Friday, July 18, 2008

George W. King brought to life

In the collections here, we have a scrapbook created by one George W. King, M.D., and deposited at the University of Oregon Medical School sometime in the forgotten past. It was subsequently cataloged into the PNW Archives collection, deconstructed and reassembled into an archival binder with mylar sleeves.

When present staff of the Historical Collections & Archives found it amongst the books in PNW, we made a decision to move it into the archives, accessioning it as a collection in 2005. At that time, we didn't know anything about Dr. King. The collection guide fesses up to this, noting that "There is little information on George W. King, M.D., in the HC&A collections. It is probable that..."

Everything after that statement turns out to be incorrect. We now know, thanks to the hard work and generous help of Dr. Deborah Lynn Guber at the University of Vermont, that the creator of our scrapbook is one George Weirs King, scion of the King family of Bellmont, NY. He was born in Bellmont, New York on October 20, 1845. He received his medical degree from the University of Michigan in 1877, and was a practicing surgeon in Helena, MT, for many years before moving to Portland in the late 1890s. He died June 26, 1929 in Portland and is buried in Rose City Cemetery. (King is shown here demonstrating a device in his office in Montana.)

King filed a patent for his invention, the King Fracture Apparatus, which is highlighted in the scrapbook:

Also included are photographs of a transport litter he designed while at the mining camp, many before and after photographs of patients he treated for conditions from club foot to cancer, and even some specimens. To see the complete inventory, click here.

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