Famous Iowans

In the October 12, 2003 publication of the Des Moines Register comes a fascinating feature on the founder of chiropractic D.D. Palmer. The article begins by noting, "D.D. Palmer held many jobs before finding his calling. He then made a discovery that put his name in history books and added a fresh dimension to health care." The discovery the publication talks about is the birth of the chiropractic profession.

The story explained that DD Palmer started humbly. Daniel David Palmer was born in Pickering Ontario, which happens to be located close to Port Perry, Ontario, Canada, on March 7, 1845. He was schooled at Port Perry and then as a young man arrived at Iowa to work. Having a talent for selling, he sold honey from his own hives, and at What Cheer he sold fish to farmers. For a short time he ran a food market. Following that Palmer became a school teacher and began studying phrenology, the conformations of the skull. Then, in the late 1880s, he learned the skill of magnetic healing in Burlington. Magnetic healing practitioners believed they could use their bodies' magnetism to heal others. Palmer's place in history was set when in 1895 he helped a janitor, Harvey Lillard, who had lost his hearing 17 years earlier when he bent over after which he heard a popping sound within his spine. Palmer adjusted the man's spine spanning a three-day period to remove a bump, and on the 3rd day, Harvey's hearing improved.

Palmer's success had not been fast or overly apparent in his lifetime. In 1906, he was found guilty of practicing medicine without a license. He served 23 days of a 105-day sentence and paid a fine of $350. In 1913, Kansas had become the first state to license chiropractic practitioners, and the reputation of the profession improved over the decades. The last of the 50 US states to grant chiropractors licenses was Louisiana in 1974. Although his son BJ Palmer was credited with a lot of the creation of the chiropractic profession, DD Palmer will always be called the discoverer of Chiropractic. He was born in 1845. He died in1913 in Los Angeles, and his ashes were returned to Davenport for burial in a monument on the Palmer Chiropractic College campus.


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