Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Early years of UOMS coming to light

In 2004, shortly after the arrival and settlement of the two full-time staff that now man (or woman) the Historical Collections & Archives, a full survey of the unaccessioned collections in the archival storage area was made. In that sweep, we identified 17 storage cartons (about 20 linear feet) of materials that had come from University Relations and Public Affairs of the University of Oregon Medical School. A quick glance supplied a date range of 1930s-1980s, and the scope was summed up as follows:
Materials are wide ranging: Annual and statistical financial reports, presidential search papers, departmental correspondence, committee reports, meeting minutes, university publications, research reports, geographical reports, and more. An inventory will be made as the collection is processed
Well, we're finally around to the processing part, thanks to the addition of more manpower. Our new part-time staff member Jeff Colby has taken on this collection, and we can't wait to see what lies inside.

My quick foray into the first box revealed a folder focusing primarily on the Child Guidance Clinic Association and mental health services in the 1920s and 1930s. Included are these two letters illustrating some of the frustrated ambition of the young institution, one from Henry R. Viets, MD, to Dean R.B. Dillehunt in 1925 ("I presume the time will come when you will want to organize a definite department of mental diseases in the Medical School and have a neuro-psychiatric hospital") and one from Dillehunt to Theodora Schwankovsky in 1927 ("There is a movement afoot which has the support of the State University and the Medical School and the heads of both of the State Hospitals for the Insane which contemplates the establishment of a psychiatric hospital in connection with the Medical School .... It is out of the question to think of securing this from the present Legislature").

We can hardly contain our impatience to get this collection inventoried (hence, my box foray), but good things come to those who wait. In the meantime, we are happy to take questions about the contents, but can't guarantee that we'll be able to get you a definitive answer before processing is complete.

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