Showing posts with label World War 1. Show all posts
Showing posts with label World War 1. Show all posts

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 26

May 26, 1917.

From: W.O. Owen, Colonel Medical Corps, U.S. Army,
Curator Army Medical Museum.

To: Professeur Jacob,
Directeur des Archives et Documents de Guerre,
Paris, France.

Subject: Specimens for the Army Medical Museum.

Your letter of the 9th of May is at hand. I am indeed obliged to you for
your willingness to assist me in making the collections here what they
ought to be.

I am particularly anxious to have specimens of the modern armor, such as
I am informed are in use by all of the armies engaged in this warfare,
and if you can place me in communication with anyone who has the
material for sale, or if you can inform me if there is any way by which
I may, properly, obtain this material form the military authorities of
France, by purchase or otherwise, I will be much obliged to you for the

It will give me pleasure to make a collection of any material that you
may want from this Country, or to let you have such material as we may
have in duplicate that may be desired by your Museum, if it may suit
your convenience to let me know your needs in these directions.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Today's new collection

Material is flowing into the Museum as the AFIP and Walter Reed both prepare to close. Today we collected 54 boxes, or 184 bound volumes of Walter Reed General Hospital Autopsies (2011.0005, OHA 354.7) which date from 1917 through 1965. That presumably covers 4 wars – World War 1, World War 2, Korea and Vietnam.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


REEVE 0015201 Thanksgiving dinner. Dinner served by Headquarters Troop 32nd Div. [Division] on Thanksgiving Day. The soldier in the picture is Sgt. [Sergeant] Robert B. Craik. Chateau Letellier, near Consdorf, Luxembourg, France. [Food and drink. United States. Army. Signal Corps.] World War 1.

Reeve 11325
REEVE 0011325 American Red Cross. Paris, France. Menu of Thanksgiving dinner. Original Signal Corps caption - Thanksgiving Dinner. Paris, France. Menu of Dinner given by the District of Paris Chapter of the ARC to men of the hospitals in Paris. [Food and drink.]


NCP 3457
NCP 3457 Thanksgiving dinner on the USS Repose at Inchon, Korea, in 1952. It is unlikely that this nurse found time to eat turkey that day. also in collection as MIS 09-5085-29 Inchon, Korea: Aboard USS Repose Thanksgiving Day. Lieutenant Junior Grade Weece Wood, Nurse Corps, U.S. Navy, assists Private 1st Class Jack W. Newman, U.S. Marine Corps, with his holiday dinner. [Wounds and injuries.][Korean War.][Food and drink.][Hospital ships. Transport of sick and wounded.][Scene.] Repose (AH-16) Folder 2 11/27/1952; USN 449212; U.S. Navy BUMED Library and Archives

MIS 09-5085-30 Inchon, Korea: Aboard USS Repose Thanksgiving Day. Corporal Richard R. Hollander, U.S. Marine Corps, is assisted with his dinner by Lieutenant Junior Grade Caldie Green (Nurse Corps) U.S. Navy. [Wounds and injuries.][Korean War.][Food and drink.][Hospital ships. Transport of sick and wounded.][Scene.] Repose (AH-16) Folder 2; 11/27/1952; USN 449213; U.S. Navy BUMED Library and Archives

NCP 006067 Thanksgiving. [Kitchen employees.] [Dietitians.]

...and a curiosity...

NCP 6472 New York, Nov. [November] 22-Crash victim given plasma. An unidentified doctor crawls into wreckage of two Long Island rail road trains here tonight to provide plasma for a victim pinned in the twisted jumble of steel. Trains bound from Manhattan to Long Island points, crowded with Thanksgiving Eve commuters, crashed in the Kew Gardens section of Queens. (APWirephoto) (See wire story) (OB42205stf) 50.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Armistice Day and Veteran's Day

68-6199-1 (MIS)

Armistice Day was established in 1926 to commemorate the end of World War I on November 11 at 11 am - 11-11-11. In 1954, it became Veteran's Day.

You can see other World War I photographs on our Flickr site.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 4

I've looked through a dozen years of correspondence and haven't found a letter yet. I had been hoping on finding one written to the Museum. In lieu of a letter, here's two photographs. Happy July 4th.



Friday, May 28, 2010

Letter of the day, May 28

Camp Merritt
Tues 28th [1918]

Dearest Sister:
Haven't heard from home since I've been here - guess my mail has been misplaced or sent on over. Had a letter from Charlie today - he is well & still getting along O.K.

Hot and sultry up here - we are all feeling the heat, rains nearly every day.

We have all gotten our equipment complete now but the men are not fitted out yet - think we will be here several days longer, so write me care of Camp Merritt.

I put in for commutation of quarters this morning - claiming Mother as dependent - this will amount to almost $60 which I will send home every month for the household expenses. I also made an allotment of $100 per month to you to be deposited with 1st Nat'l Bank of McComb - this is to begin with June pay - don't think I'll need much more than $120 a month over there. When this begins to come in, let to go to pay my debt to you, then save the rest for me.

Miss Hodges is in New York - together with Misses Clark & almost 20 more of the Camp Shelby nurses all being fitted out for foreign service.

Have been over to New York several afternoons & evenings - we are allowed this - so we are back by nine a.m. - and must remain until after dinner - nothing to do here except paperwork - which I have very little to do, & inspection of the men to see that they do not develop any diseases.

I suppose I don't have to say that I see Miss Hodges when I go over - we went to hear John McCormack - the famous Irish singer, Sunday night at the Hippodrome - it was a benefit for one of the Catholic orphanages - he was great - you know he is called America's foremost and favorite singer & he deserves all the praise he gets.

Does Frances get an increase in her salary with this new increase the government ordered for R.R. employees? I don't see why she shouldn't.

Much love to all at home-

[Captain Otken made a notation on the reverse of the first page of the letter, regarding his pay and allotment]:

Captains salary     $200
10% Foreign            20
Commutation            60

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Photo of the day, May 26

Medical Department, 05/26/1918. Brest, France. Nurses and doctors with their patients.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Letter of the day, May 22

[No date on the letter, so we're going with the postmark. Also, one of my favorite things, nice letterhead.]

[May 22, 1918]
Camp Merritt

Dearest Mother:
Got two letters from you this week and that sweet card. Also had a couple of letters from Charlie. Didn't get the first letter you and sister wrote, guess they went on over. Dr. Williams is not in N.Y. now- is up in Conn. [Apparent] hasn't his last naturalization papers so can't get in the army.

Met one of my old college friends on the street in N.Y. yesterday afternoon, he is also in service now.

Very hot up here, humidity is great so we feel the heat very much but at that it is a great deal cooler here than in N.Y.

Got my "commutation of quarters" O.K. - am enclosing check for $230 - Use $60 of this for household expenses & tell sister to put the balance on what I owe her. We have had our final physical exam & everything preparatory is finished now and tomorrow morning, we go to the Port of Embarkation & we will be allowed to write no more letters until we get on the other side. I will leave cards here at the port that will be mailed as soon as we arrive safely over there.

Didn't get out to Camp Dix or Mills - would like to have seen Dr Johnson and Archie B.

Capt Sanderson is the man here that I was with in Camp Shelby.

This big drive doesn't look very favorable but I hope they will be able to stop the Germans before they get much farther.

Well, little Mother of mine, altho I'm going far away across the seas, the day never dawns but what I think of the mother and sisters back home and I hope and pray that some day I can come back once more.

I'm proud of the fact that I'm in this war, proud of the work the Medical Corps & Red Cross is doing and I'm trying to do my full share - hoping that when it is all over and peace comes once more, that this old world will be a better, cleaner place to live in. Goodbye - to you and the girls - all the love in the world  and a kiss for each of you.


Address me.
Capt. L.B. Otken M.R.C.
U.S.A. Base Hospital #22
American Exp. Force
New York N.Y.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Letter of the day, May 9

From our Otken Collection of correspondence. Dr. Otken was a surgeon with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War 1.

U.S. Army Base Hospital No. 22
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Friday, May 9th [1918]

Dearest Mother:
Your letter & the girls' came yesterday, glad to hear from you of course.

Sent the girls some post cards today & a picture I had made to Sister.

Has rained up here the last few days & has been real cool again. Had a letter from Charlie yesterday, sorry I can't go by Washington and see him. Got my commission all right & sent it on to Frances to put with my other papers.

Find this a nice lot of men, majority of them are Masons & everything is very congenial. Had a nice letter from Dr. Lee this morning, I wrote him shortly after I got here.

Sunday one of the Doctors carried me up to his summer home on a little lake about thirty miles north of here. There were six Drs. & their wives out there, all belong to the Base, We went up in auto's [sic]. Had a nice ride and a great dinner then drove back in the evening. It is a beautiful country, lots of small lakes - say a mile or two long and one half to one mile wide. The rich people from here have their summer homes along the shores & it certainly is beautiful.

Twelve of us had to act as pall bearers in a military funeral Monday for Lt. Col. Daum[?], an aviator killed in a fall at Dayton, Ohio.

We are all impatiently awaiting orders to leave here - we expect them before the week is out. Oh, yes, about that wool helmet. All those things [were?] given me when I got here - furnished by the Red Cross, helmet, muffler, gloves, socks, toilet kit etc. so if you have made that one, send it to Charlie he probably hasn't one.

Miss Hodges wrote that a new major had arrived to take Major Crawford's place but Maj. Crawford hasn't been ordered away as yet.

I see where a lot of drafted men are going to Shelby - so they will have lots of work at the Hospital there now.

Col. Baylis wired me congratulations when my commission came, so I wrote & thanked him a few days ago.

Sister wanted to know if [I] was on the surgical service - yes. There will be [illegible] men on the medical service over there, as practically all the cases are surgical.

Much love to all at home.

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.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Letter of the day, March 26


War Department
Office of the Surgeon General

March 26, 1919

Circular Letter No. 156

Subject: Museum Specimens (Gas Lesions).

1. It is desired to obtain gross and microscopical specimens from cases who have lived for a considerable time after being gassed. There are now in hospitals many of these soldiers suffering in some cases from the results of this gassing, and also from various other condition.

2. Considerable material has been collected from acute lesions in man and in animals, and a certain amount of material is available showing the subsequent lesions in animals, but no specimens have been received from human sources which can be used to study the final changes and determine what, if any, permanent alterations result from exposure to the gas.

3. Should autopsies occur in any case giving a history of having been gassed, specimens will be carefully preserved and sent to the Army Medical Museum, even though there is apparently no change in the organs referable to the previous gassing. The respiratory tract is most important but blocks of tissue should be sent from each organ. A careful history and protocol will accompany the specimens.

By direction of the Surgeon General:

C.R. Darnall,
Colonel, Medical Corps, USA,
Executive Officer.

Copy for:
Surgeons, Ports of Embarkation,
Commanding Officers, all Base & General Hospitals,
Commandant, Army Medical School,
The Chief Surgeon, S.O.S. American expeditionary Forces.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Photo of the day, March 22

First aid being administered in a trench to a Marine prior to being sent to hospital in rear of trenches. 03/22/1918. Toul Sector, France. [First aid. War, Relief of sick and wounded. United States. Army. Signal Corps.] World War 1, 688-Y8-0. 12151

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Letter of the day, March 6 (1 of 2)

You can see some examples of these medical illustrations on our Flickr site, as well as the Lyster bag, developed by the Colonel Lyster mentioned in the letter, in 1915. The Lyster bag was a means of purifying water with the treatment of calcium hypochlorite and was used for decades for field and camp water treatment.

Yale University
The School of Medicine
Affiliated with the New Haven Hospital
on the
Anthony N. Brady Memorial Foundation

Laboratory of
Pathology and Bacteriology

New Haven, Connecticut
March 6, 1919

Colonel Charles F. Craig,
Army Medical Museum
Washington, D.C.

My Dear Colonel Craig:

I am sending you, under separate cover, four illustrations of the lung in influenza, which were done by artists from the Army Medical Museum. The autopsy numbers of these cases is on the illustration, and there is attached an anatomical diagnosis of the case. I have, besides these four illustrations, eight colored drawings of more or less similar lesions of the respiratory tract in influenza. They are as follows:

Aut. No. 1. Trachea showing an accute hemorrhagic inflammation.
" " 2 &3. Pleural surface and cross section of lobular pneumonia in influenza.
" " 4 &5. Pleural surface and cross section of the lobar type of inflammation.
" " 6. Fibrinopurulent pleurisy
" " 7 &8. Cross sections of subacute and chronic necrotizing and organizing pneumonia.

There are besides these illustrations of influenzal pneumonia, one hundred and thirty-eight gross and microscopic drawings and photo micrographs of the lungs of animals that have died or were killed after exposure to one of the following poisonous gases; chlorine, phosgene, chloropicrin, mustard, cyanogen, chloride, bromide, arsene, organic arsenic compounds, and superpalite.

The monograph which includes these illustrations is in the hands of the Yale Press. A complete list of the illustrations has been furnished to Colonel Lyster of the Chemical Warfare Service, and I have no other list of them to submit at the present time. Of course, it can be made if you feel that is is absolutely necessary.

Very truly yours,
[Major M. Winternitz]

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Letter of the day, March 4

We still have many wax models, showing just the kinds of things he's asking for in this letter.


War Department
Office of the Surgeon General
Army Medical Museum and Library

March 4th, 1919

Circular Letter No. 121.

Subject: Reproduction of Interesting Lesions in Wax.

1. There is present at the Army Medical Museum an expert in the reproduction of various lesion of the skin in wax. A considerable number of models have been made during the war and it is desired to make this collection as excellent and as representative as possible.

2. The following types of cases can be well represented in wax: chronic or unhealed ulcers following various types of wounds; unhealed lesions resulting from gas burns; unusual scar formations; and unusual skin diseases. Such lesions can be most naturally reproduced by wax models and it is believed that many of the hospitals receiving cases from overseas have cases of this nature which should be reproduced for permanent record.

3. As it is impossible for the one worker in wax models to travel from place to place, it is requested that when such cases occur at any Army hospital they be reported to the Surgeon General’s office, attention the Laboratory Division, with a brief description of the case and probable permanence of the lesion at the time, accompanied by a rough unmounted photograph if possible to obtain the same.

4. It is intended to order especially interesting cases of this character to the Walter Reed Hospital for further treatment and for the production of the model which will be a permanent exhibit in the Army Medical Museum.

By direction of The Surgeon General:

C.R. Darnell,
Colonel, Medical Corps, U.S.A.
Executive Officer

Copy to:
Commanding Officers of all
Base Hospitals,
General Hospitals,
Embarkation Hospitals

Monday, February 8, 2010

Letter of the day: February 8

World War 1 has ended and a surgeon with the American Expeditionary Forces in France is more than ready to go home. This is from the Otken Collection.

Sat Feb 8th 1919

My dear Sister,

Your letter of Jan 11th & two bundles of papers came this week, the first mail I have had from you in two weeks.

We are still living here at Beau Desert in a ward doing nothing but hiking a little every day. However our gang plank list has gone in and we are on the sailing list, so expect to get away from here in the next few weeks.

There is not much sickness here – the flu seems to be over & just the wounded & usual run of cases come in. Thursday night a kerosene stove blew up in one of the wards over at 114 – about eleven thirty and the entire ward burned down in a very few minutes. It was full of patients all amputation cases but all were moved out safely. There was a hard wind blowing & the boys did good work in holding the fire to one ward[.] Two adjoining wards caught fire but were extinguished – only the tar paper roofing being burned.

Dr. Gardner[?] sailed this week for home, so guess he will be back in McComb before many weeks.

I wrote Charlie a couple of letters to Camp Leach that should have reached him by this time.

Several of our men have been detached from the unit this week & assigned to new jobs here in this section – I hope nothing like this will happen to me, I’m ready to go home now.

We are to take only twenty of our nurses home, the rest have to stay here on duty with these hospitals here.

Frances is being relieved from Evac. Hosp. #1 at Toul & will probably start for home in a few weeks – she will most likely go by way of Brest or St Nazaire. When she gets to New York will probably wire me at McComb & begin sending her letters there, so just hold them until you hear from me.

She has had very little work to do up there as the hospital is just about cleaned out. The com. officer there gave a party of the nurses a trip over to Verdun & and the battlefields in ambulances – they go to see all the battle front in that sector. That is about the only thing over here that I have missed that I would really like to see.

If the flu is raging over there it does look like they would get some of these Hospital units back and turn them loose lot of Drs. & nurses just killing time over here when they could be of so much use over there.

Am surprised to hear that Benton is back – doesn’t agree with what Henry Hesse told me – does it.

Hope the 1st of March will find us on the water. All take care of yourselves, expect to be with you soon. Much love to all.


Capt LB Otken
USBH 22,
APO 705 Am.E.F.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Letter of the Day #2: February 7

Even during World War I, traditional donations continued to come in and be accepted.

February 7, 1918

Dr. G.W. Remage,
Jennings, Louisiana

Dear Doctor Remage:

Permit me to thank you in behalf of the Surgeon General and of myself for the surgical case recently donated by you to this Museum which has just been received and placed on deposit here. We gratefully appreciate your thoughtful courtesy in this matter and the case has been carded as a gift from you.

Very sincerely,

W.O. Owen

Colonel, Medical Corps, U.S. Army
Curator, A.M.M.

Friday, May 29, 2009

"Red Cross Work on Mutilés at Paris - 1918"

We just uploaded this 1918 film to the Internet Archive. Everything says it uploaded fine, but as I can't actually view it from work, I'll have to take their word for it.

See it here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

More on the Red Cross and Mutilés

I came across a reference that's hosted on the WWW Virtual Library website. (Now there's a website that will cost you hours. What a great reference tool.) It's called A Statement of Finances and Accomplishments for the period July 1, 1917 to February 28, 1919, by the American Red Cross, Washington, DC, October 1919. It contains this paragraph:

The relief of French mutilés included the operation of a school farm, the manufacture of portrait masks and artificial limbs, the operation of an educational and publicity service, and assistance to French institutions offering commercial and industrial courses to mutilés. It is estimated that 6s,000 [?] of the 600,000 crippled French soldiers were reached by the Red Cross.

It has a table that shows what kind of services were provided:

I'm surprised that only 94 men received "portrait masks." I would have expected a higher number.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Red Cross Work on Mutilés

Yesterday I gave a short presentation to an Elderhostel group visiting the museum (and let me just interject here how refreshing it was to speak to my peers, age-wise, as opposed to all the kids on staff) and as part of the presentation showed a 4-minute film called Red Cross Work on Mutilés, Paris, 1918. We recently had it transferred from Beta to a DVD and, although I've watched it over and over, I'm still mesmerized by it.

Today I was trolling the internet for more information on the Red Cross and mutilés (maimed) and found a title on Google books, American Red Cross Work among the French People, by Fisher Ames (1921) that had a photograph in it just like the background in the film.

And which is very similar to an exhibit we have:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Light 'em up

I was checking on some information in the Maxillofacial Surgery volume of The Medical Department of the US Army in the World War today (does that make me sound smart!?) and came across this passage on patients who had splints in their mouths for various fractures:

"Many of the soldiers with their mouths splinted were unable to smoke. This was overcome by placing a glass of water or cup of coffee or chocolate where they could reach it, when, after wetting their lips with their fingers which had been immersed in the liquid, they were able to smoke as long as the moisture remained. This gave them a great deal of comfort. It was possible, also, in cases in which the lower jaw was fixed or missing, for the patient to hold one nostril closed and then, by moistening the other nostril and putting a cigarette in it, to inhale through it, thus smoking quite readily."

I wish I had a picture of that.