Friday, April 16, 2010

Stories from the Clippings

Some days we might wonder ~ where have all the good guys gone? Then there are other days when we read a story like this one and it makes us realize that there is still good in the world.

The headline read:

Farmer Offers Free Medical Education, Inheritance to Deserving Boy

Wanted: A Boy Deserving of Being Given a Medical Education

That is the quest of Merrell W. Pennington, 79, a Tualatin farmer and house builder. Pennington said he had spent a year trying to find a boy, preferably an orphan in straitened circumstances, who is ambitious to become a doctor or dentist.

Pennington said he would pay all the living and educational
expenses of such a boy, even put him through high school if necessary and then through college and medical or dental school. He also said he is building a new house near Tualatin and that the youth selected could live there with him and eventually could inherit the house if he wanted it.

In return, Pennington is hopeful that he would live with him in his present house two miles from Tualatin. If he had a widowed mother, she would be welcome also. Pennington said."You get to feeling kind of down and out when most of your family is gone," Pennington explained.

His son, Dr. Merle Pennington, is a graduate of the University of
Oregon Medical School and now is in practice at Sherwood. Two other sons died in infancy. One of his two daughters died at the age of 21, just after she graduated from the Oregon College of Education, and the other died last year. A foster son, his wife's nephew, died at the age of 7. Pennington's wife died three years ago, not long after the couple celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary.

Pennington now shares his three-bedroom house with his son-in-law, a partial cripple, [and his] son-in-law's daughter. But after the girl finishes attending Lewis and Clark College next year, they plan to move away.

He said persons interested in his offer could write him at route 1, box
231AA, Sherwood, or telephone MErcury 9-1825.

This raises a couple of questions:

1. Was a deserving boy found, and if so, who is he?

2. Is Farmer Pennington's son Merle, our own Merle Pennington, one of the founders of the OHSU Department of Family Medicine?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Celebrating National Library Week with something old, something new

This week is National Library Week, and we here in Historical Collections & Archives are celebrating in style with three new (to the collections) old books.

The History of Medicine Collection has expanded to include three classic texts in cardiology and surgical anatomy, including Vieussens’ magnum opus on the coronary vessels (1705), Virchow on thrombosis and embolism (1856), and Camper’s nearly life-size anatomical drawings of the arm and pelvis for use by surgeons (1760-62).

Complete details on each book is below. The Vieussens title is bound with a work by Caspar Bartholin the Elder, Specimen historiae anatomicae partium corporis humani (1701). OHSU is now the only holder of any of these titles in the Pacific Northwest.

VIEUSSENS, Raymond
Novum Vasorum Corporis Humani Systema.
Amsterdam: Paul Marret, 1705. Hardcover. 24 leaves (including engraved title page), 260 pp; 1 plate.
Garrison-Morton 2729: "Vieussens was among the first to describe the morbid changes in mitral stenosis, the throbbing pulse in aortic insufficiency, and the first correctly to describe the structure of the left ventricle, the course of the coronary vessels and the valve in the large coronary vein. He was the first to diagnose thoracic aneurysm during the life of the patient. Vieussens included a classic description of the symptoms of aortic regurgitation in his book." Vieussens "promoted the idea that the coronary vessels have direct communication with the chambers of the heart. In his book, Novum Vasorum Corporis Humani Systema, he describes his experiments on the structure of the coronary vessels, using both the corrosion method and microscopic examination. He found ducts. . . . Two modes of venous drainage of the heart were considered by him: a superficial system (anterior cardiac veins of the coronary sinus), and a deeper system of veins which communicate directly with the heart chambers (p. 108)" (Leibowitz, History of Coronary Heart Disease, p. 73). Willius & Dry, History of the Heart and the Circulation, p. 75. Bedford 225 (Bedford copy lacking the dedication leaf).
Bound with: BARTHOLINUS, Caspar: Specimen Historiae Anatomicae Partium Corporis Humani. Amsterdam: Henr. Wetstenium & Rod. & Gerh. Wetstenios, 1701. 6 leaves, 244 pp; 4 plates.

VIRCHOW, Rudolf
Gesammelte Abhandlungen zur wissenschaftliche Medicin.
Frankfurt a. M.: Meidinger Sohn, 1856. xiv, 1024 pp; 45 figs..; 3 plates (1 hand-colored, 1 chromolithograph).
Garrison-Morton 3006 (“Thrombose und Embolie. Gefassentzundung und septische Infektion”): “Virchow gave the first clear description of thrombosis and embolism.” Most of this section, of over 500 pages (pp. 219-732), is comprised of material published here for the first time: “Fortsetzung und Schluss des Artikels” (pp. 294-380); “Phlogose und Thrombose im Gefasssystem” (458-636); and “Embolie und Infektion” (636-723). In addition, four publications from 1846-52 are reprinted. Willius & Dry, History of the Heart and Circulation, p. 152. Garrison-Morton 3064 (“Ueber farblose Blutkorperchen und Leukamie”): Includes his paper on ‘weisses Blut’ [Garrison-Morton 3062].” This section (pp. 147-218) reprints two other publications (1845-47), and contains two new ones (pp. 190-218), on leukemia. Rather, A Commentary on the Medical Writings of Rudolf Virchow 242-248. Osler 1629. Heirs of Hippocrates 1891.

CAMPER, Pieter
Demonstrationum Anatomico-Pathologicarum. Liber primus: continens brachii humani fabricam et morbos. Liber secundus: continens pelvis humanae fabricam et morbos.
Amsterdam: Johann. Schreuder & Petrum Mortier, Jr., 1760-62. 2 Vols. bound in 1. 3 leaves, 22, 1 leaf [index], 3 plates; 2 leaves, 22, 1 leaf [index], 5 plates.
"This is Camper's larger work and is particularly valuable. . . . The representations are nearly life-size and were designed for the practical use of surgeons. A third book had been planned to contain a representation of the base of the brain and the origins of the nerves, but was never published" (Choulant, History and Bibliography of Anatomic Illustration, p. 285). "Camper's plates for these anatomical and pathological books take their place alongside the illustrations prepared by the artists Lairesse and Wanderlaar for the anatomists Bidloo and Albinus. Together the achievements of these atlases represent, both scientifically and aesthetically, a high point of Dutch civilization in the eighteenth century" (Roberts & Tomlinson, Fabric of the Body, p. 341). Heirs of Hippocrates 951.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Concentration: the cards left on the board

As we have noted before, some archival work and historical sleuthing is really just a slightly modified game of Concentration--the modification being that there is no guarantee a match exists for every card on your board.

Our present case in point is a set of individual portrait photographs of students in the University of Oregon Medical School, all from a folder labeled "1941." Our predecessors had assumed that the entire set was no more or less than the Class of 1941, perhaps in their freshman year (since the men are wearing dress clothes and not mortar boards and robes).

Were it that easy! There are too many photographs for the bundle to be solely 1941 graduates, and there are no women, though three graduated in 1941. So, for the past few weeks, a game of Concentration has been played out on the counter top next to my desk. Every match was a small triumph that could sustain me through the day. It was a great run, but now it has ended. The remaining five photos are left with that terrible distinction "Unidentified"--which means they may never be used again (how many of us have a use for images of the nameless?)

So, I turn to my last lifeline, "ask the audience." These earnest young men all look terribly familiar to me, since I've been studying their faces for days. Do they, by any chance, look familiar to you, dear reader?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Upcoming History of Medicine Society Lecture, May 17

Mark your calendars now for the final lecture in the 2009-2010 season of the OHSU History of Medicine Society Lecture Series, our once-annual Monday lecture featuring a speaker on surgical history.

“Blue Blood and Blue Babies: The Story of Helen Taussig”
Guest speaker: Roger E. Alberty, M.D.,
Director of the National Surgery Quality Improvement Program
Providence St. Vincent Medical Center

Monday May 17, 2010
Public lecture: 12:15 p.m.
Refreshments served at noon
Location: OHSU Old Library Auditorium

Dr. Roger Alberty earned his medical degree from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1968. He arrived in Portland later that year for an internship at Good Samaritan Hospital. He went on to complete a residency in general surgery and a fellowship in peripheral vascular surgery at St. Vincent Hospital. He has been on the faculty at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center since that time, serving as chief of surgery from 1985-1986 and 1996-2007. In 2008, the Portland Clinic named their new surgical outpatient center in Tigard after Alberty, in honor of his thirty-year tenure with the clinic and his long service to the medical community.

The lecture is free and open to the public. If you have a disability and need an accommodation to attend or participate in this event please contact us at 503-418-2287 at least five business days prior to the event.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Eyes--and boxes--wide open

Following up on the recent donation of historical materials from the OHSU Casey Eye Institute, this morning we worked through the book portion of the delivery. All of the books are in very good condition, and many have the bookplate of former chair Kenneth C. Swan, M.D. (shown here).


After searching for duplicates in our current holdings, it looks like we'll be adding about forty classics of ophthalmology, dating from 1899 to 1994, to the OHSU collections. Among the early titles are the third edition of G.E. De Schweinitz's Diseases of the eye (1899), seventh edition of Henry R. Swanzy's A handbook of the diseases of the eye and their treatment (1900), James Thorington's Retinoscopy (1901); James Moores Ball's Modern ophthalmology (probably 1904, although the otherwise pristine volume inexplicably lacks its title page), W.A. Fisher's Cataracts (1917), and L. Webster Fox's Practical treatise on ophthalmology (1920). There are also several titles on ocular pathology, eye surgery, and physiological optics. Below is an image of a card for the Holmgren test for color blindness, which is pasted onto the inner rear cover of the Swanzy.


These books, once cataloged, will supplement an already fine collection of works on ophthalmology in the OHSU Library. If you're interested in the history of ophthalmology, stay tuned for more news later this week about OHSU's collections...

(And if you've leafed through advanced texts on eye diseases and their treatments, you'll know why I chose to digitize the images shown here.)