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B.J. Palmer standing near a fountain

B.J. Palmer's Epigrams

An epigram is a concisely written thought that deals pointedly, and often satirically, with a single event or idea and often ends with an ingenious turn of phrase.

B.J. Palmer, the Developer of chiropractic, excelled in writing and collecting epigrams. His collection of epigrams, titled "As a Man Thinketh", comprises thousands he wrote or collected throughout his life. More than 3,000 of these epigrams appeared inside and outside the buildings on the Palmer School of Chiropractic campus.

B.J. said he selected these epigrams for their "brevity, pungency, positiveness and having something to say." They were designed to influence Palmer student, staff and faculty attitudes, although many had no specific reference to chiropractic.

Selected epigrams are either being restored or newly affixed to walls and woodwork on the Main campus, including the Hall of Epigrams leading to the Mansion Courtyard from West Hall Courtyard. In addition, the West campus has decorated its hallways with many of the epigrams that B.J. Palmer made famous. They have also been added to the classrooms on the Florida campus. Pearls of wisdom, as relevant to today's students as they were to students of that earlier age, are displayed, often in the distinctive "Arts and Crafts" font that B.J. admired.

Here are few examples of B.J.'s epigrams:

  • Youth is curious, and success is a game for curiosity seekers. Stay young!
  • Throw away your wishbone, straighten up your backbone, stick out your jawbone and go to it.
  • Man is a reasoning, very unreasonable manifestation of divine intelligence.
  • When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.
  • "Everything comes to him that waits" — But here is one that's slicker: The man who goes after what he wants, gets it a darn sight quicker.
  • Chiropractic is health insurance. Premiums small. Dividends large.
  • An optimist is the one who sees a light where there is none. A pessimist is one who blows it out.
  • A "specialist" is one who knows more and more about less and less.
  • Keep your head cool — feet warm — mind busy. Plan work ahead and stick to it — rain or shine. If you are a gem, someone will find you.
  • There is a power within — a fountain head of unlimited resource — and he who controls it controls circumstances instead of it controlling him.

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Roger Hynes
Contact Dr. Hynes with questions about the Osteological Collection or potential donations of chiropractic artifacts

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