In order to celebrate International Women’s Day, which occurs every March 8th during Women’s History Month, we would like to highlight a selection of international women who have studied at Palmer and who have contributed significantly to the successful establishment and promotion of chiropractic around the world.

In 1904, Mrs. Barbara Brake from Melbourne, Australia travelled to Davenport with her sister-in-law, Martha Brake Thompson, to obtain D.D. Palmer’s help in relieving the pain of her congenitally dislocated hips. They stayed in Davenport  to study chiropractic, and then returned to Melbourne and established their own practices. Mrs. Barbara Brake is believed to be the first chiropractic patient and practitioner from Australia. Other Australian women soon followed suit, with Helen McKenzie being the first Australian chiropractic graduate, completing her studies at Palmer in 1923. She is pictured here in an advertisement for her practice that appeared in The Chiropractor, May 1931.

Marjaleena Mäkinen was born in 1940 in Pori, Finland. She travelled to Norway seeking relief from bad asthma and discovered chiropractic. She was inspired to study chiropractic herself, graduating from Palmer College of Chiropractic in March 1968. After she graduated from Palmer she returned to Finland to start her own practice but was challenged by the National Board of Health (NBH), who suggested that she return to the U.S. Not to be deterred, Mäkinen hired a lawyer and was able to open her own chiropractic practice in May 1969 in her hometown of Pori, and despite further confrontation, the practice still survives today as the oldest chiropractic clinic in Finland. To learn more about Mäkinen or other European women of chiropractic, check out Chiropractic in Europe: An Illustrated History, which is available both in Special Collections and in the circulating collection of the Library.       —Rosemary Riess