Edwin Obadiah Palmer

1872 - 1959

Born June 17, 1872. Died October 19, 1959.

Edwin was born in Schenectady, New York, and grew up in Canaan Four Corners. Edwin’s siblings were Clara Frost, May Loretta Salmon, Florence Beatrice, and Loretta Amelia Palmer. He worked in his father’s general store while in grammar school, and in his uncle’s Commission Office while attending the Chatham Union High School. He studied at Columbia University in New York City, and received his M.D. degree in 1896 from the College of Physicians. Dr. Palmer served 16 months internship in medicine and surgery at the Lebanon Hospital of New York, a regular internship at the New York Maternity Hospital, and filled an emergency service of three months at St. John’s General Hospital in Yonkers, New York. While serving as a physician and surgeon in the Out-Patient department of the Roosevelt Hospital, he spent three months in each department – Dermatology, Urology, Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery, Otology, Ophthalmology, Laryngology, and Internal Medicine.

In 1900, he moved to Southern California and opened Hollywood’s only Doctor’s office, over the two-year-old Post Office, seven miles west of the center of Los Angeles, then a city with a population of just over 104,000. His Hollywood practice, by bicycle, covered two miles in each direction and about 50 families. Within six months, the practice covered an area 30 miles north and south, and 10 miles east and west, and was reached by buggy and saddle horse.

In 1904, a return of the old lung trouble necessitated a partner for obstetrics and night work. Because of this lesion, he was rejected for service in World War I, but he assumed charge of the examination of all conscripts in the First Division of the Los Angeles County at Long Beach, and lectured to Hollywood conscripts on alcoholic beverages and venereal diseases.

As the doctors returned from the War, as specialists, Dr. Palmer organized about his practice, The Hollywood Medical Group, adding one doctor at a time until 10 doctors were associated, after the plan of the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota.

He was a member of the Executive Committee of the staff of St. Vincent’s Hospital in Los Angeles until he, with several associates, incorporated the Hollywood Hospital with 150 beds, and later enlarged to 300 beds. During this time, he served as its President, and was the largest financial supporter. He retired from practice in 1927.

Dr. Palmer was active in subdividing real estate and was involved in the building of four business blocks on Hollywood Boulevard. He built Hollywood’s Post Office on Vine Street, and with the same associates built the Music Box Theater on Hollywood Boulevard and the Hollywood Playhouse on North Vine Street. He also started the eight-story Broadway Hollywood Department Store at the corner of Vine Street and Hollywood Boulevard. Dr. Palmer promoted, organized, and controlled the Hollywood Citizen from 1906 to 1915, while it was the leading newspaper in the community.

Dr. Palmer was the Chairman of the Los Angeles Republican Central Committee from 1948-1949. He belonged to many Los Angeles societies. His travels took him to Europe, China, Japan, and the Philippines. He spent 12 months on the South Seas and in South America. He was married, on February 14, 1903, to Genevieve O’Brien.


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