Women in Chiropractic from 1920–1930

Time to Celebrate 125 Years of Chiropractic 

2020 marks the 125th anniversary of chiropractic medicine. Each month of the year, we will explore the many achievements and innovations from a specific decade in chiropractic history. Last month, we covered 1910–1920 and the introduction of subluxation. This month, we will focus on Women’s History Month and the key highlights from 1920–1930. 

Women in Chiropractic

During the early 20th century, the field of chiropractic medicine attracted many women as some of the first chiropractors. Historically, chiropractic colleges welcomed more women than other medical colleges who often refused those who enrolled.1 This early acceptance of women in the field would be crucial to its growth over time. According to Rosemary Batanjski’s article “Women Chiropractors at Tipping Point for Industry Growth Surge,” “Today more than 30% of all practicing chiropractors are women, with at least half of all chiropractic student enrollments being female2.

Let’s learn more about one of the pioneers of chiropractic medicine, Dr. Minora Paxson.

The World’s First Female Chiropractor

In 1900, Minora Paxson earned her degree in chiropractic from Palmer’s Chiropractic School and Cure3, becoming the world’s first female chiropractor. Following her graduation, she worked as an educator at Palmer Chiropractic School in Santa Barbara. She also co-founded the American School of Chiropractic in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and co-authored the first chiropractic textbook, Modernized Chiropractic, published in 1906. Dr. Paxson was a pioneer in chiropractic—inspiring many women to follow in her footsteps. 

Dr. Gertrude Dunsworth & Meyer Distributing Company

Gertrude Dunsworth was one of the first female chiropractors in the United States, earning her degree in chiropractic in 1924. She was the only woman in her graduating class of 60 at Minnesota’s Midwest College of Chiropractic.4 After graduating, she married Larry Dunsworth, who she started a chiropractic practice with in Detroit, Michigan. 

In 1948, Dr. Dunsworth and her husband decided they wanted to make the move to California. The stars aligned when their friend Alphonse Meyer announced that he was looking for a distributing company on the west coast for his vitamin business.4 It was then that the Dunsworths moved to California and started Meyer Distributing Company. MeyerDC is part of Meyer Distributing Company, which is now Boxout. It has remained a family-owned business dedicated to going the distance to help businesses get results.

Create an account with MeyerDC today or contact your personal account manager at 1.800.472.4221 for more information.


1Johnson, Claire D, and Bart N Green. “Diversity in the Chiropractic Profession: Preparing for 2050.” The Journal of Chiropractic Education, Data Trace Publishing Company, 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3391776/.

2Batanjski, Rosemary. “Women Chiropractors at Tipping Point for Industry Growth Surge.” Chiropractic Economics, 2 Oct. 2019, www.chiroeco.com/women-chiropractors/.

3“A Look at 14 Women Palmer Graduates Who’ve Played Key Roles in Chiropractic.” Palmer College of Chiropractic. Retrieved February 2020 from https://www.palmer.edu/insights/issue.aspx?v=2&n=3&a=15

4“DC to Speak at Alternative Medicine Conf. in Washington.” Dynamic Chiropractic, May 1993, https://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=42285

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