Friday, September 02, 2011

It's been a long time coming!

The Hospital Records of the University of Oregon Medical School

There are some things that you wait for, not really knowing whether you have reason to hope or not. But when your hopes are met, and best of all surprisingly, it's time for the HC&A happy dance... and dance I did.

Just this week we had a visitor from the department of OHSU Records wanting to know if we wanted the early 20th century record books of the medical school hospitals. For those who know me, you can probably guess that I didn't keep my cool too well. I did try not to scare him, however, when I semi-shouted: "Do we? We have been waiting for these! The answer is yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" I haven't been this thrilled over musty ledgers since we got the Registrar's Record books (Accession # 2009-013) just two years ago.

Not half an hour later, they arrived on our door-step. Maija and I spent some time thumbing through them and marveling. We get numerous calls asking if we have these records, so we have always been dismayed that we had no idea where they were hiding.

Occasionally Terry Baxter, of the Multnomah County Archives and Records Office, calls or emails with a research request that these records would well serve. I hope he will be pleased to know that we are now the proud new owners of said records. (He's a great blogger and an interesting person by the way. If you haven't checked out his blog Beaver Archivist , it's a must do, so do!)

Since I have just recently laid my hands on them, all I can say is that they cover a wide date range. So far I have identified 1913-1971 records from Doernbecher Children's Memorial Hospital, the University Tuberculosis Hospital, and the Multnomah County Hospital, as well as records of deaths.

Sounds gruesome? Not really. When you want to trace a communicable disease, what age group it attacked, what gender escaped the scourge, etc. or find out if homicides or domestic violence increased in a tough economy, this is where the answers lie.
There's history to uncover here and stories to unfold.

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