Thursday, May 20, 2010

Music for dentists

Another trip today down to the OHSU School of Dentistry vault! I can hardly wait to share with you the contents of the large box labeled "Herbert and Horace Miller"--but I'll have to, since my access to the stacks area where I parked the cart is being impeded by a secret casting call for some production. Nothing like milling actors to keep one safely at one's desk.


So, I'll start with what I was able to bring up to the History of Medicine Room proper immediately upon my return. After yesterday's revelation that "Mr. Five by Five" was a 1942 pop song, I feel compelled to follow up on the theme of dentists and music (wherein there is clearly some sort of pun about musical chairs, but I'll spare you). One of the items we retrieved from SOD today is a pristine program from the 1902 commencement exercises of the North Pacific Dental College, complete with the name card of its original recipient, graduate Robert Walter Anderson, D.M.D.

The event, held on April 13 at the First Baptist Church on 12th and Taylor streets downtown, had the standard speaking bits (annual address, conferring of degrees, charge to class, valedictory), and a rousing musical slate of contemporary numbers: "Rigoletto" opened, with Strelezki's "Forever Dear" following, then "Cavalleria Rusticana" and finally, selections from the "Daisy Chain" by Liza Lehmann. A hip program for the time. (But then, we've already seen that the dentists were 'ballers, so clearly they needed tunes to play by. I wonder if this year's music will include selections from Lady Gaga and Usher?)

Forty-one students, including two women, were graduated that year. Among the Class Officers listed on the final page are Donald Bruce Stuart, Class Prophet, and Everett Elijah Bailey, Historian. One wonders whether the names should have been reversed.

Bailey may have had something to do with the choice of historical figures to adorn the cover of the program: Hippocrates, "father of medicine," perhaps representing the DMDs, with John Hunter, "father of dentistry"--but also an important figure in the history of surgery--representing the DDSs. And they could hardly have left off Horace Wells.

Finally, the students' inclusion of the phrase "Esse Quam Videri" as the class motto may have been a nod to nearly anything--except, perhaps, Stephen Colbert. For that connection, we really will need to wait to see what this year's class does...

(And this is just one item, folks. I have a whole cartload of this material waiting in the wings!)

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