Thursday, December 17, 2009

Ticket to ride

A small collection of materials pertaining to the medical education of George C. Harris, M.D., has also been uncovered recently in some repatriated files. Included are Harris' tickets for admission to classes and "conversazione" at the Jefferson Medical College (1834-1836) and a letter of reference for Harris from a physician in whose office he apprenticed (1835).

What we know of Harris comes (as so often) from Olof Larsell's The Doctor in Oregon, which includes this information (p. 314-315):
George C. Harris (1811-1930) was born in Maryland and received his medical degree from Jefferson in 1836, having previously served a preceptorship with a physician near Hagerstown, Maryland. In 1849, he went to California and practiced among the gold miners. Returning to the East, he located for a time at Springfield, Illinois, later going to Texas where he engaged in cattle raising in the Panhandle region. A blizzard destroyed his stock, after which he practiced medicine in Missouri for some years. He came to Oregon in 1865, settling at Eugene, where he practiced until 1881 when he moved to Pendleton. There he continued his medical activities for a time, but soon retired to a farm about nine miles from the town.
And then we get the odd anecdotes:
Shortly after Harris reached Pendleton a cowboy was hanged for killing a sheepherder. The body was obtained by the doctors of the town and pickled in a barrel for dissection. On one occasion Harris had a girl patient suffering from the measles. He took his young son to see the girl so he would catch the disease and have it over with.
The archival materials were sent by F.T. Harris, M.D., of Seattle to Olof Larsell in 1946, but perhaps not in time for the book; Larsell cites only a personal communication with J.W. Harris as his source for information on George.

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