Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gross anatomy

As a child, I always assumed that the adjective "gross" when applied to anatomy was descriptive of its desirability as a pastime. Of course, it's meant to draw on the meaning of gross as "large" or "broad"--anatomy on the macroscopic, rather than microscopic level.

Childhood connotations do occasionally return when we view some of the early photographs of medical dissections, taken before the advent of modern embalming techniques. The two faded images seen here were shot on the same day, probably in 1903 or 1904, and donated to the archives, probably by University of Oregon Medical School alumnus A.G. Bettman, MD. ("Probably" is about as good as it gets in the archives some days!)

Since the prints have been helpfully labeled, we can say with certainty that the four students are Adalbert Bettman, Fred Chaney, and William E. Smith, all graduates of the class of 1907, and one Agnes Hansen of Reedville, OR, who was listed as a student during the session of 1903-1904. (Thanks to Kimberly Jensen and her amazing knowledge of women matriculants for that identification!). Agnes apparently never graduated from UOMS. The Pacific medical journal for June 1908 indicates that an Agnes C. Hansen, M.D., received a degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of San Francisco in May of that year; could this be Agnes from Reedville? If so, where did she complete her medical degree, and why did she leave Oregon? More questions for a rainy day...

1 comment:

Kimberly Jensen said...

Thanks for your sleuthing to find the 1908 reference. More questions, indeed!