Friday, September 24, 2010

Orthopedic Splints - Art? Yep!

I just received a phone call on Wednesday from Jesse Kaupilla, assistant to highly acclaimed and prolific artist Catherine Wagner, announcing that Catherine's new exhibition will open October 4 at the Stephen Wirz Gallery in San Francisco at 49 Geary Street. You might ask why this would be of interest to us, beyond our appreciation of art, of course.

In mid-June, Catherine and her crew flew up from San Francisco to set up a studio in the History of Medicine Room, close on the heels of their boxes and bags of photographic equipment. Catherine had made arrangements with us to photograph a collection of splints in our Medical Museum to include in her exhibition. We were excited and very curious about the whole idea; we found it hard to imagine what she might have in mind.

We have been waiting on "pins and needles", so to speak, to see how she might have transformed them and to what expression she might have lent them. Would they express trauma, hope, sadness, restriction, freedom... or would they become something altogether different, unrecognizable, astonishing yet informative?

Most of the splints were donated by Dr. Bert Campbell, MD and J. M. Batcheller, MD. (a quick check of our biographical and image files does not reveal any information about these two generous physicians). The splints are really quite fascinating in the form and function for which they were created, but we've just got to see what Catherine has done.


Though I for one cannot fly to San Francisco to attend the opening, Jesse assures us that there will be images posted on the Gallery Web site. Perhaps, if providence allows, we will recieve an exhibiton catalog for the Archives.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Eyes, Ears, Nose...

It's always fun to think about what one might discover in the History of Medicine room if it's been a few days since a visit. When walking in the other morning Karen showed me a box filled with goodies! A recent donation came to us that included various historical medical equipment.

The supplies belonged to two doctors: Dr. Walton H. Williams of Middleton, Ohio, who practiced from approximately 1910-1950 and specialized in otolaryngology and ophthalmology; and Dr. Wellie Smith Mackenzie of Munising, Michigan, practicing from approximately 1905-1945. Dr. Mackenzie's medical bag, pictured above, contains gynecological equipment.

The white porcelain box in the photo above is a sterilizer of some sort. Both of the brown and black tubular containers house thermometers, and the green lined box looks to be a piece of ophthalmic equipment.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Pop" Allen Working Through the Cold Times

The weather is changing and it's no secret that Marquam Hill sometimes feels colder, rainier, and in the winter snowier than other parts of our fair city.
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This was probably also the case during William Fitch "Pop" Allen's tenure as the Department Head of Anatomy for the University of Oregon Medical School.

It was reported in his obituary from the Journal of Comparative Neurology, dated June 1951, that:
The former dean of the medical school  tells the story of finding Allen in his office on a cold Sunday, while showing visitors through the building, and remarking that is was pretty cold to be working that day. Dr. Allen replied: "It is not nearly as cold as it was on Christmas Day."
"Pop" Allen was an intriguing figure for OHSU's history, which I've recently had the pleasure to research for a forthcoming History of Medicine article in the Portland Scribe.This is just one of the stories about the absent-minded and dedicated professor that I think of when I rub my cold hands together.

Fortunately for us since that time (and since the dean's awareness that Allen worked through the coldest of cold days) we've got heat in our buildings, and sometimes even space heaters under our desks!

Monday, September 20, 2010

2010 Oregon Archives Crawl

The Portland Area Archivists are at it again, this time with their inaugural Oregon Archives Crawl.

You’ve heard of Pub Crawls, but have you ever heard of an Archives Crawl?
Neither had we, so we created one!
Everyone is invited to join us for the first annual Oregon Archives Crawl this October in celebration of Oregon Archives Month.  Walk, bike, run, or crawl between four different downtown locations and learn what local archives have to offer researchers, students, genealogists, scholars, homeowners, history buffs, and the curious of any age. We have something for everyone, old and young, native Oregonian and visitor passing through, professional and novice.
The free and public event is slated for Saturday, October 2 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. And guess what? Karen and Ian have been working hard to put together a beautiful informational display about OHSU's Historical Collections and Archives.

Tell your friends! Bring your families! We'll share more (hopefully some pictures of our display) after the event

For more information visit: http://pdxarchivists.wordpress.com/