Thursday, February 07, 2008

Japanese Relics from World War II

Come see our new exhibit, “Japanese Relics of World War II,” now on display in the main lobby of the OHSU Library.

Showcasing artifacts from the OHSU Medical Museum Collection, the exhibit contains field kits, diagnostic and surgical instruments, documents, photographs, pharmaceutical preparations, and other items brought back from the Pacific Theater by Oregon physicians serving in the United States Armed Forces during the Second World War.

In a 1943 campus newsletter, a plea was made to physicians to donate materials to the Medical Museum Collection. Give a “Christmas gift to yourselves of articles that will record for the future some of the medical history of these difficult and historical times. It is so easy to pass by the present without thinking how soon it will become the past or realizing that whatever is to become a part of the heritage of the future must be saved… It is you who are physicians and it is your museum and assuredly it is you who know what is worth saving. Physicians in Military Service: Did some one pick up a Japanese medical kit on Attu? Does some one have a bit of equipment used in taking care of the first casualties from the first bitter landings in the islands of the Pacific?”

Donors such as D.N. Steffanoff, MD; Virgil C. Larson, MD; Roger H. Keane, MD; Prentiss Lee, MD; John B. White, MD; James E. Buckley, MD; Richard S. Fixott, MD; George Lyman, MD; and Toshiaki Kuge, MD, answered the call. As a result, OHSU Historical Collections & Archives is now the repository of a unique and wonderful collection of war-era Japanese medical artifacts.
Materials will be on display through May 2008.

Stay tuned for the online component of the exhibit, with images and brochure text, which will appear in the next few days on our exhibits website. In the meanwhile, questions and comments can be sent to piasecki at Images of some of the Japanese artifacts in the collections are also available on the OHSU Digital Resources Library; a keyword search on "japan" will net you about 35 images.

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