Skip Navigation Bar

Guide to Oral Histories in Medicine and the Health Sciences


Special Collections & Archives
David D. Palmer Health Sciences Library
Palmer College of Chiropractic


1000 Brady Street
Davenport, Iowa 52803-5287


Special Collections & Archives
(563) 884-5893
Librarian, Special Collections and Archives
(563) 884-5894

Fax number

Special Services fax: (563) 884-5267

Website URL


Contact Person

Glenda Wiese, Ph.D., Special Services
Librarian and Archivist
(563) 884-5894


Access and Services

We provide interlibrary loan service and check-out to our patrons of cataloged and circulating oral histories. Those that are not cataloged may still be viewed/and/or photocopied by the patron via the Special Collections reading room.


The David D. Palmer Health Sciences Library houses a collection of fifty-one oral histories of chiropractors. The collection is composed of the histories of chiropractors who have impacted the profession in varying ways. In 1995 the chiropractic profession celebrated its centennial. During the period leading to the centennial we amassed the majority of our collection. It continues to grow at a rate of three to six per year, with field chiropractors and chiropractic historians conducting the oral histories. Ultimately we plan on providing access to the transcripts electronically via the Palmer College website.


Out of a total of fifty-three oral history interviews, forty-three of them have been transcribed as of today's date. All forty-three have also been scanned and are also in PDF form. It is a growing collection; we add three to six new oral histories every year.

Collection Description

With each oral history, we maintain a master and a duplicate of the original audio or video of the interview, a paper transcript of the interview, and an electronic version of each transcript in PDF form.

The subjects of the oral histories are chiropractors who graduated in the first or second decades of the twentieth century, chiropractors who were active politically, college administrators or people who knew and worked for the founding family of chiropractic, the Palmers.

Some of our greatest oral histories are from chiropractic pioneers, including James Parker, Virgil Strang, and Burl Pettibon. During these oral histories, interviewees discuss their childhoods, their paths to finding chiropractic, their experiences attending chiropractic school, including recollections of learning from the developer of chiropractic, B.J. Palmer, their struggles for licensure and unity within the profession, interesting cases they'd seen in their practices, and discussions of technique.


Material Type

All but one oral history is audio tape.


As of today, fourteen of our oral histories are cataloged and available for circulation and for interlibrary loan. The rest are available through in-house use via our Special Collections reading room.


Approximately 80% of our oral histories have been transcribed.