Friday, April 20, 2007

Lecture TODAY: Esther Pohl Lovejoy, Oregon's Doctor to the World

A reminder and invitation to all in the Portland vicinity:

Today at noon in the Old Library Auditorium on the Marquam Hill campus of OHSU, Professor Kimberly Jensen will be delivering the History of Medicine Society Lecture on "Esther Clayson Pohl Lovejoy, M.D., 1869-1967: Oregon's Doctor to the World."

Esther Clayson Pohl Lovejoy (1869-1967) was a graduate of the University of Oregon Medical School Class of 1894. She was a public health pioneer, suffrage activist, congressional candidate, and organizer and director of international networks among women physicians to provide global medical relief. She developed a vision for “international health” as director of the American Women’s Hospitals, a forerunner of medical relief groups such as Doctors Without Borders.

Professor Jensen is the author numerous articles, including “Esther Pohl Lovejoy, M.D., the First World War, and a Feminist Critique of Wartime Violence” in Alison Fell and Ingrid Sharp, eds., The Women’s Movement in Wartime: International Perspectives 1914-1919 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007). Her monograph, Mobilizing Minerva: American Women and the First World War, is forthcoming from the University of Illinois Press. Her current project is a scholarly biography of Esther Pohl Lovejoy.

Jensen received her doctorate in women’s history from the University of Iowa in 1992. She is currently Professor in the Department of History and Gender Studies at Western Oregon University.

The lecture will be videotaped; the streamed video will be available on the Historical Collections & Archives website shortly after the talk.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Faculty wives and a well-dressed man

A day of odds and ends here, as so many of them are. Two tidbits on offer for readers:

One of our earliest collections (in processing years) got its own catalog record today, as I finished up the Medical Faculty Auxiliary Papers, Accession 1997-006. I'm not sure how to describe the finding aid for the collection: post-modern? minimalist? Greene-Meissnerly? There's an inventory, but no indication of boxes: how many, what's in each one--the pesky little details one looks for when attempting to retrieve materials. It had to have been a last-minute oversight, though, since the inventory and guide are otherwise quite informative and complete.

The Medical Faculty Auxiliary of the OHSU School of Medicine (formerly called the Faculty Wives' Club of the University of Oregon Medical School, now called the School of Medicine Alliance) was originally established in 1947, and the collection chronicles nearly all of the group's sixty-year history.

And while the early members of the club may have swapped fashion tips while they rehashed the latest best- and worst-dressed lists compiled by the notorious Mr. Blackwell, I was ready to swap authority control tips with our vendor after I noticed, with some surprise, that the OHSU Library owned a book by Mr. Blackwell. I took me longer than perhaps it should have to figure out that Richard Selzer (b. 1922) might have been a force in the world of fashion, but he probably wasn't an expert on surgical ethics--and that Richard Selzer (b. 1928) may or may not be a bad dresser, but he is most certainly the author of numerous works of both fiction and nonfiction on medicine and surgery. At least I did figure it out, which is more than I can say for the computer algorithm that changed the author name on our record for Mortal Lessons to the "correct" form!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

History of shock

Today in Emergency Medicine Grand Rounds, OHSU professor and international trauma expert Dr. Donald Trunkey delivered a fast-paced talk on the thousand-year history of shock.

Starting with Egyptian papyri, Trunkey touched on Greek misconceptions (such as the simple experiment "proving" that tourniquets make you bleed more) before discussing the development of trauma care by the Romans. Galen, who became surgeon to the gladiators when he was 28 years old, was the first to suture tendons and muscle; however, he does not seem to have developed any conception of shock as a medical condition. He did develop a method of ligating vessels, a vast improvement over earlier treatments such as fig juice (Iliad), decoction of pepper (Chou Li), or packing the wound with vinegar-soaked lint (Celsus). Cautery was the treatment of choice during most of the Middle Ages, until Ambroise Pare resurrected ligation in his work during the Renaissance. Dominique Larrey elevated ligature to an art: it is said that he was able to amputate a leg and ligate all the associated vessels in one and a half minutes (as Napoleon's surgeon, he had a lot of opportunities to practice).

It wasn't until the mid-1800s that surgeons began to conceive of shock as a specific condition. Some of the early definitions were less than precise:
Shock is "a momentary pause in the act of death."--John Collins Warren
"Shock is the manifestation of the rude unhinging of the machinery of life."--Samuel Gross

In 1923, Walter Cannon published Traumatic Shock, the first work to adequately describe the condition. Cannon had spent three months observing wound treatment at Casualty Clearing Station No. 33 in France during World War I, and had compiled data on the various categories and stages of shock. According to Trunkey, most subsequent research on shock has shown Cannon's theories to be correct--and that, to this day, physicians and surgeons are ignoring this historical work. He wound up his talk with a slide from the ATLS on "Recognition of Shock State"--proceeding to discount four of the six listed indicators as either difficult to measure or actually misleading.

The lesson for the day: those who choose to ignore history do so at their own (and others') peril.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

New archival collections now in catalog

On an afternoon that has turned rather impressively stormy, I'm enjoying the cozy space of the History of Medicine Room and allowing the rain to focus my concentration on cataloging archival finding aids. Yes, that supremely librarianly endeavor of creating yet more data about data--all to the good when the data can reach different users in different venues.

For your perusing pleasure, you can now find the following archival collections represented in the OHSU Library catalog and in WorldCat:

The dietetics duo:
Oregon Dietetic Internship Program Collection, Accession No. 2006-007
Dorothy W. Hagan Image Collection, Accession No. 2006-013

...segue into the infant nutrition notes in the
Elizabeth Curtis French Papers, Accession No. 2006-004

...which is a tiny collection of a snippet of personal papers, much like the
Matthew Caldwell Class Notes, Accession No. 2005-006

...and I bet Matthew really wished he could have gone to the University of Oregon Medical School, where the faculty regarded fishing and horseshoes as major arts, as can be seen in the
Harry J. Sears Glass Lantern Slide Collection, Accession No. 2006-011

...which is a completely glass plate image collection, just like
Otis B. Wight Base Hospital 46 Glass Plate Negative Collection, Accession No. 2006-012

That last one is a mouthful!

Monday, April 16, 2007

New oral history resources online

The full indexes for three more oral history interviews are now available on our website.

Indexes for the interviews with Kathleen Potempa, Albert Starr, and Karen Whitaker-Knapp have been loaded into the Oral History Master Index and can be browsed or keyword searched. Because the HTML display still has some quirks, the PDF versions of the indexes are available, linked from the top of each individual interviewee index page.

With these latest interviews, we now have over 5,000 individual terms included in the Master Index, from Aalpoel to Zuckerkandl. The complete list of current terms (handily hyperlinked to the list of indexes in which the terms are found) can also be accessed on our website.