Monday, December 31, 2007

Janus on anniversaries

New Year's Eve: time to reflect back on the year just past and look forward to the year ahead. This eve finds us on the cusp of two anniversaries:

1887-2007: 120th anniversary of the OHSU School of Medicine
As we have noted a few times over the past twelve months, 2007 was the 120th anniversary of the School of Medicine. The first annual announcement and catalog advertised a medical school operating under the administrative aegis of the Oregon State University and physically located at Good Samaritan Hospital; it listed three "regular sessions" (of six months each) as requirement for graduation; and it noted that one ticket for a "full course of lectures" cost $120. Current information on admissions for the OHSU School of Medicine indicates that for over 4,000 applications received, only 120 students are admitted per year; those students can expect to pay between $8000-12,000 for a single term.

1898-2008: 110th anniversary of the OHSU School of Dentistry
In December of 1898, the Oregon College of Dentistry was incorporated as a "high grade dental school, in the metropolis of the North West," according to the first printed announcement from the 1899-1900 session. Like the medical school, the dental school required three sessions (of seven months each) to be completed. Tickets for dental lectures were only slightly less expensive (at $100 apiece). Even the staff would have seemed familiar: Holt C. Wilson, Ernest F. Tucker, Otto S. Binswanger, Robert C. Yenney, and Edward P. Geary, all held joint appointments at the OCD and UOMS during the 1899-1900 session. It would only take another 46 years before the two schools were administratively joined as equal schools within the University of Oregon, and 19 more years before the dental, medical, and nursing schools coalesced into the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center. Seems fast when you look at it that way, doesn't it?

Stay tuned for more history of the School of Dentistry as we tick off the days until 2009.

(We'll have to wait for 2010 for the 100th anniversary of the OHSU School of Nursing.)

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Refreshing honesty

Having gone to the shelf for a completely different book (I'm compiling a list of all the classics of neurology held in the History of Medicine Collection, a more arduous task than I first imagined it would be), I couldn't help but pull out Floating matter of the air by Tyndall. Talk about a catchy spine title. And miraculously, the book opened to page xv of the Introductory Note, where my eyes first alighted upon the following sentence:
The Essay most likely to try the reader's patience is No. III.
If only all books came with such self-critical reviews...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hypnotism, old and new

The Living Section of this morning's Oregonian includes an above-the-fold article on some current medical uses of hypnotism, "increasingly touted" even by "mainstream medicine" as a therapy for such things as addictive behaviors, chronic pain, and weight loss.

OHSU's own Dr. Robert Butler, Ph.D., who was interviewed for the piece, sounds a note of caution:
"Would I do this instead of medical treatment? Good God, no. Not in any way, shape or form. (Hypnosis is) always in concert with strict and appropriate medical treatment."
So, perhaps "mainstream medicine" is still reserving judgment.

Of course, they've had a darn long time to think it over. Health care practitioners have been using hypnosis as a therapy for centuries, and we have a few late nineteenth century texts on the topic here in the History of Medicine Collection. All of them are interesting in some way.

Animal magnetism (mesmerism) and artificial sonambulism, printed in Boston in 1874, is attributed to the Countess C*** de St. Dominique. It is apparently the only extant work by this obscure figure, and only three libraries in OCLC's WorldCat record this edition. A pseudonym, perhaps? And a pseudonym insufficiently opaque, perhaps, to shield the author from contemporary criticism? One can only guess that it was criticism (or ridiculously poor sales) which prevented the publication of the planned "subsequent work" on Spiritualism, "the offspring of Magnetism." Hmmm....

Sales of hypnosis tracts in general must have been fairly brisk, since the market was apparently competitive. The Preface to E.P. Hurd's Sleep, insomnia, and hypnotics (1891) reads:
This little treatise, though long advertised to be a translation of a recent monograph of Germaine See in the Medecine Moderne, is in reality a product of my own pen .... The monograph of Prof. See, with all its excellences, was found to be too brief and too incomplete for reproduction in the Leisure Library.
I wonder how long See's treatment of the subject was; Hurd's comments are contained on 112 small pages, with large margins.

Bernheim's Suggestive therapeutics was a standard text on the subject in its day. Our copy of the 1899 American edition (from the second revised French edition) was well loved by former owner Andrew C. Smith, who signed his named to the front leaf shortly after purchasing it and made pencil notes in the margins. The binding is cracked open in several spots, and one paragraph on page 348 is marked for special attention:
When we see ignorant bone-setters and quacks succeed in curing certain sprains and pains, rapidly, by methods which have nothing reasonable in them and sometimes nothing rational, is it not here too that the patient himself, to a certain degree realizes or facilitates his cure by auto-suggestion?
While we don't know who the former owner of our dog-eared copy of Hypnotism: its history and present development was, it's clear that he (or she) found some sections shocking. An exclamation point has been placed in the margins next to the author's statement that "in 1866, Liebault of Nancy pointed out the use of hypnotism as a valuable means not only of curing disease, but also of education for the improvement of character and morals." This would come as no surprise to the modern practitioners who use hypnotism to treat addictions, which were often considered moral failings rather than diseases.

And lastly, this may be my favorite cover in the whole History of Medicine Collection. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Ice cream headache

Apparently, the phenomenon of the ice cream headache was unrecorded prior to the twentieth century.

Some resources for information on the etiology and therapy of ice cream headache:

Fuh JL, Wang SJ, Lu SR, Juang KD. Ice-cream headache--a large survey of 8359 adolescents. Cephalalgia. 2003 Dec;23(10):977-81

Kaczorowski M, Kaczorowski J. Ice cream evoked headaches (ICE-H) study: randomised trial of accelerated versus cautious ice cream eating regimen. BMJ. 2002 Dec 21;325(7378):1445-6

Raskin NH, Knittle SC. Ice cream headache and orthostatic symptoms in patients with migraine. Headache. 1976 Nov;16(5):222-5

Online Mayo Clinic FAQ on ice cream headache

And, of course, the Wikipedia entry on Brain freeze

Lastly, from the "Et tu, Brute?" department:
Altschuler EL. Using ice cream headache to help physicians experience the pain of and empathize with cluster headache patients. Med Hypotheses. 2006;66(3):685. Epub 2005 Nov 8

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Selling collection received

Today, we received a small collection of materials belonging to former University of Oregon Medical School faculty member Laurence Selling, M.D.

Selling, a Portland native, received his undergraduate education at Yale University and graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1908. Returning to Portland, he joined the faculty at UOMS and began a private practice. In 1921, he and three other colleagues joined together to establish the Portland Clinic. He served as chair of Medicine at UOMS from 1926 to 1947, and held a dual appointment as chair of the Division of Neurology from 1940 to 1947. In World War I, he served with distinction as neurologist for Base Hospital 46 and achieved the rank of major.

The collection received today includes various certificates, awards, and honors, as well as a few pieces of correspondence. Also included are the exams, handouts and lecture notes from the neurology course taught at UOMS by Selling in 1947, and several boxes of glass lantern slides that he used in his presentations.

In its new home here in Historical Collections & Archives, this collection will join other materials associated with Selling: patient records of the first 100 cases treated by Selling (Laurence Selling Records, Accession No. 2004-017); several artifacts previously owned by Selling (including his percussion hammers, spinal tap needles, spinal manometer, and other pieces); a couple of books donated by Selling for the History of Medicine Collection; and, of course, photographs (a handful of which have been digitized).

A nice Christmas gift for researchers! Happy holidays to all--I'll be back on Boxing Day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Image of the day

I definitely think this qualifies as an arresting image, since it stopped me in my tracks as I flipped through the pages of the book, Sir Charles Bell's A series of engravings, explaining the course of the nerves (1818). An 1811 publication of Bell's, Idea of a new anatomy of the brain, is widely considered to be one of the landmark works in neurology.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Old Smellie certificate

It doesn't actually smell like anything in particular, but this 1757 certificate awarded to Doctor Robert McKean upon completion of two courses taught by William Smellie is one of the more unexpected items in our collections. The certificate itself measures 31.5 x 19.5 cm, and is mounted on a board 38 x 25 cm. While many certificates from this period do survive, testaments to the authority of the graduate to practice medicine, the large format and illustrated nature of this certificate appear to make it somewhat unusual.

Monday, December 17, 2007

In memoriam: Katsumi J. Nakadate, 1914-2007

I read with sadness yesterday news of the death of Dr. Katsumi James Nakadate, M.D., in the obituaries section of The Oregonian (notice online here).

Born in Portland in 1914, Dr. Nakadate graduated from the University of Oregon Medical School in 1939. He entered active duty with the U.S. Army in 1942, training with the 442nd Regimental Combat Team; he also served with the 17th Airborne and the 82nd Airborne, the latter during the occupation of Berlin. While in Berlin in 1945, he wrote to the Oregon State Medical Society, in response to their request for a copy of his Bronze Star citation:
I carry now (inoperable) two pieces of metal -- souvenirs from the Germans and three clusters on my purple heart - doing occupation duty here in Berlin - sick call for civilian war criminals for whom I have very little sympathy - included among the prisoners are some doctors --!
The citation had been given "for heroic and meritorious action against the enemy near Hussmansdorf, Germany, on March 24, 1945" during a glider-borne maneuver. Wounded by flak, Captain Nakadate administered first aid to the men in his unit "working tirelessly throughout the entire day." The citation notes that "his devotion to duty while experiencing extreme pain was an inspiration to all men of his command." One wonders whether it was the memory of this experience that led Nakadate to choose a residency in anesthesiology after the war.

In July 2000, Dr. Nakadate sat for an oral history interview with Tadaaki Hiruki, M.D., and shared his memories of growing up in Portland, his experiences as a Japanese American during the war years, and his long career in anesthesiology at St. Vincent Hospital and the Portland Veterans Administration Medical Center. Recalling December 7, 1941, and the attack on Pearl Harbor, Nakadate said:
In that time we had Pearl Harbor in 1941, and I remember this very distinctly. I was in my second year of internal medicine, and Pearl Harbor was Sunday. Monday morning I went to go to work in the hospital, and they told me, “There’s a couple of people in the director’s office to see you, and you are supposed to go there.” And I go there, and who do you suppose it was? It was the FBI. Well, they were the ones checking Japanese Americans in that area, in the Detroit area. And they said, “We know all about you, Doctor, because we have a man here that’s in our service that was a Boy Scout, an Eagle Scout, with you in Portland, Oregon, in your same troop.” And they—the outfit is the federal—you probably know what it is. It’s the one that checks for problems here in the United States. They said, “We know all about you, so you don’t have anything to worry about. We just wanted to let you know that you’re okay.” And this fellow by the name of Kirby, Jim Kirby, was a fellow Eagle Scout in Troop 66 in Portland, Oregon, in the years, I would say, 1928 through 1931. A fellow Eagle Scout.

HIRUKI: So he vouched for you?

NAKADATE: He vouched for me before the group knew anything about me. He vouched for me. And so several times I went out and ate with the federal people, and they all knew I was just another fellow citizen. That was very interesting.

To hear more of Nakadate's story, check out his oral history interview, available in the OHSU Main Library.

Friday, December 14, 2007

History goes to the victor

It is an old adage that history belongs to the winners, and archives and libraries have long been aware that whole segments of societies, and whole societies for that matter, are underrepresented, misrepresented, or just plain not represented in the record of the past.

I was asked this morning an unusual question: "Do you have any uninteresting collections?" Since I personally find something of interest in all our collections, I was unsure how to answer. I said that, certainly, we have some collections from interesting people that are remarkably uninteresting in their contents (the personal papers that contain only reprints, the administrative records that have only meeting minutes with final decisions and no record of discussions), but that they were all interesting in their own way. The questioner rephrased: "Do you have any collections from nobodies?", meaning people who didn't go on to do much of anything. And the answer to that is yes, but not a lot.

Which begs the further question: what would you collect from a "nobody", if you could? If you wanted to show the culture of medicine from the grunt level (to put it bluntly), would personal papers be the best way to go? Or even a useful way to go? What sorts of documentation would illustrate the lives of the average physicians, or the bad physicians? Should archives concentrate on the Great Men, the men (and women) who recognize their own place in history and so collect, and deposit, written records? Are the papers of the victors the true representation of medical culture at a given point? Is there one medical culture in America, or are there many?

A glance at our collections hints at the multiplicity of cultures and communities within medicine, each of which can be remembered and reconstructed only through the study of what remains behind. History may go to the victor, whether egotist or packrat, but only if libraries and archives continue to collect and preserve collections both large and small.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Medical practice after World War II

In studying changes in medical culture and practice through time, we often find a wealth of interesting information in the records of medical societies. Societies, which both regulate and reflect the ethics and ideals of the local population, can often capture a prevailing mood in new initiatives, conference themes, or membership questionnaires. An example of the last of these from the Oregon State Medical Society Papers (Accession 1997-003) provides a snapshot of the changing landscape of medical practice in Oregon at the close of the Second World War.

Dated August 3-11, 1944, the questionnaire asked such questions as "Would you be able and willing to share space for a specified time, or stagger office hours, to accommodate a returning physician until he could find desirable space, as is planned in New York and some other cities?" and (for veterans) "Do you expect to precede your return to civilian practice with additional study or training other than a short refresher course?" (60% said yes to this)

One question echoed the concerns of returning vets and their families: "What do you anticipate will be the chief problems you will encounter in resuming civilian life?" The top two responses, nearly tied, were "rebuilding a practice" and "finances," while "readjustment from military to civilian medicine" received one vote and "socialized medicine" received six.

The questionnaire also took the pulse of the community on health insurance: "Realizing that the Oregon Physicians' Service is a professionally-sponsored experiment in providing a prepaid medical service (a) such as Oregon workers have come to expect, (b) that assists in forestalling the domination of medical practice by commercial medical service and insurance corporations or industrial interests, and (c) that meets the present nation-wide demand for an 'insurance' type of medical care, do you favor: A. continuing the organization, and B. extending the service to families?" (88% of the members were in favor of A, but only 52% were in favor of B).

The questionnaire folder also contains a typed summary of "comments [which] were received which have no bearing on any of the questions asked but which may be of interest." Included here is a demand that medical meetings have better presentations:
Tabloid papers should be demanded and required by those in charge of programs. Short, snappy, thought-provoking papers are what I would like to see adopted. I think the membership can stand the shock of it.
Ah, it is ever thus!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Birth of an institution

The birth of the University of Oregon Medical School one hundred and twenty years ago was captured in paper documents, both handwritten and typescript, that have come down through the ages and into our collections.

The Harry J. Sears Papers (Accession 2005-005), donated by Sears' son David in 2005, contains a manuscript draft version of the petition sent to the Board of Regents in June of 1887. The draft is written on letterhead from the Office of the Board of Health where C.H. Wheeler was presiding Health Officer, and Wheeler's name appears in the list of petitioners. A penciled notation at the top of the first sheet, however, indicates that this particular version was a "draft, United States District by Judge Matthew P. Deady." Deady was, at that time, president of the Board of Regents; subsequent to the establishment of the University of Oregon Medical School, he was immediately named emeritus professor of medical jurisprudence. While that might trigger a conflict of interest inquiry these days, it seemed business as usual back in 1887.

The University of Oregon Medical School Faculty Minutes (Accession 1999-003), by contrast, contains a typewritten version of the petition appended to the beginning of the volume containing minutes from the period 1921 to 1943. You have wonder why this was included at that point: was the original petition missing? Were original papers destroyed accidentally? Had some challenge to the school's authority been received? Had enough time elapsed that human memory of the original incorporation was no longer sufficient (or trustworthy)? In any case, the typed petition, while official-looking, definitely lacks charm. The language itself seems more alive in the manuscript ("and we would ever pray --"), and we're gratified that this draft, in all its contingency, now sits beside its formal likeness.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Public health in Jackson County

Just about three months ago, I posted information on our Public Health Survey Records (Accession 2004-025), a collection of reports about public health services and statistics from cities and counties throughout the Pacific Northwest. Yesterday, in the course of shifting materials in the PNW Archives Collection to make room for new acquisitions, I came across an orphan from that same collection: Thelma Perozzi's Report of health conditions in Jackson County, Oregon, from 1933.

Organized in much the same way as the other surveys, Perozzi's report includes a brief history of Jackson County, an outline of the organization and administration of the local health department, vital statistics of the county population, and information on sanitation and community health services in the locality. Like the other reports, Perozzi's is illustrated with original photographs and supplemented with examples of blank forms. In the images shown here, we see the "interior of a dental room" in Ashland, OR (Figure 2) and the "community health house" in Berrydale, OR, a lumbering community near Medford (Figure 3).

Perozzi's Foreword is refreshingly honest: "The writer intends that this report be merely personal observations coupled with data, statistical and otherwise, and not a complete survey of all the health problems of Jackson County. The material which is not original can be detected easily, and the remaining charts and graphs have been made by the writer." Talk about an easy out for maintaining a lengthy list of notes and citations!

Monday, December 10, 2007

New web resources: lecture and exhibits

Announcing the availability of a few new links to online resources from Historical Collections & Archives:

The streaming video of the last History of Medicine Society Lecture is now available. In this presentation, Dr. Brion Benninger discusses the history of cranial nerve description and classification, and his own groundbreaking work in this area. Check our Lectures web page for information about the next lecture, coming up on January 18.

Many people are already aware of our popular Exhibits web site, which includes information about the current exhibit as well as exhibits we have mounted in the past. But now, there is another way to find information about some of our online exhibits: the directory of Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web, available from the Smithsonian Institution Libraries, has included listings for several of our web exhibits. Take a look, and check out the many wonderful exhibits being mounted on the web by our colleagues at libraries and archives across the nation and around the world. Enjoy!

Friday, December 07, 2007

New donation: anatomical paper dolls

Yesterday, the OHSU Heart Research Center sent over two anatomical paper dolls which had been safely ensconced in a filing cabinet over there since they were given to the HRC by Board member Jane Zahler about four years ago.

The dolls (male and female) consist of multiple layers of paper, hinged so as to allow progressive uncovering of the human anatomy, a la ecorche (pardon the lack of accents). The color illustrations cover front and back of each layer, providing an almost 3D experience of the human body.

Searching for information about these items, I came across the Artificial Anatomy web site from the National Museum of American History. The History section on Learning Anatomy in the 20th Century includes images of an exact match to our female doll. They date the item to the 1920s, and I'll take their word for it. While we don't know who owned these dolls between the time they were purchased in the 1920s and the time Zahler picked them up at an estate sale, it's clear that they have been cared for over the years and their condition is quite good.

These two dolls now keep company with two other anatomic model specimens in the History of Medicine Collection: the "pocket phantoms" from Shibata's work on obstetrics and the portfolio of hinged models in Physician's anatomical aid, another work from the 1920s. These interactive 2D models were more limited than their 3D cousins in their ability to demonstrate human anatomy, but were undoubtedly much more portable and probably much cheaper to purchase.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Old year nearly over, new one nearly begun: 120th anniversary of the Medical School

Reflecting on the impending close of the calendar year, I realized that the twelve-month celebratory period of the 120th anniversary of the OHSU School of Medicine is nearly over. Since I have only posted once on this topic, I feel shamefully behind in my merry-making and seek to redress the oversight by focusing on one of our neatest book collections: the First Class Collection.

Considered part of the History of Medicine Collection but shelved separately, the First Class Collection was created by Librarian Bertha Hallam beginning in 1937. Working off the list of required and recommended texts printed in the annual announcement for the first school session of 1887-88, Hallam methodically sought out each edition, moving copies still owned out of the circulating collections and purchasing other titles no longer held by the library.

Students of 2007 find this collection remarkable in its size -- its small size, that is. Often, they comment on the vast universe of information that today's medical student is expected to master, and they think wistfully of their forebears and the free time they surely must have enjoyed. Of course, they didn't have computers or the Internet in 1887, and every fact to be memorized had to be first located in a print volume and then laboriously hand copied to a notebook. No cutting and pasting. No last quick check of Harrison's Online on the laptop minutes before the exam. It may be true that the universe of information is just exactly as big as it can be for the technology available to access it, and that medical students of 1887 felt just as overwhelmed as this year's class.

The list of titles, all of which can be found in the library's online catalog, includes:

An American text-book of physiology (Philadelphia : Saunders, c1896)

Anatomy, descriptive and surgical. / Gray, Henry, 1825-1861 (Philadelphia, Lea brothers & co., 1887)

Clinical lectures on diseases of the urinary organs, delivered at University College Hospital / Thompson, Henry, Sir, 1820-1904 (London, J. & A. Churchill, 1879)

Diseases of the throat and nasal passages; a guide to the diagnosis and treatment of affections of the pharynx, oesophagus, trachea, larynx, and nares / Cohen, J. Solis (Jacob Solis), 1838-1927 (New York, Wood, 1880)

The Dispensatory of the United States of America (Philadelphia, Pa. : Grigg & Elliot, 1883)

Handbook of physiology / Kirkes, William Senhouse, 1823-1864 (Philadelphia : Lea, 1873)

Insanity and its treatment : lectures on the treatment, medical and legal, of insane patients / Blandford, G. Fielding (George Fielding), 1829-1911 (Philadelphia, Henry C. Lea, 1871)

Lectures on orthopaedic surgery : delivered at the Brooklyn Medical and Surgical Institute / Bauer, Louis, 1814-1898 (New York : Wood, 1868)

Lectures on orthopedic surgery : and diseases of the joints : delivered at Bellevue Hospital Medical College, during the session of 1874-1875 / Sayre, Lewis A. (Lewis Albert), 1820-1900 (New York : D. Appleton and Company, 1885)

Legal medicine / Tidy, Charles Meymott, 1843-1892 (New York : W. Wood & company, 1882-84)

A manual of diseases of the throat and nose : including the pharynx, larynx, trachea, Å“sophagus, nose and naso-pharynx / Mackenzie, Morell, Sir, 1837-1892 (New York : W. Wood & Co., 1884)

Manual of gynecology / Hart, D. Berry (David Berry), 1851-1920 (New York, William Wood, 1883)

A manual of medical jurisprudence, with special reference to diseases and injuries of the nervous system / Hamilton, Allan McLane, 1848-1919 (New York [etc.], Bermingham & company, 1883)

A manual of midwifery including the pathology of pregnancy and the puerperal state ... / Schroeder, Karl Ludwig Ernst, 1838-1887 (New York, D. Appleton, 1873)

Manual of operative surgery / Bryant, Joseph D. (Joseph Decatur), 1845-1914 (New York : D. Appleton, 1887, c1886)

A manual of physiology, a textbook for students of medicine / Yeo, Gerald F. (Philadelphia : Blakiston, 1887)

Medical jurisprudence / Taylor, Alfred Swaine, 1806-1880 (Philadelphia : Blanchard & Lea, 1861)

A practical treatise on disease in children / Smith, Eustace, 1835-1914 (New York, W. Wood, 1884)

A practical treatise on the diseases of women / Thomas, T. Gaillard (Theodore Gaillard), 1832-1903 (Philadelphia, H. C. Lea's Son & Co., 1880)

The principles and practice of gynaecology / Emmet, Thomas Addis, 1828-1919 (Philadelphia : Henry C. Lea, 1884)

The principles and practice of obstetrics / Bedford, Gunning S., 1806-1870 (New York : Wood, 1876 [c1868])

Quain's Elements of anatomy / Quain, Jones, 1796-1865 (London : Longmans, Green, 1876-1878)

The science and art of midwifery / Lusk, William Thompson, 1838-1897 (New York : Appleton, 1885)

The science and art of surgery : a treatise on surgical injuries, diseases, and operations / Erichsen, John Eric, 1818-1896 (Philadelphia : Henry C. Lea's Son, 1884-1885)

A system of midwifery : including the diseases of pregnancy and the puerperal state / Leishman, William, 1834-1894 (Philadelphia : Henry C. Lea, 1879)

A system of surgery; pathological, diagnostic, therapeutic, and operative / Gross, Samuel D. (Samuel David), 1805-1884 (Philadelphia ; H.C. Lea, 1872)

A text-book of human physiology : including histology and microscopical anatomy; with special reference to the requirements of pratical medicine / Landois, L. (Leonard), 1837-1902 (Philadelphia, P. Blakiston, 1887)

A text-book of physiology / Foster, M. (Michael), Sir, 1836-1907 (Philadelphia, Lea Brothers & Co., 1885)

The theory and practice of obstetrics : including diseases of pregnancy and parturition, obstetrical operations, etc. / Cazeaux, P. (Pierre), 1808-1862 (Philadelphia : P. Blakiston, 1887, c1886)

A treatise on the principles and practice of medicine; designed for the use of practitioners and students of medicine / Flint, Austin, 1812-1886 (Philadelphia : H.C. Lea's Son & Co., 1884)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Postcards are coming!

We have made the final selections of images for a second series of historic postcards. Six photographs illustrating the history of OHSU will be issued, along with six images of women physicians to accompany the upcoming June 2008 exhibit, "Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Women Physicians." Shown here is one of the images from OHSU's history: "roughnecked" first-year medical students gathered outside of Good Samaritan Hospital.

Inquiries about postcard prices and orders for singles and sets can be sent to

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New donation: Howard Stroud Papers

Yesterday, in the rain and wind of what people have been calling the most damaging storm in recent memory, I headed out to pick up a donation of materials from Howard Stroud, M.P.H. Mr. Stroud was Director of the Oregon Heart Association from 1960 to 1980, and as such had a front-row view of an exciting time in heart research in Oregon.

The collection includes the "Million Dollar Suitcase," which was used for fundraising efforts around the state. The case contains numerous models of Starr-Edwards heart valves, pacemakers, material for artificial arteries, catheters, one plastinated heart and two plastic-encased hearts, news clippings and photos of Albert Starr, Lowell Edwards, James Metcalfe, Roy Swank, Stan Jacob, heart patients, and OHA staff, among others. The photo seen here is of a giant replica of a human heart, installed at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) with the help of the OHA.

The Stroud Collection will enhance our holdings of materials related to heart research in Oregon, joining the Jeri Dobbs Heart Valve Collection and the Melvin P. Judkins Papers, as well as contemporary publicity materials from the university public affairs department.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Faust, Roy Clayton Faust

Along with some unaccessioned museum pieces uncovered in a box recently, a picture and a small amount of biographical information about the donor were found.

Roy Clayton Faust, M.D., was born in Iowa in September of 1878. Passing through the public school system in Cherokee, IA, Faust went on to medical school at Sioux City College of Medicine, obtaining his M.D. in 1905. The following year, he got his second degree from the Creighton University School of Pharmacy, and established private practices in Iowa and South Dakota before relocating to Deary, Idaho. When he received his medical license in Idaho on May 6, 1911, he became only the third doctor to practice in that state. After seventeen years in Deary, Faust moved on to Eugene, Oregon, where he continued to practice until his death in September of 1941.

Included with the photo of Faust and the small biographical sketch is a laminated news clipping which demonstrates, once again, how fun it used to be to read the newspaper:
Dr. Faust has had his hands full the past two days. About noon yesterday the little two year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Burnstad, who reside ten miles east of town, swallowed about eight headache tablets and was brought in for treatment. The little midget's life was almost despaired of but the doctor succeeded in bringing her through and this afternoon she is reported to be almost fully recovered from the effects of the poison .... Next came D.L. Anderson from the Beaver Creek country with a 4 x 6 in the palm of his hand. "Doc" got a pry under the timber and succeeded in getting it out, but the laceration will lose the owner the use of his phalanges for some time.
Phalanges. Now, that's a word that should come back into popular use.

Nowhere is there any indication that Dr. Faust used any supernatural means to cure his patients, and no sense that he died under any mysterious circumstances, so I think we can assume that he was a law-abiding Faust and not a late-day legend. Oddly enough, I'm currently reading Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, which is further proof of my assertion that serendipity is the strongest of the universal forces.

Friday, November 30, 2007

TODAY: OHSU History of Medicine Society Lecture

Reminding our Portland area readers that today at noon Dr. Brion Benninger, M.D., will present his talk "Cranial Nerves: Chronological History and Current Controversies" in the Old Library Auditorium.

Benninger, professor in the OHSU School of Medicine Dept. of Surgery and the School of Dentistry's Departments of Oral Maxillary Facial Surgery and Integrative Biosciences, entered medical school in England with degrees in chemistry and exercise physiology. During his medical training he did residencies in orthopedics and trauma and became staff physician and lecturer of anatomy at Guys Hospital in London. He later received a MS degree in sports medicine from the University of Nottingham. With his training in sports medicine be became a physician to both professional and amateur athletes and was a member of the British Olympic Team of Physicians. While in the UK, Benninger invented the joint proprioception machine for upper limb.

Here at OHSU, he has helped develop the stroke rehabilitation machine at the Neurological Sciences Institute; organized and taught OHSU's first clinical anatomy course for undergraduates; and has won teaching excellence awards for the past six years. He is currently active in organizing the Oregon Anatomy Association.

His own groundbreaking work on cranial nerves is the subject of today's talk, along with an historical overview of cranial nerve description from Galen to the present day. Please join us!

A reminder for those outside of the Portland metro area: streaming video of today's talk will be available on our web site shortly after the event. Stay tuned for the posting of the link on our Lecture Series site.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A more polished stone turned

In the great big bonanza of new-to-us items from the Medical Museum Collection, there is a history of Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, Washington. Unlike the history of Vancouver Memorial, which we talked about yesterday, this history is a glossy, polished piece of institutional writing. Eight Decades of Progress: Deaconess Hospital, Spokane, Washington is heavily illustrated, having approximately as many images as it has pages.

The story begins in April 1892, when the first Deaconess Home opened in the private residence of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin P. O'Neill. There, Deaconesses Emma Kenyon and May Raymond cared for the "sick and needy." Much like the People's Institute & Portland Free Dispensary (which became the OHSU Outpatient Clinics), the Deaconess Home concerned itself with the social and spiritual welfare of their patrons as well as their physical welfare. In 1897, the Maria Beard Deaconess Home and Hospital was dedicated, thus inaugurating the history of the hospital as a freestanding institution.

The story continues up through the end of the 1960s, and then launches into some speculation about the future of Deaconess and health care in America ("Experts say that by the time the 1970's have become the 1980's, heart attack might be a thing of the past." I guess they're still working on that one.)

Not only are the predictions incorrect, some of the facts are noticeably wrong also. For example, we learn on page 2 that the home of the O'Neills was at 1209 W. 5th, while on page 3 the address is listed as 1205 5th. Again, new information almost inevitably leads to new questions...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

History unearthed

Yesterday, going through the Medical Museum Collection boxes in a routinized way, we found quite a lot of interesting little gems (such as the almanac featured on yesterday's post).

One of the items newly re-found is A History of Vancouver Memorial Hospital (Originally named Clark General Hospital), 1929-1970 , a photocopy of a 67-page typescript document dated December 31, 1970. Searches of local and national catalogs indicate that this may be a unique document. If so, it's an important piece to the puzzle of hospital development in the Pacific Northwest.

The document itself won't win any literary prizes: largely a compilation of dates, statistics, and information on budget and staffing, the history reads much like the meeting minutes from which it was, in large part, culled. But the preface, written by Paul S. Bliss, strikes a stirring note:
The comparatively brief outline cannot be but a collective glimpse of the thousands of individuals who form the basis for the hospital's being. They are those patients, their families and friends, who have experienced joy, sadness, pain, relief and individually woven the pattern of the hospital into the fabric of memory.
The idea for Clark General Hospital (later renamed Vancouver Memorial Hospital, now Southwest Washington Medical Center) was born in "the Y.W.C.A. rooms over Reder's Drug Store" on September 14, 1927. Included in the group of twenty-eight men assembled to discuss plans for a new hospital was R.D. Reder himself, and I wonder whether an understanding was developed between the druggist and the medical men about pharmaceutical supplies for the new institution. This, of course, the history does not answer. Isn't it wonderful how new information always leads to new questions?

By the by, it may sound like we have no idea what we're doing over here, finding new things in old collections, but let's keep in mind the fact that it has only been a few years since stable funding has allowed us the freedom to go back through legacy collections and really get them processed. It definitely makes every day an adventure!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Should it stay or should it go, now?

(Sing it with me!)

Ah, the age old debate between the packrat and the housemouse (or however that saying goes): keep the miscellaneous ephemera only tangentially related to established collections, or get rid of it? One of the items in question is this lovely little copy of The Franklin almanac and western New-York calendar for the year of our Lord 1842.

Why? Why do we have this? Sadly, that information has been lost in the mounting sands of time. It was just uncovered in a box of Medical Museum Collection items, without provenance or donation information. Sure, it's lovely. It's obviously not complete, lacking at least one page (though how many more than that is difficult to tell). Thirteen libraries are shown as holding this title in OCLC's WorldCat. We are not near Rochester; the almanac as is contains no medical information; there are no marks of ownership to indicate whether it belonged to any person affiliated with the university. But it is the sort of thing one hates to discard, the sort of thing that many assume should be kept. It cries "rare books." It even smells good.

Today, I chanced to read the "Public Domain" column in the latest issue of Fine Books & Collections. Adapted from Eugene Field's The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac (1899), the piece is entitled "On the odors that my books exhale." Describing his own fondness for the smell of books, and in particular of libraries, Fields addressed the strange case of the British Museum, where patrons
complain not infrequently that they are overcome by the closeness of the atmosphere in that place, and what is known as the British Museum headache has come to be recognized by the medical profession in London as a specific ailment due to the absence of oxygen in the atmosphere...
Put on the case to make a scientific explanation for this anomalous library, one Professor Huxley conducted a series of experiments and concluded that "the presence of poison in the atmosphere was due to the number of profane books in the museum." A modern reader can only wonder whether there might not be a second, perhaps more scientific, explanation (low light in the reading room comes to mind, but then I'm not a doctor).

We often get comments about the smell of the History of Medicine Room from first-time visitors. While we haven't made a concerted effort to question patrons and compile comments, we have had more than one person describe the smell as "cloves." Our little almanac doesn't smell like cloves, to me, but does have a bit of Field's "fragrant, gracious" air to it. Reason enough to keep it? I guess we'll have to sleep on this one.

Monday, November 26, 2007

CJ Smith: collecting a collection

We recently accessioned a "new collection" into the Archives, which is neither new nor a collection, strictly speaking. The Charles J. Smith Papers, Accession No. 2007-006, have been culled together from little tracings left throughout our holdings in forgotten years past.

From the Biographical Files, we removed original correspondence between C.J. Smith and several correspondents, along with the original manuscript for his article "The economic side of preventive medicine."

In the Pacific Northwest Archives, we located the typescript report "Malaria," distilled by C.J. from some of the very correspondence we found in the Bio Files. The 1928 document aggregates the responses from "the ten oldest physicians in the state" to a question of the prevalence of malaria and typhoid in Oregon in pioneer days. For example, Dr. W.N. Byrd wrote, in part:
I recall when any of us developed a chill, we were liberally doped, with either "Ayre's Ague Cure" or "Indian Collagogue" two patent remedies, vaunted for the cure of malaria. They were vile concoctions to take, but apparently effective; for usually in 3 or 4 days, the "chills and fever" would be gone, and at the end of a week's time we had to submit to a couple more days of treatment by way of prevention."
Dr. A.J. Giesy contributed: "We had plenty of malaria in all its phases: Also typhoid fever; for years. I do not believe that I was without a typhoid fever case on my hand. That changed suddenly when we went from Willamette river water to Bull Run."

We also picked out of the PNW Archives a manuscript, later titled "The origin of the Eastern Oregon Medical Society," written by C.J. circa 1901. In fact, the pages appear to be minutes of two meetings of the nascent Society and a list of members. The first meeting, which established the medical group, also saw discussion of the territory to be covered and the "formation of a fee bill." In the later meeting, we learn, "Dr. Andrew Smith of Portland gave an able address on appendicitis. Dr. Harry Lane of Portland talked about insane people in general."

C.J. himself seems to have been quite a character. Born 1864 near Columbus, Ohio, he came out west to Walla Walla after earning his medical degree from Bellevue Hospital Medical College in 1888. He was mayor of Pendleton, Oregon, from 1897-1898 and state senator from 1902-1910. In 1914, he even ran against Dr. James Withycombe for governor. Interestingly, C.J. was a member of the Portland Academy of Medicine until his resignation in 1929; perhaps a clue about the reason for his break with PAM could be located in the records of that group (Accession 2004-009)....

By pulling together these bits and pieces, we have artificially created a small collection of the papers of C.J. Smith which (we believe) will better serve researchers interested in the life and career of this physician, as well as the medical milieu in which he practiced.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm thankful for ... the J. Guy Strohm scrapbook

Hot off the presses in the archival sweatshop we run here in Historical Collections & Archives is the finding aid for a newly processed collection, the John Guy Strohm Scrapbook: Base Hospital 46, Accession No. 2004-026.

Dr. Strohm, known as J. Guy to virtually everyone one who knew him (and we who feel like we know him), was a cigar-chompin' soldier who climbed the Army ranks to colonel and headed up the all-volunteer Oregon unit, General Hospital 46, in World War II. In the first World War, he served with distinction in Oregon's 91st Division as division surgeon. Between the wars, he was on the faculty of the University of Oregon Medical School and headed up the Department of Urology.

The scrapbook in question is largely made up of newspaper clippings of a series called "The History of the Gallant 91st: a Narrative of the 'Wild West Division' Heavily Officered by Oregon Men, dedicated to the 2000 heroes who never returned," written for the Oregonian by William H. Johnston in 1926. In addition, correspondence, a booklet, a photograph, documents and other news clippings were laid into the scrapbook. Much of the correspondence is between Kenneth A.J. Mackenzie, UOMS Dean, and various others about the activities of the school and local physicians during the war years. The complete finding aid will be available on the Archives web page shortly.

For more information on the 91st, read the history by Alice Palmer Henderson or check out some online resources such as Wikipedia's entry. A wealth of materials pertaining to the Base Hospital 46 and General Hospital 46 are available in Historical Collections & Archives, including books, manuscripts, and photographs from those who served.

As we head into this Thanksgiving holiday, we thank all those who have contributed to the maintenance of the the American way of life, and to all those who have chronicled it. Thanks to the history makers and the history takers, without whom archives would be out of business!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Personal takes on the history of medicine in Oregon

Since 2003, the OHSU Oral History Program has been acting in cooperation with what was then an already existing project to create a documentary film on the history of medicine in Oregon. This latter project, jointly sponsored by the Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Historical Society, The Foundation for Medical Excellence, and OHSU, and funded largely through the Oregon Medical Education Foundation, has recently been named an official Oregon 150 project. OHSU Historical Collections & Archives, in addition to providing research support and coordinating on interviews for some interviewees of interest to both projects, will eventually become the repository for the materials--video, audio, and paper--created as a result.

To that end, we recently received three transcripts from oral history interviews recorded for that project. As with all oral history, there are wonderful anecdotes and personal opinions included in each of these, samples of which are below:

Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield, interviewed by Roy Payne, M.D., May 20, 2003, on lobbying the legislature for funding:
Payne: Now after you got into the political field, into the legislature, where did you start getting involved there? Was it the dental school issue then?

Hatfield: The dental school was the very first, because it was not in the top level of the consolidated programs for building and higher education that had been developed by the chancellor’s office. So a group of students were helping to lobby for a new building, as well as faculty. And I remember the most, perhaps the most fantastic piece of lobbying that I ever experienced were these dental students saying, “You know, the saliva injector is something we have to pump by our foot while the patient is having his dental work done. And then after a while, something happens, and it reverses itself.”
Well, just the imagery of a saliva injector reversing itself from a common pot, so to speak, it won the day. And we put that dental school right at the top of the list.

Former Oregon Medical Examiner William J. Brady, M.D., interviewed by Matt Simek, May 23, 2007, on winning his first election:
Simek: Would you say that’s unusual, that an opponent would endorse his opponent?

Brady: Well, the whole election that year was very, very interesting and unusual situation. There was a layman who ran, was involved in the Republican primary, didn’t make it. His platform consisted of, ballot slogan, "[name] is dead right," and he was going to adjust the morgue to put a restaurant at the top of the morgue, and he would call it the Top of the Morgue. It was an unusual election. It was unusual. These are all true stories, honestly. [laughs]

Portland anesthesiologist Joanne Jene, M.D., interviewed by Matt Simek, August 23, 2007, on things you never see anymore:
Jene: We’re doing much, much teaching with the medical simulator so that people can get real life experience on a dummy, if you will. And that’s a great enhancement. Because you train to take care of the unexpected or the complication that may occur during a procedure under anesthesia. But you can go through a whole lifetime and never experience that situation.
And I will use as an example malignant hyperthermia, which is an anesthesia-triggered disease. It’s the only one anesthesia triggers. And it’s a combination of a genetic composition of the patient and drugs that you may use which will trigger an automatic release of a hyperthermia, or increase of the temperature of the patient. And usually this is in children. And the temperature could go from 37 degrees or 98.6 to 105 in a matter of minutes. And this is a life threatening anesthesia emergency. And I think that one of the things that we’ve done is develop the fact that Dantrolene is a medication that every hospital and every ambulatory surgical unit must have on hand. But also, it really becomes a team effort to resuscitate and save a patient.
And you may never see this in your lifetime. I had one case. Only one in my lifetime. It was in 1964. And at that time, there was no Dantrolene. We had no pulse oximeters. We barely measured the patient’s temperature. We had no monitors that we have now. And unfortunately, the patient died. I knew that there was a problem. It took time to define what the problem was. And then the only thing that we really had to treat the patient was sedation and ice. That was it. And then they go into a super hyper coagulability situation where the blood all begins to clot and then they begin to bleed.
So it was terrible, but there wasn’t anything. Now we do know how to treat it, how to recognize it. And that’s probably one of the greatest threats and challenges of anesthesia, but one of the biggest rewards that when you make the diagnosis, you can treat it.

Simek: Was that a child?

Jene: It was a sixteen year-old boy.

Monday, November 19, 2007

F.A. Kiehle, ophthalmologist

Last week, we received a small donation of turn-of-the-century medical books from an alumnus of the University of Oregon Medical School Class of 1953. A few are very nice and may be kept for our collections, while a few are in very sad shape and will likely be recycled. Several of them (5 of 16) had ownership markings of Frederick A. Kiehle, M.D., local ophthalmologist and early member of the faculty here at the Medical School, from 1912-1945. A graduate of the medical school at the University of Minnesota, Kiehle practiced in Salt Lake City from 1902-1908, when he relocated to Portland. Aside from his work at the medical school and in private practice, Kiehle was also a director of the Portland Public Library Association and, further, he was instrumental in establishing special services for visually handicapped students in the Portland public schools.

In last week's donation, we received Kiehle's copies of The genuine works of Hippocrates, Osler's Aequanimitas, and Larsell's The Doctor in Oregon. The latter includes a presentation inscription from the author to Kiehle. A two-volume set of Cushing's Life of Osler bears a presentation inscription to Kiehle from Thomas Lamb Eliot, while a copy of the relatively scarce Refraction of the eye, its diagnosis and the correction of its errors by A. Stanford Morton has two manuscript letters from the author to Kiehle tipped in. Some of the other donated texts may also have belonged to Kiehle, though no evidence of that provenance survives within the volumes themselves. All in all, a nice little glimpse into the personal collection of an early Portland physician. Four titles already in the book collections here have Kiehle provenance.

Up in the archives, we have a collection of Kiehle's glass lantern slides, the Frederick Kiehle Slide Collection, Accession No. 2001-007. The guide and inventory for that collection are both available online from our web site.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Not the first "first"

OHSU's Oregon National Primate Research Center is in the news today. No matter where you live, it seems, your local news outlet of choice is probably running a story about the cloning breakthrough announced yesterday at ONPRC. Your local news outlet might not have covered the story out of ONPRC earlier this week, when PETA again sent an undercover operative into Primate Center labs to uncover evidence of animal mistreatment at the Hillsboro site. Even the Oregonian remained unconvinced about the severity of PETA's claims, and the announcement of Mitalipov's success in creating primate embryonic stem cells provided further confirmation of the valuable work being done by OHSU's animal researchers.

Of course, this isn't the first breakthrough to by logged by researchers here, and although the enormity of the task of maintaining of a list of the University's "firsts" has bested the most diligent staffers here (including yours truly, and I've tried), ONPRC maintains its own small list of recent advances on its website. More basic facts about research at OHSU can be found on one of the "about" pages, including the impressive finding that OHSU researchers are producing "one new breakthrough, innovation or discovery every four days."

The Oregon National Primate Center, originally dedicated in May 1962 as the Oregon Regional Primate Research Center, was the first research center of its kind in North America. While the center is often shy about divulging specifics about its researchers (with good reason; having worked out at the West Campus for a time myself, I can testify to the routine presence of animal rights protesters and their often questionable tactics and actions), a short fact sheet and historical time line are both available online.

Since the inception of the Oregon Center, another seven primate centers have been established around the country. All are funded by the National Institutes of Health and all are dedicated to advancing scientific knowledge through the study of nonhuman primates. A short history of the national primate centers is available from the center at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Women in dentistry

We've talked a bit lately about women in medicine, spurred by our participation in the 2008 Portland showing of the National Library of Medicine's exhibit, Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Women Physicians, hosted by the Central Branch of the Multnomah County Library.

But what about women in dentistry? For some brief information on this topic, there's no better place to start than W. Claude Adams' History of Dentistry in Oregon, a companion volume of sorts to Olof Larsell's The Doctor in Oregon. Written in 1956 on the occasion of the "consummation ... of one hundred and ten years of progress in dentistry in Oregon," Adams' history covers the pioneer days of "primitive dentistry" through the 1950s, highlighting dental organizations, practice, education (merger mania!), research, and consumer health as well as "present-day problems" like payment plans, insurance, and legislation.

Adams devotes an entire chapter to women in Oregon dentistry. Writing from the vantage of a successful male dentist at the top of his game in postwar America, Adams writes:
Knowing of the prejudice against which women in dentistry had to battle, mere man can do no less than admire the courage of the women who braved the opposition and chose dentistry as a life work.
Most of the women dentists he chooses to include in his narrative are those who graduated from dental schools in the 1890s and early 1900s, such as Lizzie Stewart and Alice Magilton, two 1902 graduates of the North Pacific College (a predecessor of the OHSU School of Dentistry). Stewart went on to practice in Seattle, while Magilton chose Klamath Falls as her home base.

Several notable women dentists in turn-of-the-century Oregon practiced jointly with their husbands. One such, Dr. Mollie Bowman Hickey (1866-1951), came to Portland with her husband in 1894 after graduation from the University of Iowa dental school. After her husband's death, Hickey continued in solo practice until her retirement in 1944. Adams notes that "she was especially successful with artificial dentures."

Reading about Dr. Grace Keith Pulliam, I was struck by the similarities between the wartime activities of Pulliam and Esther Pohl Lovejoy, one of our most notable female medical graduates. A 1908 graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Pulliam opened her practice in Portland in 1909 becoming the first dentist in Oregon to specialize in periodontia. She was also a charter member of the Academy of Periodontology in 1914 and was made an honorary life member upon her retirement from active practice. During World War I, Pulliam served with the American Red Cross in France as a dentist for refugee children; when that service was discontinued, Pulliam stayed on as "a canteen worker at Brest, the debarkation point." Her dedication to dental care for the war-torn nation no doubt earned her much respect among her colleagues. After her return to the United States, Pulliam went on to serve as president of the Association of Women Dentists (1931-32). At that time, Adams notes, there were approximately 1200 women dentists in the U.S. and Canada.

For more facts about the history of women in dentistry and about current activities of women dentists, check out the American Association of Women Dentists' website.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

140 years of surgical history

On Monday, we heard some opinions about the influence of surgery in the 21st century; now, we can read more about the influence of surgery since the 19th century in a new work just published by the OHSU Department of Surgery. History of the Department of Surgery, 1867-2007 was written by Patricia Southard, R.N., J.D., and edited by many notable surgical faculty past and present including Drs. John Hunter, Don Trunkey, Cliff and Karen Deveney and several others.

The volume includes a short history of the University, a history of the Dept. of Surgery, and histories of the surgical divisions (general surgery, pediatric surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, trauma and surgical critical care, cardiothoracic surgery, vascular surgery, surgical oncology, urology and kidney transplantation, liver and pancreas transplantation, orthopedics, and neurosurgery). Based on source materials here in Historical Collections & Archives as well as departmental records, the Oregonian news archives, and the institutional memory held only in the brains of senior practitioners from the community, the story begins with the establishment of the Willamette University Medical Department in 1867 and extends right up through late 2007 (Dr. Albert Starr's reception of the 2007 Lasker Award and the performance of the first natural orifice transluminal endoscopic procedure by teams at OHSU and Ohio State University in September are both included). A six-page timeline of departmental highlights supplements the narrative.

Interestingly, a whole chapter of this institutional history is devoted to "The Downtown Surgeons." Conflicts between town and gown have long been a feature of the history of medicine in Portland, but it is equally true that the university as we know it today would not exist without the myriad valuable contributions of private practice physicians who did donate and continue to donate their time and effort to advancing the missions of teaching, healing, and research. The Dept. of Surgery history formally recognizes several of these contributors, including Drs. John B. Cleland, Lewis P. Gambee, William Garnjobst, and Roger Alberty, who is currently Director of Surgery at Providence St. Vincent Hospital.

Dr. Hunter's introduction nicely summarizes the history of the department over the last 140 years:
In researching the history of the department, the common theme that emerged was the presence of a pioneer spirit that allowed individuals with imagination to push the frontiers of surgery, but required that progress be forged by dint of determination and resourcefulness rather than privilege and entitlement.
To get your hands on this history, watch for this slim volume to appear in the catalog.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New Lovejoyana

Last week we received two more pieces of Esther Pohl Lovejoy-ana from Maxine Fraade, donor of a major portion of the Lovejoy materials currently held by our repository.

One, an issue of American Women's Club Magazine, London (v. 4, no. 3, March 1928), contains a short article on "American Women's Hospitals in Greece." Written by Julie Helen Heyneman, it focuses on the efforts of the AWH in Greece in the period 1922-1928. Cutting short the complete narrative of events, Heyneman writes:
However, Dr. Esther Lovejoy has told that whole astounding story--an epic if there ever was one--in her book Certain Samaritans, which is probably on the shelves of the library. If it is not, I urgently suggest that it should be, so that whenever we feel depressed about manifestations at home with which we are out of sympathy, we may have our righteous pride reinforced by the account of the activities of the women who enlisted under the banner of the American Women's Hospitals in the Balkans." (p. 142)
And who can't use a little reinforcement of righteous pride on occasion?

The other donated item, an issue of the American Women's Club of Paris Bulletin (v. I, no. 21, Sept. 1924), includes a piece on the ceremony at which Lovejoy received the Legion of Honor from France, "The Fete at the Residence Sociale in honour of Docteur Esther Lovejoy." The commendation itself had been awarded on Oct. 26, 1923; the citation read, in part (pardon the lack of proper punctuation):
"On peut sans crainte insister sur l'influence enorme exercee par le Docteur Esther Lovejoy, soit par la parole, soit par son livre: "The House of the Good Neighbor," edite chez Macmillan et preface par Herbert Hoover, lequel constitue une excellente propagande francophile..."
I wouldn't have thought of the book as French propaganda, but maybe we should add some subject headings for that... The article goes on to state:
On a radiant Sunday afternoon of this July, the "Residence" held fete at Levallois for Doctor Lovejoy, in affectionate gratitude for the gift to humanity of her beneficient life since 1917. What this gift of herself has been to France and to the near East is known to all the world! In the little portrait of Doctor Lovejoy accompanying this story we see looking from starlit eyes the deep enthusiasms, the fine intellectuality of a fervid spirit, in its first vivid living. On that Sunday afternoon a little while ago, the blue eyes flashed the same rare glance of eternal youth but the hair told of her self-gift to a world that suffers, and gleamed silvery white, exquisite, about the lovely face, at once portraying and framing her thorough-bred personality, strenuous and dainty in one. (p. 691)
All the photos in our collections confirm this description: Lovejoy does appear dainty and strenuous in each. These two newly donated pieces will be wonderful additions to our Lovejoy collections, and provide that much more support for the monumental legacy of her work as "Oregon's doctor to the world."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Fifth annual Donald D. Trunkey Lecture

I arrived back from my week away just in time to attend the fifth annual Donald D. Trunkey Lecture this morning, held as part of the OHSU Dept. of Surgery's Grand Rounds. The yearly Trunkey lecture is dedicated to the "history and humanities of surgery," and this morning's talk was a fine example of that strain of scholarship.

Dr. Haile Debas, currently executive director of Global Health Sciences at UCSF, presented his talk on "The influence of surgery in the 21st century." Department chair John Hunter, M.D., outlined some of the similarities between Trunkey and Debas in his introduction, which include not only year of birth (1937) but distinguished careers at UCSF and even time spent here at the Medical School. Debas confessed that he had spent the summer between his second and third years of medical school in Portland, partly at UOMS and partly at St. Vincent Hospital; from that experience, Debas told the audience, he "knew that God lives here."

Debas began by noting that while surgery is one of the oldest professions in the world, it -- like another of the "oldest professions" -- got very little respect for most of its history. It has only been in the last century that surgeons have gained prominence as skilled practitioners of the healing arts; Debas went on to share his thoughts on how surgery can build on its past success and maintain its influence in the coming century.

Key to maintaining surgery's prominent place in medicine is education of medical students, who, according to Debas, should be introduced to surgery in the preclinical years (years 1 and 2 of medical school), before they are told that surgery is difficult and uninteresting. Debas believes that the younger students would be more receptive to the notion that "the definitive treatment is surgical treatment," and that more would be recruited into the field. Surgery must also become more flexible, Debas noted, so that women, among others, would be more willing to commit to surgical careers.

While surgical leaders have, to date, generally been chosen according to the Peter Principle, Debas urged the audience to consider proactive and structured development of the surgical leaders of tomorrow. Those leaders should focus on maintaining surgery's strengths in robotics and digital imaging technologies; leverage the new developments in stem cell and regenerative medicine; and pioneer new advances in tissue engineering. These efforts will require interdisciplinary collaborations and team-based approaches, which surgeons should embrace and foster.

Debas' main interest, however, lies in surgery's role in global health initiatives. Emphasizing that surgery is a public health strategy, Debas outlined four areas in which surgery must contribute to global health: treatment of injuries (trauma), obstetrics, emergency medicine, and major types of elective surgeries (such as cataract surgery). The "unprecedented" groundswell of interest in global health is coming from students, residents, and established faculty alike, who see it as a major trend in healthcare. Medical education in developing countries, medical tourism, and impending global conflicts over the effects of global warming are all major components of the global health movements in American medicine.

Here at OHSU, the Global Health Alliance is a student group that focuses on global health equity. Much of the philosophy and ethic behind this current interest in global health recalls an earlier era of medicine, especially the international efforts of Dr. Esther Pohl Lovejoy and her colleagues in progressive Portland and across the world to establish institutions and organizations dedicated to universal health care and global health equity. Many of Lovejoy's writings continue to resonate today; let us hope that the renewed spirit of cooperation is as persistent as the written word.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Secret committees and nuclear reactors

No, it wasn't a history of the Soviet Union, it was our interview with Tyra T. Hutchens, M.D., yesterday afternoon.

We heard about how Medical School Dean Charles Holman asked Hutchens to chair a "secret committee" to investigate the feasibility of developing a faculty practice plan and to provide recommendations for implementation; much contentious debate erupted when the committee finally presented its report to the faculty, but the plan -- with revisions -- was finally adopted.

Hutchens, a true pioneer in nuclear medicine, also talked about his role in the establishment of several prominent nuclear medicine groups, including the American Board of Nuclear Medicine. The first certification exams for nuclear medicine were given in 1972, and Hutchens was one of three pathologists on that first panel. Having gotten his start in nuclear medicine during an NRC AEC fellowship stint at Reed College, Hutchens was later involved in getting Reed's nuclear reactor in 1968.

I did take the opportunity to ask the expert about the dangers of our radioactive Medical Museum Collection pieces, such as our drinking radium (from the J. Chandler Smith Collection) and the Revigator crock. He didn't seem overly concerned, but he didn't ask to see the collection, either ....

For complete details divulged during the afternoon, stay tuned for the video and transcript, both of which will be available for check-out from the Main Library after processing.

A technical note: I'll be out of the office all next week, so there will be a brief respite from posts. See you all again on November 12.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Oral history of Tyra T. Hutchens, M.D.

This afternoon, interviewer Donald Houghton, M.D., will be sitting down with Dr. Tyra T. Hutchens for an oral history session. As with all our oral histories, we hope to capture some of Dr. Hutchens' character as he describes his long career here at OHSU (which was the University of Oregon Medical School when he was on faculty). We also hope that he'll shed more light on this story, told to interviewer Joan Ash by public relations man J.J. Adams:
And, then, which Dean was it? Was it Mackenzie? I got this call one day from the U.S. Bank, and they said, “We just opened a lock box.” It wasn’t Dillehunt. Maybe it was Mackenzie. Yeah, I think it was Mackenzie. Opened this lock box, which hasn’t been opened in years and years, and there’s a little vial in there in a little lead case, and on the side it says “radium.” I called up Ty Hutchens, Chairman of the Department of Clinical Pathology, and we went down, both of us went down to the U.S. Bank. And, of course, if it was radium, the damn stuff puts out radon everywhere. They didn’t know that in those days. So right away U.S. Bank is, “God, what are our lawsuits going to be? Everything may be irradiated.”

Ty goes down—this was back in the early days of the Geiger counters and stuff, and he goes through there, and, thank God, it was clear. Why he had that in there in that lead box—but there wasn’t any radium in it; it was just the lead box. And we were really scared. We did this on a weekend. Ty went down there with this Geiger counter [laughing]. He says, “God,” he says, “I was”—you know, you didn’t wear any protective clothing. They didn’t know enough about it then. But it wasn’t hot. But if it had been hot, can you imagine what would have happened?

ASH: And what was it doing there? What a mystery.

ADAMS: Well, radium used to be used for cancer patients. They didn’t know how volatile it was back in the twenties, or whenever it was. They’d embed radium vials, and things, in people, and it was supposed eat the cancer up. It probably gave them more cancer. But it was one of these experimental things. I don’t know why that stuck in my—or, why I threw that in, but that’s the stuff that we worked on, you know. And, of course, nobody ever knew about this. But I always wondered what would have happened if that had been the real stuff. Gosh, you know, the lawsuits on that would have been incredible, because you’ve been irradiated. I mean, how much did you get?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Jessie Laird Brodie

We had today our second planning meeting for the upcoming exhibit on women in medicine, Changing the Face of Medicine: Celebrating America's Women Physicians (coming in June 2008 to the Multnomah County Library Central Branch). Discussion about the planned postcard series and some of the candidate women caused me to pull out the autobiography of 1928 University of Oregon Medical School alumna Jessie Laird Brodie, M.D. The following is one nice vignette included in that memoir:
When our oldest son, Laird, was about eight years old, Portland had an epidemic of influenza. My husband and I were both exposed in our practice. When I contracted the disease, we followed our customary procedure of semi-isolation in the house. My husband, consequently, used a temporary couch in the hall. "What's the matter with Laird?" he asked me after a few days. I replied that I had noticed nothing in the short conversations we had had through the open door. However, when Laird next came to say good night, I asked what was bothering him. "Mother, are you and Dad going to get a divorce?" I am sure I showed my astonishment. He finally explained that at school, the boys said that whenever a mother and dad did not sleep together, they were planning a divorce. I explained to him that two doctors did not dare to be ill at the same time, when they had many patients depending on them, and that we were using separate rooms only to avoid passing on infections. I was amazed to realize that children of this age discussed such family problems.
Brodie and her physician husband were fortunate in their ability to practice together and stay together; they were married until Walter's death in 1977. Jessie lived on to see her 92nd birthday, finally passing away in 1990.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hello my precious

You know, we're not a large repository by any means, but it's amazing how many little gems remain undiscovered by my hands. Continuing our search for information, photographs, books, and museum pieces relating to early female physicians in Oregon, I opened up our Biographical File on Amelia Ziegler, M.D., and found there a great little archival collection, including a tiny Memorandum book she used as a fee book from 1898 to 1921, a business card, and the ticket from her commencement. In the Medical Museum Collection, we had already stumbled across her white coat -- complete with ruffles and blood stains.

Ziegler had a long career and even longer life here in Portland: she lived to see her one hundredth birthday in 1961.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Discovery under the rustling leaves: a fall time diversion

Fans of our first series of limited edition Historic Postcards may be heartened to hear that a second series is in the planning stage; series II will include both historic images of campus life and activities and images of notable women physicians from Oregon. If you haven't seen the first set -- which has sold out, unfortunately -- you can view all ten images (plus thirteen not deemed worthy of postcardization) in the OHSU Digital Resources Library.

It was this morning, as I was pawing around in the archives for good candidate images for series II that I happened across the unprocessed collection of papers from Milton deVries Brunkow, M.D. I wandered down the range of shelves that holds some of our stellar image collections (including the Porter collection, the Labby scrapbook, the Francone drawings, the People's Institute slides, the Hilda Drum scrapbooks, plus Tinker, Norris, and Colonel Strohm's Nurses), and became distracted by three large banker's boxes of unprocessed materials.

Opening box number 2 and pulling out a black faux-leather three-ring binder, I came across the attached drawing -- and many more -- in Brunkow's class notes from a pathology course he took here at the Medical School. As a junior at Reed College, Brunkow began simultaneous studies up here on the Hill, finally graduating with his M.D. in 1939 (same class as Daniel Labby, whose scrapbook now inhabits the same shelving range). Brunkow went on to a long career as a general practitioner here in Portland, both at Emanuel and Holladay Park hospitals; he passed away in May of 1979.

The collection consists primarily of class notes (both illustrated and not), manuscripts, case histories, and reports dating from his time as a student (1931-1938), with a smattering of correspondence and a few medical instruments, accompanied by a few lab slides. It affords a unique perspective on medical education in the early 20th century, and is a wonderful complement to some of our other medical student collections, including Thomas Fox, Matthew Caldwell, and the anonymous 1880 class notes (also unprocessed).

For more information on any of our image or student collections, see our Archives listing -- or contact is directly at

Friday, October 26, 2007

Coffey crash

While immoderate quantities of caffeine downed quickly might cause a coffee crash, that's not the sort of thing under discussion today.

Yesterday, I had occasion to look through the Biographical File of one John Vidalis Straumfjord, M.D., past president of the North Pacific Society of Internal Medicine and founder of the Astoria Clinic in Astoria, OR. A 1929 graduate of the University of Oregon Medical School, Straumfjord gained national recognition in the 1940s for his research on Vitamin A. All in all, a very interesting character; but the thing that struck me most when reading through an obituary notice about him was that he was a survivor of the 1933 plane crash that killed Robert C. Coffey, M.D., another important figure in Pacific Northwest medicine. Straumfjord had been working as an internist at the Coffey Clinic since 1930, and was on the plane with Coffey when the accident occurred.

In Elizabeth Winegar Molina's book, Doctor Gritman's hospital: from horse and buggy to helipad, we get a brief biography of Coffey, co-founder with Charles L. Gritman, M.D., of the hospital in Moscow, Idaho. Born in North Carolina in 1869, Coffey relocated to Idaho with his family in 1888. Exhibiting a wanderlust which was somewhat atypical for his time, Coffey headed back east to Kentucky to get his medical degree; he graduated in the 1892 class of the Kentucky School of Medicine at Louisville. After five years in practice with Gritman back in Idaho, Coffey moved again -- this time to Colfax, WA. He was there only three years before relocating to Portland in 1900. A vignette from Molina's work offers some clues to his peripatetic ways:
Moving to Portland, Oregon, in 1900, he continued his experimental work on dogs. Employing an assistant, anesthetist, and artist, he worked three days a week in a laboratory he had outfitted with a complete set of instruments and sterilizer. An out-of-town doctor, allowed to use the lab while Coffey was lecturing in Europe, disregarded instructions to the contrary, and published his work in a local newspaper. The Humane Society sprung into action and closed the lab; but Coffey quietly continued his experiments in the basement of the Medical School.
We have a lot of evidence which seems to show a high tolerance for "innovation" in the early years of the Medical School here, and I suspect that Coffey's retreat to the basement was just another instance of UOMS giving shelter to what it saw as a "creative mind." Perhaps that support system contributed to Coffey's settling; he practiced here in Portland for the next 33 years of his life.

Coffey went on to establish the Coffey Clinic in Portland, and to pioneer several abdominal surgical techniques. Molina reports that "Dr. W.J. Mayo of the Rochester Clinic rated Dr. Coffey 'one of the six great surgeons of his time.'"