Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Photographic surprises

Today I've been continuing my work identifying a stack of old photographs that lack any information: no dates, no names (or names written in a hand I can't read), no places. After a while, every face starts to look familiar. So, I sought answers (or just inspiration) in the image files called "Portraits, Group" and "Faculty, Misc." Lo! and behold! two gems neither I nor Karen knew existed:

Group portrait of Oregon's first neurosurgeon A.J. McLean, German neurosurgeon Otfrid Foerster, and their wives, taken in Germany in 1929. We have seven boxes of the papers of the enigmatic Dr. McLean in the archives, but this was the first indication I had that he was married--and the only photograph of him we have outside of Dr. Daniel Labby's wonderful scrapbook.

Group portrait from a Medical School Alumni Association dinner in which alumnus Herbert Merton Greene is shown receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award. I wish I had known we had this when we received Greene's papers (along with his Master Mason apron) from his granddaughter this past year. Luckily, she's coming back to see us soon and we can share this find with her.

None of those faces matched the ones staring up at me from my unidentified pile, but great finds nevertheless! People assume we know all about everything in the collections, but every day we learn something new....


Karen said...

This is how it's done, it seems, Sara. We, at times, find something that we don't even know we are looking for. Here is another example of a Lo! and behold! moment.

I just recently completed the finding aid for the DOERNBECHER MEMORIAL HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN: SILVER TEA REPORT RECORDS, and asked you to add subject terms, so you had the opportunity to read about the tea parties.

We thought we possessed no photographs of the Silver Tea. From the history of the Doernbecher Guild, we knew that the party took place out on the lawn in front of Mackenzie Hall, replete with fortune tellers, bake sales, music and entertainment. Each year the Tea was well attended. Soon parking became a problem and the event had to be dicontinued, though it was hugely profitable. It sounded so festive: volunteers served tea and lunch and manned the many booths. All of the proceeds went to benefit the Hospital's growing population of patients.

Well, what do you know: out of that stack of old photographs that have no identification, rose up images of the Silver Tea.

Great finds, indeed. What fortunate treasure hunters we are.

Bob said...

This current work of yours is a lot like unraveling the mysteries of who wrote the really old books.