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Chicago Veterinary College

Chicago, Illinois



HathiTrust has placed a digital version of the prospectus for Chicago Veterinary College on line.  Available are all years between 1906 and 1918.  


Chicago Veterinary College was founded in 1883.  From eight students that year, it had grown to 308 by 1906 and to 437 by 1911.  In 1906 it claimed to be the largest veterinary school on the continent.  While the bulk of its students came from Illinois, Iowa and other Midwestern states, it attracted students from across the United States and some foreign countries.  As the reasons for the school’s high enrollment, the 1906 Prospectus notes the strength of the faculty (11 Doctors of Veterinary Practice, three medical doctors and one legal doctor), the placement record of graduates, the opportunities for practice, and the strong facilities.  

As noted in 1918, C.V.C. graduates were receiving appointments with the military as cavalry surgeons, with the government as meat inspectors, with other colleges as instructors, and in private practice.


What originally was a four-months program over two years, had increased to three years in 1906 and to four years by 1917.  


In 1906 all Students were required to be members of the Veterinary Medical Association, receiving points toward graduation for attending weekly meetings and for reading a research paper.


By 1918 the Prospectus, shows that enrollment at C.V.C. had fallen to 142.  Then after the War, the demand for veterinarians decreased.  A major reason for the decrease was the increase in automobiles.  The assembly line had put automobiles in the reach of many households, so fewer kept horses.  Likewise, fewer towns had livery stables requiring the services of a veterinarian.  The Dean of the Veterinary School at the University of Illinois notes that it was not until 1950 that veterinary schools began to emphasize the care of small animals.


C.V.C. closed at the end of the 1920 term.

Bricks and Mortar

Chicago Veterinary College occupied a large four-story building with an early address of 2537-39 South State Street.  Ultimately the school added 2533 so it took the whole block.  The facility featured two large lecture rooms—one seating 300, the other more than 150.  It also included a pharmacy, an operating room, a hospital, a museum, a library, and laboratories.  The buildings were described as being on a “main thoroughfare.”  Note the trolley lines in the sketch.


The buildings have since been razed.


(left) Sketch of the South State Street college building. (Prospectus;view=1up;seq=60)


            Colors: These appear                 to be Red and Gold


Like most medical and veterinary schools of the time, Chicago Veterinary College played some football.  College Football Data Warehouse shows games played between 1903 and 1913.  Opponents included medical schools, high schools, colleges, and independent clubs in the Chicago area.  The 1912 club played a five game schedule, losing all five contests to Dixon College, Racine, St. Viator, and DePaul.  They were one of the victims of the powerhouse Wendell Phillips Academy team that claimed the national high school championship.

CVC football 1903 (2).jfif

The 1903 football team.  Image from the "Quarterly Bulletin"

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