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Dinshah P. Ghadiali papers

Identifier: MSS 2/262

Scope and Contents

This collection of spectro chrome metry materials, spanning 1936 to 1941, consists of photographs, a scrapbook of correspondence between the Spectro Chrome Institute and an individual who had purchased a spectro chrome, and miscellaneous items. Some of these items were used as evidence in the November 1946 trial which resulted in Ghadiali's indictment on charges of "false and misleading" claims in his literature.

Series 1 contains three photographs of the spectro chrome, a photograph of the title page of the Dinshah Cookbook (1950), and a photograph of a page of literature relating to the spectro chrome. Also included is a photograph of Ghadiali with his seven children which had been stapled into a book documenting the 1934 trial in which his American citizenship was contested (Dinshah Naturalization Case Clearing Contested Citizenship, 1944).

Present in Series 2 is a disbound scrapbook of correspondence between the Spectro Chrome Institute and an individual who had purchased a spectro chrome. The correspondence is in the form of Guidance Advice Charts; the patient filled out a form detailing his condition, and the Institute replied with a form recommending treatment. The Institute made suggestions concerning diet and lifestyle and explained which colors to apply to cure the patient's ailment. The communications from the patient reveal the lack of progress in his condition.

Series 3 contains miscellaneous material, including a flyer advertising the spectro chrome, a cardboard label with a disclaimer about the spectro chrome's effectiveness, and two typescript pages of information about the "Qualities of the Twelve Colors" and instructions for using the spectrochrome.


  • 1936 - 1941


Biographical / Historical

Dinshah P. Ghadiali was born in Bombay, India, in 1873. He studied orthodox medicine, receiving an honorary M. D. in 1899 and earned his doctorate in philosophy. Ghadiali also studied electronics and engineering and earned degrees in electro hydrotherapy, naturopathy, and food science. Ghadiali is best known as the inventor of the spectrochrome, an instrument which he claimed would cure any ailment by shining colored beams on the affected body parts. These claims led to an investigation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Medical Association, resulting in Ghadiali's indictment in 1947. He died in Malaga, New Jersey, in 1966.

Ghadiali moved from India to the United States in 1911 and eventually settled in New Jersey. In 1920, he invented the spectro chrome, a bright light bulb enclosed within a metal box, which emitted rays of light through colored glass slides. According to Ghadiali, the application of different colors of light could restore balance in the body and cure various ailments without drugs or surgery. Ghadiali established the Spectro Chrome Institute in Malaga, New Jersey, and began marketing his spectro chrome to the public. The institute's motto was "Down with the Medical Trust Spectro Chrome in Every Home".

Over the years, Ghadiali had his share of trouble with the law. In 1925, he was sentenced to five years in prison and a 5,000 fine. He was released by President Calvin Coolidge after serving only 17 months of his sentence and later received a full pardon from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Ghadiali's United States citizenship was contested in 1934, but he successfully defended his case. After the 1947 investigation by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration, Ghadiali was indicted for "false and misleading" claims in his literature on spectro chrome therapy. Ghadiali said that he could not properly defend his case because a fire of suspicious origin had destroyed all of the documents which would have proven his claims.

In addition to publishing a journal and several books on spectro chrome therapy, Ghadiali published a cookbook in 1950 and a book of jokes and witticisms in 1951. All of Ghadiali's works were published by the Spectro Chrome Institute, which had its own printing press.


1 Box (11 folders)

Language of Materials


Custodial History

This collection of spectro chrome metry materials was placed on permanent loan by William J. Conway, Jr., of the Food and Drug Administration, Region III, of the U.S. Public Health Service's Department of Health, Education and Welfare, with the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia on 4 February 1982. Additional items were received on 26 February and 8 March 1982. The collection, along with several related monographs and pamphlets, was transferred from the Mutter Museum to the Historical Collections of the Library by Gretchen Worden on 29 August 1991.

The collection was processed and catalogued in 1992.
Dinshah P. Ghadiali papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Repository

19 S. 22nd Street
Philadelphia PA 19103 United States