I am continually amazed by the bias exhibited by chiropractors against B.J. Palmer. It rarely seems to stem from a critical analysis of the literature. More often it seems like a meme that was passed down from teacher to student or from author to reader. This short clip is from a longer Skype lecture that I gave to a chiropractic school class. In the clip, I just mention this weird phenomenon.
At the end of the clip, I added one solution to remedying this problem. The solution is simple – read the new book Palmer Chiropractic Green Books: The Definitive Guide.
Just to be clear, I did not try to sell the book to chiropractic students. I am more interested in teaching facts to students. They always need more historical facts. I did plug it here because after cutting this clip from the larger lecture I realized the simple solution to this problem.
I know it may seem like I am putting B.J. Palmer up on a pedestal. After all, that is how the traditional bias is portrayed. Anyone who seems to embrace the ideas or theories espoused by B.J. are often criticized in some way. This is how bias generally works. Groups of people are clumped together as if they all believe the same thing without a critical or – dare I say – evidence based attempt at understanding.
B.J. Palmer was a controversial figure. He created enemies and followers. One example is from his classic talk, Cleaning the House. It was delivered on July 16, 1922, at Wilcox’s Pier Restaurant, Savin Rock, in West Haven, Connecticut. During the talk, B.J. laid out the new UCA policy to take over state boards throughout the United States and push for the model legislation. The UCA legislation was designed to ensure that chiropractic was solely defined as the analysis and correction of vertebral subluxation.
This approach went against those in the profession who sought to expand chiropractic beyond its traditional boundaries. Those once referred to as “mixers” because they mixed chiropractic with various therapeutic modalities and even included other professions in their practice of chiropractic. He also attacked several heads of chiropractic colleges.
Think about how these attacks may have caused ripples throughout the decades. Students at these schools became the next wave of leaders in the profession. The students of their students are probably still in places of power throughout the profession, teaching, publishing, administrating, and establishing policies.
Basically, when I hear people shout negative things on social media about B.J. Palmer, I generally assume their teacher’s teacher’s teacher knew someone who had a disagreement with B.J. I rarely assume the person is well informed on the three types of chiropractic paradigms and the literature that supports them. Hopefully, they are.
Part one of the fifty-minute talk is available for TIC Members here: B.J. Palmer’s Evolution. In the talk, I explore the important facts that there are several different biases against B.J. Palmer. Some of these arise from D.D. Palmer’s writings (those need to be critically analyzed). Other biases involve misunderstandings about various aspects of B.J. Palmer’s theories such as the development of his upper cervical model of chiropractic.
There is also the decades of chiropractors that just accepted B.J. Palmer’s ideas. Some of whom studied his research and theories. Others may have just accepted the ideas on authority. This is not an excuse to lump all modern chiropractors into that category.
The Definitive Guide is a powerful way for the entire profession to learn the same basic content about the chiropractic paradigm, the Palmer Green Books, the evolution of the ideas, the decades of research, and interesting aspects of history. Many of the biases against B.J. Palmer will naturally dissipate as more and more chiropractors learn these facts.
The first shipments of Palmer Chiropractic Green Books: The Definitive Guide by Timothy Faulkner, Joseph Foley, and Simon Senzon are beginning to arrive worldwide. The first one was received by Donald McDowall, DC, DNBCE, DIBAK, MAppSc, author of the book’s Foreword. Here is a picture of the chiropractic historian himself with the newest textbook for his incredible collection.
The Foreword is posted below. We have also posted the Contents, the Introduction, and the review from Chiropractic History. The Definitive Guide is already reshaping the discourse in the chiropractic profession.
We are so thankful to Dr. David Russell for this review of Palmer Chiropractic Green Books: The Definitive Guide and to the Association for the History of Chiropractic for publishing it. It is republished here with permission. The pdf is posted below. Follow this link to read the Introduction.
By Timothy J. Faulkner, Joseph Foley, and Simon Senzon
Copyright 2018: Timothy J. Faulkner, Joseph Foley, Simon Senzon, & Integral Altitude, Inc.
Publisher: The Institute Chiropractic
ISBN 978-0-986-2047-3-9 (pbk)
Paperback; limited color edition also available in Hard Cover
Palmer Chiropractic Green Books: The Definitive Guide by Timothy Faulkner, Joseph Foley, and Simon Senzon is an excellently presented and very important book. It is a textbook for chiropractors and chiropractic students alike, a guide for Green Book collectors, and an introduction to the original chiropractic paradigm for scholars and the public.
The book provides a philosophical and theoretical overview of all 44 Green Books, written from a historical perspective. For the Green Book collector, the book includes the first definition of a Green Book, a Green Book Master List comprised of every known or suspected printing or edition, sorted into 123 Green Book Master Numbers. The book addresses many questions about the Green Books such as missing numbers in the series, duplicated numbers in the series, as well as content of each book.
The Green Book overview comprises 14 chapters of the book and discusses the unique contribution of each book, without repeating many of the definitions and ideas that are common to all the books. Several new insights emerge amongst the hundreds of images, which include original advertisements for the books, such as the important role B.J. Palmer’s pamphlet series played in the books, the evolution of ideas throughout the books, the integration of the chiropractic paradigm across several disciplines taught in chiropractic education, and the final chiropractic thoughts of both D.D. and B.J. Palmer.
The chapters on the Palmers are the first comprehensive examination of their complete writings. Chapters 2-4 covers D.D. Palmer’s many articles and his three books. These chapters provide the reader with the latest insights about D.D. Palmer’s most philosophical thoughts as well as his views on science, spirituality, and chiropractic practice. B.J. Palmer’s contribution to the Green Books is covered in Chapter 5 and Chapters 10-15. This is the most complete exploration of B.J.’s works ever undertaken. The chapters emphasize how his ideas develop over time in the context of his life and the profession’s evolution. The final sixteen books (Chapters 12-15) include a topical approach to his innovative views on chiropractic and philosophy.
Chapters 16-18 were written for collectors, both the novice and the enthusiast. These sections include details about the Green Books as historical artifacts and collectible rarities, and in terms of their expected value. A value and rarity scale is developed along with a detailed list of every book, another first in chiropractic.
Palmer Chiropractic Green Books: The Definitive Guide is important for the profession at this time. Too many articles in the literature are dismissive of the original chiropractic paradigm without demonstrating a depth of knowledge about the history and the ideas. This overview of the books offers the profession a jumping off point to refresh and renew discussions about professional identity, the value of history, and the future direction of the profession. The book also offers a way for chiropractors to anchor their own library to a long tradition of Green Book collecting and enjoy one of the pleasures of being a chiropractor.
Palmer Chiropractic Green Books: The Definitive Guide by Timothy Faulkner, Joseph Foley, and Simon Senzon, is now available in color paperback and premium color hardcover editions.
We decided that it was time for the chiropractic profession to have a definitive guide to the chiropractic Green Books. There are far too many myths about chiropractic’s original paradigm, the Palmers, and the Green Books. This book was designed to update the chiropractic profession about the foundation of chiropractic research, theory, and practice. The Green Books represent chiropractic’s most fundamental application. Reading The Definitive Guide is the place to start.
Writing this book was a labor of love. Please order your copy today (and then order five more to gift to students).
Please read the Introduction to the book below:
Introduction to Palmer Chiropractic Green Books: The Definitive Guide
The Green Books embody the chiropractic profession’s fundamental elements. The first of the books were written by D.D. Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, and his son B.J. Palmer, often referred to as the developer of chiropractic. The entire series includes more than 40 books published between 1906 and 1966. Most of the books were written by B.J. and over a dozen were written by faculty of the Palmer School of Chiropractic (PSC) as teaching texts. The books themselves cover the original chiropractic paradigm, various topics viewed from the chiropractic perspective, the development of theory and ideas from the first chiropractic school, as well as a unique historical account of chiropractic events, scientific research, and the evolution of clinical methodologies over the profession’s first 60 years.
Few material items in the chiropractic profession stir up more passion and emotion than the Palmer Green Books. Some consider the books as the “alpha and omega” of the profession, with the very essence of chiropractic written within their pages. Others in the profession would like to see the Green Books burned and the Palmer ideas abandoned.
For the chiropractor who chooses to practice chiropractic as it was originally developed, the Green Books are akin to sacred texts. The Green Books are original source material containing the words of the founder and the developer. For many in the profession the Green Books define what chiropractic is and what chiropractic is not. Answers to countless questions may be found within the more than 20,000 written pages. For those looking to learn about the science, art, and philosophy of chiropractic, there is but one source, the Palmer Green Books.
The Definitive Guide was written as a comprehensive introduction to the Green Books. We hope it will appeal to anyone interested in the history, philosophy, science, or art of chiropractic. It could be read by chiropractic patients and practice members to better understand the foundations of chiropractic theory. It might also be read by historians, scholars, and health care providers interested in chiropractic. Specifically, we wrote Palmer Chiropractic Green Books: The Definitive Guide for practicing chiropractors, Green Book collectors, and the chiropractors of the future.
Few chiropractors have read any Green Books. Of those few, an even smaller number have read more than two or three of the books. The most commonly read Green Books are probably D.D. Palmer’s two books, B.J. Palmer’s Subluxation Specific Adjustment Specific and his Bigness of the Fellow Within, and Ralph Stephenson’s Chiropractic Textbook. Of the D.D. Palmer books it seems common for most readers to skim or selectively read passages, especially of his 1910 book, which takes a commitment to read from cover to cover. For these reasons we decided to create not only an introduction to every Green Book for beginners and collectors alike but an overview of the books. By discussing how the books developed, why they were written, and the central theories in each book, it is our hope that The Definitive Guide will become a resource for generations of chiropractors.
The first fifteen chapters are about the content of the books. Most chapters cover at least two books. Some chapters include up to eight books. Chapter One was written as a collaboration by all three authors: Faulkner, Foley, and Senzon. It provides a historical context for the books, how the chiropractic paradigm emerged, what the first teaching methods were like, and also some early conflicts in the profession, including the clash between D.D. Palmer and B.J. Palmer. The chapter also covers the legal pressures on the young profession and the emergence of the Chiropractic Book Series.
Chapters Two through Thirteen were written by Senzon, with historical and editorial insights from Faulkner and Foley. These chapters were developed to provide the modern reader with an accurate understanding of what is in Volumes 1-39 with an emphasis on the philosophical and theoretical developments. The goal was to provide an overview not a critique. So, we’ve glossed over things like typographical or other perceived errors. Our plan was to share what the books are about. Future works might take a more critical stance and examine the many theories against current insights from philosophy and science. However, some of the chapters do offer limited critiques, contexts, and philosophical perspectives. This was necessary in order to demonstrate the relevance of the texts for today’s chiropractor.
Since the focus of the book is the Green Books themselves, we chose to highlight any mention of the Green Books in advertisements, and reference within the books to the other volumes. We also highlighted quotes about the writing process and the development of the series.
Overall, the use of quotes is designed to assist the reader to understand the writing styles and learn important concepts from the authors themselves. We included many extended quotes so that the reader might develop a feel for the writings and to make sure the quotes are viewed in context. In that regard, in Vol. 38, B.J. Palmer writes:
“It is unfair and unjust to any author for any reader to take any section or sentence out of pretext, text, or context, and misinterpret the author’s overall premises of his book, in the light of what ONE SENTENCE might imply. Any book must be studied in its ENTIRETY and OVER-ALL elucidation of problems it solves.”
In a few instances, we abridged quotes with “…” to jump from one statement to another. This was done purely for aesthetics. Keeping such full quotes would have required unnecessary explanations in order to add the proper context. Readers may go to the original in such instances and read the complete text.
Unfortunately, the improper use of quotes is common in the chiropractic literature, often leading to misunderstandings about the history of ideas in chiropractic. This is another reason why a thorough study of the Green Books is essential so that the development of ideas in chiropractic might be more fully understood.
Also, please note that some of the language and writing style in the Green Books is unique. For example, D.D. and B.J. Palmer used shortened words, like “thot” replacing “thought.” This was a linguistic style from the early twentieth century. Additionally, both D.D. and B.J. Palmer had their own way with words. By providing extended quotes, we hope the reader might come to understand the complexity of the ideas and also develop an appreciation for the texts in a new way. Becoming acquainted with the unorthodox writing styles of the Palmers will better prepare readers for a more thorough reading of the Green Books.
In addition to the emphasis on theory and the books themselves, we highlighted writings about the history and research. This focus of The Definitive Guide is important because it offers a counterbalance to trends in the current chiropractic literature that is often divorced from historical fact. For example, several of the Green Books demonstrate a robust attempt to research and document the vertebral subluxation, written from first-person accounts. Some peer-reviewed literature today takes the stance that either the subluxation was never researched or that any research from earlier eras should be dismissed. We hope that by providing a more in-depth perspective on these topics the reader might judge the value of chiropractic science based on historical fact.
We have opted not to cite references throughout the text. A list of references is included at the end of the book. This was an aesthetic choice designed for the general readers and chiropractic students. We feel this way of learning about the Green Books, without being distracted by an overabundance of numbered endnotes or author’s names in parenthesis, will assist the new student of the books to focus on the ideas themselves. In that regard, we have also opted to leave out page numbers alongside each quote. All quotations are associated with each volume’s section or chapter. We expect that scholars and historians will study the references, especially if they have a question about any assertions made in the book.
The overall emphasis of the first part of the book is the chronological development of ideas throughout the Green Books. In this regard, an effort was made to limit repetition. This could be misleading for the reader who hopes to get a complete overview of each book. Many of the Green Books include the same basic definitions of terms like vertebral subluxation and Innate Intelligence. Some books even repeat chapters and passages from previous books. However, each book is unique in its overall focus and development of ideas. Please assume that the core ideas are congruent throughout the books unless we refer to a distinct change from one book to another, such as the shift to an upper cervical model of vertebral subluxation or years later to a full spine analysis. So, even if one of the central concepts from the chiropractic paradigm is not mentioned in regards to a particular volume, that does not mean the book skips the topic. By emphasizing the unique contribution from each book, rather than repeating identical definitions, The Definitive Guide explores the evolution of the ideas while offering an overview of the books. In order to acquire a complete understanding of any Green Book, it is essential to go to the source and read it.
Chapter Two is about D.D. Palmer’s first writings on chiropractic, with an emphasis on his writings between 1902 and 1906. D.D. Palmer’s writings from this period laid the foundation of the chiropractic paradigm and also comprised the core chapters of Vol. 1 of the Green Book Series. Chapter Two also includes some of the historical background of his early writings, a few references to his pre-1900 writings, as well as discussions of his earliest thoughts on disease, structure and function, mixing chiropractic, vertebral subluxation, Innate Intelligence, Educated Intelligence, and Universal Intelligence. Some of these early articles were also included in D.D. Palmer’s 1910 book.
Chapter Three includes an overview of 1906-1910. This includes an historical account of how Vol. 1 ultimately got published without D.D. Palmer’s final approval, even though he was listed as the primary author.
The chapter explores his 1906 theories about displaced articular surfaces and disease. The chapter also includes a chronological look at his Portland writings between 1908 and 1910, which were all included in his 1910 book. The examination of those writings emphasizes his critiques of other chiropractors, his theory of impingement, as well as his new thoughts on Innate. For example, in September 1909 he critiqued his own essay on Innate Intelligence originally written in 1903 and updated his theory. The chapter also includes a brief discussion of his 1910 book. This section emphasizes his theories that had not been significantly written about prior to 1910 such as tone and neuroskeleton.
Chapter Four is about D.D. Palmer’s final book, The Chiropractor, published posthumously in 1914. Since the book was a compilation of his final lectures from 1912 and 1913, the chapter explores the lectures as one body of thought. Thus, rather than viewing the book as a cohesive text, the ideas are broken down and explained in a logical order. For example, the initial sections include his ideas about tone, biological principles, health and disease, life and death, vital force and energy, impulse, neuroskeleton as a nerve-tension frame, vertebral subluxation, pinching versus impinging, etiology, inflammation, nerve tracing, and palpation. The second part of the chapter explores his theory of neurological habit grooves, the relationship between organism and environment, consciousness, Innate, and inspiration. The final sections of the chapter examine his proposed religious legal strategy, his views on subjective and objective religion, as well as chiropractic as a moral and religious duty, his “doctrine,” and also his thoughts about chiropractic’s impact on society and culture, along with his view of individual greatness and what he referred to as “the great advancement.”
Chapters Five and Six include overviews of Vols. 2-13. These books formed the canon of the textbooks that were used to teach the first generation of chiropractic students at the PSC. Chapter Five covers B.J. Palmer’s first six books. In those books, B.J. introduced new theories and practices, some of which became the foundation of the profession for decades. His new clinical applications and philosophical contributions were developed from the paradigm initiated by his father. For example, D.D. Palmer’s practice of nerve tracing was developed into the meric system, and his theory of dis-ease and abnormal function were developed into B.J.’s models of momentum, retracing, and nine primary functions. B.J. Palmer’s models were also developed in the context of his expanding clinical empiricism. He officially took over the school from his father in 1906 even though he had been running it since 1902. By 1909, the student clinic at PSC in Davenport was seeing more than 100 patients per day. Textbooks were needed for the growing student body, not only for philosophy and technique but for every core subject. Chapter Six explores the first textbooks written by PSC faculty between 1914-1920 on topics like Symptomatology, Physiology, Anatomy, Spinography, Chemistry, and Gynecology.
These first books in the PSC faculty series, which came to be known as the Green Books, demonstrate a pioneering philosophical approach to biology for the early twentieth century. The books shared a common viewpoint, the view from Innate. That is, not only did they consider the organism in terms of neurologically mediated self-organizing and self-healing processes but they tried to convey each physiological and clinical topic based on what Innate was attempting to do at any moment. This was in regard to normal function, interacting with the environment, and dealing with the consequences of vertebral subluxation. B.J. referred to this as “the chiropractic standpoint.” The early Green Books represent the first comprehensive attempt by a school of thought to publish a series of textbooks from an Innate perspective. These chiropractic texts foreshadowed late twentieth century theoretical biology with its theories of autopoiesis, complex systems, dissipative structures, and self-organization. Future chiropractic research and theory might build upon this foundation by understanding the ways these early chiropractors integrated the chiropractic paradigm into each discipline.
Chapters Seven, Eight, and Nine include the books published in the 1920s. Chapter Seven is about what we refer to as the Humanities Green Books: The Spirit of the PSC, Chiropractic Advertising, and Chiropractic Malpractice. The first book, The Spirit of the PSC was written as a novel by Leroy Nixon, a student, to capture the atmosphere of the school at its peak in the early 1920s. Chiropractic Advertising was written by Harry Vedder, a faculty member. It includes an overview of marketing practices in common use and also advice on communication and professionalism. Chiropractic Malpractice was written by Arthur Holmes, one of the chief lawyers who defended chiropractors in court. It includes legal advice, communication strategies, and a legalistic perspective on chiropractic from that era. Chapter Eight covers the legacy of John H. Craven, DC. He wrote two Green Books: Chiropractic Orthopedy and A Textbook on Hygiene and Pediatrics from a Chiropractic Standpoint, and, he also collaborated with B.J. Palmer on new editions of Vols. 1, 2, and 5. Those were B.J.’s main books of philosophy. As head of the Department of Philosophy, Craven was the teacher of Ralph W. Stephenson, DC.
Chapter Nine covers the life and work of R.W. Stephenson.Stephenson’s Chiropractic Textbook has had more impact on the profession than any of the books. His 1927 book was used for decades as the main philosophy text at the PSC. It is still used today to teach the core principles of chiropractic at several colleges around the world. The chapter provides a look at Stephenson’s life, his writings prior to and after 1927, and also an exploration of his second book, The Art of Chiropractic. Many of the main ideas published in his textbook were already described in his articles and his thesis, written in 1924. The chapter provides a context for the book and emphasizes his contributions to chiropractic theory.
Like the earlier Green Books, Stephenson’s integration of the chiropractic paradigm might be viewed as a precursor to late twentieth century theoretical biology, systems views on clinical practice, and body/mind approaches to health and healing. Additionally, his text could be viewed as contemporary for the time.
It was written at a time in Western culture when biology was a relatively new discipline and biologists were seeking to establish definitions of life based on the holistic organizing relations of parts rather than on the parts themselves. Here is one example of the holistic perspective inherent to Stephenson’s text. He writes:
“If a number of interdependent parts are to have a cooperative relation with each other, they must be grouped about a central idea, a common need or governing principle. This governing principle is Innate Intelligence.”
What theoretical biologists refer to today as “self-organization,” the biologist of the 1920s referred to as “organization.” The Green Books used the term “organization” more than eighty times to refer to the body’s innate ability to self-organize. Stephenson refers to Innate Intelligence as the scientific “law of organization.” Understanding how the chiropractic paradigm and its development in the Green Books was a part of wider trends in biological thinking within the culture may help today’s chiropractor to find new relevance in the texts and also provide new avenues of exploration for the chiropractic researcher.
Even though Stephenson and other chiropractic theorists of that era published ideas that were congruent with early twentieth-century theoretical biologists, chiropractic texts were not integrated with main-stream health or science literature. The Green Books were mostly self-published by the PSC. This was a common practice of chiropractic colleges, many of which published two or three texts.
Chapters Ten and Eleven are about the research pamphlets and the research textbooks from the 1920s and the 1930s. Chapter Ten includes an overview of the many pamphlets B.J. Palmer published between 1924 and 1933. These were his yearly reports delivered at Lyceum about the various research studies undertaken, starting with the first thermography research and ending with the upper cervical model of the torqued subluxation. Most of these pamphlets were integrated into future Green Books.
Chapter Eleven covers the research textbooks published between 1934 and 1938. The first book, Vol. 18, introduced B.J. Palmer’s approach to the upper cervical subluxation specific adjustment. In 1936, Vol. 19, B.J. gave his first report on the new B.J. Palmer Chiropractic Research Clinic. In 1938, Vol. 20, B.J. Palmer published a text on x-ray analysis using comparative graphs and Percy Remier, DC, published Chiropractic Spinography as Vol. 21, which included the latest advances in x-ray technology and analysis.
Chapter Twelve explores B.J. Palmer’s tomes. Between 1949 and 1953, he published Vols. 22-29. Each book was more than 700 pages in length. The chapter includes the main philosophical and theoretical contributions of the books along with several important details. These texts lay the foundation for B.J. Palmer’s final refinements and evolution of the Innate philosophy, including his emphasis on Innate Thot Flashes and the integration of his 14 years of clinical research using thermography, x-ray analysis, and other innovations like shielded grounded booths, and the invention of the electroencephalneuromentimpograph. The chapter also describes much of what is in the books including letters, research studies, older philosophy essays, as well as historical and autobiographical accounts. Additionally, until this chapter was written, there was no account in the literature of the way older pamphlets were used in later Green Books. One of the reasons why B.J. Palmer was able to publish so many thousands of pages in such a short time was because dozens of chapters are comprised of pamphlets, some of which were written as early as 1911. He did not include the dates for most of the original writings and so it is probable that many chiropractors have viewed these chapters as if they were written in the 1950s.
Chapters Thirteen, Fourteen, and Fifteen cover B.J. Palmer’s final writings; Vols. 32-39. B.J. published these final eight books between 1955 and 1961. The books focused on philosophy, research, technique, theory, and reflect on his life in the context of the development of chiropractic. He started publishing one book per year and delivered the talks at Lyceum. His nephew, William H. Quigley wrote about B.J.’s dedication to teaching during those last years of his life. Quigley writes:
“During the summers of 1955 through 1960 B. J. wanted to keep in touch with the students and planned on addressing each of the school’s 12 classes. He would lecture from eight until ten, taking time to answer questions from the student body. He would rarely have time during the year to meet this schedule, because of travel and other commitments, yet each year he would try again. He did make certain that he had at least one opportunity to talk with each class before their graduation.”
In spite of B.J. Palmer’s debilitating health challenges during the 1950s, he continued to write, to meet with his team running the PSC and Palmer Broadcasting, and he started planning for the inevitable. Quigley writes:
“As B.J. pondered his mortality he did what many other men did before him, he sought means of perpetuating his name and work…
During the last years he clearly seemed compelled to publish what he considered proof of chiropractic in general and his philosophic beliefs in particular.”
The last of the Green Books convey an evolution of B.J. himself. This evolution is most notable in his more spiritual writings as well as his attitude towards critics and detractors. He became more accepting and seemed to acquire a new type of insight about human nature. He recog-nized that his audience was targeted. He wrote for them.
Chapter Thirteen covers Vols. 32-34, Chapter Fourteen covers Vols. 35 and 36, and Chapter Fifteen covers Vols. 37-39. Each book represents a distinct body of knowledge. The chapter sections dedicated to each volume are categorized with topical subheadings so as to better introduce the reader to the complexity and range of ideas. The books build upon new avenues of Innate philosophy, many of which were first described in Vol. 22 published in 1949. In these, his last writings, it is possible to track new developments of ideas, an evolution of theories, and a historical perspective that brings context to chiropractic as a profession.
B.J. Palmer’s final eight books are an ideal place to begin any study of his life and work. The books themselves are relatively short, especially in comparison to the tomes. Any study of the Green Books could begin with Vol. 32 and, over the course of several months, systematically continue through Vol. 39. In this way, B.J. Palmer’s final writings offer any student of chiropractic an excellent place to get started. These books provide a glimpse into a life of continual growth and discovery, as well as the development of theory in relation to all aspects of chiropractic.
For Green Book Collectors
Chapters Sixteen, Seventeen, and Eighteen, were written by Faulkner and Foley, with editorial and historical insight from Senzon. These chapters were the inspiration for The Definitive Guide, which was originally intended to be a resource for Green Book collectors and gradually evolved into the current form. The detail in these chapters include the definition of a Green Book, ways to determine authenticity, rarity, and value of a book, an exploration of the history of Green Book publications, and a novel category system to distinguish between every edition of every Green Book.
Generations of chiropractors have been collecting Green Books. Many chiropractors have claimed to own a complete “set” of Green Books. Usually this means they have all the books that were issued while they or their relative was a student at Palmer. It was common for Palmer graduates to keep their Green Books even after they had retired and stopped practicing. Many kept their books until they died, their Green Books meant that much to them. Since the Green Books were produced over a nearly sixty-year span, it is doubtful that any chiropractor was ever able to purchase each book as it was initially issued. Even B.J. Palmer could not have owned a complete set of published books because the last two Green Books were published posthumously.
After B.J. Palmer died in 1961, the profession entered a “dark age” of chiropractic philosophy. The philosophy of chiropractic was not stressed as strongly in chiropractic schools. Most of the early Green Books were long out of print. New chiropractic books discussing philosophy were rare. Young chiropractors began to search for Green Books. The authors have found small want-ads from the early 1970s, when chiropractors were seeking Green Books. One chiropractor told us that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, he advertised in the classified “wanted” section of chiropractic magazines. Generally speaking, he paid $100 for a Palmer-authored Green Book and $50 for non-Palmer books. He did not know what books existed and was always excited to find a book he did not have. Oftentimes the buyer would have to purchase all the books in a lot. He would be contacted in response to his ad by a retired doctor or the family of a deceased chiropractor. They would say they have a specific number of books and a price would be negotiated. This method led to duplicates in collections, which were often traded with other chiropractors also seeking Green Books.
Some of the initial volumes from the 1920s and earlier are on their third or even fourth owners. Books from the late 1950s are just coming available because their original owners are now elderly and parting with their prized possessions.
Our intent is to disseminate the most detailed knowledge available of the physical books themselves. This is the first significant update to the literature about the Green Books since Glenda Wiese and Michelle Lykens published A Bibliography of the Palmer Green Books in Print, in 1986. We hope that the collector may better understand the subtle nuances of the various books and make informed collecting decisions. This book provides knowledge for the Green Book collector about the individual Green Books to be sought and offers an idea of the rarity and value. Collecting Green Books is an extension of passion for the chiropractic profession.
The Wiese and Lykens bibliography introduced the profession to facts about how many Green Books were actually produced over the years. Prior to their bibliography, the only accurate lists of the books were old PSC catalogs, which listed books that were available but not books that were out of print, reissued volume numbers, or those not yet written. For example, doctors tried to collect every volume number but did not know that some numbers were used twice. Wiese and Lykens demonstrated that several volume numbers had been used on completely different books and that two volume numbers were missing from the series: Vols. 30 and 31. Their bibliography became a “shopping list” for the modern Green Book collector. It is only since their Green Book bibliography that collectors have been able to truly collect a complete set of Green Books.
Chapter Sixteen covers special considerations about the Green Books such as reissued volume numbers, missing volume numbers, unnumbered Green Books, other Palmer books, covers, leather bound special editions, private collections, author mock-ups, signed and inscribed editions, numbered editions, non-traditional sized Green Books, the difference between editions and printings, supplements to editions, and modern reprints.
Chapter Eighteen covers the rarity and value of a Green Book. Since collectors traditionally did not know what books even existed, pricing was arbitrary. We will attempt to take some of the guesswork out of collecting. The chapter includes a rarity and desirability scale (also used in the Green Book Master List); how to value Green Books; the art of trading, buying, and selling Green Books, as well as how to assess book condition and guidelines for repairing damaged books.
Before the Internet, finding Green Books was limited to advertising in chiropractic journals, from estate sales of deceased chiropractors, and contacting used bookstores in person. The Internet opened the inventory of every bookstore in the world to online buyers. In an instant, the inventory of thousands of used bookstores could be searched, and Green Books bought for the listed price. And yet, booksellers had no idea how to price these books. Some would be listed for only a dollar or two, others would be listed for exceptionally high prices.
Green Book pricing, rarity, value, and desirability became more established with online auctions such as eBay and other auctions listing Green Books for sale. This system of buying and selling began to set a true market-price for Green Books. In an online auction, as buyers bid against each other, prices began to be established. The rarer books had serious bidding wars resulting in high prices. The more common books would sell for as low as $20 and were readily available. If there were no interested buyers, the Green Book would not sell at all. Over the past fifteen years prices have fluctuated based on supply and demand. During a period of oversupply and less demand, prices dropped. The rarer Green Books continue to command a high value.
When B.J. officially took over the PSC in 1906, there were not many students. In those early years, B.J. did not need many books printed. However, he did print more books than he needed for the current students. Some books were sold to former students as well as potential students studying at home. Of course the future PSC student would need books. By 1919, the PSC had several thousand students. At that point many thousands of books were printed and sold by the PSC to its students. This simple detail is a big factor in the rarity of Green Book editions. Many of the early books were printed in such limited amounts that they are very rare today. Green Books for the 1920s were printed by the thousands, and as such, many have more supply than demand.
The Definitive Guide was also written to act as an anchor to the chiropractic paradigm. The rhetoric in the chiropractic profession today needs such an anchor. There are articles published in the peer-reviewed literature attacking the chiropractic paradigm without adequate historical references. Some of these articles suggest that philosophy and vertebral subluxation should be dropped in the trash bin of history because they are no longer needed and perhaps never were. This type of ahistorical rhetoric, usually backed up by a plethora of circular and faulty references, is taking root in the profession and influencing board decisions, institutional policies, and threatening the ability of good chiropractors to practice. On the other end of the spectrum, philosophy is sometimes used in chiropractic to support unfounded claims, historical facts are too often mistaken, and narrowly focused beliefs limit the profession’s ability to develop. It is our fervent hope that this book will guide the next generation of chiropractors like a candle lit in the darkness.