Friday, December 29, 2006

New equipment for the new year

Well, too late for Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa, but just in time for the New Year, we received our shipment of a new transparency hood for our Epson flatbed scanner. With this accessory, we will now be able to scan anything transparent: glass lantern slides, 35mm slides, transparencies. So, look forward to seeing some of our oldest (in the case of glass lantern) and newest (in the case of 35mm) images online in the coming year. In the meantime, enjoy this digitized image of one of the glass lantern slides from our collection, provided by OHSU Medical Photography. This picture, from the People's Institute Slide Collection (Accession 1999-010), shows Portland's first public park. Originally begun by the Institute in 1906, the parks were turned over to the city's Park Board in 1909. The Institute went on to become the OHSU Outpatient Clinic, still in operation today.

If you're interested in more information on the People's Institute, you're in luck: our next exhibit, to be mounted in the coming week, will be: Hope Blooms Under a Benevolent Moon: Valentine Prichard and the People's Institute. It will feature this collection and the history of the Institute. Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

O, the tangled web!

Several events today have caused me to look back on the history of this place, all the way back to the very beginnings in the 19th century, and wonder (aloud, actually) about the convoluted path that has been taken. While every institution would like to represent its history as an unhindered march toward progress, the historical record keeps alive the memories of those hiccups (or coughs, or tumults) that some would just as soon forget.

I received
an advance copy of a piece being written by one of our researchers, and one of his footnotes led me to read a 1974 article on the history of OHSU: "University of Oregon Medical School," Western Journal of Medicine, 120:255-262, Mar 1974). Written by Thelma Wilson, then Assistant Director of Public Affairs here, it is actually a pretty well-balanced account of the first 86 years. On page 260, we read that Dr. Richard Dillehunt was elected to the deanship of the Medical School "only after an intensive battle between two factions of the faculty. The majority of the older clinical members considered the laboratory sciences as merely a necessary adjunct for training physicians. The younger clinical men and the laboratory staff believed equally strongly that medical education must be primarily a science. Dean Dillehunt was destined to walk a tightrope between the two factions until each recognized the importance of the other's role." I wonder when, exactly, that occurred....

So, since Wilson did not cite a source for this tidbit (she seems to have obtained many of her facts from talking with retired faculty members), I went up to check the original Faculty Minutes (Accession 1999-003). I suppose I should have known better than to expect to see anything truly revelatory in the "official" minutes. But the first volume is a lovely example of just how complex primary sources can be. Minutes were originally taken in longhand at the meeting, whether in pencil or ink. Sometimes, these minutes have been left to stand as written. Other meetings, however, must have remained controversial after the session ended. Typed minutes are pasted over manuscript minutes; whole pages have been glued together around the edges, leaving just enough room for someone to get a tantalizing peek inside.

The minutes for March 30, 1920, have been left in the longhand taken at the time. But it's clear that much was left out. The naming of a new dean is the only agenda item. The minutes begin: "Dr Labbe discusses importance of selection of proper dean because of great public interest in the school and because representations [sic] of Rockefeller Institute are about to arrive in city for purpose of investigating med school."

Then: "Moved Haskins: that faculty proceed to informal ballot for nomination for dean [...] Vote taken resulted: Dillehunt 7, Tucker 5, Labbe 1, Wilson 1."

Dillehunt was a good choice, since he had been acting as assistant dean since 1912. Curiously, on p. 158 of the minutes, there is a manuscript note (later crossed out) that "Assistant dean presents resignation--not accepted by vote." The person who crossed this out points the reader to pp. 152-153, where we find typed minutes of the Nov. 11, 1916, meeting, but no mention of Dillehunt's resignation attempt. Also no mention of the small item I can see between pp. 156-157 (glued together) which reads, in part: "Move Benson and 2nd matter of students alleged to have performed abortion be investigated by committee of 3 [...]"

Definitely some leads to be followed here, for a researcher interested in the side roads on our march to progress!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

After Boxing Day

Yesterday was Boxing Day (and, by the by, the start of Kwanzaa), and I thought I would share with you the contents of one box I received over the holiday weekend. My sister, a cost accountant for medical device manufacturer Micrus Endovascular, obtained for me a MicruSphere MicroCoil (platinum, 3 mm x 5.4 cm). Fear not, gentle reader: I have no intention of using it on anyone, especially since it bears large stickers reading "Not for human use, non sterile" and a tiny printed disclaimer reading "Federal (U.S.A.) law restricts this device to use by or on the order of a licensed physician."

The instructions--which come printed in English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Swedish, and Turkish--nicely sum up that "Micrus MicroCoil Systems are intended for endovascular embolization of intracranial aneurysms." A diagram of a properly laid out saline flush system is included in the system preparation notes, and sixteen photographs illustrate each step of the process of opening, seating, inserting, and retracting the MicroCoil.

It's amazing to see how far neurosurgery has advanced since the death of Harvey Cushing in 1939. It has only been in the past 20-30 years that brain aneurysms have been treated without invasive surgery, and it's wonderful to imagine where we might be in another decade or two. That box might take up even less room under my tree!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy day!

People often think that all we have in the way of photographs are boring old shots of buildings or stuffy portraits of faculty dead and gone. Well, in the spirit of holiday fun, here's a shot from the boxes of photos recently donated by the folks at University News & Publications. Sure, there's an old building in it, but there's nothing stuffy about this delightful character!

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dietetics donation, or, minding our peas and carrots!

Our holdings in the history of dietetics was considerably strengthened today when Dorothy Hagen, outgoing director of the Dietetic Internship Program here at OHSU, stopped by to drop off a huge box of photographs, ephemera, and books on diet and nutrition.

Along with many, many pictures of students, faculty, and staff from the program, there are class lists, promotional pamphlets, and news clippings. Of the eleven books donated, only two duplicate holdings in the OHSU Library. Thanks to this donation, we now have the two updates to the 1972 The profession of dietetics: the report of the Study Commission on Dietetics, which were published in 1985 and 1994. These three volumes together will give researchers a strong basic understanding of the development of dietetics in America. We also received the 1951 text on Tropical nutrition and dietetics by Lucius Nicholls, and Dietetics for nurses by Fairfax T. Proudfit (what a fantastic name!).

As we mentioned in an earlier post, when Dorothy Hagen and Carolyn Ostergren together donated some materials related to the program, the Dietetic Internship at OHSU is the oldest on the West Coast. We are honored and delighted to be able to provide an even more comprehensive picture of its growth.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Anatomy (almost ) reanimated

The Oregonian Science section this morning is carrying an article on an exhibit currently on display in Seattle: "Bodies...The Exhibition." Exhibition, exhibitionist, this show seems to be designed to educate through a little shock and awe. (Sadly, the online version of the Oregonian doesn't carry any of the pictures printed in the morning edition, but you can get a taste of the show on the exhibit website.)

Anatomy is one of those subjects that we all learn in school, at least a little ("thigh bone connected to the..."). Students in biomedical fields learn much, much more, of course, and the majority of it is now done through virtual means. There's no substitute for working with a real body, however, and the Body Donation Program here at OHSU (also mentioned in the Oregonian's piece) supplies cadavers to institutions across the state.

If you're a little queasy about the thought of the "Bodies" show, or for that matter really, really excited about seeing it, you're not alone. Graphic representations of corpses always seem to produce strong reactions, negative or positive. In November 2004, after giving her OHSU History of Medicine Society lecture on Frankenstein, author Susan Lederer presented another topic for medical students in the history of medicine elective course. She spoke about the early twentieth-century trend in photography wherein medical students posed with their cadavers in elaborate scenes, often sporting with the bodies or dressing them in unlikely guises. Some contemporary observers were horrified while others found it all in good fun; today, I suspect that most viewers of these photos would divide along the same line.

We have a few such images here in our own Historical Image Collection. Only one (rather tame) of these has yet been added to the OHSU Digital Resources Library. Two other images, digitized for use in our Frankenstein exhibit in 2004, give a better sense of what you might see in Seattle should you choose to go: horse and rider and solar plexus. Bodies have been made into art since the 18th century, but I guess everything comes back around at some point. If you dig these Fragonard works, buy your "Bodies" ticket today!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pictorial history

Today, just in time to be made available to a researcher working on the history of campus architecture, we received from OHSU News & Publications two document boxes filled with pictures of campus buildings and other architectural features. There are thirty-five folders, including prints, negatives, and slides, dating from the 1920s to the 1990s, of:

Basic Science Building
Baird Hall
Campus Services Building (which is the old TB Hospital)
Casey Eye Institute
Courtyard (also known as "Laster's Folly")
CROET addition
Dotter Institute
Emma Jones
Flame (when it used to be at the entrance to OHSU Hospital)
Gazebo (when it used to overlook the Willamette and Mt. Hood)
General Exteriors (labeled "with people" and "without people")
Hatfield Research Center
Mackenzie Hall
Outpatient Clinic
Parking, Employee (I'd like to be able to say "before it was a problem" but...)
Physicians' Pavilion
Research Building
Residence Hall (before it was "decommissioned" in 2003)
School of Dentistry
School of Nursing
Sports & Fitness Center
University Hospital
University Hospital North (what we still call Multnomah County Hospital)
VAMC Skybridge (including a stunning night shot with the lighted bridge)

Many of these images (probably the majority, although I haven't had time to make a complete survey yet) are completely new to our Historical Image Collection. We don't have Kohler Pavilion, the new Biomedical Research Building, or the Center for Health and Healing yet, but it's just a matter of time before we cajole, wheedle, or otherwise wrangle images out of a kindly donor's hands!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Walter Dandy, family man

As I mentioned about a week ago, I was invited to attend this morning's neurosurgical conference, a special talk on the neurosurgeon Walter Dandy, delivered by his daughter Mary Ellen Dandy Marmaduke.

Ms. Marmaduke, a warm and engaging woman of 79, showed photographs of her father, his family and friends, while recounting fond memories and humorous anecdotes. A few of the tidbits:

  • Dandy told his children that he had always gotten excellent grades. However, looking at the old report cards after his death, they discovered that while attending grade school in Sedalia, MO, Walter had gotten Ds in deportment.
  • Dandy used golf as a means of stress management. Mary Ellen, who used to caddy for him, reported that he routinely killed the ball, threw his clubs, and swore liberally. This was a source of extreme embarrassment for her, and she threatened to quit as his caddy if he didn't stop throwing things.
  • Whenever someone mentioned Harvey Cushing, Dandy would mutter: "son of a bitch."
  • Dandy had a few famous patients, including Margaret Mitchell (a "prima donna"), Dorothy Lamour's mother, and a Gypsy Queen who arrived at Hopkins with a vast entourage. When the Gypsy Queen died, despite Dandy's labors, Mrs. Dandy became convinced that the entire family would be kidnapped by the rest of the tribe. She had all the locks changed on the family home.
  • In 1941, Dandy developed a baseball helmet with plastic panels to protect the head. The prototype for that helmet now resides in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Relaxing at home after a long workday, Dandy would always enjoy a cold Schlitz beer with dinner. Later, he would pay the children 10 cents per hour to rub his head until he fell asleep; if they could get off the bed without waking him up, the reward was an additional 25 cents. Mary Ellen doesn't remember ever being paid for that work...

As it turns out, faculty members in the Dept. of Neurosurgery here at OHSU were instrumental in getting Marmaduke's memoir of her father to press; until we get the book cataloged and into the OHSU Library, you can read Dandy's letters online at the website for the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. We have some letters from Dandy to A.J. McLean, Oregon's first neurosurgeon, in Accession 2001-004.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tram lyrics

I've calmed down a little, so here are the full lyrics to the Tram Song, for those eager to sing it on their first rides:

This tram is your tram, this tram is my tram
From good ol' Pill Hill to the Willamette River
From the halls of science to Portland on the water
This tram was made for you and me

No more drivin' up and down that roadway
I'm ridin up here in this silver skyway
I see below me that mountain and a new day
This tram was made for you and me

(Last verse same as the first)


Well, I was one of thirty "randomly selected" OHSU employees chosen to ride the tram this morning on its inaugural trip (although, the media got a ride yesterday, so we weren't really the first to go).

We gathered together on the 9th floor of the Kohler Pavilion at the construction zone that is the tram terminus. We filed out onto the platform, which fully lived up to its billing as "open to the elements" (today's morning weather report: raining, 36 degrees Fahrenheit).

Out there, next to the car, we joined together in a rousing chorus of "This Tram is Your Tram, This Tram is My Tram" (full lyrics available upon request: I'm way too excited to sit here and type them all in!). That took long enough that we missed our ride! The first car headed out of the station, and we had to wait for the next to arrive.

Car having arrived, the doors opened and we started piling in: all 60 or so of us. I was hoping someone was keeping track of the load limits so we wouldn't stress the cables... Doors closed, a small lurch, and off we went!

The car was absolutely silent; as conversation quieted, we could hear someone's dog barking down below. The rain rolled down the windows, steamy from the bodies packed inside, but the view was amazing. A small bump and roll going over the support tower was the only distraction from the sensation of floating through the air, high above the city.

I turned around as soon as we got to the Center for Health and Healing (I needed to secure a cup of coffee to warm my camera-laden hands), and the ride back up was even more pleasant with a smaller crowd. The cabin attendant let us look at her control screen, which shows car speed, wind speed, and other diagnostics.

We slipped into the berth at KPV and disembarked. As the rain tapered off and the light came up on the city, it was a glorious view. For those of you who ever have a chance to experience it, I highly recommend the ride.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Oral history, in pictures

It's been busy morning here in terms of in-house patrons, but between human-human interactions I've snuck in a little time for human-computer interactions. Working through the medium of electricity, I've managed to load into the Digital Resources Library several photographs of recent oral history interviewees, thus giving faces to the disembodied voices in the recordings.

It was just in 2004, when we began our closer collaboration with the history of medicine in Oregon project (sponsored by the Oregon Medical Education Foundation, with support from the Oregon Medical Association, The Foundation for Medical Excellence, OHSU and the Oregon Historical Society), that we started taking digital photographs of interviewees at the time of the interview. In the DRL, you'll see pictures of interviewees from both projects, since we're now acting as a secondary repository for the OMEF project.

While we do have a complete list of interviewees in the OHSU Oral History Project online, as well as indexes for all the completed transcripts, we have not yet embarked on our plan to place full transcripts and audio clips online as well. It's definitely a long-term goal, so stay tuned!

I have also added today some information to one of the photographs of Esther Pohl Lovejoy previously loaded into the DRL. Our Lovejoy expert, Dr. Kimberly Jensen, let us know that the man in the photograph (not identified on the print itself) is Francis Xavier Mattieu, one of the "octagenarians for sufferage" that were recruited during the women's campaign. An earlier theory that the man was in fact Esther's father Edward Clayson was discredited by Jensen, who reports that Esther and her father were very much estranged during the last years of his life.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Starring role for campus

I came across photographs today of not one but two television filming events here on the Marquam Hill campus, both in the 1970s.

The first
was filming for the television series Movin' On, which shot an episode on the UOHSC campus in 1974. I'm not old enough to remember this one, but Wikipedia tells me that it featured Claude Akins and Frank Converse as truckers. No mention in that article of which episode might have been filmed out here in Oregon; maybe the men are truckers with hearts of gold who give presents to sick children. You can't tell much about the plot from the photographs themselves.

The second event was the filming, in 1979, of the made-for-television movie Walking Through the Fire, which was based on a book of the same name written by Laura Lee. It tells the story of a young pregnant woman who discovers that she has Hodgkin's Disease.

The nearly-completed tram is sure to become a major draw for filmmakers. I'm already envisioning the potential chase scenes for the next James Bond movie....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Penguins, goats, and snakes--oh my!

I've just finished foldering the contact sheets and negatives in the Proof Collection folder labeled "Animals." Of course, in a medical setting, one might expect small rodents, dogs, that sort of creature, maybe zebrafish. With the Primate Center out on West Campus, you'd definitely expect monkeys. No dogs or mice in this folder, and only one set of photographs of a monkey (part of a psychiatry department research project on appetite).

We have penguins (and we've seen the penguins before, in the Drum Collection, and heard the funny penguin stories courtesy of Joe Adams' oral history interview).

We have many, MANY pictures of the goats being used in cardiology research in 1975.

And we have shots of Zinger the Cat with Tinnitus, being studied by the faculty in Otolaryngology. Karen, our Archivist, asked me: How did they know Zinger had tinnitus? Hey, I just read the captions printed on back...

While taking a break from sleeving, I did also load some new pictures of Baird Hall into the Digital Resources Library. I added five new images, thus more than trebling the available Baird Hall views. One shows in beautiful close-up the entryway metalwork, dual caduceuses (caducei?)--two caduceus symbols side-by-side. The double-snaked caduceus, not to be confused with the equally well-known but single-snaked staff of Asklepios (Asclepius, Aesculapius, however you prefer to spell it), is a common symbol for medicine. It's also the symbol for the most coveted parking spots here on campus, the few stalls directly in front of, well, Baird Hall.

[Incidentally, this shot also makes nice desktop wallpaper! To use it for that, or presentations, or any other applications, click on the "Full Resolution" link all the way at the bottom of the image screen. Happy clipping!]

Monday, December 11, 2006

Minutes for a lifetime: University of Oregon Board of Regents

This morning, one of our patrons accessed one of our unprocessed collections in her efforts to locate information on Grace Phelps, early director of the Multnomah Training School for Nurses (the first incarnation of the OHSU School of Nursing--SoN now has an endowed professorship named after Phelps, and there's a small blurb about her on the web site).

An unprocessed collection is one that has not yet been fully arranged and described by our Archivist, Karen Peterson. This generally means that we have some vague notion about what is contained in the box(es), but no sense of exactly what information lies within. Since it was down in the History of Medicine Room already anyway, I decided to take a peak into 2004-022, a.k.a. Medical School Committee, Board of Regents, Doernbecher Children's Hospital Records.

Turns out that the temporary collection name is only half the story: the collection (a single old-fashioned binder, half-filled with blank sheets) contains the minutes of the UO Board of Regents meetings that dealt with either Doernbecher Memorial Hospital for Children or the Medical School proper. The meetings were held between 1926 and 1929.

Because I couldn't restrain myself, I glanced through some of the bullet points. Here are a few tidbits:

Right off, I notice that the first meeting was being held in the offices of Lawrence & Holford. Interesting! Why? Not on university grounds, but in the offices of the "university architect," about whom we've learned so much over the past few months as we investigated campus architecture. Discussed in the minutes are all the expenses related to construction of Doernbecher, outstanding bills, donations and appropriations. "Blanket warmers etc." provided by Albatross Metal Furniture Co.--sounds comfy!

Close on the opening of the building (Aug. 16, 1926), the committee wanted Ralf Couch to approach Otis Elevator, to see what it would cost to change the elevator to "automatic control." Too much HIPAA non-compliance in front of the elevator attendant already?

Schedule of hospital rates for Doernbecher approved at the Aug. 30, 1926, meeting set rates for a private room at $7.00 per day, with major surgery costing $10. If you wanted anesthesia with that major surgery, that would set you back another $10.

In an important note for the history of the nursing school, Miss Phelps reports on March 14, 1927, that "several schools of nursing in the state are eager for affiliation with the Doernbecher Hospital." This was the start of the pediatric rounds which students in various nursing programs in the Portland area would make through the wards of Doernbecher.

While the Board clearly respected Miss Phelps' authority (she was "given authority to manipulate the pay roll within budget limits" in the April 25, 1927 minutes), you can still see evidence of her struggle to elevate the status of the nursing school within the institution: "Miss Phelps made a special report of her trip to New York to the Conference on University Relations with Schools of Nursing, one of the main decisions of the conference being that thos[e] present unanimously agreed that nursing units should be established definitely as a separate school and not as a part of a department of a school" (March 19, 1928)

Interestingly, we see in the Jan. 7, 1929, minutes this counterposed note from Dr. Richard Dillehunt: "[He] presented the matter of establishment of a Nurses' Training School in the University, either as a separate school of nursing administered by a Dean, or as a department of the School of Social Hygiene." Not very welcoming...

And that's where I really had to stop because, sadly, I have other work waiting! If you're interested in following the rest of the story of how the School of Nursing developed, check out Professor Emerita Barbara Gaines' history. As for the many other fascinating facts in the Board of Regents Medical Committee Minutes--come check them out for yourself!

P.S. We now have walk-in hours every Thursday noon-3:00. Appointments still required (but readily available!) for other days/times. Now you have no excuse not to drop by!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Walter Dandy, American neurosurgeon

The other day, Dr. C. Conrad Carter, former faculty member in the OHSU Department of Neurology , dropped by to chat about the A.J. McLean Collection of papers. One thing lead to another, we discussed the upcoming exhibit on McLean scheduled for Spring 2007 and the Cushing lecture being given on May 18, and the name of Walter Dandy came up in the conversation.

Like McLean, Dandy was a student of Harvey Cushing at the Hunterian Laboratory at Johns Hopkins at the dawn of the 20th century. Also like McLean, Dandy was considered "difficult" by many of his colleagues. Fortunately for Dandy, his children have gone on to balance the historical record. His daughter, Mary Ellen Dandy Marmaduke, published Walter Dandy: the personal side of a premier neurosurgeon in 2002 under the sponsorship of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. No library in our Summit consortium owns this title, and neither did OHSU--until Dr. Carter decided to donate his personal copy to our collections. He received it directly from the author, who is now a Health Education Consultant here in Portland.

Marmaduke tells stories of her experience as a teenager watching her father perform operations. The book itself is filled with personal photographs of Walter Dandy and his family, fishing, vacationing, even playing with blocks. Luckily for the OHSU community, Marmaduke will be coming to campus to give a talk on Dandy: December 18, 2006, at 7:00 a.m. in the 12th floor conference room of the Hatfield Research Center. The talk is being sponsored by the OHSU Dept. of Neurosurgery. Interested OHSU faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend. For those of you not able to attend, I'll recap the lecture highlights here on that Monday.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Visitors, amusing and not

Going through the many folders of the Proof Collection of contact sheets with their associated negative strips, I see many images of campus visitors, from government figures (Ron Wyden) to local celebrities (Rose Festival Courts) to cartoon characters (Snoopy).

The sheets are filed differently (whether arbitrarily or not is something I haven't quite puzzled out yet), some being in with a topic (like pediatrics) or a place (Doernbecher). Today I made it to the folder actually labeled "Visitors/Tours." Inside, many of the images are identified by date only and show large groups of people walking through buildings, crossing campus, or watching lab technicians at work.

There are some photographs of single individuals of note who have graced our campus in the past. One is Caspar Weinberger. Another is Surgeon General C. Everett Koop. Weinberger doesn't bring any funny stories to mind (my mind, at least), but I do have one about Koop, who is called "Chick" by his friends. In his oral history interview, pediatric surgeon and professor emeritus Jack Campbell, MD, relates this anecdote:

CAMPBELL: Funny incidents? Well, I guess I can’t remember too many of those. I know when Dr. Koop retired, we all went back to Philadelphia for his festschrift, and Barry O’Donnell, who was a pediatric surgeon at the Dublin Children’s Hospital and president of the British Association of Pediatric Surgeons, had come over to represent them at his retirement party.

Barry, by the way, has relatives down at Lakeview, Oregon. The O’Donnells in Lake County, Oregon, brought all the sheep over from Ireland for the big sheep enterprise down there.

Dr. Koop was Surgeon General at the time, and he had a long beard, and Barry said that whenever he looked at Chick, he reminded him of Moses; that he was just glad that God sent Moses to get the ten commandments, because if he’d have sent Chick he’d have come back with a hundred [laughter]. Because, you know, the Surgeon General said, “Don’t smoke, don’t do this, don’t do that.”

We could all benefit from more of Dr. Koop's advice! Check out his website, drkoop. com, for the latest dos and don'ts.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

New tramiana

Yesterday, we received a fantastic new piece of tramiana for our collections. Dr. Donald Houghton, faculty member here in OHSU's Pathology Department, donated original artwork for an editorial cartoon on the tram, originally published in the Portland Tribune.

The caption poses a question: "Q: How do you deal with an 800-pound gorilla? A: Give him everything he wants!" A gorilla labeled as "OHSU" plays with the lever operating a small red tram, while from a window in a house down the hill a voice cries out "EGADS! Are they still messing with monkeys?!!"

The cartoon is from 2001, which indicates that the controversy began early and has continued almost unabated until the present day. With the tram opening scheduled for next month, it remains to be seen whether the beauty of the design, the economy of the mechanism, and the sheer thrill of the ride will be enough to win the hearts and minds of city residents.

In full color, framed and mounted, the image is display ready. Perhaps it would be best hung inside the tram's upper terminus, the 9th floor of the Peter O. Kohler Pavilion...?

Incidentally, the cartoon originally ran on September 11, 2001.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Heart valves, digitized--part II

Warning: Some of the images referred to in this post are not for the faint of heart. If you don't like watching operations on TV or feel faint at the sight of blood, you may want to forgo checking out the images of the valves during or post-implantation.

As I promised to you all in an earlier post, the complete collection of images from the Jeri Dobbs artificial heart valve collection is now available for viewing in the OHSU Digital Resources Library.
A search (All of the words) on "Jeri Dobbs" will retrieve all 71 images from this collection, which also contains twenty-seven actual Starr-Edwards valves, a Kay-Shiley valve, and a pig valve.

The digitized images include photographs of artificial valve models of various types, as well as x-rays of patients with artificial valves, examples of the wear on valve components after periods of implantation, diagrams of testing equipment developed by Lowell Edwards and Edwards Laboratories, and images of the cardiac pacemaker developed by Albert Starr.

Another great resource for charting the development of artificial heart valves is the Bakken Artifacts Database section on blood circulation.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Doctors as bookmen

Do you remember when you were a child, and the day came when you got to pick out your very own bookplates for your books? No? Maybe that day doesn't come for every child, or comes but is then quickly forgotten. I remember it well, but then I'm a little bit of a bibliomaniac.

Doctors, too, can experience the excitement of books. Not solely collectors of grisly tales from the operating room, some of them have built impressive collections of books: William Osler is a prominent example, having amassed an enormous library, organized the books, and then donated the whole thing to McGill University. McGill then cataloged the collection and made it accessible to the public.

When you have upwards of 8,000 books, as Osler did, and like to lend them to your friends and colleagues, you need to have a way of establishing your ownership of those volumes. If you have a little expendable income and a flair for the artistic (or a tendency to hand cramps when signing your name 8,000 times in a row), you might commission a lovely personalized bookplate. Physicians like to showcase their vocations and personalities as much as the rest of us, and some of the character of these characters can be seen in the bookplates they adopted.

There are now two places on the web to see interesting examples of medical bookplates: the National Library of Medicine's small web exhibit of ephemera Here Today, Here Tomorrow includes a section on bookplates; and now collector, dealer, and blogger Lewis Jaffe has begun highlighting medical bookplates in a series intended to run through Dec. 10, 2006. Both sites offer plates with images ranging from the beautiful to the bawdy.

By the way, we do have an example of an Osler bookplate here in the History of Medicine Collection. The book came to us through a rather circuitous route, which is outlined in the catalog note.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Found! Hazards of welding fumes report

Well, after fourteen months of searching from the Pacific to the Atlantic, we have finally located that item which three people at OHSU and one person in Texas have been seeking: Report of the investigation of fume hazards at the Oregon Shipbuilding Company (Kaiser Company) at St. John's, Portland, Oregon by a special committee / made at the request of the Metal Trades Council of Portland, Oregon, and vicinity.

"special committee" consisted of four faculty members from the University of Oregon Medical School: Joseph Beeman, Norman David, Warren Hunter, and Frank Menne. So, it made sense that we should have a copy of it. There was a typed card representing the report in the faculty publications file, with the note that the report was submitted to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. So, they should have a copy, right? Also, the 1940s were a time at which faculty publications were routinely obtained and bound together into yearly volumes; so it should be in our series of Collected reprints, right? The report addressed conditions at a Kaiser shipyard, so it would probably be in the Kaiser Permanente archives, right?

Condensing fourteen months of research via phone and email, I'll tell you that it wasn't in our catalog, it wasn't included in the reprints, it wasn't available from any other libraries in WorldCat; neither the OSSHE (now called the Oregon University System) archives nor the archives at Kaiser could locate a copy; the Portland Metal Trades Council referred me to the national headquarters, who referred me to the Ramazzini Institute, who referred me to the George Meaney Archives. I emailed the Center to Protect Workers' Rights, the Oregon Historical Society, and the University of Oregon Special Collections.

Where was it found? In the first folder of the first box of the first unprocessed collection that we assigned to our new student on his first day of work. Pretty cool, huh? (Embarrassing that we had not found it to date, sure, but we've had much on our plates.)

Why so scarce? The foreword notes that five thousand copies of the report were printed: "Copies are being sent to every member of the present Oregon Legislature, to every physician and surgeon in Oregon, to the Maritime Commission, to the proper departments of the Army and Navy, to the U.S. Public Health, to the State Industrial Accident Commission of Oregon and the Department of Labor and Industries of the State of Washington, and several copies will be sent to each shipbuilding yard in the Portland area. Also, copies will be forwarded to all unions on the Pacific Coast whose members are employed in similar occupations, as well as to all international officers of the unions affiliated with the Metal Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor."

Not a librarian or archivist among them--except one!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Medicine and art in the Netherlands

It was one of those interesting confluence-of-events days yesterday when, shortly after viewing the draft poster for our upcoming History of Medicine Society Lecture on Surgery's Entry into its Modern Era: Depicted by the Art of the Times (see our web page for details on date and time) which features Rembrandt's famous Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicholas Tulp, I received a call from a patron interested in learning a little about the history of medicine in 17th century Holland for the upcoming Rembrandt exhibit at the Portland Art Museum.

Specifically, our patron was interested in Jan Steen, a contemporary of Rembrandt who is most well known for his genre paintings of Dutch life. Steen painted still lifes, historical and religious subjects, household scenes. According to a biography of the painter on the Web Gallery of Art, "a 'Jan Steen household' has become an epithet for an untidy house." (They should try cleaning with 17th-century technology and cleansing products!)

Steen also produced several medically-themed paintings, including his famous The Quack (which was famously stolen in 2002) and The Sick Lady (which can be seen here if you scroll down the page). In locating a few articles on 17th-century Dutch medicine for our patron, I came across one specifically on The Sick Lady, published in the journal Neurosurgery (2000 Nov., 47(5):1248). The sick lady, we learn, is not critically ill: she has that particular malady often referred to as "love sickness." To a 17th-century audience, this was obvious, given the patient's blushing cheeks and shy smile. How did a physician diagnose love sickness? By the tried-and-true methods of testing the pulse (obvious, even to a 21st-century audience!) and examining the urine (ok, it was still the 17th century).

All this has certainly piqued my interest in seeing these paintings up close and in person when the show comes to town. If you can't make it to the Portland Art Museum (or can't afford the entry fee), come hear more about medicine and art at our next lecture on January 8, 2007. If you can't make it to that either, don't worry--we'll provide streaming video of the presentation afterwards.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Robert E. Rinehart, M.D.

[Those who know me and are aware of the temperatures here in Portland today will be sympathetic when I say that I'm a little too cold to sit and type for long this afternoon, so apologies for the brevity of this post and any typos. Outside observers can judge whether the cold is affecting my brain as well as my fingers!]

Yesterday afternoon as I was returning from the Main Library to the Old Library, I passed again the small maple tree just north of the connecting sidewalk, furthest west of three trees planted in the grass between the Old Library and the fountain. Someone before me had kicked up, dug up, or otherwise moved some dirt around the tree base, and, because of the white snow around (but not on) the disturbed area, it caught my attention. Peeking out from beneath a layer of dirt was a memorial plaque, only a portion of which was now visible. Kicking out the rest of the dirt, I read the inscription in full:

This tree in honor of Robert E. Rinehart, M.D. / 1916-1985 / Arthritis Foundation / Oregon Chapter

So, of course I needed to find out who this gentleman was! We have nothing in the Biographical Files or in the Historical Image Collection, but Rinehart is listed as a graduate of the Medical School in the 1951 Alumni Directory. Checking in the catalog, I see that he wrote a thesis in 1942, receiving an M.S. degree as well as the M.D.

Sadly, I must admit that Google has come to the rescue with some (admittedly very small amount!) of additional information: Robert was the second generation of Rineharts to provide medical service to the town of Wheeler, OR, and the Rinehart Clinic is still in operation today.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Our second day of the white stuff this winter puts me in mind of the old stories about students who would travel up and down Marquam Hill on skis when the weather was right. In her oral history interview, Gwynn Brice Dockery reminisces about the modes of conveyance she witnessed in her years here at the Medical School:

WEIMER: How did people get up to the Hill in the forties?

DOCKERY: [Laughing] Same way they do now, on a bus, or by car. Some of them walked. But when the snow was on the ground, it was often pretty hard to get up here, and the ambulances didn’t like it very well because the county didn't do much about keeping the roads open in those days, so it was pretty tough. But the students mostly lived on the Hill in rooms....

But mostly they came by bus—of course, students skied down occasionally, too, and they also skied up occasionally. The buses would be very crowded with patients. Of course, bus fares weren't very much then, either. I know kids rode for a nickel, and I think adults rode for ten or fifteen cents. Then maybe it went to a quarter; I'm not too sure.

Skis would be nicer than the bus most days, I imagine! There isn't quite enough on the ground yet to justify pulling out the gear, but perhaps by Thursday morning when forecasters are calling for freezing rain--then again, we might be better served by sleds than skis, since downhill is the dominant route of travel whenever ice is involved.

The situation of the university and its hospitals and clinics on such a Hill has been the subject of much writing and discussion since the first building was built up here in 1919; in his oral history interview, Michael Baird relates an old saying (which was news to me): "No patient would go up on a hill. They'll go down steps for care, but they will not go up steps for care." Which may also explain America's expanding waistline.

Whether walking, driving, riding, or skiing, we'll try to enjoy the snow while it lasts....

Monday, November 27, 2006

George Wallace and DMSO

Back at work today and moving through the Proof Collection, I came to the folder simply labeled: "Patients." Since patient confidentiality was a concern even before the advent of HIPAA, most of these photos bear no distinguishing names or dates. Meant primarily to show action scenes of health care workers on the job, the pictures neatly document things like uniforms, medical technology, and clinical spaces rather than individual events.

Unless, of course, you get a famous patient. We've had our share, and sure enough, two of the sheets in this particular folder contain images from the July 7, 1980 visit of Governor George Wallace to the then-called University of Oregon Health Sciences Center. The wheelchair-ridden Wallace is shown with surgeon Stanley Jacob, longtime faculty member and tireless promoter of the health benefits of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). Wallace had been paralyzed by a 1972 assassination attempt and he, like many others famous or obscure, came to Jacob in hopes of a miracle cure from the controversial drug. Jacob had achieved national prominence after his appearance with Mike Wallace on the news show 60 Minutes in March 1980. His efforts to have the drug approved by the FDA seemed excessive to some, and he faced two criminal charges of influence peddling in the 1980s.

Jacob has always denied any wrongdoing and remains a vocal advocate for the benefits of DMSO. He talks about his research, his brush with fame, and some of his more notable patients in his oral history interview.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Food and the Corps of Discovery

Since the food theme is working out so well on this, the week before our American holiday of Thanksgiving, it seems only natural that today's lecture for the history of medicine elective course was Nutritional Lessons from the Corps of Discovery: the Lewis & Clark Expedition across the continent. Dr. William Connor and his wife Sonja Connor presented data on the nutritional aspects of the expedition, data which had been gathered primarily by premedical student Rachel Van Dusen before her departure for George Washington Medical School this fall.

An analysis of the nutritional intake of the Corps has apparently never been undertaken before, and it's easy to see why (and to see why the data gathering was left to a premed student): ten of the eleven volumes of the journals kept by Lewis and Clark, as well as journals kept by four other members of the expedition, were meticulously combed, day by day, for information on what the group ate. A nutritional analysis was then performed, and estimates of exercise were compiled to determine energy expenditures for various legs of the journey.

Connor began by reminding the group of the medical training which Meriwether Lewis received under Benjamin Rush at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Connor had actually spent much time in the History of Medicine Room this past summer combing through our copies of some of Rush's works to determine what Lewis could have learned from Rush about nutrition and diet. Although Lind's experiments on scurvy had been conducted earlier, Rush seemed to have no knowledge of this work, and like his contemporaries, he had no knowledge of vitamins. Nutritional diseases such as pellagra, rickets, night blindness, survey, goiter, anemia, and gout were well described, but no remedies were known.

What did this mean for the Corps? Well, since it was a military expedition, they were provisioned as military men would normally have been, with the same provisions being carried by naval vessels. Primarly salt, lard, and carbohydrates, the provisions contained zero sources of vitamin C. In fact, the provisions only wound up providing the expedition with eleven percent of the calories they required on the journey. An additional 18 percent of calories came from the Indians they encountered along the way, while the vast majority--71 percent--came from hunting and gathering activities.

Of the three sources of food, only the diet provided by the Indians was well balanced. The Mandan-Hidatsa were agricultural tribes who provided them with corn, beans, and squash; the Shoshones were accomplished hunter-gatherers; the Nez Perce were masters in the preparation of camas bulbs; and the Tillamooks gave the expedition 300 pounds of whale blubber (an excellent source of vitamin C). The Corps as a whole consumed excessive amounts of protein, purine, sodium chloride, fat, and choloesterol (as Connor noted, it was in a sense an early Atkins diet!). As a result, Clark experienced a severe bout of what was probably gout, and the crew as a whole suffered greatly from diarrhea.

Even with the additional food provided beyond what the Corps had carried with them, they experienced caloric deficits (based on the Connors' analysis) of 2915 calories per day on the trip west over the Bitterroots and a deficit of 3222 calories, again per day, on the return trip. Clearly, without the food they received from the Indians, the expedition members would have starved to death.

Which brings us back to Thanksgiving. I hope you all have a good one, with plenty to be thankful for. I myself will be thankful for, among other things, an extended holiday. I'll be away from Historical Collections & Archives throughout next week, so check back on Monday November 27 for the next glimpse into the collections.... Enjoy!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wellcome Witnesses

I received an announcement today of the availability of publications from the Wellcome Witnesses program--not, as it may sound, a group of Protestant sectarians, but rather a series in which the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine invites notable figures to discuss topics and events in 20th-century medical history. While the Centre itself is based in London, the speakers chosen for the various topics represent several nations.

The series is a sort of group oral history project, and the publications which result from each seminar are based on transcripts of the conversations between the participants. Much as in our own Oral History Project, the transcripts are sent to each speaker for editing and additional comments before the final version is prepared. Bibliographical references and biographical information about each participant are added, and the whole document is made available to researchers.

Now, even if you don't have the money for airfare to London, you can access the full text of these publications freely online. Each of the twenty-eight volumes has been mounted as a PDF file which can be downloaded, printed, saved, even shared with others via email.

Topics already covered show a bit of British bias (naturally, e.g.: Early heart transplant surgery in the UK or Clinical research in Britain, 1950-1980), but include many items of broader interest (e.g. Maternal care or Genetic testing).

While we have only undertaken a few "group" interviews for our oral histories (e.g., the trio of nurses from the 46th General Hospital, Ruby Hills, Kay Fisher Hilterbrandt, and Edith Moore Richards) we do have some themes that emerged from early conversations: World War II and the 46th General Hospital; Japanese-Americans during World War II; town-gown relations; and women in medicine are some examples. If you're interested to see what our interviewees have said about cardiothoracic surgery or clinical research, check out the Oral History Master Index on our website.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Oregon Dietetics Internship Program

Since we (ok, I) was just talking about the history of dietetics yesterday, it seems remarkably fitting that today I should have added subject headings to the finding aid for a new archival collection, the Oregon Dietetics Internship Program Collection (Archives 2006-007).

This lovely collection of materials was recently donated to us by Carolyn Ostergren, renal dietician, and Dorothy Hagan, current director of the program. One of the things in the collection is a scrapbook created by 1956 program graduate Kathleen Sharp, who passed the scrapbook to Dr. Hagan at the banquet for the 75th anniversary of the dietetic internship earlier this year.

From these materials, we learn that the dietetic internship program was one of the earliest training programs developed here at the university, having started in 1930. A major impetus for creation of the internship was the establishment, in 1929, of the Oregon Dietetic Association as a branch of the American Dietetic Association (which was itself first organized in 1917). This makes our program the oldest on the West Coast! The program has graduated some 725 dieticians in its 75-year history; the first graduate was Dorothy James Keane, from Pullman, WA, who went on to become the chair of professional education.

If you're interested in reading a short history of the program, you can take a look at Hagan's The Oregon Dietetic Internship Program: 60 years of success, or the updated version of this, covering the next 15 years, which is available as part of the archival collection.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Food and medicine, food as medicine

I had a chance this morning to spend a few minutes browsing through a new book on medieval food, borrowed through the Orbis Cascade Alliance consortium by a library colleague. The book, Food in medieval times by Melitta Weiss Adamson, includes a whole chapter on "Concepts of diet and nutrition," including medical concepts of foodstuffs and their role in the maintenance of good health.

Weiss notes that dietetics "was one of the main areas of study at medieval medical schools," and that humoral theory dominated the teaching and practice of the period. According to Weiss, the Greek concept of the four humors had first been applied
to food by the Arab physician Haly Abbas, whose ideas were later adopted and modified by European practitioners. High mortality rates experienced during the Black Death spurred publications on diet and health and provided an impetus for some scholarly works to be circulated among the lower classes.

The relationship between food and health has remained an area of interest in medicine ever since. Here in the historical collections, we have numerous 19th-century works which deal with diet. We also have several items relating to the history of dietetics here at OHSU in the PNW Archives collection. In the main library collections, we also have cookbooks by OHSU faculty Roy Swank (MS diet) and Bill and Sonja Connor.

Is it lunchtime yet?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Annual Trunkey Lecture

This morning, Dr. F. William Blaisdell, emeritus professor of surgery from UC Davis, delivered the fourth annual Donald D. Trunkey Lecture on "The medical and surgical advances during the Civil War." Dr. Blaisdell originally became interested in the history of the Civil War when he, as eldest son of an eldest son, inherited the family archive, including a war diary kept by his great-grandfather who served with the 12th New Hampshire regiment in that conflict. The great-grandfather was wounded at the Battle of Cold Harbor in 1864, and through the miracle of archival preservation, Dr. Blaisdell was able to learn the nature of his wounds, the treatment he received, and even in which building he was treated (Barracks 10).

The existence of these records of medical treatment from the Civil War was a major point of Dr. Blaisdell's talk: the compilation, post bellum, of the multi-volume Medical and surgical history of the War of Rebellion was, according to Blaisdell, the first major academic undertaking of the American medical establishment. It is filled with charts, tables, and lists of results from hundreds of thousands of cases showing, for example, that of 155 trephining operations, only sixty were successful. The comparative study was made to help determine best practices, e.g., for chest wounds: since no one dared enter the chest cavity (J.M. Carnochan's experience with a penetrating heart wound notwithstanding), the choice was between closing the wound or leaving it open to drain (and, actually, results seemed to be about the same for either course of action). Interestingly, these results from the medical corps of the North cannot be compared with treatments used by Southerners in the conflict: all of the medical records kept by the Confederate Army were burned in the great fire at Richmond.

One interesting fact from the talk, of which I was not formerly aware: it was the ban on use of "blue mass" for treatment of loose bowels among the men which was a primary factor in the court-martial of Surgeon General William Hammond, and his replacement by Joseph Barnes, in 1863. Pharmaceutical recall controversy even back in the 19th century!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Box: $5. Looking in box: priceless

So, this morning I went up to our storage room to pull some materials for today's visitor, a young man who is doing a school project on his great-grandfather, a World War I surgeon. I went up to get some items from the Medical Museum Collection, one of our least-used resources. I planned to pull out the German surgical field kit, the nurse's pocket drug kit, and the venereal kit.

Opening the box in which I expected to find the venereal kit, I found a lot more: a set of twenty glass lantern slides donated by former UOMS faculty member Harry Sears. I had assumed that these materials had been pulled out of the Museum Collection sometime between the taking of the digital picture circa 2000 and today. But, lo and behold, there they were, tucked into a little cardboard box with a handwritten sheet indicating the subject of each slide. There are two of the Marquam Hill site before ground was even cleared for the first building up here, and a shot of E.S. West, Wren Gaines, and Hance Haney posing with their catch along the banks of the Willamette. The whole set of twenty was put together for a presentation made to the faculty wives in 1950, so there are also shots of faculty members' children. All in all, more options for display at our next glass lantern slide show!

But, oddly, that wasn't the best find of the morning. In yet another box, I found two boxes of silver bromide glass negatives, donated (and probably taken) by O.B. Wight when he was serving as a major with the Base Hospital 46 in World War I. The digital picture does not do this set justice. We oohed and aahed over each image, some of which were reproduced in the book On active service with Base Hospital 46, edited by Wight and two others from the unit. The plates are in the original boxes from Lumiere & Jougla in Paris; a sticker affixed to one box suggests that Wight shipped them home par avion to relatives here in the States. One plate, an image of the wards decorated for Christmas, is badly cracked, and the others are unbelievably fragile. It's really astonishing that they have lasted this long already. But their immediacy is undiminished--you can positively feel the cold looking at the muddy fields of France.

We can't show these plates on the Balopticon, so interested parties are encouraged to make a trip up to the History of Medicine Room to have a look. We'll be more than happy to stand around for a bit more time marvelling at these beautiful, unique items.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Oishi Seinosuke: the rest of the story...

No, we didn't find more information in the Archives yet about 1895 graduate Dr. Oishi Seinosuke (see previous post), but we did receive a wonderful short biography of him from our man in Japan, Joseph Cronin. Mr. Cronin translated into English this work, Oishi Seinosuke and the Great Treason Incident, written by Kitamura Shingo in 2001.

Here we learn much more about Oishi than we knew previously: where he grew up, his early education, why he came to America and how it changed him, the forces in Japanese society which contributed to the actions he took--even that Oishi was the eighth man called of the eleven put to death that cold January day in 1911. A tragic story, an interesting story, an important story.

Thanks to this generous donation, we are now only the third library in North America to hold this title in our collections, and the only library on the West Coast of the continent. We expect that this will be of great value to researchers interested not only in the history of OHSU and the history of medicine, but the social history of Japan as well.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Heart valves, digitized

In April of this year, we received a fantastic donation of various models of the Starr-Edwards heart valves, along with a Kay-Shiley valve and a pig valve, from former OHSU faculty member Jeri Dobbs (see the April library announcement).

Along with the valves themselves, Mr. Dobbs donated seventy-one 35mm slides of the valves before and after implantation, valves designed by other
researchers, and various images related to the design and testing of the Starr-Edwards models. We've just had these slides digitized, and so are able to present two of them to you today (apologies to those on dial-up access).

Shortly, you'll be able to see all 71 in the OHSU Digital Resources Library. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Medieval surgical pharmacopoeia

I received today in the mail our latest donation from self-published author Leonard D. Rosenman, M.D. We have several of his works already, all translations of medieval medical texts. The latest volume is called A medieval surgical pharmacopoeia and formulary, and like the rest of his efforts, it has plenty of information to delight, amaze, and amuse.

The book includes a glossary; Rosenman notes (with some understatement, I think, given our post last week on mania a potu): "The vocabulary of the medieval surgeon included terms no longer meaningful to most readers." I particularly like the class of substances called cicatrixatives (say that a few times fast!), which of course includes the narrower class, sigillatives. (That's a word form I haven't seen since I was in graduate school and studied under a sigillographer!)

The book has seven appendices, five of which are excerpts from the works of medieval surgeons and two of which include pharmacopoeias from "the millennium preceding the medieval surgeons." People often think that nothing new came around between the fall of Rome (the first one) and the Renaissance, but the men and women of the Middle Ages deserve much credit for advancing sciences as well as arts in that period.

Before I take off my medievalist hat, I must point out one last interesting thing from Rosenman's book: Appendix IV, "A therapeutic incantation," is an excerpt from Theodoric's Chirurgia. Rosenman writes: "Every one of the great [medieval] surgical authors credited his Lord for his successes. However, it is unusual to find a prayer so closely mixed into a treatment as we read in the following..."

What I find so compelling about this short text is the way it resonates with another item here in Historical Collections & Archives. We have three examples of Sinhalese olas, books written on palm leaves, all of which may have been donated by John Weeks (although the provenance is a bit obscure). One of them was translated, in part, a few years ago by a relative of a library staff member who could read the Pali Sinhalese. He reported that the first two leaves of the ola contain the recipe for "King Devil Oil," but that the following leaves (most of the text) are instructions for administering the oil to the patient, including the chants that should be recited during treatment. The whole document, including the recipe, is written in rhyming poetry. It was probably meant to be chanted or sung, and the spacing of the words, as well as decorative flourishes at the end of the lines, indicate the pace at which the words were to be chanted.

How cool is that? Two examples of the interrelatedness of religion and medicine, from two different epochs and two different continents, both in the same library collection!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Gaines Hall and its former uses

At the Emeritus Luncheon last week, an emeritus asked me whether I knew anything about a rumor that Gaines Hall used to be a syphilis hospital. This was a new one to me! I knew that the building had started life as a hospital, but I had never had occasion to check into which hospital it was, exactly.

it turns out that Gaines Hall was originally built as the Portland Medical Hospital in 1930. This was about nine years before the TB Hospital opened across the road, so it would have been sufficiently isolated from the rest of campus to have housed communicable diseases (no need to go all the way out to North Portland, as the Pest House did!).

The Portland Medical Hospital isn't listed in some of our--admittedly spotty--records of 1930s-era hospitals, and so I turned once again to Olof Larsell for more information. Originally located on Lovejoy Street, the Portland Medical Hospital was begun in 1916 by Dr. Noble Wiley Jones. The opening of this thirty-five bed hospital met the as-yet unfilled need for a facility devoted to chronically ill patients. After the First World War, a larger and more modern hospital, with fifty-six beds, was built on the medical school campus by Dr. Jones and his partners at the Portland Clinic: Tom Joyce, Frank Kistner, and Laurence Selling. They intended to eventually turn the hospital over to the school as a research unit.

The start of the Second World War put those plans permanently on hold. In 1943, the school began a concerted effort to educate additional nurses for the war effort, and the building was obtained and used to house the nursing students. Currently, the building holds some units of the Information Technology Group (ITG) and the Department of Psychiatry. I hear that there were bathtubs in the building until quite recently, which may in fact still be there to this day. I'm just wondering whether the folks who work in Gaines Hall treat themselves to short soaks during the afternoon lull...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Mania a potu

Not a Slovenian holiday dish. Not an excessive love of pottery. Actually a turn-of-the-(last)-century cause of death.

We had a call from a patron with a 1901 death certificate and no idea of what the cause of death meant: "mania a potic." After some searching through our twenty-odd 19th century medical dictionaries, I came to the conclusion that we were dealing with a typo, some word conflation, and an obscure term all in one.

"Potic" is probably a misspelling or misreading of "potio" (and we've all seen doctors' handwriting; this would be a very easy mistake to make.) "Potio" was the contemporary medical term for any sort of potion, and would have been easily confused with its near match "potus," the term for any sort of beverage.

Latin was the dominant language of medicine through the century's turn, and the compound "mania a potu" uses the standard Latin form of the fourth declension noun "potus" following the preposition "ab" (often shortened to "a").

So, we have mania from drink. Or, as John Shaw Billings defined it in his National Medical Dictionary, a "mania following prolonged alcoholic excess; more violent than delirium tremens."

Not every one of our medical lexicographers agrees with the second half of Billings' definition; many of them found it synonymous with delirium tremens. Here we can see, therefore, the beginning of the end for mania a potu as a separate diagnosis and its eventual replacement by the still-used term delirium tremens (which the National Library of Medicine's Medical Subject Headings prefer to call Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium).

Truly an example of a question that could not possibly have found its answer on Google. All hail the printed word!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

William Cardwell

So, who was William Cardwell? The Biographical Files have information on J.R. Cardwell (dentist), and the Historical Image Collection has a picture of H.W. Cardwell (alumnus). Nothing on William.

Let us turn to a History of Medicine Librarian's best friend, Olof Larsell (who undoubtedly would have recognized the man in our painting yesterday). The index to The Doctor in Oregon not only lists William Cardwell, but shows that he appears on six of its pages.

William B. Cardwell was born in Illinois in 1841, and began his medical practice here in Portland in 1869. He had come here with his parents in 1849, and after schooling at the Portland Academy, he went on to study with J.C. Hawthorne, director of the Oregon Hospital for the Insane. Cardwell went away to medical school (Bellevue Hospital Medical College) and then returned to Portland after a stint as government surgeon on an Indian reservation. In addition to his private practice, he taught physiology and hygiene at Willamette University Medical School from 1878 until his death in 1883. Cardwell was also a member of the Oregon State Medical Society from 1875 to 1883 and held several offices in it.

Of Cardwell, Larsell writes: "While he died at the early age of forty-two, he left an impress on the medical life of Portland in his period that was of permanent value."

His portrait, a visible sign of the high esteem in which he was held, also has permanent value; perhaps some day funds can be found to repair and clean the canvas. Until then, we'll keep him safe and dry in the archives awaiting his return to glory.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mystery solved!

Today was the annual OHSU Emeritus Luncheon, which honors former faculty members and provides a time for them to socialize as well as catch up on news from the Hill. This year, I was invited to attend and bring along a poster or small exhibit of some kind. I chose to take an oil painting which has been in our storage area for as long as anyone can seem to remember. The painting itself is beautiful, but torn, and the gentleman in the portrait is not identified. No artist signature can be seen on the canvas, which is mounted in an elaborate frame. The painting is clearly pre-1900, but beyond that I have no skills to determine its age. I was hoping that one of the emeriti would have a clue as to the man's identity.

Well, the emeriti are a light-hearted group and I did get a lot of suggestions that the man was, say, some colleague or other of theirs on a bad day (or a good day, or before he shaved his beard). One good suggestion was that perhaps it was Marquam, as in Marquam Hill, of whom I don't think I've ever seen a picture. But no concrete answers. Until....

Mary Ann Lockwood was looking at it and asking about whether there was anything at all on the back indicating any provenance, the artist, the timeframe--anything. No, I assured her, there's nothing on the back. I leaned it down from the wall, she on one side and I on the other, and ... there it was! Like invisible ink, a small pencil marking on the dark, dirty, wooden backing of the portrait suddenly leapt out at her. I couldn't see it at all from my angle, but from a certain angle, in that particular light, you could make out: Wm. Cardwell.

I knew I could count on the emeriti, and there was no more likely candidate than Mary Ann Lockwood, knower of all secrets. As executive assistant to three presidents, Director of Public Relations, and Marquam Hill Steering Committee Liaison, she has been privy to more information about the University than the rest of us combined. She tells some--but not all--in her oral history interview.

Now the question is: who exactly was William Cardwell? Stay tuned...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Portland's main attractions

Working again today on the Proof Collection (unprocessed photo proof sheets with the associated negatives), I came across the folder labeled "China Delegation." Inside are photographs from several visits made to OHSU by Chinese scholars in 1979, 1985, and 1986, and by Japanese scholars in 1977. While 1986 seems like yesterday to antiques like myself, a look at the calendar reminds one that this was 2o years ago now.

What did our visitors do when they were in town? Sure, they spent some time in the University Hospital and out at the Primate Center. But how did faculty here show them a good time? The notes on back of some of the proof sheets reads like a modern-day tourist itinerary: Zoo. Powell's Books. Baseball game. River Cruise. Columbia Gorge Hotel. Shopping at Clackamas Town Center. And, as a finale, barbeque at Dave Witter's house. (Dave Witter was in hospital administration here from 1972 to 1987, and was both Hospital Director and Interim University President for a short while in 1987. You can check out his oral history interview to see whether he counts the 1985 barbeque as the turning point in his move up the hospital admin ladder.)

The 1985 Fujian delegation was apparently presented with an album upon their departure from our fair shores; I wonder if copies of a few of these same photos still grace the archives of some special collection there.

Certainly, were any of these scholars to revisit the city next year, the tram would be tops on the list of must-see attractions. Which reminds me: now is your chance to make a mark on history by naming the tram. City Commissioner Sam Adams has started a contest, and you have until the end of November to come up with the perfect moniker. Good luck!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Rare titles in otolarynology

About two weeks ago, we received a donation from Dr. Donald Holden, a Portland-area ear, nose and throat physician (otorhinolaryngologist) who completed his residency here at OHSU. Dr. Holden's collection, about 50 books in all, contains five titles that appear to be extremely scarce. Two of them are not included in OCLC's WorldCat (OHSU only link), the online database of libraries around North America and the world, and three more of them are only held by five or fewer other libraries in WorldCat.

One of the titles not found in WorldCat is Management of clinical allergy by Herbert Rinkel. Rinkel was certainly no quack; the American Academy of Environmental Medicine has an award named after him, which is given "in recognition for excellence in teaching the techniques of environmental medicine."

WorldCat only lists four libraries that own the book A clinical and pathological study of tumors and cysts of the nose, pharynx, mouth, and neck of teratological origin; the author, A.C. Furstenberg, was chair of the department of otolaryngology at the University of Michigan School of Medicine from 1932 to 1958 and dean of the medical school there from 1935 to 1958.

How is it that some books fall into such rarity? Specialized subject matter may limit the number of buyers when the book is initially published; perhaps poor construction leads to quick deterioration and then disposal of the volume. The topics of these volumes are not unimportant or uninteresting, and it's highly unlikely that either was the focus of a censorship campaign a la Joyce's Ulysses or Rowling's Harry Potter. Are there some books that do not deserve to be saved? What criteria would mark such a book for oblivion? Since I don't presume to know with certainty that a given book will never be used, never be needed, never inspire some future author, I would never sign such a death warrant.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Old foes

The lecture for the second-year history of medicine elective class today was given by Dr. Alan Barker from the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. He spoke on the history of mankind's struggle with pneumonia, one of the oldest known diseases, first recorded by Hippocrates about four hundred years before the common era. He hit all the high spots: Auenbrugger and Laennec, Frankel and Friedlander, blood-letting versus sulfa drugs, the terrible illness and miraculous cure of Winston Churchill on the eve of war.

Pneumonia shares its antiquity with the White Plague, tuberculosis, evidence of which has been found in mummies dating from 4,000 years before the common era. Both of these diseases are caused by hardy germs, and there's new evidence that TB may only be getting hardier. The current issue of American Scientist (Nov/Dec 2006; 94(6)) has a small article about research originally published in Science (June 30, 2006; 312(5782)) by Sebastien Gagneux and Clara Davis Long which shows that prolonged treatment for TB can result in multi-drug resistant strains with no fitness defect--meaning that these bugs are better by far.

What does this portend for mankind? While it is an unexpected discovery, it's probably not yet time to panic. For thousands of years we have been engaged in this battle, now an escalating arms race, but I for one have faith that medical researchers will parry this thrust with new treatments.

By the way, if you're interested in pursuing the history of pneumonia through primary sources, we have a couple of 19th century texts and an 18th century text in the History of Medicine Collection, as well as books by Hippocrates, Auenbrugger, and Laennec; we also have a good amount of material on tuberculosis.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Whitman Collection

The Whitman Collection is a little used subcollection here in the History of Medicine Room, but it tends to draw more than its fair share of reference queries from researchers all over the country. Mostly, patrons who contact us want to know whether we have images of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman which they can use in publications or presentations. One of the more interesting things, to me, is that the image of Marcus we use to publicize the collection bears the caption: There is no authentic picture of Dr. Marcus Whitman. This is said to resemble him. History is obviously enlivened by images, and the requests we get for copyright permissions for publication bear that notion out strongly.

But what about the Collection itself? Our informational page on the website notes that the collection contains copies of the books Marcus used to care for the Cayuse Indians at the mission, as well as books about the Whitmans themselves. Where did it come from? Why is it here? In the 1937-38 annual report for the Library, Bertha Hallam mentions getting started on building a Marcus Whitman collection. Just that year (1937), the mission’s book collection, missing since the massacre in 1847, was rediscovered by a professor at the Western Reserve University medical school in Cleveland, Frederick C. Waite. He donated the collection of 56 titles to the Whitman College historical museum in Walla Walla. Bertha and Dr. Olof Larsell learned of this, and Bertha acquired a list of the titles donated from the librarian at Whitman College. From this list, Bertha was able to recreate the collection in our Library. Waite’s own book, Medical Education of Marcus Whitman is also available in the Whitman Collection.

And what of Marcus and Narcissa and their history? The National Park Service is working to keep the memory alive at the Whitman Mission National Historic Site; check out the full story on their website.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New places, no places

We now have three open reference questions concerning campus architecture; it's odd how these things tend to come in packs. So, I've been learning much more about the buildings here on Marquam Hill on a daily basis, and today has been no exception.

Looking through the three Portland-based volumes of the seven-volume Ellis Lawrence Building Survey (held at University of Oregon), I came across three very interesting entries:

Psychopathic Hospital, U of O Medical School
Contagious Hospital, U of O Medical School (meant to adjoin the psychopathic hospital)
Multnomah County Hospital

Of the first, the inventory notes that it "was planned in 1933 but was contingent upon WPA funds which did not come through.... Later, in 1944-45, a proposal was again made for a psychiatric hospital which was again not built." While the money for the University-State Tuberculosis Hospital did come through in the 1930s, apparently contagious diseases as a whole were not as compelling to funding agencies.

Why would I single out Multnomah County Hospital as particularly interesting? Because, as it turns out, Lawrence didn't build it. The "significance statement" in the inventory reads: "According to a letter date 7/9/19, EFL [Ellis F. Lawrence] to Schroff stated, '...politics robbed us of the County Hospital, which went to Sutton and Whitney in spite of all the Regents could do.'" Especially interesting, since Lawrence almost didn't get the nod to design the campus' first building, the Medical Science Building (now called Mackenzie Hall) because of confusion over who was in charge of picking the architect (Medical School Dean Mackenzie or UO administrators). Who knew architectural history would involve such high drama!

Finally, a note about the "Arieta Branch" mentioned in Monday's post. The Multnomah County Library reference librarians came through in a flash and pointed out the spelling error: the Arleta Branch was in operation in southeast Portland from the early 1900s until it was replaced by the Holgate Library in 1971.