Friday, August 07, 2009

On newsstands: the life of Howard P. Lewis, MD

At last, the long-awaited article on the life of Howard P. Lewis, M.D., has hit print! "Large and noble lines: the life of Howard P. Lewis, American College of Physicians president 1959-1960" graces pages 24-31 in the Summer 2009 issue of The Pharos. And, it's even available online as a PDF from the Alpha Omega Alpha web site.

OHSU School of Medicine alumnus Madison Macht, M.D., conducted much of his research here at OHSU--both in the archives and in the true storehouse of institutional information, the brains of those in the community who still remember Hod. Regular readers might recall that Macht's research was first presented in audiovisual format during the 2007-08 season of the OHSU History of Medicine Society Lecture series; streaming video of that talk is available here.

As a side note: The attribution on the photos is a little odd; I'm sure the images of the campus shuttle bus and Mackenzie Hall are in our collections, while the portraits of Hod in uniform and Hod as a younger man are less familiar. No matter! The information is all there--along with the emotions that Hod once engendered, and continues to engender, in those who studied under him or worked with him.

Another side note: some of our other photos of Lewis are available in the OHSU Digital Resources Library.

Help (Still) Needed: Shorthand decipherment

Another call for volunteers willing to take a look at some sections of 1870s shorthand, which may be Pitman. One respondent did indicate that it's probably not Gregg, so at least we've narrowed it down! If you have any familiarity with shorthand systems and would be willing to have a go at a few small sections from our Willamette University Medical Department Records, we'd love to hear from you.

Below is an example of what we're dealing with, with contemporary longhand for comparison.

(Original post on July 23, 2009)

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Pitter pat, pitter pat

Just in time for our display at tonight's Heart Research Center event, Emeritus Professor of Pathology Dr. Nelson R. "Sam" Niles brought in this donation, a cast of the heart and coronary vessels which he crafted in 1966. We asked him how the casts were made, and he said, "First, you need a dead body..."

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What do you think?: Milestones in Oregon history

Have you heard about the Oregon Encyclopedia? This free online resource is a project of Portland State University, the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, and the Oregon Historical Society, and aims to be a "comprehensive and authoritative compendium of information about the Oregon's history and culture."

According to the web site:
All Oregonians are invited to participate by suggesting entries, writing submissions, and attending community meetings. All entries are written by knowledgeable authors, reviewed by experts, and meticulously checked to ensure accuracy.
So, how are the health sciences represented so far? Clicking on the topic link on the left for "Science, Medicine, and Technology" will get you a short list of people, organizations, places, and events, but only four medical figures: Marie Equi, "Doc" Hay Ing, Esther Pohl Lovejoy, and Bethenia Owens-Adair. As of now, there are no entries for any nurses or dentists, hospitals or healthcare topics.

What would you suggest? While some healthcare entries have already been proposed (there will be an entry for OHSU, for example, once an author is selected), the project sponsors are looking for broad-based input. There are "Guidelines for Significance" posted on the site:
Does the suggested entry:
have a strong connection to Oregon?
constitute a contribution to Oregon culture?
establish a basis for subsequent activities in Oregon?
represent the spirit of a community or time or place?
represent events that were pivotal in a community's history?
represent something unique or significantly inventive or creative?
represent a national or international accomplishment or recognition?
What about the Starr-Edwards heart valve? Oregon's Death With Dignity Act? The Oregon State Hospital? You be the judge! Or, the nominator, as the case may be.

If you don't have a suggestion--or you see that your favorite person/place/subject is already represented, maybe you'd like to volunteer? Or, if you're just curious about Oregon's rich history, you can watch the "Recent Entries" page, to see what new information has been added. There's something here for every Oregon history buff.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

1991: Landmark year for IPPNW, and Charles Grossman

This week's accrual to the collection of the papers of Charles Grossman, M.D., is a folder, several inches thick, of papers, proposals, and notes from the 10th Anniversary Congress of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, held in Stockholm, June 27-30, 1991.

Dr. Grossman has long been an active member of IPPNW, and the 1991 meeting was a highlight of his involvement. That year was the first time a Chinese delegation attended the meeting as full participants, thanks to Dr. Grossman's efforts to bring them into the group. It was also the first year that a delegation from North Korea came to express interest in IPPNW--escorted throughout by Charles Grossman, who had been in negotiations for the past two years to bring North Korea in. He remembers that the North Koreans only attended the plenary sessions of the congress; during the rest of the time, they happily met with their South Korean counterparts, with whom they had had no contact for 40 years. It was fascinating to hear him talk about the elaborate procedures he needed to follow merely to send mail to the North Koreans...

Included among the items in Dr. Grossman's folder is the "Harvard Study Team Report: Public Health in Iraq after the Gulf War"; the war itself seems to have been a topic of much discussion throughout the meeting.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Heart valves grow on trees

At the time of the receipt of the Howard J. Stroud Papers (Accession 2007-015), we posted a short notice in this space. Beyond creating a basic inventory of the collection, not much processing has gone on in the ensuing months.

This morning, I was poking through the photographs looking for interesting images of heart research here in Oregon--since Stroud was director of the Oregon Heart Association for decades. The collection does not disappoint. Along with numerous photos of dignitaries, events, researchers, and heart surgery, we have this shot of the Starr-Edwards heart valve tree. Written in ink on the back of the photo is this information: "Forming a pattern set-up, "tree", from expendable wax patterns. This setup will be coated with mold material. Patterns removed by heat to form mold. Metal poured into ceramic mold to form castings."

We have, of course, heard the stories (myths?) of the little old ladies who would sit around and knit the fabric sleeves for the valves, one by one. This device from Edwards Labs clearly accelerated the manufacturing process...

Too cool! Many examples of completed Starr-Edwards valves can be seen in the OHSU Digital Resources Library.