On Wednesday, February 21, 2001 the chiropractic profession lost its most prolific author, when Richard C. Schafer, D.C., PhD, FICC, aged 71, died at his Oklahoma cottage, following a long bout with cancer. A 1952 graduate of Lincoln Chiropractic College of Indiana, Dr. Schafer was the first DC to be published by a major medical publishing company (Williams and Wilkins), and was the author of 31 non-self-published books! His first-entry was a "best seller" on the management of sports and recreational injuries. The success of this book opened that market to chiropractic authors thereafter.
Following his graduation he practiced in Kenmore, New York for seven years. During that period he served the profession as a director of the New York State Federation of Chiropractic, and as managing editor of the New York Journal of Chiropractic.
In 1960 he entered the publishing business, and was the owner of a publishing house in Texas. His publications and ventures into the management-consulting field and in leadership development drew the attention of the American Chiropractic Association, and Dr. Schafer assumed the post of ACA Director of Public Affairs in 1973.
During his stay at ACA he developed the first editions of their booklets "Chiropractic State of the Art" and the "ACA Policies on Public Health and Related Matters". While Director of Public Affairs (1973-1979), he also helped to enhance public awareness of chiropractic with 20 new works, explaining chiropractic principles, and ACA resolutions.
Between 1973 and 1993, most of his books were published by the ACA. He also published books for the FCER, NCMIC and Motion Palpation Institute. He was also a consultant for the World Book Encyclopedia, Who's Who in Chiropractic and the National Textbook Company. By 1993, which was the last year ACA reported sales to Dr. Schafer, he had generated an astounding $ 2,809,879 in gross profits for those publishers! A complete review of his
significant book sales is available.
In 1974, the ACA Board of Directors honored him with an Outstanding Service Recognition award, and he was also inducted as a Fellow of the International College of Chiropractors (FICC). He was a founding member of the Association for the History of Chiropractic (1980). In the 1980’s he also penned a series of articles for Dynamic Chiropractic, and was honored by them in 1988 with their Certificate of Journalistic Appreciation, and again in 1989 with their Special Journalist Award. He received the Presidential Award from ACA for outstanding contributions to the profession in 1992.
Dick was a second-generation chiropractor, following his father, Dr. John Schafer. He liked to share stories of having seen B.J. Palmer while on campus. B.J. was quite taken by Dick’s father, because John was a blind chiropractic student!
Dr. Schafer is survived by four children, Scott Edward, Clark Kirby, Jill Darcy, and Lynn Carol Miller, and 2 granddaughters. His mentorship and educational contributions to this profession will be long remembered.
I first met Dr. Schafer via e-mail in 1997, after requesting his permission to "link" to his rehabilitation monographs for the LINKS section at the Chiropractic Resource Organization website (
To honor his memory, I am forming the non-profit "Richard Schafer Memorial Fund". All contributions, as well as proceeds from the sale of his previous books, and his "Books on Disk will all be donated to FCER to fund chiropractic research. If you would like to support this concept, I would welcome further contact.
Epitaph of R.C. Schafer