Purpose: To report in descriptive terms the number and nature of Historical Articles and related papers published in this Journal during the 25 year period of editorship by Dr Mary Ann Chance and Dr Rolf E Peters.
Methods: Hand-search of the author's library to locate and order all issues of the Journal of the Australian Chiropractors' Association from and including December 1983 and all issues of the Chiropractic Journal of Australia March 1991 to and including September 2008. Items categorised as an Historical Article or In Memoriam were entered into an electronic spreadsheet for further analysis. Related papers were also noted.
Results: A total of 32 named writers produced 89 papers classified as historical. A further five were unattributed, giving a total of 94. The greater majority of papers (n=54) are written by a sole author, leaving just 8 with multiple authors other than the editors who contributed 27 papers as co-authors. Chance and Peters have made a significant contribution to documenting the history of the Palmer family while the other theses are largely chiropractic history in the Australian context, including education. There are 37 In Memoriam papers reporting the transition of 52 of the profession's colleagues and friends. Nearly half (n=15) are written by Mary Ann Chance, and both editors collaborated on a further 10 with Rolf Peters first authoring seven and Mary Ann Chance three. A number of special editions were published, each marking significant milestones of the profession.
Discussion: The finding that Peters and Chance have collaborated on 27 historical papers is remarkable, representing a publication rate of more than one per year. However their total contribution to historical papers is greater as there are a number of unattributed papers that are likely to represent their joint work, as well as various contributions not captured by the methodology of this research. The finding that some 54 papers have been written by a sole author may point to a future weakness through the lack of successful teams in the manner of Peters and Chance.
Conclusion: Our understanding of who we may be as chiropractors and as a discipline comes from knowing where we have been. In the absence of the significant contribution to the recording of our profession's history within this Journal the profession would be the poorer for want of a collective description of our identity. Mary Ann Chance and Rolf Peters have given the profession a bountiful legacy of their own writing and the priceless legacy of a journal with sufficient breadth to respect and value our history as well as our science.
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