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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 13, 2005


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2005;294(2):260. doi:10.1001/jama.294.2.260-a

The individual who does not correlate his knowledge with his feelings, who sees snakes when there are no snakes, who hears voices when there are no voices, is taken in charge to be examined as to his sanity. A similar procedure may be necessary to determine whether or not a corporation or a board to which is delegated some public duties is acting in accord with ordinary common sense. This variety of impeachment has a charming naiveté. It was suggested by Homer Folks, secretary of the State Charities Aid Association of New York, speaking before the New York Summer School on Philanthropic Work.1 He referred to some boards whose official acts may be reviewed by higher powers, and suggested the advisability of such authority in the case of many politically managed bodies which mismanage many hospital, philanthropic and asylum matters. The present tendency is to hold the officers of a corporation individually responsible for such acts of the corporation as are under their respective supervision. But when—as in the recent much-criticised ruling concerning the Santa Fé rates—responsible persons are, by some alleged judicial action, relieved of responsibility, the legitimate procedure is to treat the corporation as a person, declare it insane and suspend its functions and compel reformation.

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