Friday, July 06, 2007

Never to be lost

I'm processing boxes received in the massive donation of faculty files from OHSU News & Publications a few months back, and I just had one of those "I can't believe I hadn't heard of this guy!" moments.

Dr. Herbert Burwell Fowler, M.D., was the first director of the University's Whitecloud Center, which was (at the time) the only center for American Indian and Alaskan native mental health research and program development. Fowler himself was one-quarter Sioux Indian, and the grandson of America's second Native American physician. So, amazing enough already.

Add to that, the majority of the folder's contents relate to the November 1976 news that Fowler was awarded the Lenin Prize in Science, given annually to individuals for outstanding development of science and for effectiveness of scientific research and technical development. Fowler was cited for his accomplishments in administering a large state hospital in Michigan (before he came to OHSU), his extensive work in genetic psychiatry, his writings about psychotherapy in the USSR, and his work at the Whitecloud Center. As of 1976, the only other American to have received the Lenin Prize was Linus Pauling, another scientist from Oregon (oh, and a Nobel Prize winner. Twice).

Much of the remaining material in the folder concerns the untimely death of Dr. Fowler just three short months after the announcement of the Lenin Prize award. He never got to make the trip to Russia to collect the prize. He was stricken on New Years Day, 1977, and died the next morning. A copy of a memo from PR staffer Tim Marsh summarizes his conversation with Dr. Anthony Gallo, OHSU professor of neurosurgery, about the circumstances of Fowler's death:
He said that Dr. F. had a cerebral hemmorage [sic] ... about 5 p.m. Saturday at home.
He was brought to the ER of Holiday Park Hosp. about 7 p.m. where Dr. Gallo saw him, on the request of Dr. Blachly [also an OHSU faculty member, and Fowler's colleague in the Dept. of Psychiatry]. Dr. G. diagnosed the hemmorage and had Dr. F. transferred to U-Hosp. where an emergency angiogram was done.... He said Dr. Fowler died at 3 a.m. Sunday in the University Hospital SICU.
We even have a copy of the hospital admissions log from that evening.

With all of this material are two notes. One is on the letterhead of Michelle Wiley, University public relations: "Les, File this in Dr. Fowler's "dead" file because I don't want to ever lose it." The second is on letterhead from MaryAnn A. Lockwood, from a slightly later era in public relations here: "File Fowler, Herbert. Don't lose this one."

And now that it's here in the Archives, we never will.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

In memoriam: Clare Peterson, 1917-2007

I can't let more days go by before acknowledging the death of a major campus figure: Clare Gray Peterson, M.D., surgeon, teacher, scholar, passed away on June 20, just a few months shy of his 90th birthday.

Dr. Peterson was a March 1943 graduate of the University of Oregon Medical School. He received his master of science from UOMS in 1945 and completed his surgical residency here as well, under the direction of the illustrious Dr. Thomas M. Joyce. Peterson joined the teaching staff in 1944 and the faculty in 1948, and served as both chief of surgery and chief of pediatric surgery at UOMS Hospitals and Clinics, as well as head of the Division of General Surgery at the Medical School, before his retirement as professor emeritus in 1988. A short obituary is currently available on the Oregonian website.

Peterson was known for his erudition and scholarship; his Perspectives in Surgery, co-written with Dept. of Surgery chair Dr. William Krippaehne, was published in 1972 by Lea & Febiger after its initial debut as a departmentally published volume in 1960. In his oral history interview, conducted in 2000, Peterson drops literary references as easily as surgical terminology: in the first few minutes alone, when discussing his childhood in Montana, Peterson manages to reference Giants in the Earth, Big Rock Candy Mountain, and Wolf Willow without pausing for breath. The index to the interview doesn't quite capture the flavor of the man's speech. Talking about his education, for example, he says:
I also had dedicated teachers in high school, who were remarkable. One was in English and one was in science, interestingly enough. And at that time teaching was really a dedicated profession. It didn’t have all the noise in it; it didn’t have all the different things competing for interest.

And the same thing was true about medicine. Just this morning I picked up Consecratio Medici by Harvey Cushing, and I wrote this: “There’s an old saying that interest does not bind men together. There is only one thing that can effectively bind people, and that is a common devotion.” Well, these were dedicated, devoted teachers.

We’re already talking about the Medical School, because the generation of people here that I’m going to talk a good deal about fit this particular quotation from Harvey Cushing’s commencement address to the medical students at Jefferson College in Philadelphia in 1926.
And later, speaking about women in medicine:
Well, as a matter of fact—you asked me. Generally speaking, I don’t think it’s a good place for women, anymore than I think it’s a good place for women to be in the Third Division of the Marines, in a combat unit. I don’t think they’re built for it; I don’t think they’ve got the right set of genetic factors that make for the combativeness and the capacity of the male to meet certain situations. Physically they aren’t adapted to certain things; many they are. If they are in selected fields, they can do very well.

I have watched—I haven’t had the opportunity to watch women surgeons operate. I’m past the point where I want to prove anything to myself or to anybody else. But I think in general it’s not a good societal investment, either, on the whole, to train too many of them, because they have other things in their career or in their life that make many of them people who do not commit totally to the profession or who drop out of it or do it part time. And just in terms of the investment, it’s—if it’s excessive—I’m not saying women should not be surgeons; I’m sure there are some good ones.
Revered by some, disliked by others, respected by all--Clare G. Peterson leaves a lasting legacy that will not soon be forgotten.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Annual accounting

Here at OHSU we run on a July-June fiscal year, so the first week of any July finds me compiling stats on whatever I can think to enumerate. The numbers from FY07, representing the period July 2006-June 2007, are encouraging: we're more popular now than ever! Some of our findings:

Reference Statistics, July 2006-June 2007
Number of unique patrons: 119
Research time, staff: 83 hours, 25 minutes
Supervision time: 46 hours, 35 minutes
Fees charged: $1178.00

(and for comparison)

Stats, July 2005-June 2006
Number of unique patrons: 108
Research time, staff: 63 hours, 35 minutes
Supervision time: 42 hours, 55 minutes
Fees charged: $617.20

Stats, July 2004-June 2005:
Number of unique patrons: 75
Research time, staff: 46 hours, 40 minutes
Supervision time: 118 hours, 30 minutes
Fees charged: $473.60

HIGHLIGHTS:
ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Conducted 2 interviews (Kathleen Potempa, Peter Kohler)
Processed and cataloged 3 interviews (Karen Whitaker-Knapp, Albert Starr, Kathleen Potempa)
Now receiving copies of all oral history interviews conducted for the joint OMA-OMEF-OHSU documentary project on the history of medicine in Oregon

ARCHIVES
Accessioned 15 collections into the Archives, including:
Peter O. Kohler Slide Collection (2006-010)
George Saslow Collection (2007-010)
School of Nursing Records (17 additional linear feet)

DONATIONS
Received 30 donations of other materials for the collections, including:
Original artwork for an editorial cartoon on the tram which ran in the Portland Tribune on Sept. 11, 2001
More than fifty boxes of photographs and faculty files from University News & Publications
“Silver twinkie” song, written by OHSU staff member Richard Bruno and others, in honor of the tram (mp3 file)
Several books, including John Hunter’s Traité des maladies vénériennes (1787), Thomas Willis’ De anima brutorum (1672), Testut’s Anatomia umana (published in Torino, 1943-45); and the four-volume The world of Edward Hartley Angle, MD, DDS : his letters, accounts and patents (2007)
Two sphygmomanometers belonging to Dr. Noble Wiley Jones, early faculty member and co-founder of the Portland Clinic
Vanguard XR35 HiLight 35mm medical cine projector, ca. 1960
Began program to sell unwanted donated books of high value to rare book dealer Jeff Weber

ACQUISITIONS
Purchases for the historical collections included:
Glisson, Francis, 1597-1677. Tractatus de ventriculo et intestinis, 1677
Descartes, René, 1596-1650. Tractatus de homine, et de formatione foetus, 1677
Bert, Paul, 1833-1886. La pression barométrique : recherches de physiologie expérimentale, 1878
Contributions to the science of medicine, dedicated by his pupils to William Henry Welch on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his doctorate, 1900
Wilson, Samuel Alexander Kinnier (1878-1937). Neurology. Edited by A. Ninian Bruce, 1955.
Thoms, Herbert (1885-1972). Classical contributions to obstetrics and gynecology. With a foreword by Howard A. Kelly, 1935
Swank, Roy Laver. Collection of 23 articles from numerous medical publications.

PATRON REFERENCE
Answered questions for 119 unique patrons from OHSU, around the nation, and overseas (up from 108 in FY06)

EXHIBITS
Mounted the highly successful exhibits “Through His Eyes: the World of Herbert Merton Greene” and “Return from Oblivion: Portland’s First Neurosurgeon A.J. McLean
Worked on the development of the OHSU Story Wall near the upper tram terminus in the Kohler Pavilion

OUTREACH
Reinstituted walk-in hours for the History of Medicine Room (in abeyance since 2004)
Began blogging about the collections at Historical Notes from OHSU
Held an open house of the History of Medicine Room for the School of Medicine Alumni Association 1887 Society’s annual membership event
Presented several glass lantern slide shows to library staff using the 1920s Balopticon Projector donated in FY06

Monday, July 02, 2007

Noble instruments

Last week, we received from Tom Jones, grandson of Noble Wiley Jones, M.D., two sphygmomanometers formerly owned by the esteemed Dr. Jones. The two Baumanometers, one a Kompak Model and the other a Kit Bag Model, are both in remarkably good condition--the rubber of the tubing remains supple, and the cuffs hold air. They could both be used today to take blood pressures (and on busy days we may need to pull them down and use them, to remind ourselves to breathe deeply...)

Noble Wiley Jones, described by the Portland Clinic Stethoscope in 1967 as "physician, scholar, gentleman," was born in Wauseon, OH, in 1876 to physician Philo E. Jones and his wife Mary Eveline. He graduated from Stanford University in 1895 (with classmate and later President of the United States Herbert Hoover). His medical degree was granted by Rush Medical School in 1901, and he completed an internship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. There, he helped take care of 1000 patients afflicted with typhoid during the 1902 epidemic.

After almost two years of private practice in Wilmot, SD, Jones traveled to Vienna to study pathology at the Allgemeines Krankenhaus. Returning to the U.S. in 1906, Jones was encouraged by his colleagues Dr. Frank Billings and Dr. A.D. Bevan to take up residence in Portland, OR. He did so, becoming the first recognized internal medicine specialist in the city. In 1913, he opened a multispecialty group practice with Drs. R.C. Coffey, T.M. Joyce, and C.E. Sears. After World War I, the group splintered; Jones then went on to form the Portland Clinic in 1921 with Joyce, Frank Kistner, and Laurence Selling. He practiced until 1944, when he retired after nearly fifty years in practice. Always on the go, Jones took up golf at the age of 70; when he developed cataracts at 90, he switched to playing pool.

Noble Wiley Jones passed away in 1975 at the age of 98.