Friday, February 22, 2008

Letter on "A Family Album is One for the History Books"

At the beginning of the year, the New York Times ran an article that caught our archivist eyes:

A Family Album Is One for the History Books
Published: January 1, 2008
Photographs of William Howard Taft’s mission to the Far East, now on view at the Nippon Club, were found in an unlikely place.

I recalled that we had similar photos of Taft donated fairly recently, so Kathleen checked the collection and found them. We sent a letter to the Times that it didn't run, so here it is now for the Taft fans.

To the editor:

We read with interest "A Family Album is One for the History Books," (January 1), of the Harry Fowler Woods scrapbooks containing photographs from the 1905 return to the Philippines of William Howard Taft. The National Museum of Health and Medicine archives also has photographs of Taft in the Philippines, taken at his 1901 inauguration as the first Governor-General of the islands. Osborn also took pictures of the Filipino memorial services for the assassinated President McKinley, as well as Douglas MacArthur's father, military governor Arthur MacArthur. The photographs are part of a recent donation, the William S. Osborn Collection of scrapbooks, diaries, and dozens of letters that Osborn created during his service as a hospital corpsman in the wake of the Spanish-American War, as well as items from later in his career as a physician in Tennessee and Wisconsin. Many of Osborn's pictures were cyanotypes, which remain a lovely cool shade of blue. The scrapbook can be viewed by appointment.


Kathleen Stocker & Michael Rhode
Archivists, National Museum of Health and Medicine Washington, DC

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