Founder of Chiropractic
D.D. Palmer wrote extensively on anatomy, physiology, and philosophy, in his magnum opus Textbook of The Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic (on Spine: The Chiropractor’s Adjustor). In the book, Palmer attacks his rivals and establishes his own definitions, especially in terms of a philosophical outlook based upon a Universal Intelligence, which is the ocean to the drop of Innate Intelligence. The chiropractic adjustment and its ability to regulate tone through the vibrations of the nervous system, which expresses as health, is central to his philosophy. He also seriously considered turning chiropractic into a religion in order to circumvent the legal question.
Some important analyses of his roots, his ideas, and his writings are available online:
- Here is a wonderful article by Gaucher-Peslherbe, Wiese, and Donahue, analyzing D.D. Palmer’s use of the medical literature in his day. David Daniel Palmer was Into the Literature. Reprinted by permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic.
- A chronology of Palmer’s Life was organized by Keating.
- John Hart wrote an important article on the myth about D.D. Palmer being influenced by A.T. Still.The article is posted here by permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic: Did D.D. Palmer visit A.T. Still in Kirksville?
- Here is a classic article by Donahue from 1987: D.D. Palmer and the Metaphysical Movement of the 19th Century. (Reprinted by permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic.)
- There is a letter from 1911 written to a jailed chiropractor, P.W. Johnson, in which Palmer describes his plans to establish a religion and also mentions his upcoming book.
Palmer’s writings on philosophy, morality, and religion are explored from an integral perspective in several of Dr. Senzon’s books and courses, as well as two online articles: Root of Subluxation & Roots in Morality.
- D.D. Palmer’s 1914 book, The Chiropractor begins with a fascinating discussion of Morality.
- Palmer’s essay The Moral and Religious Duty of the Chiropractor are amongst his final words:
D.D. Palmer’s earliest philosophical writings from 1896-1902 were congruent with the books he was reading.
They can be found here:
There are several books on the early history of chiropractic and even a few on the early philosophy.
The philosophical influence of the Traveling Library on D.D. Palmer was highlighted in Senzon’s article on the shared history between Chiropractic and Energy Medicine.
D.D. Palmer was significantly influenced by his early studies as a magnetic healer. The books he was reading on Spiritualism and magnetic healing were an excellent sampling of the metaphysical religious culture of 19th century America. Some of the books found in D.D. Palmer\’s Traveling Library were:
- The moral aphorisms and terseological teachings of Confucius (1870).
- Vital magnetism the Life-Fountain by E.D. Babbitt (1874).
- Full and comprehensive instructions on how to Mesmerize by J.W. Caldwell (1885).
- A Lecture on the philosophy of disease by Juliete Severance (1883).
- A Lecture on the evolution of life in earth and spirit conditions by Juliete Severance (1882).
- The Deluge In The Light Of Modern Science by William Denton (1882).
- Thought-transference with practical hints for experiments by N.C. (1887).
The abridged version of D.D.’s Traveling Library is now available as a separate text in the Chiropractic Clear Light Books series. The book includes philosophical and historical contexts for Palmer’s influences by Simon Senzon. You may also enjoy The Secret History and the translation of D.D. into Spanish (which includes an English index to D.D.’s 1914 book).