Thursday, December 18, 2008

Doctor from Dallas, mystery man

Our Historical Image Collection was completely categorized for the first time in early 2000. During filing, unidentifiable images were sorted into people, places, and subjects and left to sit in folders labeled "Unidentified".

Since 2000, the miracle of high-resolution scanning has come to our desktops and allowed us to obtain valuable new clues about some of the photographs.

One such tantalizing puzzle is the image here, of an unnamed physician bending over his male patient, stethoscope employed for the physical exam. The room houses a few pieces of furniture, including two cabinets cluttered with medical paraphernalia. The walls are decorated with documents. Could a 1200 dpi scan of this print reveal any new information about our mystery doctor?

Sadly, scans are only as good as the original photograph, and this print only yielded a few more clues--and no definitive answers. The calendar on the wall was courtesy of the "Commercial Club of Dallas, Polk County, Oregon, 'The Prune City'", but the year is too blurry to make out with certainty (or, I'm old and blind. It could be that.)

There is also a broadside for the United War Work Campaign, a map of Polk County, OR, and a certificate opening with the words "The President of the United States ..." (name of awardee illegible, alas). The War Work Campaign was begun in 1918, so the photo cannot have been taken earlier than that, but the wall calendar shows August 1 as a Friday. In 1918, August began on Thursday. So we have a tentative date of August 1919 and a potential location of Dallas, OR.

Our collection of directories from the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners only goes back to 1931, and this licensee looks like he might not have made it another 12 years.

Below is a 300 dpi scan of the photo. If anyone has further information on the identity of this physician, we'd love to hear from you.

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