Showing posts with label John Hill Brinton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Hill Brinton. Show all posts

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Letter of the day, July 24

We still have this painting in our collection, although it's been on long-term loan to the National Gallery of Art. Which might give you the idea it's probably worth more than $350.00.

Army Medical Museum
War Department
Washington, D.C.

July 24, 1936.

MEMORANDUM for the Executive Office, S.G.O.:

1. You will note from the attached letter that the Museum has been left a legacy consisting of a portrait of the first curator, Dr. John H. Brinton, Surgeon, U.S. Volunteers. It is very appropriate that this portrait should hang in the Museum and we will be very glad to receive it. Such a portrait is of great sentimental value to the Museum but it probably would have little monetary value in the open market, although it is valued at $350.00 in the letter.

2. An opinion is desired from the Judge-Advocate General's Department as to our legal right to accept this legacy and as to whether or not the Museum would be required to pay the Pennsylvania inheritance tax.

[signed] Hugh R. Gilmore, Jr.
Captain, Medical Corps, U.S.A.
Acting Curator


Monday, June 21, 2010

Letter of the Day: June 21 - Civil War

Huntingdon, Penna
June 21st 1864

Dear Doctor;

I arrived home from Beaufort, S.C. on Saturday last, sick. I had intended coming through your place on my way, but when I arrived at N.Y. I did not feel able. Before leaving B- I sent you by Express a keg of specimens, a receipt for which you will find enclosed. They are not very valuable, but I did the best I could. I lost a number on Morris Island for want of liquor, before I rec.d the cask you sent. You will find Dr. Buckman’s papers enclosed, giving a history of his cases. The others have no particular history to be given more than what is on the tabs. Dr. Ramsey had a resection of head of humerus which I intended to send, but he said he was going to Washington himself and I gave it to him to hand to you, a week or more before I left. I hope you got it. I lost at Port Royal a box of miscellaneous articles, a portion of which I had intended for you. I think they were stolen. I shall write to Dr. Allen and request him to look after them for me. They were left in care of the proprietor of the hotel there when I left Morris Island, but when called for, could not be found.

Today or tomorrow, I shall send to the Surgeon Genl’s Office, my invoices, receipts and Returns of Hospital Property, +c together with pay accounts. If your time will permit, will you be kind enough to ask the Clark to push them through as soon as possible. I am not able to leave the house or I would go and make you a visit. My right lung is troubling me very much, but since I am in the North, I have improved greatly. I had an attack of congestion of the lungs in B-. Should I recover my usual health, I think I will try the army a while longer. I shall send you whatever of interest I may find.

Very Respectfully Your [illegible]
H.K. Neff

Surg. Jno. H. Brinton
Washington, D.C.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

National Gallery of Art puts Eakins' Brinton painting back on display

Our registrar just heard from the head of American paintings at the National Gallery of Art who says, "She tells me that it is hung next to Eakins’ portrait of Dr. Thompson, which was his last painting of a medical professional, and that is where it will stay." Our registrar also says the colors of the painting look fantastic and the details can be seen much better. I'm looking forward to seeing it. It's been on loan to the NGA since 1946.

Dr. Thomson actually worked alongside Brinton when the Museum was being established. Along with Dr. Norris, Thomson did studies for the Army's Surgeon General about the utility of microscopes in medicine:

OHA 330

* Thomson Photomicrographs, 1876
* .3 cubic foot.
* No finding aid, arranged, inactive, unrestricted.
* Two copies of an album of photomicrographs made by Dr. William Thomson in 1864 during the Civil War at Douglas Hospital in Washington, DC. The photographs were made "to demnostrate the value of photomicography and its possibility with the compound microscope then issued by the Surgen General's Office to the general hospitals." (from the introductory note.) These albums were compiled for and exhibited at the U.S Centennial International Exhibition (1876). A Union doctor during the Civil War, Thomson contributed to writing the Museum's Catalogue and pioneered in photomicrography and ophthalmic surgery. One album is the Surgeon General's Library copy (SGL #72845) and has an introductory handwritten note by Dr. J. J. Woodward; the second album (MM8615-2) was Assistant Surgeon General Crane's personal copy.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

National Gallery of Art painting conservation

Here's an article that talks about how the National Gallery of Art does painting conservation - "Virgin Rebirth: Technology Helps Humans Work Miracles on a Renaissance Treasure," By Jessica Dawson, The Washington Post Tuesday, December 23, 2008; Page C01. And why should I care you ask? Because the Museum's painting of Philadelphia doctor John Hill Brinton by Thomas Eakins is being worked on in the same way. The painting of the Museum's first curator has been on loan to the Gallery since 1946, but recently has traveled to New York City and Italy for Eakins' shows.

I was down visiting the conservators and curator a few weeks ago when they uncovered some details in the painting that hadn't been obvious before. I told them I'd have no idea what they were and I didn't, but research goes on and I'll let them tell there story in their own time and place.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A day in the life...

Today Walter Reed was having a disaster planning episode which involved locking down the AFIP building so all of the collections staff went out to the warehouse. I was running a bit behind because yesterday a curator at the National Gallery of Art called to say that while the Gallery found something interesting while a conservator was cleaning Thomas Eakins' painting of the Museum's first curator John Hill Brinton. The partially-cleaned painting has what was thought to be a curtain in the upper left corner, but instead appears to be a flag or heraldic device. They had hoped it would be a medical one that I'd recognize, but I was in the dark... More research to follow, but the painting should look great when it's finished in a few months.

Up at the warehouse, Kathleen and I inventoried boxes of early 20th century journals that the AFIP library had transferred to us years ago, and then helped restack Neuroanatomical's Yakovlev Collection's library. Kathleen also had been editing a finding aid of the James Moore Ball Ophthalmic Museum collection which is a very large group of material on eyes and vision from the turn of the 19th century. I had to leave early to go to another building to get my warehouse ID card renewed and then popped back into the museum to update location in our database. Look for the Ball finding aid to show up on our main website soon.