Friday, October 09, 2009

Book it!: Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair this weekend

For the bibliophiles out there, especially those located in the Pacific Northwest: the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair and Book Arts Show 2009 happens this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall.

The list of exhibitors is quite long and offers something for every taste, from ephemera to first editions to Western Americana to--yes--medicine. Sure, it's also Wordstock weekend, but think of how lovely the drive between Seattle and Portland will be in the crisp fall sunshine!

There's talk these days about the escalating prices of "antiquarian" books, despite the explosion in online bookselling sites and the tanking economy. But many dealers bring "fair specials" and are willing to negotiate on prices (since a sale means they won't have to pack it back into the suitcase and haul it all the way back home). Fairs also allow those new to collecting to get a feel for the book landscape without visiting umpteen different shops in various locales. So, roam and enjoy!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Oregon Day of Culture

Today is Oregon Day of Culture, the final day of the week-long celebration of Oregon's arts and humanities. October 8 is the anniversary of the state tax credit program that provides funding to the Oregon Cultural Trust.

Is medicine culture? It seems to depend very much on whom you ask. Do health care institutions contain or produce anything worthy of celebration on a day such as today? An incontrovertible case can be made for a group of murals created by WPA artist Darrel Austin for the entryway to OHSU's Mackenzie Hall. The set of four paintings is also a textbook example of why we must treasure, preserve, and protect our cultural heritage: they're missing. All of them. But we still have black-and-white photos of the originals. To mark this day of celebration and remembrance, we include those images here for all Oregonians--and web surfers worldwide--to enjoy.

I: Evolution of Medical Education: Ignorance
II: Evolution of Medical Education: Doubt
III: Evolution of Medical Education: Revolt
IV: Evolution of Medical Education: Triumph

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Almost as good as being there--without the need for scrubs

Another of the titles we're relocating from the less-than-ideal conditions of off-site storage to a more secure facility closer to you is Howard A. Kelly's Stereo-clinic series, of which OHSU has 21 sections. Published from 1908-1919 by the Southworth Company in Troy, NY (it really is lovely paper, although a bit too acidic from the preservation standpoint), each part aimed to illustrate common surgical techniques for the clinician who might not otherwise have the opportunity to see these operations in person. The sheets are held together with metal rings, which could be separated to allow single pages to be inserted into stereoscopes (such as the one shown here).

Kelly was a real advocate for proper medical illustration, using whatever techniques best suited the purpose at hand. He was also, of course, one of the first four at Johns Hopkins and one of the most popular and widely respected surgeons of his day. The originals of these stereographs--and more--are available in Kelly's papers, held at the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives at Johns Hopkins.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Bright lights, big surgery

Pulling images for a request for views of the interior of the old Multnomah County Hospital (which are surprisingly thin on the ground, actually), we yesterday scrutinized the contents of the folder Places > Multnomah County Hospital > Surgery.

Of the approximately 30 photos in the folder, fully nine of them were taken at the same event--an event that brought cameras and the head of university public relations into the operating theater. Four of the nine had only the date 1953 penciled on the reverse, but we figured that that much publicity must have left a trace somewhere. Sure enough, in the February 1953 issue of What's Going On we found the following announcement:

With brilliant floodlights, yards of high-power electrical cable and several 16 mm. movie projectors, the Oregon State System of Higher Education's movie crew went into action one day last month on the Medical School campus.

Under the direction of Dr. Curtis Reid of Oregon State College, scenes depicting Medical School student instruction, services, and research were recorded in color and sound, and will be incorporated into a complete movie now being made of the activities to be found on the several campuses of the State System. The script which was written by Mr. Travis Cross of the Chancellor's Office, called for sequences in the surgery at Multnomah Hospital, patients in the clinic, research in the John E. Weeks Eye Laboratory, and nursing care in Doernbecher Hospital.

Mr. Cross informs us that the film, when finished early next fall, will be used primarily for television; it will also be shown to service organizations, business groups, and to students throughout the state.
No word on who made up the surgical team or what operation was being done. One wonders whether the patient seen here realized that he (or she) was about to experience 15 minutes of fame...

Monday, October 05, 2009

It's October! And you know what that means

Or, you would if you had a photographic memory and have been reading this blog for over a year. Or, if you're an archivist by training, job description, or habit. In case you don't already know, it's Archives Month and, more specifically, Oregon Archives Month.

These are great days to be involved with archives, as the digital era and its discontents remind people of the transitory nature of the evidence of human culture. Whether you actively use archives in your work, visit exhibits based on archival collections, or just like going through the old photos and letters in your closet, you're supporting the work of archivists everywhere. Keep it, treasure it, take care of it, and when it comes time to hand it off to a repository that can preserve it long after you and your circle are gone, find an archivist to talk to. We've got you covered.

And, in addition to our excitement over the event itself, we're happy to note that the official poster includes an image from the collections here. You can see it over on the left-hand side, in the timeline at 1904. The glass lantern slide reproduced on the poster is from the People's Institute Image Collection, Accession 1999-010. Many more photos pertaining to the Institute and its sister organization the Portland Free Dispensary can be found in the OHSU Digital Resources Library. The one included here is of Portland's first park, established by the Institute in 1906.