Friday, January 12, 2007

The "Legendary Lucille Hart"

On a cold Friday at the end of a long week, just when you think you know what you'll be doing all day, what projects you'll tackle, the Archives delivers up a small gift of new knowledge on a tantalizing topic.

Going through a small box of miscellaneous materials swept up after all the unprocessed collections were accessioned last year, the first folder I pulled out contained not one but two issues of the Portland newspaper Alternative Connection from 1993, both with cover stories on alumnus/a Lucille Hart, a.k.a. Alan L. Hart, M.D. We first mentioned Lucille here back in September of 2006, mentioning the circumstances of her switch from Lucille to Alan and talking about the UOMS doctor who performed a total hysterectomy on Lucille. At that time, I didn't really think that more information about Lucille's life would come to light from our own collections.

In September of 1993, the Alternative Connection published an article entitled "The Incredible Life and Loves of the Legendary Lucille Hart." I'm a sucker for alliteration, so I was immediately drawn in. Written by Thomas M. Lauderdale and Tom Cook, the article is prefaced by an editorial comment:

"The upcoming Oct. 16 'Lucille Hart Dinner' represents the 12th annual event honoring Oregon's most famous lesbian. Her amazing story was first uncovered by gay historian, Jonathan Ned Katz in his Gay American History: lesbians and gay men in the U.S.A. (1976), and subsequently, her life as a man--Dr. Alan L. Hart, was revealed in Katz's second book Gay and Lesbian Almanac (1983).
Building on Katz's original research, local historians, Lauderdale and Cook, have uncovered additional documents and photographs that reveal that Lucille, as Alan Hart, had actually married two women, one of whom she divorced in 1925! Now in an exclusive two-part series for the Alternative Connection, the untold story is revealed." ...

Wow! Who could resist reading on after that intro? At the end of Part I on Lucille, there is a large sidebar on J. Allen Gilbert, M.D., which notes that "Among his eccentricities was a fascination with psychic phenomena and spiritualism"--a charge certainly borne out by his small article on the use of the Ouija board, written for one of the annuals of the University of Oregon Medical School Alumni Association here in the PNW Archives Collection.

In Part II of the series, we are reminded that as Alan Hart, Lucille wrote several novels; while we don't own any of these here at OHSU, several libraries in the Oregon-Washington Cascade Alliance consortium do hold four titles by Hart. It's interesting to learn of another UOMS alum who wrote fiction: Esther Pohl Lovejoy's unpublished romance novel rests upstairs in the archives.

Interestingly, historians Cook and Lauderdale note that Lucille/Alan's sexual realignment was accepted by members of her own family: "Alan is mentioned as a 'grandson' in her grandmother's obituary in 1921 and her grandfather's obituary in 1924." We can each of us only hope for similar acceptance of our own true natures by our friends and family.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Image avalanche!

We received another huge windfall from OHSU News & Publications today: eleven document boxes full of photographic prints, contact sheets, negatives, slides, and renderings of subjects from AHEC to Vollum came out of a closet and into our protection.

Among the items which will make totally new categories in our Historical Image Collection are photos from the OHSU Center for Ethics in Health Care (including pictures of the late Miles Edwards); photos of the groundbreaking and construction of the BICC, the School of Nursing, and Hatfield Research Center; photos of the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units (NICU/PICU); and photos of students engaged in social work activities.

There are two boxes of images related to the Dept. of Pediatrics and Doernbecher Children's Hospital, one whole box of images of students and faculty from the School of Dentistry, and huge folders of images from Emergency Medicine and Family Practice.

Of course, we won't know the complete scope of the donation until we go through the files one by one, removing clips and tape, sleeving, foldering, and boxing. If UNP's filing is anything like ours, I'm sure we'll find all sorts of unexpected surprises.

It's a good thing I just finished getting the Proof Collection processed and inventoried--and it's a good thing I hadn't developed any strong attachment to our clean counter yet!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Six degrees of separation: Rinehart redux

On a snowy day back in November of 2006, I noticed (and wrote about) a small memorial plaque dedicated to Robert E. Rinehart, M.D., beneath a tree just outside our campus headquarters here. Well, it's another snowy day here, and I have just been reading more about Dr. Rinehart.

One of
our favorite and more prolific researchers has confirmed for me a suspicion I had back in November: R.E. Rinehart was in fact related to an early graduate from the medical school, one Belle Cooper Ferguson Rinehart, Class of 1897. Digging into the collection in the Dalles-Wasco County Public Library, our researcher located a family memoir, called Lewis and Elizabeth Rinehart and descendants: a family history (the library catalog is online, if you're interested to see what else they have). Page 285 of the memoir is dedicated to Robert Earle Reinhart. Some of the things we learn about him:

*Young Robert exhibited a strong desire to aid others, joining a search for a friend lost on Onion Mountain, pitching in to help rescue stranded people during the Tillamook Burn, and bringing needy people home to care for them.

*While a medical student at UOMS, Robert and classmate Leonard Christensen (who later joined the faculty in the Dept. of Ophthalmology here) co-founded the school bookstore.

*After completing a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic (1943-44), Robert served as a captain in the Army Medical Corps in North Africa. Back in the States, he joined his father, Harvey E. Rinehart, in practice in Wheeler, OR.

*Robert received the Meritorious Achievement Award from the medical school in 1976, the very first year it was awarded. The citation was for his "outstanding contribution to medicine," and his work in the school's rheumatology clinic both caring for patients and educating medical students.

*Dr. Edward Rosenbaum said of Robert: "Professionally, he was one of the great modern rheumatologists of the world. He was a pioneer and the essential ingredient that kept the Rheumatology Clinic ... growing through some of its most trying periods."

By the by, I also discovered pictures of Robert this morning as I continued my work on updating the inventory for our Historical Image Collection. On the inventory, R.E. had been misidentified as R.W.--so now we have images and biographical information to go along with the memorial plaque. A true march of progress!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

World War II rarities

It's been a fairly hectic day here in the History of Medicine Room: a few patron questions, artifacts from the Medical Museum Collection getting the star treatment in a professional photo shoot, and two donations of materials.

One of these donations has brought to our shores an extremely rare imprint from Italy. Pediatric oncologist Dr. Ugo Carpentieri, recently retired from OHSU, brought us an edition of Testut's Anatomia umana, printed in Torino from 1943 to 1945. Twelve parts in eleven volumes, this wartime edition is a reprint of the third Italian edition published in 1921.

Since OCLC records no copy of this edition, or indeed any Italian edition, of this work, I had to go elsewhere for information. I quickly learned that Leo Testut was a French anatomist who lived from 1849-1925; in fact, there is an anatomical museum in Lyon which is named after him. So, I checked the catalog of the Bibliotheque National de France to see if they held this edition. While they do have many titles by Testut (split, unfortunately, into separate files for the eight different recorded versions of his name) including his thesis, they do not have this Italian edition.

So, I moved on to the cataloghi of the Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli, and searched the SBN catalog, a combined listing of the holdings of 2,300 libraries in the Italian National Library Service. There is no entry for this wartime reprint.

Truly, this is a rare set! The volumes are pristine, neat and tidy in their original bindings, although the quality of the war paper is marginal. Dr. Carpentieri used this text to pass his anatomy exams in Naples, and then carried them with him oversees, first to Galveston, TX, and then to Portland. And now he has passed them along to us for safekeeping, so that scholars--whether of anatomy, medical history, or bibliographical history--can see the originals in person. We are greatly pleased!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Art and Surgery

In today's History of Medicine Society Lecture, Surgery's Entry into its Modern Era: Depicted by the Art of the Times, lecturer Dr. J. Patrick O'Leary expounded on three great works of art: Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp (1432), and Thomas Eakins' two masterpieces, Gross Clinic (1876) and Agnew Clinic (1890).

discussed the advance of surgery as seen in these paintings, from the domineering exhibition of the Renaissance master (complete with anatomical error) to the horror and gore of the surgical amphitheatre of Gross' day, tempered only two short decades later by refined anesthesiological practices, a didactic approach to surgical displays, and the team approach of the surgeon, resident, anesthesiologist, and scrub nurse.

One of the more interesting details discussed by O'Leary was the positioning of Dr. Tulp's hands in Rembrandt's depiction: his left hand is turned into the prehensile grip, not only a reminder of the superiority of man over ape, but also the hand position that is controlled by the forearm muscles that Tulp is probing in the cadaver. While many scholars would argue that several of the spectators are looking at this pose, O'Leary instead believes that the men are looking beyond Tulp's hands to the book beyond--signifying the power of knowledge and the written word, this just three decades after Gutenberg's first printing.

Masterpieces, all. And a fitting subject, in light of recent press reports about the fate of the Gross Clinic, finally secured for posterity by the coordinated efforts of humanistic Philadelphians.

If you missed the talk but are interested in seeing the full version, stay tuned: the streaming video of the presentation will soon be available on our web site. A copy will also be cataloged and made available for checkout through the Main Library A/V Room.