University of Arizona

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Errol Payne Palmer, Sr. Papers

Photograph. Dr. Palmer with his colleagues and their spouses, undated

Dr. Palmer was born in Mississippi where he passed the Mississippi Pharmacy Board at the age of seventeen and became a duly licensed pharmacist. Soon thereafter he moved to St. Louis, MO, passed the Missouri State Pharmacy Board, and earned his way through medical school to graduate from what is now the Washington University School of Medicine in 1895. After graduation, he began practice in St. Louis.

In 1900, he suffered a severe bout of pneumonia and influenza and was advised to seek a better climate. He arrived in Phoenix, AZ on April 1, 1900 where he ultimately situated himself, his family, and his practice. His Arizona medical license was no. 102. In the early 1920s, Dr. Palmer organized the Southwest Clinic and during the next decade he was associated in this practice with several physicians, among them Dr. Frank Milloy, gastroenterologist, the first specially trained specialist in this field in Arizona; Dr. Charles Vivian, urology; Doctor Spencer Whiting, chest disease; Dr. Elton R. Charvoz, obstetrics; and Dr. Charles N. Ploussard, surgery.

Dr. Palmer was a firm supporter of organized medicine and served as president of the Maricopa County Medical Society, the Southwestern Medical Association, and the Arizona Medical Association. Moreover, Dr. Palmer was a charter member of the American College of Surgery and was governor of the college for twenty years for the state of Arizona. He is known to have played a seminal role in standardizing hospital practices across Arizona.

This collection contains materials representing different facets of Dr. Palmer’s long and illustrious career in Phoenix, including correspondence, speeches, writings and publications, and newspaper clippings. It is especially rich in materials relating to his professional activities in the various medical societies he contributed to. Other materials include ephemera, honors and certificates, and miscellanea. Formerly collection number HT 004.