Friday, July 17, 2009

Celebrating a birth--with a skull

Recently, I had the opportunity to look through the Biographical File on Adalbert G. Bettman, MD, University of Oregon Medical School alumnus and faculty member, Oregon's first plastic surgeon, inventor of the first sanitary sugar dispenser, and all around interesting character.

One of the two folders in the Bio Files contained primarily archival material--certificates and degrees, a handwritten receipt book, and a collection of programs from alumni reunions. These materials must have become separated from his collection of papers somehow; luckily, it's easy enough to reunite them.

The reunion programs are particularly interesting, given that Bettman was instrumental in establishing the UOMS Alumni Association in 1913. Even cooler, the program from that first 1913 reunion of the Class of 1907 is one of those that were donated.

To celebrate their sixth anniversary, the alums met at the Hotel Oregon on April 29, 1913. A list of class members is included on page two and a photo of the late Fred Russell Chaney (1885-1908) is tipped in. Page three outlines the dinner menu, which begins with "Martini Cocktail" and ends with "Cigars. Cigarettes" and the penciled notation "Mumm's extra dry". I did a web search to determine what, exactly, "Margeaux Repsold" was, and the only hit was on a digitized copy of the 1913 Medical Sentinel in which Bettman published a notice about the event. (Anyone have any thoughts on this? Any culinary scholars out there?)

Page four includes a few lines from Thomas Moore's poem "Fly not yet":
Oh stay, oh stay
Joy so seldom weaves a chain
Like this tonight, that, oh 'tis pain
To break its links so soon.
Appropriately for a medical school class, but perhaps a bit ironically for the birth of a new alumni ritual, a skull was chosen to illustrate the program. Attendees signed the back cover of Bettman's copy: CJ Hoffman, OD Babcock, Ben L Norden, Clara Reames-Waffle, John G. Abele, JS Thomas MD, WM Killingsworth MD, WE Smith, JB Blair, AG Bettman.

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