Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Closing the books on the Portland Academy of Medicine

Thanks to a generous donation from Stephen R. Jones, MD, the archives now holds the final records of the Portland Academy of Medicine.

The collection of Portland Academy of Medicine Records previously available in the OHSU Historical Collections & Archives (2004-019) was donated by longtime member A.G. Bettman, MD, sometime in the 1960s; that collection contains records covering the period from the Academy's inception in 1906 until 1961.

The materials donated by Dr. Jones cover the period 1986-1999, the final years of the group's existence. The collection includes the constitution and by-laws, meeting minutes, membership roster, nomination forms, and correspondence.

Most notable among the documents is a letter from Executive Secretary Barbara Gatrell, dated September 16, 1999, in which she details the process by which the Academy would be dissolved. It reads, in part:
Mitigating for graceful dissolution of the Academy at this point, founded November 6, 1906, are the following facts:

Due to death and attrition, the membership has dwindled to less than 50% of what it was in the early 1980's.

No new members have joined or been successfully recruited in more than 10 years. ...

The current generation of active members of the local medical community has decidedly expressed little or no interest in membership in, or offerings of, the Academy.

The Academy Council itself has exhausted itself of "new blood" in that every member is now a Past-President and the status of "officership" has been static since 1996.
While this was undoubtedly a sad outcome for those who remembered the Academy's heyday, it is nevertheless an extraordinarily telling event in the history of organized medicine in Portland, and we thank Dr. Jones sincerely for depositing these records with us.

If any one out there happens to have the PAM records for the period 1961-1986 sitting in their closet, we'd love to chat with you about the possibility of getting those into the archives as well...

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