Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The progressive physician and the medical school library

Who realized that the records of a library could reveal so much about the culture of a medical community? Not us--until we started processing the collection, that is. We knew that the first Librarian of the University of Oregon Medical School, Bertha Hallam, was a respected and valued member of the Portland medical community, as evidenced by her correspondence with various physicians. But the culture of medicine and the work of library are woven together in documents like one titled "The progressive physician and the medical school library," dated October 1, 1968.

Under discussion is a resolution by the Multnomah County Medical Society calling for the Oregon Medical Association to increase its support of the University of Oregon Medical School Library, the only health sciences library in the state (interesting that MCMS would call on another organization to do this, rather than resolve to increase its own support, but there you have it).

Herein, we find--among other things--that King County Medical Society in Washington was then assessing individual members $15 annually for library support, while the Spokane Medical Society assessment was up to $27.50 per year. MCMS is suggesting $3-5 per physician. Of course, the four-page document lays out several reasons why other physicians think this is too much.

Library services in support of continuing medical education are then outlined, and specific improvements to the UOMS Library are listed. Here's where we find the truly amazing statement that "Parking problems have been solved."

What??!! In all our years reading through documents, listening to oral histories, and thumbing through photographs of OHSU history, never, NEVER, have we encountered any claim by any individual or unit that parking was good, or even adequate, let alone solved! Truly, our predecessors humble us with their skill and power.

(Lest anyone question why we're spending valuable processing time--of any level-- on the library records, let us assure you that it really is necessary, since they have come to the archives, and continue to come to the archives, in complete and total disarray, making it impossible to locate any specific, requested information without rooting through every box.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have this blog as my homepage -- thank you for giving us such thoughtful and informative history from the Archives!
Kimberly Jensen
Western Oregon University