Skip to Main Content

Bastyr University Library Historical Collections: Dr. John B. Bastyr

The Man Behind the Name

This collection brings together some of the historical artifacts the library has preserved that give insight to the University’s namesake and his work. We've posted complete transcripts of the oral history interviews that Alma Howard conducted with Dr. Bastyr in 1989.

We've also compiled an index of un-remastered, archival footage of Dr Bastyr teaching abd working with patients. Watch the short video clip below for a sense of Dr. Bastyr's style - it offers a wonderful opportunity to see the warmth and knowledge that inspired the Founders to name the University after him!


Click Search to find library materials related to Dr. Bastyr:

Oral History Project

Interviews with Dr. Bastyr recorded and transcribed by Alma Howard. (four hours). Parts one and two were conducted April 14, 1989; parts three and four, April 25, 1989.

Interviews recorded and transcribed by Alma Howard.

Dr. John Bartholomew Bastyr (1912-1995): Historical Information

1912 (May 16) Home birth in New Prague, MN

Note: Mother: gardener, herbalist, follower of Father Kneippe; Father: pharmacist.

1928 Moved to the Seattle area with his family.

1929 Graduated from Seattle College High School (later, Seattle Prep)

Note: Learned the basics of botanical and homeopathic pharmacy first hand while working in his father’s drug store.

Source for entries above: Kirchfeld, F. and Boyle, W. (1994, 2005). Nature Doctors. Portland, OR: NCNM Press, 2005

1931 Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree from Seattle College of Chiropractic, Seattle, WA

   Source: Framed diploma in Historical Collections archive   

1936 Completed the Naturopathic Physician course of study as part of the Doctor of Sanipractic requirements at Northwestern College of Chiropractic, Seattle, WA.

Note: From 1936-1957, licensed only as Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) and Doctor of Sanipractic (D.S.), not as a Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.); the State of WA practitioner licensing laws did not include N.D.s until 1958, when they added this profession under the Drugless Healing Act of 1919.

1937 Married Aletha Persis Laroude, English instructor at U WA

Source: Kirchfeld, 2005

1940 & 1944 Doctor of Surgery, Obstetrics and Internal Medicine from the University of Guadalajara, Mexico

Source: Framed diplomas in Historical Collections archive.

1958 State of Washington approved licensure of Naturopathic Doctors (N.D.), allowing Dr. Bastyr to practice "... Drugless Therapeutics and ... Naturopathy in this State" under the Drugless Healing Act of 1919.


Framed letter dated Oct. 30, 1957, from Grace University stating that during the years 1934-1935, Dr. John B. Bastyr “...completed and successfully passed the course of study required to become a Naturopathic Physician.” The diploma from Northwestern College of Chiropractic, Seattle, WA, issued in 1936 when he completed the Doctor of Sanipractic requirements, included "...the Naturopathic Physician course of study."

Framed certificate from the State of Washington Dept. of Licenses dated Jan. 19, 1958.

1988 Dr. Bastyr was the first N.D. to be licensed in Washington State under a new statute specific to naturopathic medicine that officially passed the WA legislature in 1987 and was implemented on Jan. 1, 1988. His N.D. license was post-dated back to 1936 because of his prior licensing under the Drugless Healing Act of 1919.         

Source: Washington State Department of Health Naturopathy Program (Dec. 2004)

Compiled by the Bastyr University Library

Dr. Bastyr with JBCNM Alumni in 1987


CA Campus Address: Library Bastyr University 4106 Sorrento Valley Blvd. San Diego, CA 92121 Phone:(858) 246-9714 | Email: | Text:(425) 947-2486

WA Campus AddressLibrary Bastyr University 14500 Juanita Dr NE Kenmore, WA 98028 |  Phone:(425) 602-3020 | | Text:(425) 947-2486 | Chat: Chat with a Librarian

 Bastyr Library content may be used, remixed, tweaked, and built upon non-commercially, as long as BU is credited, and new creations are licensed under the identical terms.