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.

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