TICVLOG 06: DD Palmer’s Books

TIC VLOG Episode 6 explores the question of D.D. Palmer’s two books. Both books were authored by D.D. Palmer. The first one was published by him in 1910. The second one was published by his widow in 1914. D.D. Palmer died October 20, 1913.

In 1921, B.J. Palmer republished the books as one volume. He included this in the Greenbooks series as the second Volume 4. The first Vol. 4 was published in 1908. B.J. edited the book. He took out some of the unflattering critiques about himself. He also removed other content. In the video, I mention one of the edits I found about Jim Atkinson. I am sure there are other edits to be discovered.


There are so many interesting things we could expand upon from this topic.

  • D.D. Palmer published articles criticizing B.J. Palmer’s Vols. 2 and 3. The articles started in December 1908 and continued through early 1910. These were first published in his journal The Chiropractor Adjuster. The articles were lightly edited and included in his 1910 book, Text-book of the Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic for Students and Practitioners. On the spine, it reads, “The Chiropractor’s Adjuster.”
  • Even though D.D. Palmer’s two books were published in 1921, few chiropractors knew about them. For example, Clarence Wieant, DC, PhD, published a classic article in 1979 on “philosophy” in chiropractic as a misnomer. In the article, he claimed that he did not know about D.D.’s 1914 book until the 1960s (even though he graduated in 1924!). Perhaps he just wasn’t paying attention to the new Greenbooks being published while he was in school.
  • When thinking of B.J. Palmer’s loose use of historical fact, I can’t help but think about Bob Dylan. In his autobiographical book, Chronicles, as well as of some recent songs, Dylan was accused of plagiarizing whole passages. When taken in context, it looks as though Dylan was adopting a style of writing reminiscent of traditional folk tunes, classical poetry, and a type of writing that emerged in the 1930s. Perhaps we should view B.J. Palmer’s writings alongside the Nobel Laureate?
  • The first volume of the Greenbooks was published in Autumn 1906. That book is primarily a compilation of D.D. Palmer’s articles prior to March 1906. D.D. Palmer left Davenport in Spring 1906. B.J. Palmer hired a college professor to edit the book and include several other chapters by B.J. and articles from other authors. B.J. published the second edition in 1910 and the third edition in 1917. These editions included new chapters and edited old ones.

Resources for this Episode:


  • www.facebook.com/institutechiro
  • www.instagram.com/simonsenzon


* Music written, arranged, and performed by Dan Mills, Mark Goodell, Adam Podd

TIC @ Mile High

Thank you, Dr. Daniel Knowles, for posting a video of the philosophy panel from Mile High 4. The panel took place in Westminster, Colorado in August of 2016.

The Institute Chiropractic (TIC) organized the panel. This included Dr. Simon Senzon and three members of TIC: Dr. Barry Hobbs, Dr. Jack Bourla, and Dr. Phil McMaster, as well as Dr. Joel Kinch as the MC (another member of TIC).

Please click on the image to go directly to the Mile High page and watch the discussion.

Some Questions for the Ages

We decided to use three short videos from The Institute Chiropractic to inspire discussion. The topics ranged from B.J. Palmer’s thots about Innate Intelligence, Educated Intelligence, and Function, to various types of Vertebral Subluxation, and ultimately Universal Intelligence. The videos were just a starting point.

The discussions ranged from the complexities of Innate Intelligence to the interesting life of D.D. Palmer. By watching the discussion, you may learn some new facts. You will certainly discover what types of interactions await at the next Mile High and on the discussion forums of TIC.

B.J. Palmer’s Vol 2

In 1907, B.J. Palmer published his first book. It was based on his lectures. He called it Volume 2 in the new series on the Science of Chiropractic. B.J. considered this the second philosophical book. Volume 1 was primarily a compilation of his father’s writings. Volumes 3 and 4 came out in 1908 and Volume 5 in 1909. The chiropractic literature is mostly silent on Vol. 2, even though it was one of the most significant contributions to chiropractic theory of the last century. Many of the ideas B.J. put forth in this text were unique.

This short video clip is part of a lecture on the first edition of the book. Each clip explores one idea or one aspect of B.J.’s theories. His Innate theory built upon his father’s theory of Innate Intelligence, which were developed in 1903 and 1905. B.J. takes it further. We could even compare his ideas to more recent theories associated with enactive cognitive science and autopoiesis.


  • B.J. Palmer wrote about 34 books often referred to as The Greenbooks.
  • His early inspiration was from his father whose first chiropractic writings were compiled as Volume 1.
  • Robert Fuller considered D.D. Palmer’s contribution a unique integration of Spiritualist ideas with science.
  • The ideas from Vol. 2 were congruent with modern theories of enaction and autopoiesis.
  • The development of the chiropractic paradigm by the Palmers can be viewed as a form of Systems Science.

To learn more please join The Institute Chiropractic and get access to over two hundred video and audio clips.

Chiropractic Bohemian Conspiracy

The Bohemian Conspiracy started in chiropractic around 1903. It was a movement initiated by D.D. Palmer’s students who became his competitors to discredit him. Starting with Langworthy and Smith, it was suggested that D.D. Palmer took chiropractic from Iowan Bohemians, who practiced a form of spinal manipulation as a folk remedy. Not long after, this line of thinking shows up in the books of Davis, Gregory, and Forster, all leaders of rival schools.

This lecture was produced for the new online CE Chiropractic Program offered through The Institute Chiropractic (TIC). Members of TIC get big discounts for the CE courses offered through Sherman College. Other member benefits include access to over 160 clips, over 25 hours of content, a social network and an amazing archive.


  • The definitive article on the Bohemian Thrust and chiropractic was written by Gary Bovine.
  • The first chiropractic textbook to include Bohemian concepts was Modernized Chiropractic by Smith, Langworthy, and Paxson. The three ran The American School of Chiropractic and Nature Cure.
  • Alva Gregory included arguments about the Bohemians in his chiropractic text. Gregory ran the Palmer-Gregory School (even though Palmer was only involved with him for three months, Gregory kept his name on the corporate charter.)
  • Arthur Forster took up the Bohemian idea in his 1915 book, Principles and Practices of Chiropractic. Forster ran the National School of Chiropractic with Schultz.
  • Many chiropractic historians have included a history of spinal manipulation, which is an important aspect of history. However, without including the fact that such an approach was originated to discredit D.D. Palmer as the inventor of chiropractic, any history will be limited.
  • To view the other segments of this lecture please join The Institute Chiropractic.

D.D. Palmer’s Inspiration

D.D. Palmer’s inspiration came from his friend, student, and rival A.P. Davis. Davis was one of the first graduates from A.T. Still’s school. He was also the second graduate of Palmer’s new school in 1898.

I just produced five lectures about Davis. The emphasis is on his impact on early chiropractic. I really like this one clip because it captures D.D. Palmer’s depth of knowledge. Palmer mastered the literature of his day.

Davis impacted modern chiropractic. He was the first chiropractor to integrate the biomedical model into the chiropractic paradigm. He was also the first chiropractor to include other therapies alongside chiropractic. His books were read and integrated by the leading chiropractors of the day such as Howard, Langworthy, Loban, and Gregory. They laid the foundation for today’s chiropractic.

The biggest impact of Davis on chiropractic was the role he played as D.D. Palmer’s inspiration. D.D. was forced to develop his theories of impingement, vertebral subluxation, tone, and the neuroskeleton. He had to distinguish what his ideas were in response to his students. Davis was one of the biggest antagonists.


To watch the rest of the Davis lectures (five short videos) please join The Institute Chiropractic today!


This is the first dialogue in the new series produced by THE INSTITUTE CHIROPRACTIC (TIC). Each TIC DIALOGUE preview is available for one and all. By joining the new Institute or TIC, you get access the full dialogue and a great deal more. Membership includes dozens of video lectures, audio content, rare archives, and a social network. You also get access to members discounts on online continuing education credits.


Simon Senzon talks with Joe Foley about several of Joe’s recent papers on D.D. Palmer’s life and writings. Dr. Foley is one of the leading authorities on D.D. Palmer’s books. His research is helping to reshape the discipline of history in chiropractic.


  • Foley J,M. D.D. Palmer’s Second Book The Chiropractor 1914-Revealed. Chiro Hist. 2016;36(2):72-86.
  • Foley, J.M (w/ Valdivia, J.) T4 vs C2: Examining the conflicting statements of D.D. Palmer and B.J. Palmer regarding the Harvey Lillard adjustment. Chiro Hist. 2016;35(2):68-79.
  • Foley, J.M. Book Review: An early history of chiropractic; The Palmers and Australia by Rolf Peters. Chiro Hist.  2016;35(2):93.
  • Foley J.M. (w/ Faulkner, T.) The Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic by D.D. Palmer: Identification and Rarity of Editions in Print with a Survey of Original Copies. Chiro Hist. 2015;35(1):36-45.
  • Foley J,M. D.D. Palmer and Phrenology. Chiro Hist. 2011;31(1):49-58.
  • Foley J,M. D.D. Palmer and Phrenology, letter to the editor. Chiro Hist. 2011;31(2):7-9.
  • Foley J,M. The Founder of Chiropractic Consistently Kept Things Secret. Chiro Hist. 2005;25(2):47-48.
  • Foley J,M. A Brief glimpse into the Early Life of Dr. Dave Palmer. Chiro Hist. 2003;23(1):33-38.

(Reprinted by permission of the Association for the History of Chiropractic.)

D.D. Palmer’s Contribution: TIC VLOG EPISODE 1

This is the first episode of my new video blog. On these short videos I will be talking about my latest research into the history and philosophy of chiropractic. I will also answer questions. TIC VLOG Episode one includes a question from Pat MC about D.D. Palmer’s original contribution and how it was different from osteopathy.


  • D.D. Palmer’s chiropractic technique was probably not influenced by osteopathic methods.
  • Palmer’s earliest chiropractic ideas included nerve stretching and nerve tension.
  • D.D. Palmer’s concept of nerve impingement dates to 1903.
  • By the time of his final writings Palmer developed his theories of the neuroskeleton and tone.

Resources from this episode


What We Know of D.D. Palmer has Quadrupled

What we know of D.D. Palmer has quadrupled. His life is no longer the mystery it once was although it has some mysterious qualities. In the last three years we have learned more about D.D. Palmer than in the last thirty.

One biography was written about him in 1981. I remember sitting in my chiropractor’s office in the early nineties. He had Old Dad Chiro on the shelf. It is wonderful little book.

Gielow included excerpts from Palmer’s journals and even the name and date on B.J. Palmer’s birth certificate.  He wrote just enough to get you started but it was written before computers, the internet, newspaper archive databases, and before the content and context of D.D. Palmer’s life was really understood.

When we add the recent discoveries to the fact that there are no current critiques of Palmer’s writings it becomes evident that we are in a new era of D.D. Palmer scholarship.

The D.D. Palmer Literature

The classic writings on D.D. Palmer are all worth studying. In the 1930s and 1940s Cooley wrote about his mentor. I published those a few years ago. Harper wrote his book Anything Can Cause Anything in the 1960s to update Palmer. I mentioned Gaucher-Pelsherbe’s work from 1980s and 1990s a few months ago. One of the most well-known writings on D.D. is the work of Keating but there is NO critical literature on his analyses of the evolution of D.D. Palmer’s ideas.

In recent years there have been some amazing articles on D.D. Palmer including Brown’s exploration of Dad Chiro and his raspberry bushes, Foley’s confirmation that D.D. Palmer did not teach phrenology in the 1880s, as well as some fascinating articles by Bovine on Palmer’s adjusting style and by Faulkner and Foley on Palmer’s books.*

But it is the most recent books on D.D. Palmer that now equal about 80% of what know of him!

The Rolf Peters’ Chiropractic History Revolution

The impact Rolf Peters has had on the chiropractic profession is impossible to estimate. Since 1957 when he graduated from Palmer Chiropractic College, Peters has been trailblazing new frontiers for the profession. As co-editors of the Chiropractic Journal of Australia for thirty years, Rolf and his wife Mary Ann Chance helped to shape the profession. Their history articles set the bar for a new generation of chiropractic historians.

Rolf’s ten years of research in the Palmer archives for his thesis at RMIT University was developed into a book in 2014. We should have called the book The Palmers from 1902-1945.

Rolf’s history of the life and times of D.D. Palmer and B.J. Palmer during the time period of chiropractic’s emergence is interwoven with the larger story. The book is the most detailed history of the Palmer school ever written. It includes facts about the early history of chiropractic published nowhere else.

Reviews of Rolf’s book were just published in two different journals! The Journal of Chiropractic Humanities published a review by Glenda Wiese in December. The journal Chiropractic History published a review by Joe Foley in the Winter 2016 issue.*

The Waters’ Quartet

Todd Waters compiled four books spanning D.D. Palmer’s life in the United States from 1869-1913. In the first book, Waters found D.D.’s articles from the American Bee Journal in the 1870s when Palmer was mastering his craft as a bee keeper. The second and third books track D.D.’s life and his various careers from 1882-1888, which include some interesting and strange events.

My favorite one of the books is Chasing D.D. It traces Palmer’s time from just before he invented chiropractic until his death in 1913. It is filled with stories and writings that people already know but with text of original ads and newspaper clippings that are priceless. It debunks several myths.

The Real D.D. Palmer

I am developing my talk for the Berkshire Philosophy Event in April. The event is sold out. Please be sure to register EARLY for 2017. It is one the premiere events in the profession. My talk will integrate many of the latest ideas we know about Palmer.

I just completed my notes for the event, which include about fifty pages of text. Because of all of this new material I was able to go beyond my previous writings on The Secret History and D.D.’s Traveling Library. It also includes my own historical discoveries and a few that have not yet been published by other historians. I’ll share more on those another day.

DD Palmer’s Quote to John Howard

DD Palmer wrote four letters to his student John Howard in 1906. One of these letters has a DD Palmer quote that is still used today. Palmer gave Howard his blessing. But not really.

Howard graduated from PSC in 1905 and then joined the faculty. DD Palmer’s letters encouraged Howard to start teaching. He opened the National School in 1906. The location was the Ryan Block. DD practiced, taught, and lived in that building from 1888-1902. The P.S.C. moved in 1905.

A Troubled Time for DD

The letters were written during one of DD’s most difficult times. His wife of 22 years just died. He married his fifth wife. His grandson was born. He lost at trial and went to prison for practicing medicine without a license.

After jail DD and BJ went through arbitration to protect the school. DD signed the school over to Mabel and left BJ in charge. The whole incident created a rift between DD, BJ, and their wives. DD moved to Medford, Oklahoma, where he opened a grocery store. He wrote the letters to Howard from Oklahoma. He was growing in his anger towards BJ.

The Qualified Endorsement

DD Palmer wrote to Howard, “Why should I not approve of your teaching the Science of Chiropractic…In practice and as a teacher I consider you more and better qualified than BJ and I think I know you both.”

I could write a book on the BJ bashing from this time period. That is not relevant to my main point. What matters is DD Palmer’s next quote.

He qualified his endorsement in capital letters, “I AM PLEASED TO LEARN THAT YOU ARE NOT MIXING.”

DD is plainly stating, Yes, I endorse you Howard, as long as you don’t mix chiropractic with any other therapies or the practice of medicine. That is what he meant by mixing.

As early as 1902 DD wrote of the problems with mixing other methods with chiropractic (see Zarbuck). Years later he would write, “No thank you, I do not mix, I give Chiropractic straight. If it were mixed with all the methods offered, it would soon lose its identity.”

I am NOT bringing this up to reignite old flames or even to choose sides in an old battle. I bring it up to point out how our history has been distorted. Those distortions have had consequences.

DD Palmer’s Quote Misquoted

As early as the 1920s, leaders from National were using selections from these letters in their advertising. They were trying to demonstrate that Howard was the rightful heir to the chiropractic kingdom, not BJ. And that meme still floats around today! Here’s why.

Several historians have either ignored this particular quote or twisted it. When history is misrepresented students get a skewed picture of what is real. A problem indeed.

For just one example, I will tell you about Beideman. He is my favorite offender because he didn’t just ignore the quote he created a unique and strange interpretation. Check this out:

“Those familiar with the history of chiropractic are aware that classifying all chiropractors into one of two groups (“Straights” or “Mixers”) completely politicized the entire profession early on. It may interest historians to note that D.D.’s 1906 usage of those words bore no resemblance to their more modern connotation.

It seems as though chiropractic’s discoverer used the terms straight chiropractic to mean straight truthfulness. This was in contradiction to his use of the words mixer or mixing when referring to things which were not factual.”

He created his own definition of mixing – lying. That is just incorrect.

Beideman was the official National historian. He was clearly enamored by his topic. Unfortunately, this clouded his writing and distorted history in one book and several articles. His 1996 article on The Howard Encyclopedia is another example! (Reprinted with permission by the AHC.)

Howard’s Background

Howard’s 1910 Encyclopedia was a compendium of every natural method of the day. The book also includes his writings on chiropractic and philosophy.

Howard’s embrace of all things natural started long before he sought out chiropractic.

Between 1895-1898, Howard was on a Mormon mission trip to Europe. While there he studied Kneip’s hydrotherapy. When he returned he opened the Salt Lake Sanitarium with Drs. Gowens and Miller. Howard was in charge of treatment. The facility was fully integrated with medical doctors.

Howard was one of the first in the middle chiropractic paradigm. His students would lead the medical chiropractic paradigm.

History in the Making

It is unfortunate that some of our historical accounts are jaded, distorted, and incorrect. It will take time and patience for us to right these wrongs and learn from the past. Historians of chiropractic have helped to define chiropractic. We need to hold them accountable to that important job.

My intention with these blog posts is to bring up glitches in our historical accounting. To tell stories that shed new light on why things happened the way they did. And, to interpret meaning in more complex ways.

Ideally, these posts will help you to better understand the history of ideas in chiropractic. Knowing the history of ideas and being able to situate the context of DD Palmer’s quotes will make you better at what you do. It may even help to weave the profession together around common understanding.

DD Palmer’s Chiropractic Ideas

My favorite story from the early days of DD Palmer’s chiropractic comes from 1902.

BJ Palmer was practicing in Manistique, Michigan. BJ got a telegram from his dad asking him to return home. When BJ arrived, DD had sold almost everything. He was leaving for California. DD told his son to gather up $200 and meet him there.

This was an extraordinary situation. Palmer had a busy practice, a school, and 42 rooms on the top floor of the Ryan block. I always knew about this story. The facts did not make sense until I studied Rolf Peters’ book and got a copy of the ad.

DD Palmer’s Only Full-page Ad

The circumstances were strange. DD skipped town with loads of debt. Back rent was due and he had patients to care for. Weirder still was that the day he left town on July 14, 1902, he published his first full page ad in the newspaper.

DD also included a short article for the paper. The article explained why he decided to post the ad. I got copies of both from the Davenport Library.  The article explains that BJ’s ad from May had done so well that he decided to run his own.

The ad itself is amazing. It described the basics of DD Palmer’s chiropractic paradigm for the first time.

DD Palmer’s Chiropractic Year

Because of this ad and some other writings from earlier in the year, I declare that 1902 was DD Palmer’s chiropractic year.

He uses the term luxation more than ever. (He didn’t start using the new term subluxation until 1903.) He also described the importance of the IVF and how nerve pressure leads to disease. Health is when the body is at ease. This is when the nerves are free to act naturally or as nature intended.

There were several other ideas that he described at this time including “our philosophy of treatment” and his first use of innate intelligence. He even described the main principle as: take off the pressure.

The Chiropractic Paradigm

The chiropractic paradigm is like any paradigm. It has a distinct theory that is brought forth or enacted by a practice or method. His writings from 1902 form the foundation of DD Palmer’s chiropractic paradigm.

DD Palmer’s chiropractic paradigm can be described like this:

The body is self-healing and self-organizing. This self-organizing, coordinating, and otherwise normally functioning process is the work of the Innate Intelligence.

Innate Intelligence operates over the nervous system. Subluxations create dis-ease because the nerves are mechanically deranged. This causes pressure. Pressure leads to abnormal function. The chiropractic adjustment replaces the displaced vertebra. (DD wrote that chiropractors work with all 300 articulations but primarily the spine.)

The analysis and ultimately the adjustment combine as the method. The method brings forth the paradigm.

It is important to understand DD Palmer’s chiropractic paradigm for many reasons. One reason is that it gives us a frame of reference to understand the paradigms that branched from it. I call these the middle chiropractic paradigm and the medical chiropractic paradigm. I will write about those in future blog posts.

The Story Continues

The rest of this story is even more compelling. DD wrote an article in 1905 titled Insanity. This article explains his reasons for heading west. Thomas Storey, one of the graduates from his school disappeared. Storey’s wife contacted DD for help.

Storey was spotted on the West Coast and had some form of amnesia. Palmer found him and adjusted his atlas. His insanity was cured.

And then of course there is BJ Palmer’s part of the story. (For the details, you should really get Rolf Peters’ book!)

BJ decided to stay and save the Palmer name. He ran his own ad series in August.

Those ads boosted his practice and the school. He paid off the debt, bought an automobile, and launched his career. The final ad in the series includes some of BJ’s first important chiropractic ideas.

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