where the facts are not so generally well known as in the East the difficulty is to induce the first patient to come for treatment. the Salt lake Institute is not an asylum nor a hospital, and there is no confinement passed between stone walls and iron doors.  I myself am a regular practicing physician, doing an office practice, and all alike, rich and poor receive the same kind of treatment and attentions.  My patients go to their own home, use the remedies there, and report to me four times daily at my general office for the auxiliary treatment, which is given hypodermically. I do not shut my patients off from the use of whiskey.  After two or three days they hand back their bottles, saying they have no further use for them, and then they begin to realize they are getting back among men again.


While our treatment is for the liquor and opium habits, we also treat the trouble known as neurasthenia or nerve exhaustion, a complaint prevalent among ladies who have never used alcoholic stimulants.  The strain wrought upon their delicate nervous system by overwork and family troubles reduces them practically to the same condition brought about by the excessive use of stimulants.


I would say in conclusion, that if you have a friend who is within the power of that worst of all curses, alcoholism, you can make him understand that help is within reach and that the doubts and morbid fears which hold him back are without foundation…After treatment he will enjoy health, energy and courage…This is a practicable temperance work and its results are tangible, sure and permanent, carrying joy and comfort into homes where all was once gloom.


Boston Medical and Surgical Journal Jan 6, 1893

In a letter to the Medical News, Dr. J.J. Brownson, who lives in the vicinity of Dwight, Ill., comes to the conclusion that the following is a mixture given on entering the Keeley Institute:

The members report four times a day and receive a hypodermic injection of strychnine nitrate, gr. 1/60. They are told that they can have all the liquor they want.  ‘If you feel like taking a drink,’ says the doctor, ‘just ask for it.’ Now, here is the secret: if the patient asks for a drink of whiskey he get its; but instead of the injection of strychnine nitrate, he receives one of apomorphine gr. 1/10.  Of course, the whiskey makes him sick; he is unable to retain his once favorite beverage, and he promptly informs his fellow undergraduates, and writes his friends glowing accounts of the great change and new life that have come over him since taking this wonderful cure, which he feels sure could only have been brought about, as Mr. Keeley himself said in a lecture recently, by divine appointment.


Keeley Institute London, England

1894- There has been so much doubt cast upon the assertions that this nostrum contains gold that the following analyses are of interest – “Report as to the Existence of Gold in two samples of the Keeley Remedy for Drunkenness, No. 1 and No. 2.

From James Edmunds, Medical Officer of Health – Having been called upon, as one of the public analysts for London, to examine two bottles of medical tinctures known as the ‘Keeley Remedies for Drunkenness No.1 and No.2’ in order to determine whether these medicines contained gold, I went on march 13th 1894, to the Keeley Institute, No. 6 Grenville place, London, so as to select my owns samples for the analysis.

On the store-room being unlocked, I saw some hundreds of wooden cases all precisely similar, and I selected, from different parts of the stock, two cases, On March 17th I called again and selected two other cases…I satisfied myself that the four cases which I obtained were original packages from Dwight…


Upon opening the other packages I found each to consist of an outside wooden case containing a pair of semi-circular eight ounce Keeley bottles.  Each bottle had its Keeley seal and signature label over the cork intact and perfect.  The bottles were distinguished as No. 1 and No. 2 respectively.


Upon opening the bottles, I found that each contained an aromatic bitter tincture. On examining the tinctures they were not identical in all respects, but each was charged with 25 percent of alcohol-about half the alcohol which the weaker tinctures of the British Pharmacopoeia contain. I found that each tincture contained gold….” Food and Sanitation May 19, 1894


Keeley Institute Akron, Ohio (1894)

When Rogues Fall Out

According to the Summit County Beacon, of Akron, Ohio, we learn that the Cuyahoga Falls (Ohio) Keeley Institute has sued the Marysville (Ohio) Keeley Institute for $100,000.  The plaintiff states that he has paid to the defendant $30,000 in cash and $49,000 in stock, besides agreeing to pay a bonus of $20 for each patient under treatment, upon the representation that the defendant had paid the original Keeley Company $100,000 for the privilege of the exclusive use of the treatment in the State.  It had further been claimed that with 600 patients a year a dividend of 34.16 percent could be declared, and with 1000 patients a dividend of 74.16 percent, and also that the number of ‘lapses’ would not exceed 5 percent, whereas they exceeded 25 percent, and among the first hundred 40 percent.  Finally, it had been claimed that the morphin-cure was absolute, whereas it proved entirely worthless. Surely the bottom of Keeleyism has fallen out.


Keeley Institute Lexington, Mass. (1892-1917)

J. H. Kane superintendent - The most extensive “Gold Cure Institute” in this state is the Keeley Institute at Lexington, established in April 1892. There are at present about twenty-five patients here, and since the opening last spring about one hundred and fifty have been graduated.  They are admitted for not less than four weeks.  The charge is $25 per week for treatment, $6 per week for board at the hotel, and from $3 to $6 per week for room, according to location.  At a reunion recently out of about one hundred and fifty there were no failures to report…


One of Boston’s most prominent physicians, who was asked to take the superintendency of a Keeley Institute in the State and who tentatively held the position of consulting physician for another institution already established, informs me that he has no faith in these specifics.  He has used several of them in his practice and has obtained only minimum results.


An organization called the Boston Bichloride of Gold Company has leased the old Baker estate in Dorchester and will turn the historic mansion, which was at one time the colonial residence of Governor Oliver, into a home for inebriates.  There will be accommodations for about thirty patients.  The president of the company is Rev. A. A. Miner, D.D. and the treasurer Samuel B. Shapleigh. The Congregationalist 1892


 (1893) Apparently the gullible press and the philanthropic spasms of Keeley himself were not sufficient to sustain the fad for the half of a half decade: At 42 South Curtis Street (Boston), this Tuesday morning, 10 o’clock, auction sales contents of Keeley Institute. Iron bedsteads, hair mattresses, good bedding, sheets, blankets, slips, etc.  Fold beds, office furniture, range, plated ware, crockery, etc., etc. Sale peremptory, Elison Flersceim & Co., Auctioneers.

 Keeley Institute, White Plains, New York

(1892) - John J. Brown, superintendent

There are signs that public faith and interest in the Keeley Cure For Drunkenness has reached it height, and is now beginning to decline…The medical profession may be said to be opposed to the treatment, not only because the remedies employed are kept secret, but… because of the limitation of any so-called specific treatment for the habit….The number of relapses is large…and can no longer be kept secret. The following resolution introduced by the New York Senate states: Whereas, Charges have been made from time to time by various newspapers of the state that death has been caused by treatment at the Keeley Institute, at White Plains, in this State, and that the use of bichloride of gold, said to contain strychnine, has in many cases resulted in the mental derangement and death of many of the patients….Resolved, that the Senate be empowered to investigate any cause of complaint against any institution in the State.


Keeley Institute Chicago, Illinois

(1892) - A Keeley Institute for the cure of drunkenness and the morphine disease is in successful operation at No. 42 South Curtis St., Chicago, having been opened for patients March 15, 1892. This institute is under the direct supervision of Dr. Keeley, and is the only Institute in Chicago having his approval or recognition. And that this institute was opened and is operated for the benefit of those unable to attend the Dwight Institution, and in which patients are treated at absolute cost. We invite your earnest consideration of this matter in behalf of your fallen and unfortunate friends.

Montreal Medical Journal 1893


The sheriff has closed the Keeley Institute at Chicago.  The director charges the failure to the inability of the institute to exert the same control over the Chicago saloons that Keeley does over those of Dwight.


 Keeley Institute Memphis, Tennessee

On Feb. 15, 1892, C. B. James contracted with Keeley to form the Keeley Institute, a Tennessee corporation of which he was to be president.  Leslie was to furnish its remedies for sale and administration at the Institute in Memphis, at certain prices. James was to sell them only at the Institute, and for home treatment, charge patients not less than $25 per week, and make monthly reports. He was to follow the rules set forth in the “The Keeley Institute Hand Book” (issued in March 1896) and treat patients like they were treated in Dwight. Keeley stopped providing the remedies because James did not file reports or use Keeley medicines exclusively. James told the public he had sole and exclusive right to sell and administer such remedies.


In a landmark case, defendants E. C. James, C. C. James wife and son of C. B James claimed certain privileges. C.C. James and C.B. James had in their possession certain bottles of Keeley remedies obtained by them previous to September 1901, which they showed to patients as evidence of their ability to sell and administer them. These, it was alleged, they used as a means to induce new patients to enter into contracts with them and the Memphis Keeley Institute but had no intention of administering the remedies to them. The James’ denied these charges and said they had not treated patients with Keeley Remedies after Oct 31 1901….Memphis Keeley Inst et al v. Leslie E. Keeley Co Circuit Court of Appeals Apr 5, 1906 Western District of Tennessee.


Troubles at the Keeley Institute Grand Rapids, Michigan

 (1891-1917) 265 S. College Ave.- Chas. M. Beckwith, Emma Beckwith, wife and brother Guy Beckwith procured from the Keely Institute of Dwight, Ill. the right to sell and use it remedies and methods in the state of Michigan, paying $30,000 for the same. December 31 1891 they organized the Keeley Institute of Michigan with $50,000 in capital stock and in Northville. Shortly thereafter they changed headquarter to Ypsilanti and increased stock to $250,000. They sub-divided their territory into Eastern and Western branches headquarters in Detroit and Benton Harbor.


However, Louis P. Pritchard, of Grand Rapids, claimed ownership of the Eastern branch having been assigned the rights by a previous owner named O’Dell and in January 19 1901, launched the Keeley Institute of Western Michigan stock of $30,000 to be located in Grand Rapids. In the course of ten years, 1059 patients in the West Michigan Institute paid in the neighborhood of $125,000.  Beckwith wanted a share of the money, claiming that the contract with O’Dell was invalid.


By August 1901 Beckwith was running the institute as manager eventually driving Pritchard out.  Beckwith and his brother, Guy, both claimed to have tried the cure on themselves, successfully, as they testified. Beckwith managed the Grand Rapids Institute until the Spring of 1902, when he left to operate a Keeley Cure Institute in Detroit for parties by the name of Waring.  There, he first learned of the “fraudulent and void” O’Dell contract. He sought control of the Detroit concern but became involved in litigation with the Warings to deprive them of any right to run Detroit Institution or any other Keeley Cure Business.


In Oct. 1902, he abandoned the Detroit enterprise and returned to take charge of the Grand Rapids establishment which had not prospered in his absence. He was left, financially embarrassed and was “at the end of his rope.” He was joined by a partner, J. W. Fales, with whom he had had a prior agreement and who wanted money.  The business was practically a failure and Beckwith was unable to meet the expenses of the lawsuit in Detroit, the money he owed payable on the Keeley contract, the royalties and other expenses. He was also facing a lawsuit with Fales over the validity of the O’Dell contract.  Desperate for money, he turned to one Dr. Murray to gain credit, the money raised was used to pay off the others and settle the lawsuit with the Warings, pay attorney fees and other expenses.  In exchange Murray became a joint owner.


Murry and Beckwith organized a new corporation to promote a Keeley Institute in Detroit. But no institute or was ever opened under this corporation. Beckwith and Murray worked to revive the Western Keeley Institute, each was to get a salary, Beckwith of $2000 per year and Murray of $1500 through April 30 1909.


The Beckwith family lived out of and managed the institute; Murray had not taken an active role. Guy Beckwith and his wife were employees.  Over time, Beckwith managed to convince Murray that paltry sums he was receiving were a result of high expenses and that there was little left over for profit. Beckwith claimed to be economizing and drawing as little money as possible and that neither of them should think of drawing his full salary. Murray ended up bring suit against Beckwith for “doctoring the books”.


After 1909 when the salary agreement ended, Murray wished to settle up but claims to have later discovered that $2650 was taken out of the business by Beckwith and did not show up in the bank account.


In January, 1910, Beckwith became seriously ill and was unable to attend to business until July. During the interim Guy managed the business and in March, Murray took over. In attempting to settle the books, a controversy and quarrel broke out. The court case began in April of 1912, by which time Beckwith died and was finally disposed on in January 1914. By 1916 the Western Michigan Institute lay dormant.


Keeley Institute Richmond Virginia (1893-1910)

Keeley Institute V Wade

James T. Wade and the Keeley Institute of Virginia, entered into a contract September 1, 1893, For the amount of $3600 per year to manage the medical and business departments of the Institute and to employ at his own expense, a janitor. Wade worked there until the Fall of 1895 when he sued for back wages of $728. The Institute argued that Wade breached his contract by not hiring an assistant manager, that he was incompetent, immoral and a drunkard who frequently absented himself from the premises leaving no one left in charge and that he had damaged them to the sum of $1000.00.  Wade denied the accusations which were ruled hearsay and was granted $728.00.



The Insurance Law Journal 1898

In 1893, Dr. S. G. Glover, bought a house from G. H. Jackson & Co. of Cairo, Ill which was located about twenty miles from Richmond, Virginia. The house at the time was occupied by Jackson’s sister and some boarders and was insured by one of his relatives in the insurance business.  Without waiting for the conveyance of the deed from Jackson to Glover, Glover was given possession and immediately established a Keeley Institute in the house. Jackson’s relatives wrote a new insurance policy for Glover, apparently without the knowledge that it was now a Keeley Institute. On February 3, 1896, the building was destroyed by fire. The Insurance Company refused to pay stating that the amount charged Jackson was at the rate charged for Dwelling houses, not hospitals, which was considerably higher and as it was clear that the house was used for the reception, entertainment, and treatment of patients in a Keeley Cure establishment, they weren’t paying.  Glover sued for a new trial and won.


 Keeley Institute Saratoga Springs, New York.

(1893) The splendid institute at Saratoga is beautifully situated near the Springs and patients have the benefit of the famous waters. Open all Year.

Keeley Institute Waukesha, Wisconsin

(1890-1916) The Keeley Institute was established in 1891 with 50 private rooms. Superintendent - S. J. Filer and Director was A. H. Barter, M.D.

Keeley Institute Des Moines

(1895-1906) 706 Fourth St. Des Moines is the home of the only Keeley Institute in Iowa. It has been in continuous operation for nineteen years and is the only place in the state of Iowa where the genuine Keeley Remedies and treatment are given.  Patients come here from all over America, and often from foreign lands.

 Keeley Institute Minneapolis, Minnesota

(1891-1913) Closed in January 1913. - located at park Ave and 10th St. was established in 1891 with 50 private rooms. Employees were O. F. B. Forman and director Dr. Geo. C. Taylor. (1901)


Keeley Institute Hot springs Arkansas

(1891-1917) - The institute was established in 1891 with 25 private rooms. They treat exclusively the liquor, opium (morphine) and tobacco addictions and neurasthenia.  The manager and physician in charge have been working since May 1891.  Located in a pleasant and retiring portion of the city, thermal baths are used as an auxiliary to the regular treatment, Superintendent, Dr. R. M Huntington, 502 Park Ave. In 1901 they served 78 patients.


Keeley Institute Newark, New Jersey

(1896-1898) - 15 Central Ave. New Jersey the Institute occupies the large mansion of the late Chancellor Runyon that was “newly and elegantly furnished throughout”. Sleeping apartments have steam heat, open fireplace and hot and cold water, 745 High St (1898)


Keeley Institute Seattle, WA

  (1894-1906) - One of the most noted humanitarian institutions in Washington is located at Seattle, at 604 Columbia St (1894) and 1120 Kilbourne (1906) also at Spokane. This is the Keeley Institute, where the most desperate cases of addition are cured in from three to five weeks time. Over 150,000 patients treated in the past eight years.


Keeley Institute Marion, Indiana

(1898-1916) April 15, 1908 - The Keeley Institute of Marion, Indiana, W. V. Daniels, M.D. manager, is sending letters to physicians soliciting liquor or drug habit cases for treatment on a commission basis. …The letter contains this significant statement: “It may be as well to let the fact that you receive something for your time and trouble, remain a secret between us.

Keeley Institute Plainfield, Indiana

(1891-1917) - Established in March of 1891, it had a capacity of 100 patients in public not private rooms. Dr. T. S. Hitts, and Director was Dr. A.P.W. Bridges (1901) It was located fourteen miles west of the city and reached by the Vandalia railroad and two interurban street car lines. Nearly 4,000 persons have been cured at this institute.


Keeley Institute of Lousiana, New Orleans

(1896-1906) - Located at 1328-1638 Felicity had capacity of 30 with  private rooms. Director, Dr. Alonzo Givens.


Keeley Institute Portland Maine (1891-1917)

(1901) - Located at 151 Congress, it was established in 1891 and had a capacity of 24 with private rooms, J. J. Lovett was superintendent.


Keeley Institute, Washington D. C.

(1898-1909) E. C. Barstow, superintendent, 211 N. Capital st. Washington, D.C. (1898)

There is but one such for Maryland and the District of Columbus


Keeley Institute Columbus, Ohio, (1880-1917)

(1901) - The Institute was located at 90 N 4th St. It was established in 1880 with 30 rooms 8 of which were private. Superintendent was C. R. Cornell, Director was Jos. McCann M. D.

Keeley Institute Detroit, Michigan

Keeley Institute was located a 645 Trumbull Ave. and was established in 1891.  It had a capacity of 20 patients with private rooms. The Director in 1901 was Dr. L. Gaston Rouleau.

Keeley Institute Sioux Falls, South Dakota

(1891-1906) The Keeley Institute located at the corner of 5th and Spring Ave.,  was established in 1891 with a “unlimited” capacity with 8 private rooms. Cyrus Amdt and director J. F. Roselle M.D. were employees.


Keeley Institute St. Louis, MO

(1891-1906) The St. Louis Institute was located at 2803 Locust St. and was established in 1891 with twenty rooms three of which were private. It was staffed by Director Dr. J. E. Blaine and Chas. L. Romberger.


Keeley Institute Kansas City Portsmouth Bldg., Kansas

(1892-1917) Dr. J. Y. Simpson, graduate of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York and also of the New York Post Graduate School has for five years been the medical director of the Keeley Institute of Kansas City. Kansas.


“We recognize the fact that a number of the regular medical profession opposes the Keeley Institute on general principals.  With this question, we have nothing to do.  The good that has been accomplished by this Institute in Kansas City is undeniable and without parallel in the history of any similar institute.” The Kansas City Medical Index


Keeley Institute Greensboro NC

(1891-1906) W. H. Osborn, president (1903) registered 207 patients this year with total of 3500 since opening, housed in the residence of Governor Morehead., a farm with cattle and poultry to supply the institute with necessities.

 There is an institution at Greensboro that is not under the control of any Church or the State either. But it is doing the work of Christ, in casting out Demons, even the demon of drunkenness. there is hardly a better work that a Minister or a liberal-hearted Christian can do than to send some poor drunkard to Keeley Institute and give him another chance for this life and his soul. The North Carolina Presbyterian Aug. 25 1898.

 Keeley Institute Evansville, Indiana

(1892-1900) Keeley Institute of Indiana composed of Rufus H. Syfers, Frank A. McBridge and Geo. C. Webster had the sole right to manage Keeley Institutes and to sell and administer Keeley Remedies. by written bill of sale, they sold those rights to A. H. Mattox and F. G. Cross of Cincinnati, Ohio for $36250.00.  Institutes were established in several places in Indiana, one at Evansville. In a law suit against Syfer and Co., it was alleged that the value and profits of the institution were falsely represented and that they had indeed not incorporated and that these representations were made by Syfer, Mattox and Cross to defraud George W. Warren, a would be buyer.

 Keeley Institute Baltimore, Maryland

(1895-1914) - March 27, 1895 - The Keeley Institute of Maryland brought suit against the Baltimore Mayor and City Council to compel them to pay the amount of a judgment due under the decree of the circuit court. A state statute of 1894, read in part, “the treatment of habitual drunkards that they may be sent, at the expense of the city of Baltimore, to a state institution for treatment. The city argue that the legislature had no power to compel the city to use tax dollars for treatment of drunkards. The Keeley Institute demanded a $100 payment for the treatment of a John P. Moran, a habitual drunk living in the city. The Act of 1894 allowed for any relative to petition the city to send the offender, at county expense, to an institute in Maryland. The court upheld the lower court judgment and the Keeley Institute got its money.



Keeley Institute Beatrice, Nebraska (charter cancelled 1909)

Keeley Institute Benton Harbor, Michigan, 179 Pipestone (1898)

Keeley Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio 411 Elm St. (1897)

Keeley Institute Cleveland, Ohio (1896-1897)

Keeley Institute Warren, Ohio (1896)

Keeley Institute, Fargo, North Dakota (1896-1901)

Keeley Institute Toronto, Ont. Canada (1906)

Keeley Institute Winnipeg, Manitoba (1896)

Keeley Institute San Francisco (1906-1917)

Keeley Institute Waukesha, Wisconsin (1898)

Keeley Institute Vicksburg Mississippi (1900)

Keeley Institute 4246 Fifth Ave. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1896-1917)

Keeley Institute 812 N. Broad St. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1896-1917)

Keeley Institute Manchester, New Hampshire (1891)

Keeley Institute Deering, Maine (1896-1897)

Keeley Institute, 799 Niagara St. Buffalo, New York M. J. O’Connell (1896-1917)

Keeley Institute, Providence, RI 306-308 Washington St., -T. J. Springfield manager (1896-1906)

Keeley Institute Denver Colorado at 18th and Curtiss (1898-1906)

Keeley Institute Harrisburg, PA, (1892-1917) - at North and Capital Sts. (1897)

Keeley Institute West Haven CT, (1896-1906) 307 Beach St., W. H. Boals superintendent

Keeley Institute Los Angeles, California - (1898-1917) - Cor. N. Main and Commercial

Keeley Institute Crab Orchard KY (1897-1917)

Keeley Institute Canandaigua, New York, ( 1892) began April in Genesee then moved.

Keeley Institute Babylon, New York (1891)

Keeley Institute Binghamton, New York (1891)

Keeley Institute West Field, New York (1891)

Keeley Institute Columbia, South Carolina (1897)

Keeley Institute Charlestown, Indiana, (1903)

Keeley Institute Carson City, Nevada (1903)

Keeley Institute Jacksonville, Florida (1906)

Keeley Institute Alhambra, Montana (1906)

Keeley Institute Boulder Hot Springs, Montana (1903)

Keeley Institute Huntington, West Virginia (1904)

Keeley Institute North Conway, New Hampshire (1891-1906)

Keeley Institute Birmingham, Alabama at 200o 12th North (1903-1906)

Keeley Institute Atlanta, Georgia at 235 Capital (1891-1906)

Keely Institute of Dalton, Georgia (1891) operated under its charter until October, 1893

Keeley Institute Omaha, Nebraska at 25th and Cass (1906)

Keeley Institute Portland, Oregon at 71 East 11th (1902-1906)

Keeley Institute Dallas, Texas at Belleview Place (1906-1916)

Keeley Institute Oklahoma City (1916)

Keeley Institute Mexico City Mexico (1916)

 The Keeley Cure Bottles

Keeley patented the design for his unique bottle in 1881. The original patent shows the bottle with a pour spout. Some of the bottles have this feature and others (possibly later bottles) do not.  The Drunkenness and Opium bottles are the earliest bottles and date from 1881-1882.

Note that when put together the four Cures Spell out DONT

 There are numerous variants of embossing on Keeley Bottles. Five bottles Drunkenness, Opium, Tobacco Habit and Neurasthenia and later Neurotine can be found with the “Double Chloride of Gold” embossed. These are the earlier bottles. The Cure for Tobacco Habit and the Neurasthnia Cure seem to have been introduced later possibly about 1888. The “Double chloride of Gold” embossing appears to have been dropped around 1893-1895 probably from the immense pressure from medical groups who exposed the fact that his remedies contained no gold as he claimed.  The Double Chloride of Gold Opium and Drunkenness Cures were first advertised in 1882-1883 (he claimed 3000 cures); 1884-1888 (he claimed 10,000); by the time he was franchising institutes in 1891, his ads mention all four of his products. About 1907-1908 the name of the Cure for Neurasthenia was changed to Neurotine  The bottles were only sold in pairs.  They were packaged to together; flat sides facing each other, and at least the Cure for Drunkenness, if not the others were marked on the packaging as No. 1 and No. 2


Bottles for the ‘Cure for Drunkenness’ and the ‘Cure for Tobacco Habit’ are the most common bottles found, with the ‘Cure for  Opium Habit’ next and then ‘Cure for Neurasthenia’ being the rarest. Statistics from the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, show anywhere from 20-30 times more patients were treated for alcoholism than opium or morphine addiction and hundreds of times more than patients treated for Neurasthenia. These observations are born out in the rarity of the bottles. Keeley bottles are also rare because Keeley cautioned his users to break the bottles when empty to prevent their re-use for the sale of “spurious Gold Cure Mixtures” One very rare and obvious Keeley knock-off bottle similar in shape to Keeley’s, but is embossed, Dr. Yarnall’s Gold Cure for Alcoholism (from Northville, Michigan).

Keeley Rarities

  Bottled marked for home use are among the rarest of the Keeley bottles. Keeley began his business in Dwight and initially did much of the selling via mail-order.  As he became more popular, he found it less necessary to do so. The Cure for the Tobacco Habit sold both as a home remedy and a treatment at the Institute. One ad in 1888 states  “Opium, Liquor Habits, cured at home.” Another, by the Blair Institute in 1892 states: …”We sell for Home treatment an internal remedy for the Tobacco Habit.  It is put up in boxes containing a pair of eight-ounce bottles. $5.00 per pair.”  The prices for the 1888-1895 mail-order were: Tobacco - $5 Alcohol - $9  Opium - $10

Another Keeley bottle rarity is marked “Keeley Cure Solution”.  It is not known what these bottles might have contained, but one might suppose they were the bottles used for injections. One 1892 reference said:

Keeley tonics red hypo solution ,(hyoscia hydro-bromate, glycerin)

Keeley Solution No. 2 (sulfate of morphin, two grains to dram)

Keeley Solution No. 3 (caffeine),

Keeley Solution No. 4 (pilocarpin)


  So if you need a cure for the bottle blues, you might just try tracking down a few of these Keeley Cures in your spare time.  Better yet, find out where your nearest Keeley Institute was and go dig a few they must be scattered all over the country. Be careful though, digging can be addictive and as far as I believe, there is no known cure.