Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Patricia A. Lowry, PhD, Director; Mary Woods Scherr, PhD; William P. Foster, EdD


California, Communication disorders, historical method, history, Leadership studies, Speech pathology pioneers


Speech pathologists are the only professionals educated and trained to treat human communication disorders. They work in a variety of settings such as schools, hospitals, and private practice. Despite the essential and integrated role speech pathology holds in society, it is continually threatened by internal concerns and external pressures. Regardless of the issues, those who cannot find resolve often call for leadership. When current situations do not yield solutions readily, an historical perspective may serve to provide answers or guidance. Historical documentation was available in detail regarding the foundation of speech pathology in Iowa and Wisconsin, in addition to published histories of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. However, the historical background of speech pathology in California had been documented only in pieces. The objectives of this study were to: provide a narrative history of speech pathology in California from 1915 through 1951; describe composite portraitures of pioneers in the field within the state; and examine the role of leadership in the development and change of speech pathology in California. Due to the nature of this research, the historical method of research was utilized. The fundamental goal of this investigation was knowledge, accurately and carefully reported. Both primary and secondary sources were used. Examples of sources were: oral history interviews, Masters theses, published histories, official records, lectures, speeches, professional texts, informal memoirs, and newspaper clippings. One of the major findings of the research was that a concept of leadership was identified as description of the process which brought about the unification of the various regions and interests in California--collaborative leadership. Collaborative leadership was responsible for the formation of the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association. This leadership process was also utilized when standards and programs were upgraded. Guidance for the resolution of future dilemmas may now be gained by understanding how the earlier solutions to challenges in the field were developed and implemented. The advantage of the knowledge this research has yielded is the access to the wisdom the early speech pathologists acquired in their pioneering efforts, thus permitting those who come later to look back for their future.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access