Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ultra unique

As I have been methodically assessing the early books in the circulating collections here at OHSU, going first through a list of 1902 titles, then the 1903 titles, then the 1904--well, you get the idea--I have found a small handful of unique titles. And by unique, we mean that no other library in WorldCat has indicated ownership of the book and there are no copies available on the rare and used book markets. So, really and truly scarce, if not actually unique.

One of these unique titles is a small treatise bearing the cover title Ultra Violet and Infra Red Therapy in Dentistry, written by Max L. Bramer, DDS, former staff member of the Illinois State Hospital and dental director of the Union Electric Dispensary. Bramer apparently was a company man through and through; his work for the (presumably) subsidized dispensary of a major corporation may have been a factor in his decision to team with Britesun, Inc., on this and one other pamphlet (held uniquely by UCSF) on the use of light therapy in dentistry.

In the Preface to his 1929 work, Bramer writes:
In this short treatise I will attempt to give in a small measure some of the historical, biological and practical applications of Light Therapy in Dentistry. These results are based upon four years' work in my office; they include case histories, observation, X-ray findings and laboratory reports.

Up to this time little has been written on the subject. This is the first attempt by anyone to place a treatise on the above subject before the profession, and I trust my readers may become interested and offer constructive criticism which will induce someone to write a more complete and exhaustive text on the subject.
And he may not have been entirely correct in asserting his primacy in the field: OHSU's collections contain a few other early works on phototherapy in dentistry, including this one which predates Bramer's work. (And that one isn't quite unique: a second copy is held by U Penn).

While the information conveyed in the text may be outdated ("General radiation of babies will not only aid normal dentition but will help correct abnormal dentitition"), it is invaluable for assessing the state of the technic in dentistry in the late 1920s, for understanding early uses of radiation in medicine, and for judging the historical connections between science and industry. All in all, a powerful little piece which has been transferred to the History of Dentistry Collection for safekeeping.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Looks like you found a gem!