Earliest Philosophers

The earliest philosophers of chiropractic established the philosophical foundations of today\’s profession. They did so in the face of intense social and economic pressures as well as unique cultural and religious influences. The early philosophy was also an attempt to bridge the divide of Western culture between mind and body, Spirit and matter, in light of the latest discoveries of modern science, physiology, and biology.

DD Palmer - Earliest writings

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:

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.
Dr. Senzon\’s book, Chiropractic Foundations; D.D. Palmer\’s Traveling Library is a good place to start.
The book offers a comprehensive and integral context for the philosophy as well as the abridged texts of D.D. Palmer\’s Traveling Library. 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.

BJ Palmer - Earliest philosophical writings

B.J. Palmer started practicing chiropractic between 1899-1900. An early testimonial from one of his patient\’s in Manistique, wrote of his “excellent philosophy.” After taking over the school from his father between 1903 and 1906, he published regularly on chiropractic. His first published book was mostly a compilation of his father\’s writings. The book was first published in 1906, with both father and son listed as coauthors. Future publications of the book only listed the son. To learn more about B.J. Palmer\’s life and writings, we recommend the following online sources:

Shegataro Morikubo – Philosophical Inspiration and Landmark Case

The landmark Morikubo case set the first precedent for chiropractic philosophy. The judge ruled that chiropractic was separate and distinct. It had a distinct philosophy, science, and art. It is supposed that Morikubo and B.J. Palmer forced the issue by arranging for Shegataro to be brought up on charges in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Prior to this case, Morikubo, who was born in Japan, brought up in a Buddhist monastery, earned a Ph.D. in philosophy, a correspondence degree in Osteopathy, and a chiropractic degree under D.D. Palmer. Morikubo taught philosophy courses when B.J. Palmer was traveling. He also wrote an article in the Davenport paper on human rights during the time of D.D. Palmer\’s incarceration for practicing medicine without a license in 1906.

There are few things known about Morikubo beyond what has been written:

Solon Langworthy – The First Chiropractic Textbook

In his landmark book, Modernized Chiropractic, coauthored with Oakley Smith and Minora Paxson (two more of D.D. Palmer\’s early students), Langworthy wrote of chiropractic, “That which is the real foundation of a \’separate school of healing\’ is its philosophy, its theory, its practice, the science and art – all of which is peculiar to itself.”Not much has been written about Langworthy.

Tom Morris – Philosophical and Legal Counsel

Tom Morris was the lead council in the landmark Morikubo case. He planned the strategy to establish chiropractic as a separate and unique profession based on its philosophy, science, and art. The strategy worked so well that Morris\’ firm won 85% of the 3,500 cases for the next 20 years. He was the chief legal council for the United Chiropractors Association until his death in 1928. He also orchestrated the “go to jail” for chiropractic campaign that was initially successful in states like Ohio and California. For more on Morris see:

John Howard – Founder of National

John Howard enrolled at the Palmer School in 1905. He opened his own chiropractic college in 1907, with D.D. Palmer\’s endorsement. For more on Howard see: