Sunday, October 31, 2010

Washington Post on military medicine advances

Another good article - Operation damage control
By David Brown
Washington Post October 30, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 31

Army Medical School
Royal Victoria Hospital,
Netley 31st Oct. 1865

To Surgeon General Barnes
United States Army

Dear General

I think I must be indebted to your consideration + kindness for a portfolio of 30 large illustrations, photographed at the Army Medical Museum at Washington, which I received a short time since by railway from Liverpool. The parcel did not contain a letter, + the cover simply bore the words “courtesy of Dr. Haight,’ to whom, no address being given, I have been unable to write my acknowledgements of its safe receipt. I have been greatly interested in the drawings – many of them illustrate cases of great scientific value as well as of great credit to the operator, while all of them are of subjects calculated to be useful as affording material for thought + instruction on military injuries. Your Museum must indeed be rich in specimens of the effects of gunshot wounds, judging from the examples photographed in the collection of drawings I have received. I thank you very sincerely for giving me the opportunity of seeing those which are now in my possession, + I feel that the profession at large in Europe is indebted to you for giving to it the means of studying some portions of your museum at Washington, by such photographs, notwithstanding the distance which divides us from it.

I take the opportunity by this communication of transmitting to you a report on the effect on health of the present system in England, + elsewhere in Europe, of carrying the knapsack, kit, and accoutrements by soldiers. The report, though printed, is not published, - a certain number of copies only being circulated among those who have been engaged in or connected with the enquiries to which the report refers. I should feel obliged if no public use of the report is made. I mean reference in public prints. I send it on account fo the importance of the questions involved, + in the belief that the questions are of such a nature that you will feel an interest in them. The recommendations of the Committee in p. 11 are to be carried out, + I hope that the trials may lead to much good.

I also enclose one or two reprints from the 5th Vol. of the Army Medical Reports. I hope you have also received the volume itself.

I am
Very faithfully yours
Tho. Longmore

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 30

Post Surgeon’s Office
Fort Laramie Wyo. Ter.
30th October 1879.

Dr. Doctor –

A specimen of the Canadian Porcupine, Hystrix Hudsonius of Brisson, an animal that is becoming rarer every year in this country, was procured near this post several days ago, and having been engaging in making skeletons for the past year, of birds and not a few animals, I prepared this animal for the Museum of Comparative Anatomy, and send it to you by this mail. I did not mount it, not having the conveniences and the liability of its being injured in that condition during its transportation, but have been careful to leave the following guides for the workman,

1. The vertebrae are on a string in their proper order:-
2. The ribs are sewed to paper to show their arrangement:-
3. The first rib of right side is left attached to its vertebra, so there will be no doubt as to its proper faces[?] and where ribs commence,
4. The carpus and four toes of right foot left sufficiently in site for a guide to put fellow of apposite side together, same for tarsus and five toes of right hind foot.
5. Patella of left side shows its position.
6. Caudal vertebrae left attached. By accident some of their haemal spines were removed but are sent in package.

I have on hand in addition 15 duplicate skeletons of birds, several specimens of morbid anatomy, united fractures, parasites, etc. and would be glad to learn in what manner they should be prepared in order that they would be considered most valuable and acceptable.

Very respectfully + sincerely yrs,
R.W. Shufeldt
1 Lt+ A. Surgeon U.S.A.
Post Surgeon

Lt. Col. Geo. A. Otis.
Med. Dept. U.S. Army.
Washington D.C.

Received by mail November 8, 1879., and ack. and turned over with copy of letter to Dr. Woodward same day as received.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 29

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 00269

October 29, 1894

Mr. William Snowden,
1107 Walnut St.,
Philadelphia, Pa.

Dear Sir:

If you have an illustration or description of the Reeve's flexible stretcher, will you have the kindness to send me a copy.

This Museum has a number of stretchers of different patterns, and should you desire to donate a sample of the Reeve's stretcher I shall be pleased to place it on exhibition in this collection, giving you due credit as donor.

Very respectfully,

J.S. Billings
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 28

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 00985

October 28, 1895

Dr. Charles G. Stone
Brightwood, D.C.

Dear Doctor:

About three weeks ago I sent a messenger, as requested by you, to procure water from Mrs. Page's well at Takoma Park. The water was received in two sterilized flasks, and brought at once to the Laboratory, where it was not only promptly plated, but ten different specimens of the water were subjected to Parietti's test for the typhoid organism. Since that time we have carefully followed out the identification of all colonies appearing; and I am compelled to report to you that this examination not only does not show the presence of any typhoid bacilli, but we have not perceived any colonies of colon bacilli.

Very respectfully,

Walter Reed
Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DCist Photo of the Day - NMHM skeletons

Though they certainly aren't spooky.

Letter of the Day: October 27

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1766

October 27, 1896

Captain W. C. Gorgas
Assistant Surgeon, U. S. Army,
Fort Barrancas, Florida

Dear Doctor:

The sputa of the two patients, Mr. and Mrs. Diffin, forwarded by you on October 21st, has been received and examined, and tubercle bacilli found in both specimens.

Slides have been forwarded to you as requested, by mail, under separate cover.

Very sincerely yours,

Walter Reed
Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 26

Department of the Interior
Census Office
Washington, D.C.
October 26, 1891

Dear Sir:

In response to your verbal request, I beg leave to say that the figures given below, representing the total number of veterans returned to this office for the country at large, and for the states of Ohio and Massachusetts, are somewhat better than an approximation. For all practical purposes they are accurate, the actual number probably being slightly in the excess.

Veterans of Civil War returned for United States, 1,076,162
" " " " " " Ohio, 106,328
'' " " " " " Massachusetts, 39, 996

With reference to your inquiry as to what would be shown in regard to families and dwellings, I omitted to say that in addition to showing them in detail by wards of the one hundred and twenty-four (124) principal cities, --or down to the limit of twenty-five thousand (25,000),--and countries, they will be shown for the totals of cities of eight thousand (8,000) or more inhabitants. This is now the intention and the plan will not be altered materially.

For those cities which we are furnishing you population data by sanitary districts, do you wish the totals of families and dwellings for wards, or do you want them in the detail of size and number developed in the count?

Very respectfully,
Howard Sutherland
Chief of Fourth Division.

Dr. John S. Billings, U.S.A.,
Army and Medical Museum
Washington, D.C.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 25

Office of F.W. Langdon,
No. 65 West Seventh St.

Cincinnati, Oct. 25th 1883

Dear Doctor:

In compliance with your request of the 20th inst, I mail you herewith a full set of the reprints of the publications of the Literary Society of Madisonville, in reference to the prehistoric cemetery near that place. These papers are reprints, the originals of which appeared in the "Journal of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History" as indicated below.--

Part I. --appeared in Vol. III - April 188- pp. 40-68
Part II.-- '' '' " - July 1880 pp. 128-139
Part III.-- '' '' " - Oct. 1880 pp. 203-220
Part IV.-- '' '' IV - Oct. 1881 pp. 237-257

I shall be very glad to receive any photos of specimens that you may be pleased to send, especially those of an ethnological or archaeological character.

If I can be of any further service to the Museum, please consider my time at your disposal.

I have the honor to be
Very respectfully
Your obedt [obedient] servant

F.W. Langdon, M.D.

Dr. D. L. Huntington, U.S.A.
Curator Army Med. Museum
Washington D.C.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NMHM takes part of Scifest at the National Mall Washington DC

Heres some pics of the event a good time was had by most!

enjoy, navjeet

Letter of the Day: October 24

Lima Peru Oct 24th 1888

Dr. J.S. Billings
Washington D.C.

Dear Sir-

Confirming my letter to you of the 10th inst. I am since in receipt of your communication, dated Sept 11th ult. I think you will find in my * last shipment what you desire. I took the precaution to carefully wrap up two skulls with the Hyoid bone adhering; also a skull cut in two with one joint of the hyoid bone still in its place. I would not have recognised (sic) the bone by the drawing you sent me as they do not occur in that shape with the Peruvians but as a general thing they are shorter than the specimens I have sent you. I have always taken an interest when examining skulls and digging up mummies to look for this bone but it is surprising how often they fail to exist. It seems that in some cadavers they must have decayed in the first process of decomposition. I shall however give myself more pains in any future expeditions to look more carefull (sic) into the matter and gather the different sizes of both you and old to make a proper comparison.

Truly Yours

Geo Kiefer

*Received Nov. 10, 1888.
A.M.M. Nos. 2977-2995 Anat. Sect.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ad for Collections manager for museum move?

A few weeks ago, this project manager position appeared to refer to our museum's move. Now there's an announcement for a collections manager that sounds like it's for us, posted by History Associates. It's the first job here. We don't actually know who's handling the move yet.

Letter of the Day: October 23 - numismatics

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 976

October 23, 1895

Dr. Horatio R. Storer,
Newport, R.I.

Dear Dr. Storer:

Your very kind letter of the 20th inst. has been in received and in return I wish to say that it will give me great pleasure to assist you in making your articles on the interesting subject of medical numismatics as complete as possible, asking only that you will give due credit as to the source of information.

The description of the Vercelli medal of which I spoke in my previous letter is as follows:

Obverse: Bust to left, in high relief. Under shoulder: G. Galeazzi F. – Perigraph: AL CARD. GVALA BICCHIERI PATR. VERCELL. FONDATORE. Beneath bust: MCCXX.


Bronze, size 28.

I attempted to take an impress of the medal, but did not succeed on account of the high relief.

The errors pointed out by you at the time the Lee collection was purchased for the Museum have all been corrected long ago, and this office endeavored to carefully compare the descriptions of medals given by you in your various publications with the medals in this collection, and to ascertain what medals of the Museum collection have not been referred to by you. To complete this comparison I am anxious to obtain the following publications which are not on file in this office, viz.:

American Journal of Numismatics,
1887, October.
1888, January, July, October.
1889, April, July, October.
1890, January, April, July, October.
1891, “, “, “, “
1892, “, “, “, “
1893, January, April.
1895, October.

and I should be very thankful if you will point out a way of obtaining them. All other publications noted on the printed circular which you kindly forwarded are in the Library.

In making the above comparisons some deviations from your publications have been noted on our cards, and I shall gladly point them out to you. As you well know the work will have to be carefully done and will require considerable time and labor; but I will endeavor to give you from time to time such information as may be of use to you.

In regard to duplicates that you may have received through the Fisher and other collections, if you will send me a list of them, with prices, I will select such as are not in our collection to be submitted for purchase.

There was lately submitted to me a medal of Fortunius Licetus, 1577-1657- (see C.A. Rudolphi, 1829, No. 395, and Duisburg, 1862, No. XLVI, ) silver, claimed to be very rare, if not unique; but I hesistated to purchase on account of the price, $37.50. Is the medal as rare as represented?

Returning Dr. Frazer’s letter, I remain,
Very sincerely yours,
D.L. Huntington
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army,
In charge of Army Medical Museum and Library.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Faber Hour 10/21

Images from the weekly drawing class at NMHM, held Thursdays 12-1pm.

Letter of the Day: October 22

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 971

October 22, 1895

Mr. R.P. Iddings
Lawrence, Mass.

Dear Sir:

In answer to your letter of the 16th inst., I would state that there is at this Museum among the slides of the late J.J. Woodward, U.S. Army, one which contains the Lord's prayer, written with a diamond, 227 letters, in a space of 1/294 x 1/441 of an inch, or the 1/129654 of a square inch. The legend on the slide says that this is at the rate of 29,431,458 letters to an inch, which is more than there are contained in eight bibles, each bible containing 3,566,480 letters.

Very respectfully,

Dr. L. Huntington

Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army
In charge of Army Medical Museum and Library

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 21

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1766

Fort Barrancas, Fla.
October 21st, 1896

Major Walter Reed

Dear Doctor,

Yours of October 16th with slide received. Am much obliged.

I send by todays [sic] mail sputa of two other patients, Mrs. U. Diffin + Mr. Diffin, will you have them examined + if bacilli are found send me slides.

With kindest regards I remain,
Very truly yours,
W.C Gorgas

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

TODAY! "Resolution for the Missing: Bringing our Fallen Soldiers Home" features AFDIL, 10/20, 12pm, in the Museum!

Brown Bag Lunch: "Resolution for the Missing: Bringing our Fallen Soldiers Home"


When: Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.


What: Have advances in DNA analysis made it so that our honored war dead will never again be labeled "unknown"? Come listen as a senior DNA analyst from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) shares her experiences working with scientists from Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in positively identifying U.S. service members missing from past military conflicts. Suni Edson, assistant technical leader of the Mitochondrial DNA Section at AFDIL, will offer a rare look into the role DNA analysis plays in the process of scientific identification, and how advances in technology have increased the number of persons identified each year. Learn more about the USA Science and Engineering Festival at


Where: Russell Auditorium, Bldg 54, Walter Reed Army Medical Center


Cost: Free! Bring your lunch!


Questions? Call (202) 782-2673 or email or visit the Museum on the web:


Letter of the Day: October 20

Smithsonian Institution,

Washington, D.C., Oct. 20 1870


Dear Sir:


In behalf of the Smithsonian Institution we acknowledge, with thanks, the receipt of your favor or October 18th in regard to “a tin globe which formerly ornamented a flag staff + was struck by lightning” – the specimen itself has, also, been received and will be placed with other matter of a similar character for future reference.


Yours respectfully,

Joseph Henry,

Secretary Smithsonian Institution.


Dr. Geo. A Otis

Army Med Musm


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Washington Post on modern military medicine


Military medics combine ultramodern and time-honored methods to save lives on the battlefield

By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 17, 2010; 1:14 AM


Letter of the Day: October 19

Fort Sisseton, D. T. [Dakota Territory]

October 19, 1880


I have the honor to inform you that I have this day turned over to the Post Quartermaster for transportation to the Army Medical Museum a box containing the pelvic bone of a mound builder (male) from a tumulus near this fort. These bones were found near the centre of the mound and about six feet three inches from its surface. No other human remains have I been able to discover. A few flint chips and a very peculiar heart shaped stone pierced with numerous small holes and a broken flint arrow head I found just beneath the surface of the mound. I have forwarded these articles to Professor Putnam of the Peabody Museum of American A & E [Archaeology and Ethnology] at Cambridge Mass.


The Port Quartermaster's receipt will be forwarded as soon as I can obtain it.

I am Sir
very respectfully
Your obdt [obedient] servant.

August Gecks
Hospital Steward, U. S. A. [United States Army]

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quay Brothers visit the Mutter Museum

Animators Amok in a Curiosity Cabinet


New York Times October 17, 2010



Letter of the Day: October 18

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 239

October 18, 1894

Colonel Charles H. Alden,
Assistant Surgeon General, U. S. Army.
Surgeon General's Office,
Washington, D. C.

Dear Colonel Alden:

Referring to your favor of October 18th, I will try to have everything in readiness for the Board on Wednesday morning.

As regards the memorandum of what I think will be the proper work, in my line, for the class at the Hospital Corps School, let me say that it will be necessarily very brief. I do not see what more I can do than try to impart to them some idea of the general principles of disinfection. I might also go into the subject of sterilization by heat, giving them practical demonstrations, that would certainly devote the greater part of my time to the matter of disinfection of the hands. It seems to me that this latter would be a most important thing for those who are expected to assist in antiseptic surgical work. They would then appreciate why it was necessary to have their hands thoroughly disinfected. This would, of course, necessitate the taking of cultures from the hands of the members of the class before and after disinfection, so that that could, by ocular demonstration, see very clearly what was obtained by careful washing and disinfection of the hands. I would also expect to tell them something about the disinfection of the steels.

I think I could cover this ground in four (4) lessons, in six (6) at the outside - each lesson to be of one hour's duration. Any time would suit me, provided the hour did not go after 3 p.m.

Very respectfully,

Walter Reed

Major and Surgeon, U. S. Army.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 17

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 236
Subject: Emergency purchase:

War Department
Surgeon General's Office,
U. S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner 7th and B Streets S. W.

Washington, D. C. October 17, 1894

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


I have the honor to request authority to purchase, for deposit in the Army Medical Museum, a collection of models of hygienic apparatus illustrating ventilation, heating, etc., at an estimated cost of $75.00, to be paid for from the Museum appropriation as an emergency purchase.

Very respectfully,

J. S. Billings

Deputy Surgeon General, U. S. Army

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 16

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 971

Lawrence, Mass.,

Oct. 16, 1895

To the official in charge of the Army and Navy Medical Museum.

Dear Sir-

In the October “Current Literature” is an article taken from Cassier’s Magazine under the name of Dr. Henry Morton stating that there is in the medical museum a piece of glass containing the Lord’s Prayer engraved on a space of the 1/441 by the 1/294 of an inch.

If you will kindly inform me if this is correct I shall be much obliged.

Yours truly,
R.P. Iddings

Friday, October 15, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 15

U.S.A. General Hospital
Frederick, Maryland
October 15 1862

Dar Doctor-

Yours of the 12th came to hand last evg [evening].

I have only been waiting to get the enclosed not of a case the specimens of which can be obtained in Washington in order to write you.

The Barrel is filling up well. I have now some sixty odd specimens with some notes. The great lack I find is to obtain the results. The notes are sent with the specimens + if they are the results of operations the final result of the case is not known + the surgeons are not careful to send subsequently the results. I am however hunting them up gradually. As soon as the Barrel is full I will Express it to you and advise you of the fact by mail.

I am having good times in operative surgery and would not for at least the present exchange my position for any other what ever. We have the cream.

Porter is doing well + were he here I would send his regards.

The post mortem specimens I spoke of are to be found at Carver Hospital in the room formally occupied by Dr. Russell U.S.A. now occupied by Dr. Banks + wife. The colon is in alcohol on a shelf – or rather was there – and the vertebrae are on a board under the ventilator.

Dr. Banks probably knows of their whereabouts.

With kind regards
Truly your friend
W.W. Keen Jr.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Post on DC's plans for Walter Reed

D.C. to unveil plans for redevelopment of Walter Reed

By Jonathan O'Connell
Capital Business Staff Writer
 October 14, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 14

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 962

War Department,
Surgeon General’s Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner 7th and B Streets, S.W.,
Washington, D.C. October 14, 1895

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


I have the honor to request authority to purchase for deposit in the Army Medical Museum, a sketch, from life, of a case of four (4) testicles, at a cost of $5.00, and one (1) medical medal, Joh. D. Major, at a cost of $9.00, to be paid for from the Museum appropriation.

Very respectfully,
D.L. Huntington
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army,
In charge of Army Medical Museum and Library

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

concept design for anatomical specimen display

concept design Navjeet Singh 2010
we have 15000 or so anatomical specimens,

, so its missing alot of color blah blah blah excuses circumstances. yak

I remember a thesis idea for containers and the many uses of
containers and their relevance to humans, where we send containers, containers inside containers inside containers...the house, the room, the closet...the way we live our lives. hmmm? ok whatever did this last night just a draft. enjoy

AFIP's Debra McElroy has passed away

Debra McElroy longtime AFIP employee


Debra Ann (Bottazzi) McElroy, 53, of Ellicott City, died Oct. 8 at Gilchrist Hospice Care Center, Towson, Md.  Debra affectionately known as “Debbie” by Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP) coworkers died of cancer. 


McElroy began her career with the federal government as a histopathology technician at The AFIP, Washington, D.C., on Oct. 13, 1981.


McElroy, who grew up in Washington, D.C., and a longtime AFIP employee managed 12 laboratories and supervised 59 employees during her nearly 29 years of service here.

Survivors include her husband of 25 years, Dennis McElroy, of Ellicott City; daughter of Joseph and Barbara A. (Heflin) Bottazzi, of York, Pa.; sister of Maria Ellis, of York, Pa., and the late Joseph Daniel Bottazzi. Debra was an avid lover of  dogs.


Friends can call Friday Oct. from 6-8 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 16, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Slack Funeral Home, P.A., 3871 Old Columbia Pike, Ellicott City, Md., 21043. Services and interment are private. In lieu of flowers, memorial’s may be directed to the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and 800 Wyman Park Drive, Suite 110, Baltimore, Md., 21211. Go to for online condolences and directions.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 12

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 959

October 12 1895

Doctor Charles H. Alden,
Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Army,
Surgeon General’s Office,
Washington, D.C.

Dear Doctor:

I beg to report that the specimen of supposed bullet which was referred to you by Medical Referee Thomas Featherstonehaugh of the Pension Bureau, has been subjected to a careful chemical examination by Dr. Wm. M. Mew of the Army Medical Museum, who makes the following report:

“The substance contains no lead nor other metal save a trace of iron; it is composed chiefly of calcium and phosphoric acid, probably calcium phosphate, so it may be bone or cartilage, or as you suggest, it may be a calcified cell-growth.”

I beg further to state that I have carefully examined, microscopically, another portion of the supposed bullet, and am inclined to think, from the appearance of the structure, that it s a portion of a calcified lymphatic gland.

Very sincerely yours,
Walter Reed,
Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Monday, October 11, 2010

Romare Bearden mosaic


More DIA

Letter of the Day: October 11

No 201 W. Franklin St
Baltimore Oct: 11 1887

Surgeon J.S. Billings U.S.A.

My dear Doctor

Having had remarkable success with a recent artificial crystallization of Cystine I send by present mail a new slide of the beautiful but very rare substance.

It was obtained from a lady who had septicemia after a 6 month’s miscarriage, although there can be no relation of causation in its pathological state.

Hoping that you are well – and thanking you for vol. VIII of Index I remain

Yours very sincerely
Christopher Johnston

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Detroit Institute of the Arts

spent the afternoon with my son at the DIA
8 bucks lets you see some great antiquities, paintings,
sculptures, tapestries, murals by Diego Rivera
and a plethora of African American art
one of my favorite works by Romare Bearden
a huge mosaic 15 feet x 12 was amazing.

DIA museum

Letter of the Day: October 10

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 959

Pension Bureau, Oct. 10 1895

Doctor C.H. Alden,
Asst. Surg. General,

Dear Doctor:

This will introduce to you Doctor D. M. McPherson of this Bureau. The doctor brings to you a substance found in a lung upon post mortem. It is claimed that this substance is the remains of a bullet, + the admission of the widow’s claim turns upon this point.

We have made no examination of the substance for the reason that an examination by someone outside of the official force of the Bureau will carry much more weight. Can I ask you to request someone to test this substance for lead and write a little certificate as to results of tests. If the substance is not lead, we would be glad to learn what it is.

Very respectfully
Thos. Featherstonehaugh
Medical Referee

{Tune in October 12th for the exciting answer!}

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 9 / CP 1539

Norfolk, Va
October 9 / 67

Col and Surg: A. L. Edwards USA
Chf M. O. Bur Rgt
Washington D.C.


I have the honor to transmit herewith Photograph of “Frank Lamb” born at Weldens Orchard near Halifax North Carolina, in the year 1789.

It’s a case of “Inguinal hernia” of 69 years standing. The man was 9 years of age when hernia occurred. The hernia was reducible until he was 40 years of age, when sold to a man, named “Baine Lamb” at or near Jerusalem S. Hampton Co. Va: for the sum of $150.00. The overseer of said man compelled the poor man to work in the woods, cutting and hauling heavy timber, without giving him the support of truss, after his own was worn out. The hernia had its present size about 10 years ago, and I should judge weighs about 10 pounds.

Frank Lamb was send (sic) from Jerusalem to Hospital for Freedmen at this City on the 17th July 1867. Has up to this date, not regarding the continued irritation upon his bowels, enjoyed fair health. The Photograph is not very well taken, the artist could not do better, as the patient trembled too much, and hoping it will nevertheless prove interesting.

I am Surgeon with profound respect, your most ob: ser’t
Ferdinand Lessing
In charge Hosp: for Freedman
Norfolk City Va.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 8 (2 of 2)

The World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, New Orleans.

Medical Dep’t. U.S. Army Participation,

Officer of Medical Officer in Charge,

935 F Street, N.W., Third Floor.


Washington, D.C. Oct. 8, 1884




Please let Bearer have bust in plaster, life size, of the late Dr. Otis. I indented to have it bronzed for the Exposition.


Yours truly,

Henry McElderrry

Asst Surgeon, U.S.A.


To J. S. Billings

Major and Surgeon



Letter of the Day: October 8 (1 of 2)

Ward’s Natural Science Establishment,

Nos. 16—26 College Avenue (opposite University),

Rochester, N.Y., Oct. 8 1885.


Dr. John Billings.

Army Medical Museum.


Dear Sir,


I enclose a small bill * (Skeleton of 19 years old cat $5.00.) simply to put it on record, so that it may be paid at some future day.


I am offered from Europe two young Gorillas – 1 ½ years old – male and female. They are in spirits, with their viscera taken out, but left in good shape to dissect every part of the muscular system and afterwards to make skeletons.


My price – shipped to you form here – is $275 for the pair or $150 for one.


As such specimens are rare, I make you an early offer.


Respectfully yours,


Henry A. Ward,


I have Jumbo’s heart in alcohol in a 5 Gallon keg which it nearly fills. Price $40.


*Bill forwarded to Disbursing Div., S.G.O. Oct 10, 1885.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 7

Fort Brady, Mich.

Oct. 7th 1875.


Dear Doctor,


I enclose a letter from Dr. Mallack in the Hudson Bay Co.s’ service, + now stationed at Moose Factory, 600 miles north of this place. Through the kindness of my friend Capt. Wilson, who resides in Canada opposite Brady, the skull referred to arrived here safely – it is the crania of a full-blooded Cree Indian + in excellent condition. It is to be regretted that Dr. Mallack cd. [could] not send more. I hope yet to obtain some Esquimaux bones. Capt. Wilson who has just returned from those polar regimes, informed me that the Esqimaux in that country are in a most degraded state – incest being quite common, some even marrying their own mothers, or rather having their mothers “in loco conjugis”. The weather has been very stormy during the past month or I shd. [should] have accomplished much more. I lost nine Indian crania three weeks ago by the upsetting of a boat in a squall - + the man I had employed to secure them for me, only escaped drowning by a miracle. This was a great loss, + disheartened me for a while. However, I have many places yet to explore, + trust that I may be more successful. Never having rec’d [received] any letter from you, I fear my specimens have not that value, in yr. estimation, which I attach to them.


Yrs. very sincerely,

J.H.T. King


Surge G. A. Otis, U.S.A.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Upcoming Programs at the NMHM

"Faber Hour" Weekly Drop-In Sketching Sessions
When: Thursdays, 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
What: Join the Museum each week for "Faber Hour." Hermann Faber was an Army Medical Museum illustrator during and after the Civil War and is widely known for his meticulous anatomical sketches. “Faber Hours” are drop-in sessions for persons interested in spending directed attention on anatomical, historical or art objects in the Museum. “Faber Hours” will be led by a Museum staffer with a background in medical illustration. Free, no reservations necessary. Bring a small sketchbook and pencils. Questions? Call (202) 782-2673.

SPECIAL SCIFEST PROGRAM! Brown Bag Lunch: "In the Air Intensive Care – A Revolution in Patient Transport"
When: Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
What: Jim Cox, a retired U.S. Air Force flight surgeon and Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) physician, will discuss the evolution of the U.S. Air Force air evacuation system over the last decade. His talk will describe the development of innovative medical technology used to provide life support to critically injured service members during missions lasting over eight hours.
Learn more about the USA Science and Engineering Festival at

SPECIAL SCIFEST PROGRAM! "Three Arrangements: Exploring Our Grand Universe"
When: Monday, October 18, 2010, 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
What: How did the universe come to be? That is the big question that physicists Dr. Larry Gladney, Dr. Herman White and Dr. James Gates will pose during their performance. Expect to hear exciting and accessible presentations about string theory, particle physics and astrophysics, and about how these areas of study can help us better understand how the universe came to be. Songs like “On the Mathematical Melodies of Reality” will provide an accessible introduction to the framework of mathematics from Maxwell to Superstring/M-Theory, while “Smashing Atoms on Planet Earth” will describe how scientific instruments have evolved to become the primary lenses to explore the realm of the microcosm.
Special Note: Limited Seating. Pre-registration is required. To reserve a seat, visit

SPECIAL SCIFEST PROGRAM! Brown Bag Lunch: "Revolutionizing Prosthetics"
When: Tuesday, October 19, 2010, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
What: Robert Armiger, a Johns Hopkins graduate and biomedical engineer, is part of a nationwide effort led by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to create a neurally-controlled prosthetic arm. The project is funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to enable individuals with amputations or upper extremity paralysis to gain more movement. Armiger and a colleague came up with the idea of using a popular video game to help amputees learn to control their new mechanical arms, calling this technology “Air Guitar Hero.” Armiger, who will be featured as a Nifty Fifty speaker for the USA Science and Engineering Festival, will discuss this project and ongoing efforts in the field of neuroprosthetics.
Learn more about the USA Science and Engineering Festival at

SPECIAL SCIFEST PROGRAM! Brown Bag Lunch: "Resolution for the Missing: Bringing our Fallen Soldiers Home"
When: Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
What:Have advances in DNA analysis made it so that our honored war dead will never again be labeled "unknown"? Come listen as a senior DNA analyst from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) shares her experiences working with scientists from Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in positively identifying U.S. service members missing from past military conflicts. Suni Edson, assistant technical leader of the Mitochondrial DNA Section at AFDIL, will offer a rare look into the role DNA analysis plays in the process of scientific identification, and how advances in technology have increased the number of persons identified each year.
Learn more about the USA Science and Engineering Festival at

SPECIAL SCIFEST PROGRAM! "Manya: A Living History of Marie Curie"
When: Thursday, October 21, 2010, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
What: This one-woman drama by storyteller Susan Marie Frontczak exposes the struggles and triumphs of Nobel laureate Marie Curie— an academically impassioned, vehemently private, fervently Polish scientist, mother and teacher. From the political oppression of her childhood, to scientific emergence and fame to the tragedy that forced her into single motherhood as well as further world prominence, this is a story that reveals the tenacity of the human spirit and the allure of science.
Special Note: Limited Seating. Pre-registration is required. To reserve a seat, visit or call 619-723-8820.
Learn more about the USA Science and Engineering Festival at

When: October 23-24, 2010
What: NMHM is proud to be an Official Partner of the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival to be held in the greater Washington DC area in October 2010. The Festival, which will be the country's first national science festival, is a collaboration of over 500 of the country's leading science and engineering organizations and aims to reignite the interest of our nation's youth in the sciences. The culmination of the Festival will be a two-day Expo on the National Mall on October 23-24, 2010, which will give children, teens and adults the opportunity to explore all facets of science & engineering through hundreds of fun, hands-on activities. For more information on all Festival events, visit

Halloween Family Program: Serious Fun with Skulls
When: Saturday, October 30, 2010, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
What: The Museum invites little ghouls and their families to get into the Halloween spirit by learning about skulls. This year we’ll focus on Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a holiday that celebrates the human cycle of life and death.
Decorate your own sugar skull (1st grade and up)
Participate in story time with books about Day of the Dead and skeletons
Make your own skull mask
Learn about skulls from an anthropologist
Halloween costumes are encouraged!

Letter of the Day: October 6

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1736


Fort Crook Neb.

Oct 6th 1896


Major Walter Reed U.S.A.

Washington D.C.


Dear Doctor,


As I am anxious to get the laboratory in the new hospital here in shape for a course in bacteriology this winter, I wish to ask if it would inconvenience you too much to send me cultures of the following bacilli, viz; B. Diphtheria, Typhoid Fever, Coli communis, Tuberculosis, Cholera, Anthrax, Prodigiosus, Glanders, and Finkler-Prior Vibrio.


All of my cultures became extinct in the move from Fort Omaha to this post as no one looked after them when I left to organize this hospital.


Very Sincerely

WB Banister

Capt. + Asst. Surgeon U.S.A.

The Surgeon

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 5

Appleton Station Va Oct 5th 1864


To Surgeon J. H. Brinton A. Medical Depot, Washington




Mr. E. Leitz, artist Gallery Broadway New York wrote to me that the Med. Department was in want for an artists in water-colors and that he had recommended me as such.


Therefore I beg leave to give you my directions with the remark that I am unfit for field duty and employed as clerk  in the Adjutant’s Office.


I am, Sir,

Very Respectfully

Your obedient Servant

Herman Strider

Comp D, 46th Reg. N.Y. Vet. Vols

1 Division, 2 Brigade 9 Army Corps

Job ad for Project Manager for Museum's move?

We haven’t heard anything, but we also don’t know of any other museums moving  in DC –



Monday, October 4, 2010

Diagram, Diagram, Surprise! Diagram, Diagram

It’s been a while since I last posted so I thought it may be nice to give you a brief summery of what I’ve been up to here in HDAC. Since school has started again I have only been here once a week cataloging various specimens: acetate models, slide boxes and now OBGYN teaching slides. These slides vary from what I would consider normal diagrams that you see in class or text books to the slightly more unexpected (I guess it’s more of a surprise when you come across them than unexpected after you find the first few) OBGYN visuals. There is one set of slides that I just came across that are interesting for another reason. They depict a transfusion, of what I’m not sure, the second slide shows them filtering the unknown with what appears to just be cheese cloth before injecting it into the body. With all we know now about blood born pathogens, I hope that this was not the method used to “purify” blood when these slides were made. It is strange to see that the individuals depicted are very cautious about wearing masks and gloves while only filtering the solution with a cheese cloth before injecting it into someone. Anyways here are the slides I was talking about.

Letter of the Day: October 4

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 910


October 4, 1895


Dr. Irving W. Rand,

Columbia Hospital,

Washington, D.C.


Dear Doctor:


The portions of liver, kidney and spleen from a case of suppression of urine after Caesarean operation, sent to this laboratory on September 9, 1895, have been subjected to microscopical examination with the following result:


Kidney: Chronic parenchymatous nephritis, with extensive cell change and increase of connective tissue.

Liver: Extensive fatty degeneration; the cells at the periphery of the lobules are uniformly degenerated and atrophied., and some of them have disappeared; slight increase of connective tissue.

Spleen: Shows some cellular hyperplasia in the pulp of the organ. All three tissues contain a moderately large bacillus with rounded ends, and of variable length. As cultures were not taken it is impossible to say what this organism is; it may be proteus vulgaris.


Very respectfully,

Walter Reed

Surgeon, U.S. Army,


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Pictures of average Civil War soldiers

SCDV 192
SCDV 192 Ulmur, David, CO. M 4th PA Cavalry, battle of Dinwiddie Court House

The Washington Post is reporting an excellent donation of 700 pictures of average Civil War soldiers to the Library of Congress.

Va. collector donates Civil War photographs to Library of Congress
By Michael E. Ruane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Medical Museum of course took or collected thousands of these types of pictures during the war, excepting the showing of a wound, of course. You can see some on our Flickr site. We also have a donated album - Pleasants Photograph Album (1865) - that we scanned and put online recently. Here's the description of it:

Photograph album of Frances Pleasants, who taught wounded soldiers at the Army Hospital in Germantown, PA during the Civil War. Presented to her by her patients, it contains photographs of them as well as other Civil War images. Includes albumen cartes-de-visite, tintypes, and newspaper clippings. Note: where image numbers are missing in the sequence, those places in the album are empty and the pages were not digitized.

Letter of the Day: October 3

Pittsburgh, October 3d, 1863.


We were so unfortunate, on Friday Morning, October 2d, 1863, as to meet with the disaster of having our Factory burned. Our furnace is still perfect, and our moulds uninjured, to any great extent. Our stock was entirely consumed, and some of our books destroyed, among them our order book.

Our suspension of business will be but temporary, as we hope to be able to resume operations in the course of three or four weeks. So soon as we are in operation, we will be glad to receive a continuance of your patronage, so liberally extended to us heretofore.

Yours, respectfully,


Masterden Fluid Glass Works

Saturday, October 2, 2010

NY Times on the problem of cell phone tours

I thought this was an interesting article -

From Picassos to Sarcophagi, Guided by Phone Apps
October 2, 2010

Appalling human experimentation done by US in early days of antibiotics

I've been on the AFIP's Institutional Review Board for about 15 years now, and usually it's just people wanting to study archived tissue - but then every once in a while you're reminded why you have to have someone looking over people's shoulders. This is an extraordinarily stupid study as well - they couldn't have gone to VD clinics in the US and set up a controlled study with some getting placebos? Of course they could have. However, note it wasn't just the US government - the Post article says the Guatemalan government was involved as well.

U.S. Apologizes for Syphilis Tests in Guatemala
October 2, 2010

U.S. apologizes for newly revealed syphilis experiments done in Guatemala
By Rob Stein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 2, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 2

Be sure to read the reprint ...

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1737

The Sacramento Society for Medical Improvement.
W.J. Hanna, M.D., Sec’y and Treas.

#426 ½ J. St. Sacramento, Cal. October 2, 1896.

My Dear Doctor:

I enclose a reprint of a case of “Heart Injury” which came under my observation. Would you kindly let me know whether you have any similar cases reported in your Museum or any literature on this subject. With kind regards and hoping to hear from you at your earliest convenience I remain

Yours truly
W.J. Hanna

J.M. Toner M.D.
U.S. Army Medical Museum
Washington, D.C.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Museum transfers from AFIP

Today the Museum officially transfers from the AFIP to the Army's Medical Research and Materiel Command although we're detailed back to AFIP for the moment. The Army Institute of Pathology spun out of the Museum on June 7 1946, and the Museum was placed under it. On February 15, 1950, the triservice Armed Forces Institute of Pathology was created. AFIP was closed by BRAC in 2005 and will finally close in 2011.

Letter of the Day: October 1

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 199

War Department,
Surgeon General’s Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner 7th and B Streets, S.W.,
Washington, D.C., October 1, 1894,

Dr. A. Clifford Mercer,
324 Montgomery St.,
Syracuse, N.Y.

Dear Sir:

I have just returned from Europe and find your note of September 23rd on my table, for which I am much obliged.

I know Mr. Crisp’s collection very well, and have received much valuable aid from Mr. Mayall, the gentleman who aided him largely in making that collection. I wish it were possible to obtain it for the Army Medical Museum, to which it would be a splendid addition. But it is out of the question to think of purchasing it, as your annual appropriation for all purposes is only $5000. At all events, however, it can do no harm to make some inquiries about the matter, and I will at once proceed to do this through some friends in London.

Again thanking you for your note, I remain,
Yours very sincerely,
(Sgd) John S. Billings
Lt. Colonel and Deputy Surgeon General, U.S.A.