Friday, August 25, 2006

Technical note

It has come to my attention that, because of the way the site is currently structured, I cannot use a hit-counting program to track usage of this blog. I could probably effect the necessary change, but I got to thinking about it: I don't know about you, dear reader, but I get tired of being tracked. I'm a little tired of cleaning out caches, running SpyBot, updating Norton, dodging malware. It seems to me, now that I think about it, that that's part of the beauty of books, the pleasure of paper--reading can be entirely anonymous. Who knows how many people have actually read Jane Eyre (some say they have to avoid looking unread; others say they haven't to avoid looking overly intellectual). Books don't cache, paper can't pick up your IP address. So, in the spirit of an earlier age, I've decided not to know who comes, who stays, who visits regularly. Read, if you like; post, if you're so inspired; email me separately if you'd prefer your comment to be part of a private conversation. Just read--this or any text; keep thinking, keep learning.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Remembering Dutch

Yesterday, a patron called us looking for the videotape of the 1999 memorial service for Dr. Julian S. "Dutch" Reinschmidt, longtime faculty member at OHSU School of Medicine and guru of continuing medical education. Thinking about Dutch, I remembered my favorite characterization of him, given by Jim Kronenberg in an oral history interview: Dutch was "Superman in a bad brown suit."

Jim Kronenberg, Communication Director for the Oregon Medical Association, was interviewed in April 2006 as part of the "History of 20th Century Medicine in Oregon" project, jointly supported by the OMA, the OMEF, OHS, TFME and OHSU. Some interviews have been conducted both as part of the OMA/OMEF project and the OHSU Oral History Project.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Home visit fees

Once an archival collection is processed and a guide is written, I can create a record for it in the library's catalog. In creating the record for Archives 2005-023, Doctor's Home Visit Ledger Records, I got chance to read through the list of "Terms used for visit" and "Terms used for form of payment." Here are a few of my favorites:

Reasons for visit:

To call children
Work on face
To visit med. sow (was this a sick pig?)

Forms of payment:

By one dozen peaches
Brick and mortar
Horse hire

Check out the whole collection guide

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Photographic surprises

Today I've been continuing my work identifying a stack of old photographs that lack any information: no dates, no names (or names written in a hand I can't read), no places. After a while, every face starts to look familiar. So, I sought answers (or just inspiration) in the image files called "Portraits, Group" and "Faculty, Misc." Lo! and behold! two gems neither I nor Karen knew existed:

Group portrait of Oregon's first neurosurgeon A.J. McLean, German neurosurgeon Otfrid Foerster, and their wives, taken in Germany in 1929. We have seven boxes of the papers of the enigmatic Dr. McLean in the archives, but this was the first indication I had that he was married--and the only photograph of him we have outside of Dr. Daniel Labby's wonderful scrapbook.

Group portrait from a Medical School Alumni Association dinner in which alumnus Herbert Merton Greene is shown receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award. I wish I had known we had this when we received Greene's papers (along with his Master Mason apron) from his granddaughter this past year. Luckily, she's coming back to see us soon and we can share this find with her.

None of those faces matched the ones staring up at me from my unidentified pile, but great finds nevertheless! People assume we know all about everything in the collections, but every day we learn something new....


Welcome to Historical Notes from OHSU, an unofficial series of communications from Historical Collections & Archives at Oregon Health & Science University. If you are unfamiliar with us, please have a look at our website to learn more formally about our collections and services:

Here, you'll get a flavor of what we do every day, what mysteries we unearth, what connections we make, what cool things we come across. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!