Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Robert Stone Dow Collection of books and papers

It's the oldest story in archival acquisitions:

The end of an era at OHSU has brought a windfall to Historical Collections & Archives.

Due to budget cuts and consolidation initiatives, the Neurological Sciences Institute at OHSU is undergoing reorganization. As a result, the small research library maintained at the NSI facility on OHSU's West Campus is being disbanded. I was invited to select materials from that collection to add to main library collections. I expected to find books from the legendary Dow Collection, assembled by Robert S. Dow, MD, but I did not expect to find the small treasure trove of personal papers and archival materials pertaining to the history of the NSI.

Robert S. Dow, MD, was an alumnus of the University of Oregon Medical School, having received his master's, doctoral, and medical degrees here in 1934 and 1935. His master's thesis and doctoral dissertations both dealt with cerebellar development, and pointed him down the path to international acclaim as a brain scientist. Upon his graduation from the Medical School, he became the state's first neurologist in private practice; the clinic and laboratory he established at Good Samaritan Hospital were the locus of groundbreaking work in the neurosciences and formed the basis of the Neurological Sciences Institute when invited to join OHSU in 1998. (Dow passed away in 1995.)

In the NSI library, I discovered under a desk a box of photographs, certificates, awards, correspondence, and other personal records of Dr. Dow; on the shelves, I found seven bound volumes of original records, including meeting minutes (1990-95), funding presentations (1982-90), and eight decades of presentations given by Dow himself (1938-90).

With the fine Dow Collection of books, these materials bring the spirit of Robert S. Dow to Marquam Hill, where he will continue to preside over world-class neuroscientific research and clinical treatment. Welcome Dr. Dow!

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