Friday, April 30, 2010

At Observatory in Brooklyn

If you're in the neighborhood, Joanna Ebenstein of Morbid Anatomy is hosting Three Unique Medical Museums in Northern Italy tomorrow night. $5 for great entertainment in New York? What a bargain. Go.

The beauty of medical illustration

We have a respectable amount of medical illustrations in various collections and when you see a good one, not only are you given a special behind-the-scenes tour of anatomy, you're witnessing fine art.

One of our posts on Civil War photography was recently featured on the blog The Sterile Eye, and I came across this post that features the incredible work of Jan van Rymsdyk, an 18th century illustrator. Take a look. They're breathtakingly beautiful.

Letter of the day, April 30

Filling out his time card:

[Numbered Correspondence 5185]
Subject: Station & Duty.

War Department,
Surgeon General's Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner 7th and B Streets SW.,
Washington April 30, 1901.

U.S. Army.


I have the honor to report that during the month of April 1901, I have been on duty in the Surgeon General's Office as Curator of the Army Medical Museum in accordance with Par. 2 S.O. No.153, Hdqrs. of the Army, A.G.O., Washington, July 7, 1893.

Very respectfully,
Walter Reed,
Major & Surgeon, U.S. Army,
Curator Army Med. Museum.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

One last AAHM special

Another view of William Mayo. Reeve 1331:

AAHM Special, Continued

More photos from our collection. These guys got some medals!

The Bronze Medal of the Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association Of North America presented to William J. Mayo. NCP 1086:

Henry Jacob Bigelow Medal presented to Dr. William J. Mayo. NCP 1085:

The Finlay Congressional Distinguished Service Medal of the Republic of Cuba awarded to Dr. W.J. Mayo in January 1929. NCP 1088:

Cross of Knight Commander of the Royal Order of the Crown of Italy presented to the Mayo brothers. NCP 1089:

Medal of the American Medical Association presented to William James Mayo. NCP 1090:

Distinguished Service Medal awarded to Col. William J. Mayo. NCP 1091:

Medal Presented to Brigadier General W.J. Mayo, Inactive Section, O.R.C., U.S. Army, October 14, 1938, by the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States in Recognition of His Loyal Support of the National Defense Program. [One also awarded to Charles Mayo, NCP 1099.] NCP 1092:

Gold Medal of the National Institute of Social Sciences presented to Dr. William J. Mayo. NCP 1093:

Medal of the Minnesota State Medical Association awarded to William James Mayo. NCP 1094:

Medal of the Minnesota State Medical Association awarded to Charles Horace Mayo. NCP 1095:

Bronze medal of the Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association of North America presented to Dr. Charles Horace Mayo. NCP 1096:

Insignia of Corresponding Foreign Membership in the Mexican Academy Of Surgery, Dr. Charles H. Mayo, June 1936. Insignia of Honorary Membership in the Mexican National Academy Of Medicine, Dr. Charles H. Mayo, January 1932. NCP 1097:

Insignia of Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honor Of France, awarded to Dr. Charles H. Mayo by the President of the Republic of France October 28, 1925. NCP 1098:

Distinguished Service Medal awarded to Colonel Charles H. Mayo. NCP 1100:

Medal of the American Medical Association awarded to Charles Horace Mayo. NCP 1101:

Medal of Instituto Medico Valenciano presented to Dr. Charles Mayo. NCP 1102:

Unidentified Medal presumably awarded to the Mayo Brothers. NCP 1103:

AAHM special - Mayo pictures

Some of us are at the Mayo Clinic presenting papers for this year's American Associations for the History of Medicine meetings. In honor of our hosts, here's the start of some pictures we have related to the Mayo Brothers.

Reeve 972-2Major William Mayo, Medical Corps. World War 1. (Reeve 972-2)

NCP 1088
The Finlay Congressional Distinguished Service Medal of the Republic of
Cuba awarded to Dr. W.J. Mayo in January 1929. (NCP 1088)

Letter of the Day: April 29 - Census

Eleventh Census of the United States

Department of the Interior,
Census Office,
Washington, D.C., April 29, 1889


By direction of the Superintendent of Census, Miss Sara E. Nolan, of the District of Columbia, a computer in this office, will report to you for duty on Wednesday morning, May 1.

Please report Miss Nolan's time to the Superintendent monthly.

Very respectfully,

J.H. Wardle,
Acting Chief Clerk

Dr. John S. Billings
In Charge
Mortality and Vital Statitics, Eleventh Census

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More "letterhead" from the collection

I'm captivated by the different fonts down the page. Isn't that beautiful?
Higher resolution and a larger size available over on flickr.

Wounded in Action at the Senate this Week

Letter of the Day: April 28 - parasitic worms

1302 Fillnut St.

April 28, 1886

Dear Dr. Billings,

About a year ago you wrote to me proposing to send to me for identification some specimens of entozoa in the Army Medical Museum. If you will now at your convenience have the collection sent to the following address, at my leisure, I will examine the speciments and in due time report therein.

Sincerely yours,

Joseph Leidy

Prof. Joseph Leidy
Biological Dept University of Pennsylvania
West Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Pa

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

National Hairball Awareness Day

National Hairball Awareness Day

National Hairball Awareness Day

National Hairball Awareness Day

National Hairball Awareness Day

National Hairball Awareness Day

National Hairball Awareness Day

Letter of the Day: April 27

34, 585 (presumably a Smithsonian number)

Washington, April 27, 1874

Dear Doctor.

I send you a letter from a correspondent in Florida, who seems to have struck a vein. Please return this as soon as you have perused it, + let me know whether you can authorise (sic) him to expense any money, say, ten, twenty, or thirty dollars or more, in excavating for the skulls + skeletons of dead Indians.

Very truly yours,
Spencer F. Baird

Dr. Geo. A. Otis
Army Medical Museum,

(a note written on the letter says ‘no enclosure was rec’d’)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Installed AAOS exhibit at Russell senate office building

From the Museum's press release:


Washington, D.C. – March 31, 2010: "Wounded in Action: An Art Exhibition of Orthopaedic Advancements," an exhibit of art works inspired by experiences with the wounds of war, will have its first major installation at the National Museum of Health and Medicine in Washington, D.C. and the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB), in May 2010, after a one-week exhibition in a United States Senate office building in the nation’s capital. "Wounded in Action" is produced and organized by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), which premiered the exhibition at its annual meeting in New Orleans in March.

"Wounded in Action" celebrates those who have had orthopaedic injuries as a result of serving our country during a time of war. From World War II to Korea to Viet Nam, from the Gulf War, to Afghanistan to Iraq, thousands of uniformed service members have suffered severe musculoskeletal injuries. Their stories are told through the art on display in the installation. The exhibition also recognizes orthopaedic surgeons who, throughout history, have risked their own safety to care for military service members, to save lives and limbs, to advance medical treatments, and to conduct research and learn from war in order to better treat those who sustain orthopaedic trauma.

"Wounded in Action" will see its Washington, D.C. premiere at the Russell Senate Office Building the week of April 26-30, 2010.

In May, the entire juried exhibition will be concurrently installed in two locations in the Baltimore/Washington region: at the NMHM in Washington and at UMB’s Health Sciences/Human Services Library and Southern Management Corporation Campus Center, in downtown Baltimore. Both locations will be open to the public and the exhibition is available free of charge. (See below for specific exhibition information.)

"The intersection of medicine and the humanities is central to this exhibition and we’re honored to partner with AAOS and the University of Maryland, Baltimore in offering the public the opportunity to engage this important show," said Adrianne Noe, Ph.D., Director of the NMHM. "As a medical museum located on a military medical installation, we’re intimately familiar with the present-day consequences of war injuries. And, historically, our collections have played an integral role in the development of new and innovative technologies to improve the quality of life of wounded warriors and their families."

NMHM has a considerable interest in documenting advances in prosthetics and orthopaedic surgery, with hundreds of objects included in the Museum’s Historical Collections. Instruments that document the history of amputation range from Revolutionary War-era amputation knives to Civil War-era surgical kits and modern 20th-century stainless steel amputation saws. A large collection of artificial limbs, dating from the post Civil War era to modern examples, is also in the collection and on display in the Museum’s Civil War medicine and battlefield surgery exhibits. Highlights include a circa 1850 G.W. Yearger Artificial Leg, the first patented artificial limb; two artificial limbs made by American POWs during the World War II; and an Otto Bock C-Leg issued to amputees wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The history of total joint arthroplasty is represented by a mock-up of the Jules Pean's artificial shoulder implant of 1890; a collection of joint prosthetics developed by the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City; and the prototype UCI Total Knee.

"Statistics on war injuries are stark and startling – but by telling personal stories of the men and women who have demonstrated extreme courage, endured extreme loss and persevered through a healing process – we hope to truly honor our troops," said AAOS President John J. Callaghan, MD. "We also honor the orthopaedic surgeons and all who serve as military medical caregivers. "Wounded in Action" not only is a collection of artwork, it also is a collection of stories of both pain and renewal."

"As Maryland's public academic healthcare center, UMB is delighted to be partnering with AAOS and the National Museum of Health and Medicine to bring this provocative exhibit to Baltimore," said James L. Hughes, MBA, Vice President, Office of Research and Development at UMB. "By portraying the challenges in repairing war’s assault on the human body and spirit, the artwork will inspire the thousands of healthcare students, clinicians, and researchers at UMB and throughout Greater Baltimore."

Installed AAOS exhibit at Russell senate office building

Installed AAOS exhibit at Russell senate office building

Installed AAOS exhibit at Russell senate office building

Letter of the Day: April 26 - the Peabody Museum sends thanks


Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology

Harvard University


F.W. Putnam,

Curator of the Museum,


Cambridge, Mass, Apr 26 1876


My dear Dr. Otis


Many thanks for your kindness in sending me the negative which arrived today. I have sent it to Mr. Edwards without unpacking + shall have a proof from him at once. If it turns out all right would you like copies for your own use? If so I will have some sent you with the compl.[iments] of our museum as I shall have a number printed on large sheets for special distribution.


We shall greatly value the large photograph you propose sending as all we have now is one of the Cabinet rig which you sent in, which I framed + hung in the museum.


You will be pleased to know that we begin our new building at once, so I hop e in time to have a chance to arrange the museum as it should be. I shall be very much pleased to see you here + and you will kindly send me word when you are to be or in advance, for as I live in Salem + and not at the museum every day I often miss parties here unless they let me know when they are coing.


I congratulate you as arriving so near to the end of your editorial work on the big volume. It was a great undertaking + I fully know the time + attention required for such work. I hope to have some good photorelief figures of the California skulls to go in my report, and I shall be very thankful to you for the use of your measurements as you propose..



Faithfully yours,

F.W. Putnam


To Dr. G.A. Otis, U.S.A.

Curator Army Medical Museum

Washington, D.C.

Letter of the Day: April 26 - the Peabody Museum sends thanks

Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology

Harvard University


F.W. Putnam,

Curator of the Museum,


Cambridge, Mass, Apr 26 1876


My dear Dr. Otis


Many thanks for your kindness in sending me the negative which arrived today. I have sent it to Mr. Edwards without unpacking + shall have a proof from him at once. If it turns out alright would you like copies for your own use? If so I will have some sent you with the compl.[iments] of our museum as I shall have a number printed on large sheets for special distribution.


We shall greatly value the large photograph you propose sending as all we have now is one of the Cabinet rig which you sent in, which I framed + hung in the museum.


You will be pleased to know that we begin our new building at once, so I hop e in time to have a chance to arrange the museum as it should be. I shall be very much pleased to see you here + and you will kindly send me word when you are to be or in advance, for as I live in Salem + and not at the museum every day I often miss parties here unless they let me know when they are coing.


I congratulate you as arriving so near to the end of your editorial work on the big volume. It was a great undertaking + I fully know the time + attention required for such work. I hope to have some good photorelief figures of the California skulls to go in my report, and I shall be very thankful to you for the use of your measurements as you propose..



Faithfully yours,

F.W. Putnam


To Dr. G.A. Otis, U.S.A.

Curator Army Medical Museum

Washington, D.C.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Letter of the Day: April 25 - tuberculosis

Here’s a sad case of a soldier from the 37th US Colored troops who had a horrible case of tuberculosis that was everywhere but in his lungs.

SS 8259

Post Hospital, Fort McHenry
Baltimore, Md. April 25, 1866

Bvt Major & Asst Surgeon
DeWitt C. Peters, U.S.A., Post Surgeon
Fort McHenry, Md.


I have the honor to transmit herewith the Ante & Post Mortem History of Private James Turpins Co. F, 37 U.S. C Troops, Age 23 Years, who died in this hospital April 109, 1866, of tubercular caries of spine, the pathological specimens of which was forwarded to the Army Medical Museum, Washington, D.C., April 20, 1866.

This patient was admitted into this hospital Feby 20, 1866 from the Hicks U.S.A. General Hospital suffering at that time with a severe pain, much increased upon pressure over the region of the Lumbar Vertebrae, attended with loss of motive power in lower extremities, with which was associated great constitutional debility and scrofulous cachexia. He stated that he had first contracted his sickness while in Hospital at Fortress Monroe, Va. With Frostbitten feet; that it had commenced with pain in the back which increased from day to day until he was unable to use his lower extremities, an abscess had formed and had been opened by the attending Surgeon shortly after his admittance into this Hospital. This opening continued to discharge profusely a quantity of very fetid and cloudy pus; at times he was considerably troubled by incontinence of urine. About three weeks before his death another larger Abscess formed lower down over the Junction of last lumbar vertebra with sacrum which being laid open discharged about a pint and a half of fetid cloudy pus followed by a quantity of yellow inspirated matter in which little specks of necrosed bone could be seen, carious bone could be felt through both of these openings. He continued to grow weaker from day to day, and was found dead in his bed by the night nurse early in the morning of April 10, 1866 after having eaten his supper as usual the night before and without having any convulsions or other symptoms of nervous irritation except the paraplegia.

The treatment consisted essentially in the administration of alturatives and tonics calculated to support the vital energies together with a good nourishing diet.

On Post Mortem examination the body was found much emaciated; rigor mortis not well marked.

The dura-mater normal; pacchionian bodies much larger than normal. About three ounces of purulent fluid escaped from subarachnoid space upon opening the dura mater. Vessels of the piamater somewhat congested, the surfaces of the arachnoid and piamater in surarachnoid space were covered with a thick layer of yellowish pus, which was especially marked in the situations of the so-called anterior and posterior subarachnoid spaces and between certain convolution on the uppers surface of the hemispheres in these last situations little leaks had formed in some cases in the sulci which were filled with a thick cloudy pus. This matter on microscopical examination was found to contain a large quantity of half disintegrated tubercular matter. The anterior horn of the left [illegible] ventricle contained about two drachmas of pus of the same character as that found in other parts of the brain. The third ventricle also contained a small quantity of purulent matter. The fourth ventricle was found full of pus which seemed to have effected an entrance by breaking down the membranes forming the inferior boundary of the ventricle. The fifth ventricle was unusually large. The choroid plexuses of all the ventricles was much engorged with blood. No tubercular masses could be discovered in the brain substance or in any of its membranes. The substance of the brain was of normal consistence; the entire surface of the spinal covered was covered with pus. Brain weighs 39 ounces.

The pleural surfaces were absent upon the left side of their upper part; both lungs were every where crepitant [ie made a crackling sound] except a portion of about 2 inches in width along the anterior edge of the upper and middle lobes of right lung. This portion was of a leaden color, tough, fibrous, non-crepitant and of a greater specific gravity than water. No tubercules could be found in either lung but the surface of these organs was every where speckled over with melanotic matter. The bronchial glands were of normal size but infiltrated with pigmentary matter. Right lung weighed 11 ½ ounces. Left lung weighted 9 ½ ounces.

This organ was somewhat enlarged, its muscular substance being hypertrophied; valves normal, cavities filled with whitish fibrous clots, the upper surface of that occupying the right auricle was distinctly grooved by the passage over it of the blood from the venae cavae. Heart weighed with clots 17 ounces.

Had a yellowish brown color. Under the microscope numerous fat granules were found in the cells of this organ; weighed four pounds and one ounce.

Gall Bladder. Filled with bile of a greenish yellow color.
Spleen was of normal appearance, weighed 5 ½ ounces.
Kidneys, somewhat congested, right weighed 6 ounces, left 4 ½ ounces.
Suprarenal capsules normal, weighed each 2 drams.
Pancreas. Natural. Weighed 3 ½ ounces.

Intestines and Stomach.
The mucus membrane slightly infected in some portions, mesenteric glands were enlarged and contained in some cases deposits of tubercular matter. About 8 ounces of yellowish serum was found in the peritoneal cavity.

The lower dorsal, lumbar, sacral, coccyxal vertebrae were all diseased and in some places extensively destroyed by caries; in the lumbar region the ulceration of the vertebrae had proceeded to such an extent as to have eaten its way into the spinal canal and through the theca and forcing its way up the canal, as the man lay on his face, accounted for the presence of pus in such large quantities over the whole surface of the spinal cord and brain and throughout the ventricles of the latter organ and also offered an explanation of the patients sudden death. The lymphatic glands in the inguinal and pelvic regions were infiltrated with cloudy pus.

Pus was also found beneath the sheaths of both psoas major muscles having destroyed the greater portion of their muscular substance. Carious abscesses were found of the fifth rib on the right sight and of the second and forth of the left side at the point of junction with their respective cartilages. The end of the sternum was also carious as far up its junction with the cartilage of the fifth rib. The pelvic bones were studded with spots of caries.

I am, Major, Very Respectfully,
Your Obedient Servant,
Henry McElderry
A.A. Surg. U.S. Army

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Photo of the day, April 24

Inspecting clothing for vermin. 04/24/1918. France. Inspecting clothing for vermin, Company E, 28th Infantry. Cooties. Reading shirts. 129-Y8-T.

Letter of the Day: April 24

This one comes from an accession file we recently had scanned.

A.M.M. 6753 and 6754 Sec. I and 855 Sec VI

Fort Larned Kansas
April 24 1877

Surgeon General
U.S. Army


I have the honor to enclose herewith a receipt, taken from the A.A.Q.M. of this post for one box addressed to Surgeon General, U.S.A.

The box contains the following articles which may possess enough value to go in the Army Medical Museum.

Dr. Woodward {1. Skeleton of Jack Rabbit (young) roughly dressed.
2. “ “ of Beaver “ “ “
3. “ “ Musk Rat “ “ “
4. Carcass of Pouched Gopher in alcohol

855 Sec IV{5. Rectum and Scent Sacs (in alcohol) of Skunk – with two vials of fluid taken from the same sacs by a dropping tube. Each vial holds the entire contents of one sac. No 5 in 2 paper boxes.

A.M.M. 6753 Sec I{6. Plaster cast of stump of B.F. Wyatt – the amputated portion of which was sent to A. Med Mus. In Jan. and was numbered 6735 Surg. Section. Red ink marks the outline (less rather than more) of the great sloughs which endangered Lisfranc’s operation (the one performed) and prohibited Syme’s. The cast shows the foot rather more oblique than it is when sitting or standing.

A.M.M. 6754{7. All the phalanges and half the metatarsus of the right foot and several of the phalanges of the left foot of Wm. H. Anderson, a citizen. Amputated Jan 31, 1877 for frostbite. Report of case enclosed herewith.

Very respectfully,
Your Obt. Servt
Francis H. Atkins
A.A. Surgeon
U.S. Army

Specimens received May 17 1877

Friday, April 23, 2010

Letter of the day, April 23 (2) and April 25 and April 27 and April 29 and April 30

A series of letters, well worth the time it takes to read them. Believe me, the punctuation is not mine.


The Pennsylvania Railroad Company.
Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad Company.
West Jersey & Seashore Railroad Company.

Littlestown, Pa Station,
April 23rd 1901

Supt, Army and Medical Museum.
Washington, D.C.
I secured today, and am holding for advice from you, an embryo specimen, that in my opinion is worthy of a place in your collection.

The story of the specimen is as follows. On my way home to supper this P.M. I met Mr Isaiah Palmer, a man who cleans locomotives for us at this station, and as we met he unrolled a piece of paper he had in in [sic] his hand, saying, “where do you think I got this,[“] at the same time exhibiting an animal embryo, I told him I had no idea, he continued, “What do you think of a chicken dropping a thing like this” I was examining it and found it was a perfectly formed embryo animal, complete in every detail. He then related its history.

He had noticed that for a day or two there was some tissue projecting from one of his hens, and he supposed that she had ruptured her egg bag, as it is commonly termed, he remarked to his wife that they might as well kill her, as she would probably die at any rate, but did not do so. This P.M. when feeding his chickens, he noticed that there was something unusual projecting from this hen, hanging by a slender cord, he caught the hen, puuled [sic] the projection away, and found it to be the embryo above referred to. As this was so unusual, he brought it with him to his work, and when I suggested preserving it and sending it to where it would be effectually appreciated, agreed with me. As a consequence I now have the specimen, preserved in alcohol, and will send it to you without any charge whatever, if you think the circumstances of the case justify its being added to your collection. Of course I can understand a collection of specimens, such as yours must be undoubtedly authentic, and the specimen I offer is so unusual that unless you can verify its history it will be of no value, coming as it does from persons who are not known to you, and who have no reputation in scientific matters, therefore if you are enough interested in the matter to subject it to thorough investigation, I will be glad to aid you in any possible manner.

You will understand the specimen is offered to your collection entirely free of expense, if you so desire I will prepay the express charges thereon to Washington, D.C. My only requirement is, that you will make an acknowledgement that specimen was sent you free of charge and that I did not ask, or receive any compensation therefore. This I want to show such parties that might be inclined to think, that I secured the specimen from Mr Palmer and sold it to museum, or collection.

Dr E.K. Foreman, a respectable physician of this place, assisted me in preparing the specimen, and is also of the opinion that it is worthy of a place in your collection, as he is the family physician of Mr Palmer, the man who furnished the specimen, has examined it, and firmly believes its history, as given by Mr Palmer. Of course some of the persons to whom I spoke on this subject, pronounced it as impossible, but a recollection of what I seen in your museum, when on a visit to Washington, a short time ago, leads me to think, there is almost nothing impossible, in the was [?] of unusual freaks of nature. and while I did not see this specimen taken from the hen, I firmly believe the man is telling the truth in the matter, as I cannot imagine what reason he would have for doing otherwise, and he is not the kind of man that would tell a story of this kind as a hoax.

Geo W Fox
Agent P.R.R.
War Department,
Surgeon General’s Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner 7th and B Streets SW.,
Washington, April 25, 1901.

Mr. Geo. W. Fox,
Agent P. R.R.
Littlestown, Pa.

Dear Sir:
Your letter of the 23rd inst. in reference to a chicken embryo has been received. Please send the specimen in a box marked “Army Medical Museum, 7th & B streets, S.W., Washington, D.C.,” by express, charges to be paid at this Museum.

The specimen will be examined and you will be informed of the result of the examination with acknowledgement as desired by you.

Calvin DeWitt
Lt. Col., Deputy Surgeon General,
U.S. Army

The Pennsylvania Railroad Company.
Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad Company.
West Jersey & Seashore Railroad Company.

Littlestown, Pa Station,
April 27th 1901

Calvin DeWitt Esq

Dear Sir:
Noting yours April 25th, I send you by express this A.M. the embryo referred to therein. I am preparing a statement of details, which will be sworn to, by Isaiah Palmer and probably his wife also, who claim they positively saw this embryo, and accompanying matter, come from within the body of the chicken, claim there was connected to the umbillical [sic] cord (part of which remains connected to the embryo) at one end, a globe about the size of a huuled [sic] walnut, which on breaking the film, he found to contain matter resembling the white of an egg, next in order on the cord, was a mass of matter, which he describes as resembling fish eggs, then the animal, wholly, or partially enveloped in a sac, which when broken, also contained matter resembling the white of an egg, moved by curiosity, when he saw this unusual mass coming from the chicken, he proceeded to investigate, destroying, in his effort, what would probably have been invaluable in determining, what nourished this fo-etus, under apparently extraordinary conditions. [ed: whew!]

Mr Palmer has been closely questioned as to the possibility of his being mistaken on the matter, claims it is not a case wherein, this matter having been deposited by an animal as some place where the hen could set down on it while it was wet, and it having adhered to her feathers or body, afterward became loosed in his presence, and dropped from her, giving him the impression that it had emerged from her body. and as he is a plain unassuming man, with about as much education, as enables him to read and write, and whose reputation for veracity is good, and whose imagination is scarcely fertile enough to originate the above details.

G.W. Fox Agent
[Note in the file:]

April 29 1901.
This specimen is a mammal, apparently a new born kitten, and could not of course have come from a chicken.
D.S. Lamb

[Numbered correspondence 313]
War Department,
Surgeon General’s Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner 7th and B Streets SW.,
Washington, April 30, 1901.

Mr. Geo. W. Fox,
Littlestown, Pa.

Dear Sir:
The specimen sent by you has been received, and found to be a mammal, apparently a new-born kitten which, of course, could not have come from a chicken.

Thanking you for your courtesy in submitting the specimen, I remain

Very respectfully,
Calvin DeWitt
Lt. Col., Deputy Surgeon General,
U.S. Army

Letter of the day, April 23

This refers to a “cast of precocious development of the genitals of a boy aged 4 years” and I can't imagine any 4-year-old boy sitting still for that.

Dr. Ashford,

Office 1330 New York Avenue,
Residence 507 E St. N.W.
Washington, D.C.
April 23 1872

My Dear Dr

Please accept my sincere thanks!

I send with the Bandage &c. a plaster cast taken by Dr. Thos. Miller and Dr R.K. Stone of the genital organs in a child 4 years old.

Yours truly,
FA Ashford

Dr Otis-
Army Med. Mus.

1056 Sec IV [Anatomical Section]

Plum Island, NY animal germ research facility, up for redevelopment

New Life for a Destination That Hannibal Lecter Once Chewed Over, By PETER APPLEBOME, New York Times April 21, 2010

Interesting article on informed consent and medical research

Tribe Wins Fight to Limit Research of Its DNA, By AMY HARMON, New York Times April 21, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NMHM staff at American Association of the History for the Medicine meeting

Several of us will be attending the AAHM Annual Meeting this year:

James Curley, museum technician, historical collections - Vice-president of the Medical Museums Association

Alan Hawk, collections manager, historical collections

Michael Rhode, archivist - responder at MEMA Thurs afternoon session (I think) and speaking on "Cancer in Comics: No Laughing Matter" on May 1, Saturday, 2:15

Emily Wilson, museum technician, Human Developmental Anatomy collectiion - "The Monkey Colony at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Department of Embryology" on May 1, Saturday, at 10:45.

Any readers of the blog planning on being there?

Letter of the Day: April 22 - buying the Gibson collection

Medical Director’s office

First Military District, State of Virginia,

Richmond, Va., April 22nd 1868


Dear Doctor


I bought the Gibson Collection this morn for $1015. I gave the 15 additional over the sum authorized by the S.G. because I did not want to lose the collection for such a small sum + rather than it should be lost to the Army Museum would give the extra amt. myself. When there was added a collection of 25 or 30 calculi not on the catalogue and which I knew you wanted very much – some being very valuable + rare.


Gross was prepared to go to 750 himself + 250 for another party if it had been sold by lot or specimens. I will make a formal report to the Surgeon General tomorrow.


I have not received the list promised by the S.G. of such specimens most wanted + the price annexed.


Will write you again in a few days.


Yours truly,


John H. Janeway



Medical illustration exhibit in Rosslyn, VA

This article, and the accompanying exhibit of course, features longtime friend of the museum, medical illustrator Marie Dauenheimer.


In gross anatomy, Howard U.'s Ashraf Aziz sees nothing but grace

By David Montgomery
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 21, 2010; C01


Marie noted of the show – “The show features the work of about 10 different artists, and the work was created from or inspired by my cadaver dissections at Howard University-the works are by myself, AiW faculty and students, John Yanson, Will Dickinson and Robert Liberace.”


The exhibit information is:



WHERE Art Institute of Washington Gallery  (“Gallery 1820”)

1820 N. Fort Myer Drive, Street Level

Arlington, VA 22209

METRO Rosslyn (across street from rear entrance)

PARKING at meters: Free after 6:00pm.



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Letter of the Day: April 21 - one half-barrel

U.S.A. General Hospital,

Beverly, N.J.,

April 21st 1865




I have the honor to transmit herewith Express Co.’s receipt for one half-barrel containing Anatomical Specimens. Reports of both cases (amputation at the hip joint) were forwarded several days ago with the Quarterly Report of Surgical Operations, in which the cases from whom the specimens were obtained are represented by Hospital Numbers 665 & 1955.


Very respectfully

Your Obdt Servt

C. Wagner,

Asst Surgeon USA

Comdg Hospital



Curator of the Army Med Museum

Surgeon General’s Office

Washington DC

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Accession of the day, April 20

A.M.M. No. 10368
Pathological Section

Gawler, Albert

Washington, D.C.

April 20, 1892.

Head, neck and about ten feet of links of tapeworm, taenia mediocanellata. Passed by contributor after twice fasting 24 hours and after each fasting taking a medicine, the composition of which was not known to him. The head was passed after the second fasting.

Letter of the day, April 20

Fort Yellowstone, Wyoming
April 20, 1908.

The Curator,
Army Medical Museum
Washington, D.C.


I have the honor to report forwarding under separate cover, this date, a well preserved specimen of a common species of caterpillar passed in the stool of a healthy 13 months male child at this station on October 6, 1907.

Interest attaches chiefly to the fact that the worm was so little affected by the processes of digestion in transit, being only slightly decolorized and divested of its coat of hairs. It was flattened and slightly macerated when it appeared in the commode but at once was restored to its normal symmetry upon placing it in the alcohol preservative.

This is the second worm passed by the child, the first having been passed on October 5 but thrown away by the mother after exciting momentary curiosity. Upon passing the second the mother brought it to me for examination and advice.

The only noticeable effect upon the health of the child was a slight diarrhea and sufficient digestive disturbance to cause disinclination for food during the time the larvae were in the digestive tract, there being a speedy and permanent return to normal conditions following expulsion of worms.

Very respectfully,
J.M. Wheate
Assistant Surgeon, U.S. Army

Monday, April 19, 2010

Letter of the Day: April 19 - photographer job?

Office Sergeant-at-Arms,

House of Representatives U.S.,

Washington, D.C., April 19, 1888


Dr. Billings –


Dear Sir –


Mr. E.J. Taylor, a photographer, is anxious to obtain the position Assistant Photographer in the Museum.


Mr. Taylor is recommended to me, by personal friends, as an expert in his profession, and if you can possibly help him I wish you would do so – I should be glad [to] hear from you as to the prospect of his success.




W.H.F. Lee

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Letter of the Day: April 18 - Birds?

Mearns House,
Highland Falls, N.Y.

Office of Edgar A. Mearns, M.D.
Wednesday, April 18th, 1883


I am desirous of learning something of the character of Army Medical Museum, at Washington, D.C.

I am about to enter the service as Assistant Surgeon, U.S. Army; and, as I have several thousands of bird-skins, birds’ eggs, reptiles, batrachians, fishes, mammals, a botanical collection, etc. in my collection, which I have gotten together with great expense and labor, I think some of making a donation to the Museum, but would like, first, to learn something of the Museum, its objects, the kind of objects which it desires, and the disposal made of them.

I have, also, a small series of Botanical specimens representing the plants useful in medicine and which have toxic effects, belonging to the Flora of this region.

Please inform me, and greatly oblige.
Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant
Edgar A. Mearns

To the Curator of the Army Medical Museum,
Washington, D.C.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lungs from a cadaver respirating

Cadaver Lungs Still Breathing On Respirator - Watch more Funny Videos

Letter of the Day: April 17 - North Pole expedition

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1418

1st Endorsement.
War Department,
Surgeon General’s Office

April 17, 1896.

Respectfully referred to Lieut. Col. D. L. Huntington, Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army, in charge of Museum and Library Division, for his action, in connection with previous papers in the case.

Geo. M. Sternberg
Surgeon General, U.S. Army


To the Minister of the United States of America
Mr. Thomas S. Ferguson

Dear Sir!

In answer to your request for the particulars of the medical equipment of the “Andrees Polarexpedition 1896” I respectfully beg to communicate to you the following:

In furnishing this medical outfit I had to consider two circumstances.

First, -the extent of the whole must be as limited as possible. Secondly, - the packing must [be] strong enough to stand jolting and water. For this purpose, I suppose it would have been most practical to have india-rubber vessels, but such articles are not manufactured in Sweden, and it would be very difficult to order them from abroad.

It was also requested that no object of metal should be used, Mr. Andree desiring to avoid metals wherever possible.

On this account no comparison can be made with the very nice medicine cases, (of American and English manufacture) provided for instance by Mssrs Burroughs Welcome & Co, London which are so highly approved by Stanley and Dr. Parker.

All the pharmaceutical preparations are with two or three exceptions in a dry form such as gelatin and tabloids.

For drawing up the schedule care has been taken to provide for the diseases occurring in earlier Swedish expeditions to Polar regions.

The medicines which are in small doses, are made up in gelatine, a form of medicinal preparations, invented many years ago by General direktor Almen, and is of a very practical nature, as a cover the size of a common envelope, can hold many hundreds doses. They are used in Sweden for such preparations as laudanum, morphia, and quinine, they are usually kept in their coatings, in this case, they have been put into glass tubes.

The rest of the medicines are in tabloids previously mentioned and which are also manufactures in Sweden.

Tabloids containing poisonous drugs are in addition enveloped in very thin paper to prevent them getting broken, it being impossible to use such tabloids unless they are in a perfectly whole collection.

The method for preserving and packing the medicine is as follows.

The gelatives and tabloids are put into tubes of thick glass, with corks especially cutted and prepared to resist damp and water. The labels are also prepared in a similar manner.

Each label is also supplied with a number – which is also given in the little book containing a list of the medicines, - and also the name of the expedition, the name of preparation and the dose to be taken, and finally the names of the diseases for which it is used, which are also given in the book above mentioned, in alphabetical order together with short advice given by the physician as to their treatment and the medicine to be employed.

Each of the glass tubes is fitted into a wooden case (turned?) lined inside with india rubber and cotton wool, a band of india rubber being fixed outside and finally the outside of the case is marked with the same numbers as the glass tube, and is burnt into the wood.

By this arrangement the most important medicines can be carried without further trouble as regards packing, in the event of a journey by sleigh, when everything in the way of baggage must be reduced to a minimum.

The whole collection is then packed in an air and water tight box of wood and india rubber, stamped on the outside with the name “Polarexpedition Andrees 1896,” the word “medicine” and the weight.

Respecting the above mentioned catalogue I herewith beg to enclose a leaf as a typical example of the whole.*

I am Sir yours very respectfully

C.F. Lundberg
Examined Apothecary
Hopapotcket Lejonet

Stockholm 31 Mar 1896

*Filed in a separate envelope

Friday, April 16, 2010

Letter of the Day: April 16

Smithsonian Institution

Washington, D.C., April 16, 1885


Dear Sir:


We are in receipt every few days from various menageries and zoological gardens, of animals that have died of some disease; some of them sent with the understanding that a report will be made of the causes of death. Learning from you that you propose to make a collection of soft parts of animals for the purposes of comparative anatomical study, I beg to say that it will give me much pleasure to transfer the carcasses, as they come to hand, to the Army Medical Museum, if you will cause to be furnished on each occasion a report of the post mortem, for transmission to the donors. I understand that the Museum is making preparations for permanent presentations of specimens to illustrate the comparative anatomy of various organs, and in this event the National Museum will abandon its previous intention of making such collection; and will turn over a large amount of material already in store, as it is not desirable to have a duplicate.



Spencer Baird


Dr. J. S. Billings,

Army Medical Museum,


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Unexploded Ordinance In the Head

This happens often enough
see the full

"The projectile was part of the bomb that went off," explained Maj. John Bini, who oversees all trauma care at Bagram. "People will pack just about anything in to these things: rocks, nails, screws, explosives."
Bini and his team immediately summoned an explosive ordnance disposal team to assess how risky it would be to conduct the surgery. The doctors needed to minimize the risk of setting off the ordinance.
They were told not to drop the explosive, prick it with a scalpel or let it be exposed to any electricity.
"We knew that any electrical current possibly could cause detonation."

Another rifle slipped from our grasp

Also sent to the Smithsonian in 1950.

Almost a dime a dozen

I just came across this record in our accession files:

Harper's Ferry and Whitney 54 caliber rifle, circa 1851. Heavy steel barrel; Muzzle loader; Fine barrel; Brass hands and mountings; Brass butt plate; Patch box or place cut in butt stock to hold cleaning rag or caps; Brass cover with spring; Percussion lock. Bannerman Purchase. Sent to Smithsonian Institution 09/06/1950.

It was bought in 1912 for $2.50.

Letter of the day, April 15

Balduin Lucké was a Philadelphia pathologist, a professor of pathology at the University of Pennsylvania, Deputy Curator of the Museum, and in charge of the Professional Service (primarily the pathological division) of the Museum/Army Institute of Pathology.

I thought this letter interesting from the scrap-metal-salvaging aspect during WW2, and funny because of  government paperwork requirements in the face of roadblocks as shown at the end of paragraph 2 and the beginning of paragraph 3.

We have some of Dr. Lucké's materials in our Registry of Noteworthy Research in Pathology collection.

The American College of Pathology
East University Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.

April 15, 1944

Lt. Col. Balduin Lucké, M.C.
Army Medical Museum
7th St. and Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington 25, D.C.

Dear Colonel Lucké:

I am returning the letter from Major Pons, and Mrs. Weller joins me in thanking you for letting us see it.

We have noted that 1,050 reprints of your papers will be required. Do you wish the reprints of the two articles bound together?

We, of course, will wish to cooperate in respect to the preservation of the blocks for future use. We have been under considerable pressure to assure re-use of the metal as quickly as possible. There is a War Production Board order, under the title General Conservation Order M-99, covering this matter. As I understand it, we should be protected in the same manner when the issue is between two Government agencies as though we were dealing with a civilian. After the issue of General Conservation Order M-99, we withdrew the privilege of securing the blocks for a nominal fee to cover packing. On three occasions when re-use of the blocks seemed imminent, we have released them. The mechanism by which this is done is to file with us, in triplicate, a signed statement in the language which appears in fine print near the bottom of the middle column of the printed order which we are sending you herewith. One copy has to go to our engraver, one to our printer, and one copy is retained in our files.

Since it is almost impossible to secure additional copies of General Conservation Order M-99, and the one I am sending you is the only one which we have, I must ask you to return it at your early convenience. I will have to leave it to your judgment as to whether the statement which you submit should be signed by you or by General Love. Because of the large number of illustrations in your articles, the amount of metal is considerable and I fear that I am going to meet with some objection from our engraver, whom I believe to be under a quota in respect to the metal supplied him. This quota is influenced by the amount of salvaged metal which he can release. Therefore, any plan to retain these blocks should be well considered and readily defensible.

Sincerely yours,
[signed] Carl V. Weller

Enc., 2

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Putting a face on it

I'm reviewing the first batch of Contributed Photographs to be uploaded to our database, and have started coming across photos of soldiers injured at Antietam and Gettysburg. It's not often we can put faces to the statistics of this war, but here's one example of a soldier injured at Gettysburg. This is what the record says:

Ludwig Kohn, private, Co. I, 214th Pa. Vols., aged 26, admitted to Harewood U.S.A. General Hospital, August 15, 1865, suffering from gunshot wound of chest, right side, ball fracturing third rib, transfixing chest, exit below scapulae same side. Wounded July 1, 1863, at the battle of Gettysburg, Pa. On admission to this Hospital, the parts had nearly healed; but patient states that the wound soon after the injury became gangrenous with considerable sloughing of soft parts; spit blood at time, and that the wound was so painful as to deprive him of his night’s rest; could not lie on his back, but was obliged to sit up day and night. There is still a slight fistulous opening, but otherwise parts entirely healed; is in very good constitutional state, and is now awaiting his discharge from U.S. service.

Contributed by R.B. Bontecou

Letter of the Day: April 14

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 7438


April 14, 1904


Dr. S. S. Adams,

1 Dupont Circle,

Washington, D.C.


Dear Sir:


I am directed by the Surgeon General to express his thanks for the photograph of a case of thoracopagus received from you on the 14th inst. It will be added to the collection with a properly inscribed card.


Very respectfully,


C.L. Heizmann

Col. Asst. Surgeon General, U.S.A.

In charge of Museum & Library Division


The photograph was Contributed Photograph 2583, but is now missing.

Letter and Photographs of the Day: April 13 addition

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 8202

April 13, 1905

Mr. J. E. Standley,
Colman Dock,
Seattle, Washington


Your letter of the 4th inst. Addressed to the Smithsonian Institution, containing two photographs of Samoans showing elephantiasis and one of a Javanese woman with multiple fibrous tumors has been referred with the photographs to the Surgeon General, U.S. Army, for deposit in the Army Medical Museum.

The Surgeon General directs me to express his thanks to you for the photographs and to inform you that they will be added to the series of contributed photographs of this Museum.

Very respectfully,

C.L. Heizmann
Col. Asst. Surgeon General, U.S.A.
In charge of Museum & Library Division

These two pictures from Ye Old Curiosity Shop and Indian Curio of Colman Dock, Seattle, became CP 2593 and 2594.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Letter of the Day: April 13

813 North Charles St.


April 13/96


Dear Doctor Reed,


Many thanks for the monkeys which came through all right.


I enclose ck for $18.00.


I was so unfortunate as to lose one on the table and the other two were not over strong, but they managed to pull through a minor operation and are doing well now. Section of the corpus calllosium is rather too serious an operation unless an animal is in very good order and I shall have to keep that for animals in first class order. With many thanks for your courtesy & kindly interest


I remain

Very sincerely yours

E. Linden Mellus



#18.00 received from Dr. Reed

April 15, 1896

C.J. Meyers

Accession of the day, April 13

Photograph Number 304. Chronic Arthritis of the knee. The subject of this illustration, Amos S. Young, a resident of Poolsville, Maryland, age twenty - five years, and of strumous diathesis, states that he first noticed a swelling of the left knee - joint in the spring of 1868. The knee steadily increased in size, measuring twenty inches in circumference on April 13, 1871, at which time this photograph was taken at the Army Medical Museum.

Photo of the day, April 13

World War 2 - combat battle scenes (European theater). This section of Heilbronn, Germany, has been completely demolished by Allied air attacks. US 7th Army, VI [6th] Corps. 04/13/1945.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Letter/Accession of the day, April 12 (2)

A two-fer:

Govt. Hospital for Insane

Of the Army and Navy
Washington, D.C. April 12, 1877

J.J. Woodward, M.D.

Dear Sir:

I desire to send to the Museum to be retained there if not judged unsuitable – a plaster Medallion – life size,- in plain gilt frame, about 20x18 in[?]. The Medallion represents a young soldier dead on the field of battle – name unknown – the model was molded hastily by an Artist-soldier, who in passing noticed the sweet, cold expression of the youthful face, and after the war, made a cast, which coming into my possession, I have considered worth preserving now for some years. The bust is not finely finished – but well defined, perhaps I overrate its value through countless associations with that terrible period embracing the Years of the “War of the Rebellion”. It seems to me worth adding to some collection, and I offer it for place in the Museum you so ably and very successfully have through years of severe labor brought to a condition of largest value as a National Institution.

With affection and esteem,
(signed) D.L. Dix

[this is Dorothea Dix]

Letter of the Day: April 12

12 April 1956


Honorable Noble J. Gregory

House of Representatives


Dear Mr. Gregory:


Reference is made to your letter of 19 March and our reply of 21 March 1956 in which you requested a change be made in the exhibit label of the Lyon Quintuplets.


In accordance with the letter you enclosed from Mrs. Tilford and the birth certificate, the exhibit label has been changed to indicated the correct date of death of the quintuplet mother. The label now also includes the date of death of the father.


The exhibit, as it is now presented in our Museum, has been rephotographed. Prints of this photograph are enclosed as requested. May I thank you for your interest in this matter.


Sincerely yours,


W.M. Silliphant

Captain, MC, USN


Incl Photograph


c.c. Curator, Med. Museum

Science Museum London's history of medicine collections on the web

This note introduces a really cool idea I'd like to emulate at our Museum. For those who haven't visited the London museum, they've got 2 floors of medical history exhibits from the Wellcome collection.

The new history of medicine website of the Science Museum London has now been completed. In all it now presents 4000 new images of artefacts from the collections linked to 16 specialised themes on medicine across time, written by staff and other professional historians of medicine. Each theme is associated with bibliographies and interactives suitable for teaching at several levels.

The themes are:

Belief and medicine; Birth and death; Controversies and medicine; Diagnosis; Diseases and epidemics; Hospitals;Mental health and illness; Practising medicine; Public health;Science and medicine; Surgery;Technology and medicine; Medical traditions;Treatments and cures; Understanding the body; War and medicine

You can find the site at:

Under a creative commons policy the images are available for download.

Dr Robert Bud

Principal Curator of Medicine

The Science Museum, London

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Letter of the Day: April 11

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 4497

Repair of Animal Rooms

April 11 1900

To the Surgeon General,
U.S. Army.


I have the honor to request that the following repairs be made in the animal rooms of the annex to this building:
Estimated cost
1. Repair of arch and walls of crematory … $30.00
2. Repairing plaster of portions of walls … $ 5.00
3. Whitewashing 3 rooms and ante-room… $25.00*
4. Painting woodwork in 3 rooms and ante-room… 25.00

This work should be done at the earliest possible date.

Very respectfully,

Dallas Bache
Col. & Asst. Surgeon General, U.S.A.
In charge of Museum & Library Divison

*This includes scraping of walls and at least two coats of whitewash.

Pencil notes added April 13, 1900, in accordance with 1st endorsement dated Apr 12, 1900. See Record Card No. 4497

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Letter of the day, April 10 (1 of 2)

Camp Steele, San Juan W.T.
April 10 1868

Dear Doctor:

In reply to your letter in relation to Indian relics &c, I have to say that I am willing to do all I can in the matter; but that there are few or no Indians on this Island, and such articles are not procurable here by ordinary means.

In Victoria, in the shops, many articles such as you speak of, can be got; but not knowing how much money would be allowed for their purchase, I could not buy. Prices generally are high, as with everything else, on this coast.

One article, a really valuable relic, a shawl made by a tribe north of this place, for instance, was charged at $25.00: another at $10.00 &c. After officers exchange their paper pay into gold, & then buy the larger portion of the necessaries of life at prices nominally higher in gold than in paper at the East, they have but little left for speculations of such a kind.

Had I any information of the amount allowable, or a certain sum to expend, I might do something. Crania, or anything else, to be got without cost, I will try to procure.

I will also try to enlist Contract Surgeons in the work, as you desire.

Yours truly
J.E. Semple
Asst Surg. USA

Dr. Otis USA

Letter of the Day: April 10 (2 of 2)

Military Hospital
Malahi Island, Laguna, P.I.
April, 10th, 1905.

Miss C.S. Ludlow,
S.G.O., Washington, D.C.


I have the honor to forward this date under separate cover 54 mosquitoes, collected at this station. Place:- Stockade, this post. Date:-April 9th, 1905, about 7 A.M. Collector:- Capt. C.E.B. Flagg, Asst. Surgeon, U.S.A. No prevailing diseases.

We have pill boxes on hand and will continue to use them for shipping boxes if they are satisfactory for the purpose. A cyanide bottle is needed as there is none available here. Chloroform is now used for this purpose.

A printed unsigned circular relative to collection etc., of mosquitoes, and a shipping box enclosing 3 pill boxes and purporting to contain a cyanide bottle was received from the S.G.O. March 26th, 1905.

No case of malarial fever has been known to have originated here. We make blood examinations in all fever cases and have occasionally one of malaria contracted elsewhere. We have not been able to secure any anopheles as yet, and I have not seen one since by arrival here last September. Lieut. Duncan, Med. Department, who was here last September, told me he found some anopheles in rear of his quarters.

These mosquitoes undoubtedly form a small per cent of the few on the island, but failure to catch any of them is probably due to inexperience of the collectors.

A statement as to whether you have ever received a malaria bearing mosquito from this station would be of interest for record in the medical history of the post.

Very respectfully,

Chas. E.B. Flagg,
Capt., Asst. Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Friday, April 9, 2010

Letter of the day: April 9 (2 of 2)

Alcatraz Island, Cal.,
April 9th, 1885

Surgeon General,
U.S. Army,
Washington, D.C.


I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of request from your office for a specimen, if preserved, in the case of Private P. O’Callaghan, Batty. “D”, 1st Arty., who died in the hospital of this post from the effects of a shot perforation of the skull, February 17th, 1885, and to reply that peculiar circumstances rendered it, in my opinion, imprudent and impracticable to secure the specimen for the Army Medical Museum as was my desire and intention.

Very respectfully,
Your obedient Servant
Jno. Murray Dickson,
Asst Surg. U.S.A.
Post Surgeon

Letter of the Day: April 9 (1 of 2)

Washington, DC
April 9 1870

Dr. George A. Otis
Bvt Col. USA


I sent by Hospital Steward Marshall one model of boat used by Indians in Alaska Territory, one waterproof bag from Alaska made of seal membrane, two beavers teeth, two walrus teeth. These articles I contribute as curiosities that may be acceptable to the Curator for presentation and as objects of illustration and information. They have been acknowledged as contributed by Mr Marshall himself. Will you please make the change rendered necessary by my omission and send a formal communication.

Very Respectfully & truly yours
Basil Norris
Surg U.S.A.

British Natural History Museum's new building

Oooh, if only we could...

April 8, 2010
Enjoy the Bugs, but Don’t Feed the Scientists


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Visibly Human Health & Disease in the Human Body

Visibly Human exhibit installation

Visibly Human exhibit installation

Letter of the Day: April 8

Memo for The Record

Albert E Minns Jr
Curator, Medical Museum

Herman E Demick
CQ 8 April 1961

8 April 1961

During CQ duty on this date numerous inquiries were made by visitors requesting the wherebouts of the Forensic Pathology exhibits.

Some inquiries were the direct result of the Army Times article and some were due to the Evening Star Letter To The Editor which is attached [missing now – MR]. However, the majority were from people who heard about the exhibits being interesting or those who had seen them previously and were bringing others in to see them. Upon arrival these visitors naturally inquired for them when the exhibits were not found in their areas.

One mother with her teenage son – present at the request of her son – stated that TV Westerns represent the use of guns and knives as not dangerous. Her son had been impressed with our exhibits which served as an object lesson to him. Rather than being shocked he was seriously interested and asked his mother to visit the Museum with him.

M/Sgt Clayton A Knepley, of WRAMC [this is when the Museum was still downtown near the Smithsonian] visited the museum with his teenage son expressly to see the exhibits in question. The Sgt was familiar with the Exhibits and in hi opinion they are very valuable to the young. He read the Times article and was in fact the source of my knowledge of any letter in the Star. His reaction to the affair is that in his opinion it is unfair and unwarranted. He believes both articles have been written by the same person – pointing out the similarity in the writing style.

Guard James Jackson and I had near one-hundred inquiries for the exhibits throughout the day. It may be noted that visitor attendance was comparatively light due to the parade activities. The total requests for the exhibits versus attendance represent a good percentage of people wanting the exhibits.

Mr. Robert F. Jones, [street address redacted] Philadelphia, Pa. tour-director brings groups of students and adults to D.C. at least once a week. During the past few weeks he has brought in young girl students in groups of 65. During these weeks he reports, not one of the girls have shown anything but serious interest in the Forensic Pathology exhibits. Not one case of “shock or horror”. His viewpoint is that his groups learned the seriousness of “the unloaded gun and the switch-blade”. Mr. Jones says he intends to write a letter to the paper giving his opinion. He said it is a shame the exhibits have been removed.

Herman E Demick