The eighteenth of September, 1895, is the date on which Daniel David Palmer is said to have performed the first chiropractic adjustment on Harvey Lillard, an African-American janitor working in the Ryan Building, which housed Dr. Palmer's magnetic healing practice in downtown Davenport, Iowa. The profession of chiropractic traditionally celebrates its establishment annually on 18 September and the Palmer College of Chiropractic, the first chiropractic educational institution, has designated this date as "Founder's Day."
Although 18 September, 1895, is the date revered as the birth date of the chiropractic profession, historians and others have questioned this date's accuracy. Solon Massey Langworthy, D.O., D.C., questioned the truthfulness of the 18 September, 1895, birth date as early as December of 1904, suggesting that the originator of chiropractic proposed a 1 December, 1895, founding. Later, Cyrus Lerner, a New York attorney, questioned the 18 September, 1895, date, suggesting that Harvey Lillard himself indicated the event took place in January of 1896.
Three possible dates have been proposed: 18 September, 1895; 1 December, 1895; and sometime in January, 1896. The historical evidence is reviewed to shed light on this controversy surrounding the founding date of the chiropractic profession.
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