Edward R. Palmer was born in Vermont, September 18, 1842. His father, also a physician, was Professor Benjamin R. Palmer. The family moved to Louisville in 1848. He graduated from the UofL School of Medicine in 1864, immediately joining the Union Army as an assistant surgeon, serving hospital duty at Louisville and Lebanon, Kentucky. He practiced medicine in Louisville, specializing in genito-urinary diseases. He served as Chair of the Department of Physiology at UofL from 1868 until his death. He died July 5, 1895 as the result of a bicycle accident.