Wednesday, July 21, 2010

DH Day

Longtime readers of this space might remember our excitement at bringing back home the scrapbook of Carl J. Hoffmann, M.D., University of Oregon Medical School alumnus and town physician for Woodland, WA. This scrapbook is one of our favorite items, not only because of its social and historical significance but also because of its immense physicality.

Between the covers of the hand-tooled leather binding, hundreds of photographs of Woodland, its residents, and Doc Hoffmann himself are gathered. Now, thanks to Erin Thoeny of Friends of Woodland Community Library, we have more information about the compilation of the scrapbook contents and its cost.

This letter from Leon Stroud "Artist Photographer" to Francis "Fox" Oleson, supplies us with a number of interesting details about the artifact. First of all, we find that the retirement event was not merely a party, but "DH Day", organized to such a degree that there was a separate finance committee, headed by the aforementioned Fox. Next, we learn that copies of some photographs were made. It's unclear from this accounting where those duplicate images are, but some may have been given to media outlets for publicity or to special guests. We also see that some of the photos used in the scrapbook were already "old" by the time the book was put together in 1947, and that the older images placed in the book are therefore retouched versions of originals.

Lastly, we are provided with further evidence that Hoffmann was indeed a beloved member of the Woodland community. Stroud concludes: "I would like to add that in all my nine years in this community that nothing has given me more pleasure or so filled me with a feeling of having done 'something worthwhile' than the hours spent this summer helping get this scrap book ready for Dr. Hoffmann." And that brings us to reason number three for why the scrapbook is a favorite here: it positively radiates love.

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