Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Another "easy" one


It seems to be a truism of archives that nothing is ever as simple as it looks at first glance.

The above photograph was the second image donated by alumnus C.J. Hockett (see the March 7 posting for the "hard" one.) This one was supposed to be a no-brainer: it's the class photo from the year that CJ's grandfather, CT Hockett, graduated from Willamette University Medical School.

Well, the family had the date of graduation labeled as 1903. The alumni directory from 1951 lists CT as a 1904 graduate. A small mistake, easily accounted for. However, the alumni directory lists only eight graduates from 1904, one of whom was a woman. There are sixteen men in the above photo. Hmmm.

The University of Oregon Medical School Class of 1904 had sixteen graduates, with two women--so it can't be a simple case of swapping one school's class photo for the other. Plus, we have a 1904 Class photo from UOMS, and it looks very different.

We only have one other class photo from Willamette's medical school, which hardly makes a large enough pool for comparison purposes, to see whether the format of the above photo sets it apart from the "standard" Willamette class picture. And again, I am moved to wonder: where did all the records from Willamette University Medical School go? We certainly don't have many of them here, and they don't seem to have many of them at Willamette. Were they destroyed in the medical school fire of 1919? Are they out there, in the community, stuffed in an attic trunk or on a garage shelf?

The mysteries: so frustrating, but so tantalizing. They definitely keep us on our toes, and keep us coming back for more!

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