Friday, January 09, 2009

Two more elect join the ranks

On this sunny afternoon, two more sparkling gems have been plucked from the circulating collections for transfer to the History of Medicine Collection where they will enjoy all the amenities offered by a secure and environmentally-controlled living space, and this fifteen minutes of fame:

Pirquet von Cesenatico, Clemens Peter, Freiherr, 1874-1929.
Berlin : J. Springer, 1910.

OHSU copy with signature: J.W. Rosenfeld.
A Viennese physician, Pirquet (along with Bela Schick) coined the word "allergy", from the Greek "allos" meaning changed or altered state and "ergon" meaning reaction or reactivity. He was also the creator of a classical diagnostic test for tuberculosis (which every staff member at OHSU has undergone many times) in which tuberculin is applied to a superficial abrasion of the skin of the arm.

Musée du Val-de-Grâce (France)
Iconographie du Musée du Val-de-Grâce.
Paris : Aristide Quillet, 1918.

The 17th-century church of Val-de-Grâce in Paris was converted to a military hospital during World War I. Also called the Musée du service de santé des armées, the Musée was established by the French government as a museum of reconstructive surgery. Much has been made of the connection between the hospital exhibits and the artistic development of Louis Aragon and André Breton, noted surrealist artists, who were enlisted as physicians-in-training during the war. Critics find deep connections between the images of deformed human faces and the surrealist themes of dismemberment and disfiguration.
The OHSU set includes 25 fascicles of a series of "Archives et Documents de Guerre," anatomical and clinical descriptions and images of the wounded. In his preface, Justin Godart writes: "On ne doit point ouvrir ce recueil sans émotion. Il contient les images des blessures de nos combatants. Apres avoir donné leur sang à la Patrie, ils offrent à la Science l'étude de leurs mutilations, l'observation de leurs souffrances. Ainsi est encore annobli leur sacrifice." During this age of war, we can only hope fallen soldiers continue to receive such honor.

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