Continuing with the Women’s History Month celebrations, we of course need to highlight Mabel H. Palmer, D.C., Ph.C., an anatomist and foremost woman chiropractor who is much heralded in the chiropractic field. She was a leader and inspiration to female chiropractors, successfully combining her role as wife and mother with teaching at Palmer for over four decades.
Mabel founded the oldest chiropractic organization in the world, the Sigma Phi Chi Sorority, and authored the first chiropractic anatomy textbook, Anatomy (1918). Her influence is also evident by her pamphlet, “A Woman’s Appeal to Women,” which was published in the early 1920s and is available in Palmer’s Special Collections and Archives.
In this pamphlet Mabel encourages women to consider a career in chiropractic. She states, “Never before has there been such wonderful opportunities to women for practical service; and in my opinion, there is no other profession in the whole world so splendidly adapted to women as CHIROPRACTIC.” She asks women to “think of the children” and to tap into their “feminine qualities of patience and sympathy” in order to help the ailing and ultimately “to grow intellectually, socially and financially.”
The Appeal also states emphatically that “The World Needs Thousands of Women Chiropractors,” and Mabel’s own example contributed greatly to the influx of women at Palmer and in the wider chiropractic profession. Palmer has been very active in recruiting women over the years and has continued to graduate many female chiropractors in each successive class. To read further about Mabel’s influence on women in the chiropractic field, visit the library to consult “The First 100 Years of Women in Chiropractic” in Today’s Chiropractic (vol. 24, no. 1, 1995) and “Women in Chiropractic: The Past and the Present” in the ICA Review (vol. 52, no. 4, 1996). —Rosemary Riess