Friday, November 26, 2010

Jews@Work: Law and Medicine

Here is a great activity for the whole family during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and an opportunity to celebrate the diversity that is Oregon.

For one more month only ~ At the Oregon Jewish Museum there is "An exhibition that charts the remarkable progress Oregon Jews made as they integrated into the life of the state. From their days as immigrants to fully participatory Oregonians, their journey is reflected in the work they plunged into over the 150 years of Oregon's history. The pursuit of knowledge, combined with the quest for justice and the sanctity of life, has drawn Jews to professions in law and medicine. Through compelling narratives, artifacts and photographs, the exhibition chronicles the history, growth and culture in Oregon that made it possible for Jews to become full participants in the community and pursue these prestigious professions."

Heather Brunner, curator, spent months in the OHSU Historical Collections & Archives, and other regional historical societies and archives, researching the Jewish physicians and lawyers who are now featured in this remarkable exhibit of sound and vision. I've seen it and I highly recommend it.

The Oregon Jewish Museum is located near restaurants and boutique shops at 1953 NW Kearney and borders the bustling Pearl District, so go and make a day of it.

Museum Hours are: Tuesday - Thursday 10:30a - 4:00p; Friday 10:30a - 3:00p; Sunday 1:00 - 4:00p

Admission Adults: $6; Students/Seniors: $4; Members: Free; Children under 12 accompanied by a parent or guardian: Free


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

Historical Collections & Archives will be closed Thanksgiving Day and Friday.

We have much to be thankful for here in the History of Medicine Room, but today I am feeling extra-thankful to our many casual donors who drop off treasures for our collections - just because they think it's important, and they want to do it. I'm thinking in particular of a faculty member who emailed us biographical material on a long-deceased surgeon, a resident who walked in with a set of antique syringes for our museum collection, and administrative staff who send us records of campus events.

On a personal note, I am deeply thankful to all the library employees who have helped ease my transition here - especially those who are still covering interim responsibilities, which I hope to relieve them of very soon! And special thanks to Sara Piasecki - not only for building such a great program in HC&A, but for leaving me so many helpful files and documentation of her work - otherwise I'd be lost without a compass.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The historical frontier

I spent much of the past six years facilitating research on the history and culture of Chicago. While Chicago is a fascinating place, it’s also exceedingly well-documented. Every year brings hundreds of new publications on "Chicago studies," and researchers have to work hard to find a new angle or an untapped resource. That’s one of the things that made it so exciting to come to the Pacific Northwest, where many untold stories hold rich opportunities for new research.

For example, in my first week on the job I learned that the most comprehensive work on the history of medicine in Oregon was published over 70 years ago! Olof Larsell’s The Doctor in Oregon: A Medical History (Portland: Binsford & Mort, 1947) documents the unique development of the practice of medicine in Oregon from the late 18th century to the mid-1940s. While there are inevitable errors in the 600+ painstakingly detailed pages, I’ve already found it an indispensable source for reference and research.

Needless to say, a lot has changed in medicine since 1947 - as has our perspective on the early history that Larsell wrote about. Who will write the next definitive work on this subject?

Image: Olof Larsell forging new research frontiers. See the online exhibition, too!