We recently hosted a research appointment for the materials of Dr. Adalbert Bettman, an alumnus of University of Oregon Medical School who became a well-regarded plastic surgeon. Dr. Bettman, who's been written about in the blog here and there, served as a clinical associate at UOMS and a surgeon at Shriner's Hospital for Children while maintaining a private practice. Our Dr. Bettman-related holdings run the gamut of archival documents, rare books, and artifacts, and include his papers, plaster casts of his reconstructive surgery successes, and a library donation of rare books from his personal collection.
In pulling together materials for our visiting researcher, I came across a book of his poetry in our Archival Publications Collection. It turns out that his 1931 book, "How It Happened," came to HC&A by way of former department head Sara Piasecki, who acquired the book at a Friends of Multnomah County Library sale. I was intrigued by this humanities-tinged side of the clinician, and delved a bit deeper into the book. I was not disappointed!
The poems are also laced with a heavy dose of early twentieth century morality, so the reader learns of the dangers of venereal diseases, abortion, and alcoholism alongside usual suspects like appendicitis. Being the 1930s, I suppose it's not entirely surprising that eugenics arguments make an appearance as well:
I enjoy a riddle and a medical mystery as much as [read: more than] the next gal, so I'll leave it to you, dear readers, if you can recognize the ailments or situations described in the poems below: If you think you can identify one, leave a comment or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your diagnosis!
These two are a husband-and-wife combination: