Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Scientia Medica Continuet

I've been wandering through the thickets of history again today, this time trying to track down the origin and intended meaning of the motto placed prominently above the entrance to the Old Library, current home to Historical Collections & Archives.

The meaning itself was fairly clear, given that I've taken a bit of Latin in my day. But what was the sentiment behind the words? I found the answer in, of all things, a newsletter called Scientia Medica Continuet, published by the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center Library from 1978-1981:
"Scientia Medica Continuet: May the Science of Medicine Continue" was Miss Bertha Hallam's idea which was translated into Latin by her former Latin teacher at Washington High School in Portland. The plaque with this motto was placed over the main entrance when the Library was built in 1939.
Who was this Miss Bertha Hallam? For those of you not familiar with the OHSU Library's history, here are a few facts about this "mighty mite" (she was 4'10"):

*Bertha Brandon Hallam was director of the UOMS Library from 1918-1965 (no, that's not a typo).
*Hallam was made an honorary member of: Portland Academy of Medicine, Multnomah County Medical Society, Oregon Medical Association, UOMS Alumni Association, and UONS Alumni Association.
*In 1965, the Committee on Oregon Medical History of the OMA solicited funds for a portrait of Hallam to be painted; excess funds from that highly successful campaign were deposited into the newly created Bertha Hallam Rare Book Fund.
*Hallam's portrait was installed in the UOMS Library on March 3, 1967, the centennial of medical education in Oregon.

*Hallam had been particularly interested in the history of medicine, and in the late 1930s her interest intensified. In her 1937-38 annual report she mentions getting started on building a Marcus Whitman collection and also starting a collection of the books used by students of the first session of 1887-88 as a special exhibit. These two collections exist today in the History of Medicine Room.
*Hallam built the "First Class" collection by using the list of textbooks and recommended additional books that appeared in the announcement and catalog for the School's first year, methodically acquiring each title or, if a title were already in the Library, culling it from the general circulating collection to be part of this special collection.
*In 1937, she created the PNW Archives Collection, which contains catalogs and other publications of the University from earliest years to the present, annual reports of the Medical Research Foundation of Oregon (now OHS Foundation), talks to the Medical History Club of the Medical School from the 1920s and 1930s, and hundreds of other local historical documents that are in book form (as opposed to photographs, correspondence, etc.).
*The Medical Museum Collection dates back to at least 1943, when Hallam would place ads for donations in the Service Bulletin of the OSMS.
*In 1964, Hallam oversaw the renovation of Room 300, which then became the History of Medicine Room. The Portland Academy of Medicine provided substantial funding for the renovation.

The "historical division" of the Library was included in the design of the Old Library/Auditorium from the beginning of the planning in 1938. The collection was originally housed in OL Room 221 (first room on the right as you enter the Great Hall from the Auditorium). In 1964 the Medical School funded the renovation of Room 300 in order to house the historical book collection (which was not large then: between 400 and 500 volumes). Special built-in cabinets with aluminum grill fronts were installed. Furniture was moved in. This room had previously been used for storage and for School of Nursing meetings. The Portland Academy of Medicine provided funds for the purchase of special equipment for the room. The Academy also had been providing, and continued to provide, substantial funds for the purchase of historical books. On April 23, 1964, it was dedicated as the Historical Book Room.

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