Friday, January 13, 2012

A Sad Ending to a Remarkable Story

The last installment of the tale of Simeon Josephi. In his own words:


The history of a number of institutions devoted to the art of healing is told by Dr. Josephi in the second of the two installments of his narration, he is speaking from first-hand knowledge of the inception and growth.

"When I came to Portland on February 4, 1867, I had no intention of staying here more than six months," said Dr. Josephi, when I interviewd him recently...

"I came as a bookkeeper and clerk for Dss. Hawthorne and Loryea, who were operationg the Oregon hospital for the insane on Asylum avenue, now Hawthorne avenue, in East Portland. Before I had been there long I began reading medical works, and almost before I knew it I changed my life plans and in place of being a merchant or a businessnam I decided to be a physician. I graduated from what is now the medical department of the University of California, in 1877 and became assistant physician at the hospital for the insane in East Portland. When Dr. Hawthone died, in February, 1881, I became medical superintendent, and continued in this position till 1882, when the superintendent and continued in this position until 1883 when the patients were moved to Salem and Dr. Carpenter became superintendent of the state insane asylum. He resigned in 1886 and I was appointed by the board, consisting of Govenor Z. F. moody, Ed Hirsch, treasurer, and Rocky P. Earhart, secretary of state, as his successor. I married Miss Hannah M. Stone on April 27, 1871. I resigned in July, 1887, to resume my medical practice in Portland.

For several years prior to taking up the practice of medicine I was engaged in business. I studied commercial law, was an expert bookkeeper, and was familiar with business practice. I found that this commericail training was invaluable to me in many ways. For example, I have served as treasurer of the Good Samaritan hospital for the past 36 years, and you can readily understand how useful the knowledge of business I acquired has been in this position. Some day you must get a story from Miss Loveridge. I believe she is the only woman at the head of a Protestant hospital as large as the Good Samaritan in the United States. She came here from Bellevue training school to be head of the nurses'training school. When Miss Wakefield, the superintendent of Good Samaritan hospital died, Miss Loveridge succeeded her.

I was the first dean of the school of medicine of the University of Oregon and I have served as dean for 25 years. Here is a letter that I value greatly from President P. L. Campbell of the University of Oregon, in which he notifies me that on June 16, 1924, the degree of doctor of laws was to be conferred on me.

For many years I was a member and secretary of the Port of Portland, I resigned on February 14,1896. I was president of the Medical College association when it was started here in Portland. The faculy of the school organized a corporation to erect a building. We borrowed on our personal note $1000.00 from the First National bank with which to put up a building on the grounds now occupied by the Good Samaritan hopsital. The lecture room was below, and on the upper floor we had a dissection laboratory. Matthew P. Deady was president of the board of regents and professor of medical jurisprudence. I was the dean of the faculty, and among the other members of the faculty were Dr. Curtis Strong who was secretary; Dr. Holt C. Wilson, Dr. Otto S. Binswanger, Dr. K. A. J. MacKenzie, Dr. A. C. Panton, Dr. J. F. Bell, Dr. M. A. Flinn, Dr. G. M. Wells, Dr. Henry E. Jones, Dr. A. J. Geisy, Dr. G. B. Eaton, Dr. W. H. Saylor, Dr. Richard Nunn, Dr. Thomas B. Carey and Dr. Arthur D. Bevan, who is now the head of the department of surgery of the Rush Medical college. Before becoming dean of the medical department of the University of Oregon, I was on the faculty of the medical college of Willamette University. In 1878, shortly before I started practice in Portland, I became professor of genito-urinary and surgical anatomy. The medical college at Willamette University moved from Salem to Portland in 1878. They were located on Fourth street between Morrison and Yamhill, but in 1885 they erected a building on the corner of 14th and C streets. when I became a member of the faculty, Drs. L. L. Rowland, Sharlpes, Peyton, Watkins, Glisan, Harvey, Puummer, (who, by the by was dean of the faculty), Rex, Framer, Wilson, Alden and Deady were members of the faculty.

In 1891 we organized a corporation, of which I was a member, to erect a building for the University of Oregon medical school at the corner of Lovejoy and 23rd streets. When the school burned, we sold the ground and moved the school to Marquam Hill. I have served as treasurer of the Good Samaritan hospital since 1890.

Mayor George H. Williams appointed me a member of the water commission of Portland, Govenor Moody appointed me a member of the state board of pardons, and right here is a good place to say that I believe the pardoning power should be in the hands of the board of control in place of being vested in the governor. I served two terms in the state senate, 1889 and 1901. I also served as a first lieutenant in the medical reserve corps of the United States army. After lecturing on various medical subjects for 40 years in the Willamette University and later in the University of Oregon, I finally retired and became emeritus dean and professor of nervous and mental diseases of the University of Oregon.

For many years I have been senior warden at St. David's church. I am a member and ex-president of the Portland Medical society. In fact, I was one of the organizers and served as the first president. I also helped organize the Portland Academy of Medicine and am a fellow of the American Medical association and a member of the American Protestant Hospital association.

Three of our five children are living. Our daughter Hannah Louise Josephi, for the past ten years head of the social service department of the New York hospital, is spending her vacation with us now. Our daughter Mary Ellen married George C. Durham. They live in Portland. Our daughter Rachel Frances married Colonel George William Helms. He is ececutive officer of the infantry school at Fort Benning, Ga. Our son, Hawthorne M. Josephi, while a student at Standord, was working during his vacation for the Portland General Electric Company. He was 18 years old. On August 16, 1899, he rode his bicycle home and was caught in a hard rain. He went to the bathroom to take a bath and found the electric light was not working properly. Standing on an iron register in his wet clothes, he attempted to fix the light, and was instantly killed. We have never recovered from the grief of his death."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Celebrating Thirty Years of Work for a Healthy and Peaceful World

Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility has been celebrating its 30th anniversary this last year and last night we helped them celebrate. For the last three months, Dr. Joy Spalding and I have been working diligently to prepare an exhibit about PSR. It has been quite an adventure and a joy (pardon the pun) and is now open for public viewing.

The opening reception took place last night, January 11, with a remarkable turnout of PSR and library folk and members of the public in attendance. Our speakers were Dr. John Pearson, current Oregon PSR President, and Charles Grossman, M.D., who has been on the Board of Directors since the inception of the organization and is also a past-president.

Dr. Pearson reminded us that the nuclear threat is not behind us. It is our duty, he stressed, to express our concerns to our local, regional and national leaders, to inform them about the dire issues related to the production and use of nuclear weapons and the ongoing health concerns related to dump sites and issues that effect the people who live near them and for those who live in and near war zones. It really was quite stirring.

Dr. Grossman spoke about the beginnings of the national and Portland/Oregon PSR groups and the key events and players in those early years. I might add that Dr. Grossman just turned 97. He is a long time activist in the fight for economic equality for all people, towards a world without war and, in particular, he has been instrumental in working towards friendly relations with the people of China, leading numerous delegations to China over the years.

Dr. Spalding, the Oregon PSR historian, wrote the text for the exhibit brochure that highlights a brief history of the organization, and she was also co-curator of the exhibit's installation. Her generosity to share her knowledge, wisdom and her memorabilia are instrumental to the success of the exhibit. From Dr. Spalding we learned that PSR does much more than work for peace. Among their projects are working for a healthy environment, healthy foods in health care, and informing the public about global warming. You can learn much more by visiting their Web site.

Oregon PSR Executive Director, Kelly Campbell and PSR Communcations and Development Associate, Sean Tenney, were generous with their time, sharing their knowledge and documents and artifacts for the exhibit.

Maija Anderson, head of HC&A, with the assistance of the PSR staff, put on a tasty and healthy spread for the attendees to enjoy. Due to her expert planning and coordination of the event, it was a wonderful and effortless time for all.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention Dr. Jackie Wirz, faculty member of the OHSU Library, who was an invaluable asset to the soire. She greeted, made name tags, stored bags and purses, hung coats, assisted with set up and take down... and I don't know what else.
And last but not least, I have to give an honorable mention to our student assistant, Max Johnson. Without his assistance the exhibit would not have been possible. Well, would not have been so pretty. He is truly an expert at cutting and mounting. (You think that's easy? Just try it.) He also assisted with the install and was our official event photographer.

And, of course, a big thank you to the OHSU Library staff that attended. You know who you are and you know how much your support means.

I am sorry if you missed the opening, but you haven't missed the exhibit. It will be open to the public through March 2012 and you can always visit virtually by checking out the online version on our Web site, which has the brochure text and some of the images in the exhibit.

Here's to a healthy and peaceful world.
Max: What would we do without you?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New acquisitions: Five modern classics

Our History of Medicine Collection has a long and complicated history of development. For many years, only books published before a certain date were added to the collection. Most recently, a cutoff date of 1901 was established. However, as understanding about the use and value of rare books evolved, later facsimiles, reprints and modern classics were added. Nowadays, I am only too happy to add an important 20th century text to this collection.

Yesterday, five modern classics came back from cataloging, and are ready to be shelved alongside the centuries-old books that make up the majority of the HOM Collection:


Cummins, Harold, and Charles Midlo. Finger Prints, Palms and Soles; An Introduction to Dermatoglyphics. New York: Dover, 1961. A reprint of a seminal 1943 work on the science of dermatoglyphics.

Merritt, H. Houston, Raymond D. Adams, and Harry C. Solomon. Neurosyphilis. New York: Oxford University Press, 1946. Merritt was an eminent neurologist and a leading authority on neurosyphilis. His work culminated in this monograph - which was almost immediately rendered obsolete by the advent of penicillin.

Morton, Dudley J. The Human Foot: Its Evolution, Physiology and Functional Disorders. New York: Columbia University Press, 1935. This landmark work by the world's foremost expert on the foot is still pertinent in anatomy and surgery today.
Penfield, Wilder and Theodore Rasmussen. The Cerebral Cortex of Man; A Clinical Study of Localization of Function. New York: Macmillan, 1950. Penfield was one of the greatest neurosurgeons of the last century. This monograph summarizes his extensive studies of the motor and sensory functions of the human brain. A somewhat tattered copy of this book was transferred from the library's circulating collection to HC&A - we are lucky to be able to add a second, fresher copy free from library markings and with a dust jacket!

Wyburn-Mason, Roger.
The Vascular Abnormalities and Tumours of the Spinal Cord and Its Membranes. London: H. Kimpton, 1943. Wyburn-Mason's M.D. thesis was the first compilation of current knowledge on this subject, and was published as a monograph.

These books are part of a collection donated by the family of Russell A. Baker, an alumnus of University of Oregon Medical School. Dr. Baker practiced internal medicine in Portland and evidently had a fine library. HC&A also holds Dr. Baker's papers.