Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Six degrees of separation: Rinehart redux

On a snowy day back in November of 2006, I noticed (and wrote about) a small memorial plaque dedicated to Robert E. Rinehart, M.D., beneath a tree just outside our campus headquarters here. Well, it's another snowy day here, and I have just been reading more about Dr. Rinehart.

One of
our favorite and more prolific researchers has confirmed for me a suspicion I had back in November: R.E. Rinehart was in fact related to an early graduate from the medical school, one Belle Cooper Ferguson Rinehart, Class of 1897. Digging into the collection in the Dalles-Wasco County Public Library, our researcher located a family memoir, called Lewis and Elizabeth Rinehart and descendants: a family history (the library catalog is online, if you're interested to see what else they have). Page 285 of the memoir is dedicated to Robert Earle Reinhart. Some of the things we learn about him:

*Young Robert exhibited a strong desire to aid others, joining a search for a friend lost on Onion Mountain, pitching in to help rescue stranded people during the Tillamook Burn, and bringing needy people home to care for them.

*While a medical student at UOMS, Robert and classmate Leonard Christensen (who later joined the faculty in the Dept. of Ophthalmology here) co-founded the school bookstore.

*After completing a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic (1943-44), Robert served as a captain in the Army Medical Corps in North Africa. Back in the States, he joined his father, Harvey E. Rinehart, in practice in Wheeler, OR.

*Robert received the Meritorious Achievement Award from the medical school in 1976, the very first year it was awarded. The citation was for his "outstanding contribution to medicine," and his work in the school's rheumatology clinic both caring for patients and educating medical students.

*Dr. Edward Rosenbaum said of Robert: "Professionally, he was one of the great modern rheumatologists of the world. He was a pioneer and the essential ingredient that kept the Rheumatology Clinic ... growing through some of its most trying periods."

By the by, I also discovered pictures of Robert this morning as I continued my work on updating the inventory for our Historical Image Collection. On the inventory, R.E. had been misidentified as R.W.--so now we have images and biographical information to go along with the memorial plaque. A true march of progress!

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