Thursday, October 02, 2008

Identifying the cause of deterioration in women

Staff member Jeff Colby is slowly but surely making his way through digitizing the A.D. Mackenzie Records (Accession 2003-007), which consists of carbon copies of typed letters on onion skin paper (i.e., scan it or lose it!). The correspondence primarily pertains to A.D.'s medical practice and his activities as officer in both the Multnomah County Medical Society and the Portland City and County Medical Society. Today, we're up to page 245. It's a letter to Dr. Molitor of La Grande, which reads in part:
At the present date all the numbers are nearly filled with the exception of one paper by Dr. F. W. Van Dyke of Grants Pass, who proposes to address the meeting on "the question of the Higher education as a cause of the Deterioration in women," and the committee trust that you will pardon them if they place you on the program to open the discussion on same. I presume that this is a question upon which we all have more or less settled ideas, and one which it matters very little whether you are in favor of his views or not.
We can be fairly certain that A.D. was not in favor of Van Dyke's views, since his correspondence includes letters to several local women physicians, indicating their acceptance into one or the other medical society. In sum, the collection provides a wonderful snapshot of medical culture in Portland in the opening years of the 20th century.

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