Showing posts with label comparative anatomy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label comparative anatomy. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Letter of the Day: March 23

Field Hospital
Fort Cummings, N.M.
March 23, 1882

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


I have the honor to state that I have this day turned over to the Post Quartermaster for shipment to the Army Medical Museum a two headed Foetal calf.

The history of the case is as follows: Mr. Charles Clauberg the post butcher, who presents the specimen, states that about three months ago he slaughtered a fine fat heifer, not knowing that she was pregnant, and on finding that her uterus contained a calf proceeded to cut it out, after he had inadvertently cut off the heads, he found the peculiarities noted, the double head, single neck, and double joints, throughout the body, as far as examined.

I have thought the specimen of too much value, to be lost and therefore forward it.

Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
R.C. Newton.
Asst Surg. U.S.A.
Post Surgeon

[note written at the end of letter, in a different hand]
Specimen received
ackd [acknowledged] May 13, 1882,
Turned over to
Mr. Schafhirt, Anatomical-
for section of Comparative Anatomy

Friday, October 8, 2010

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, September 9, 2010

Letter of the Day: September 9

United States National Museum

Under Direction of

The Smithsonian Institution

Washington Sept. 9. 1886


Dear Sir:


I venture to request that you will lend me, for a few days, the mounted skeleton of Logenorhynchus acutus [aka Atlantic white-sided dolphin] in the Army Medical Museum. I have a paper on the genus Logenorhynchus in preparation and am desirous of comparing an authentic European specimen of the species referred to with others from our own Atlantic coast in this museum.


If you find it possible to grant my request, I will arrange to send a wagon for the specimen.


Very respectfully


Frederick W. True.

Curator of Mammals


Dr. J.S. Billings, U.S.A. +c

Director, U.S. Army Med. Museum.



Answered by Dr. Billings in person Sept 11. 86.


Prof True sent for No 2489. Sect. Comp Anatomy Sept 11, 1886, + the specimen was delivered to the messenger.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 12


REEVE 001551-1 Anatomy, comparative. Opossum skeleton, Australian, front view. [Bones.]

United States National Museum
Washington, D.C.
Aug 12/85.

Dear Sir.

I trust that you will kindly overlook the delay in calling for the balance of skeletons transferred from the Army Medical Museum to the U.S. National Museum. This delay arose from several causes, the principal being lack of accommodation – until recently at the U.S.N.M. Then too I have but one assistant to do all the osteological work and the arranging of specimens in the Museum. Trusting that I may have caused no serious inconvenience I remain

Very respectfully

Frederic A. Lucas.
Ass’t. Dep’t. Comparative Anatomy

W. Matthews M.D.
Asss’t Surgeon U.S.A.


REEVE 001561-1 Anatomy, comparative. Ornithorynchus, duck-bill mole, side view.


REEVE 01558-1 Anatomy, comparative. Salamander from Japan, sirboldia maxima[?], side
view. [Bones.]

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Letter of the Day: June 22 (1 of 2) - hermaphrodite pig

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 745

June 22, 1895

D. I. Fort, Esq.,
Raleigh, N.C.

Dear Sir:

Your letter of June 17th, addressed to Dr. John S. Billings, U.S. Army, has been referred to me for reply.

The chances are so very much against your pig being a true hermaphrodite, that we do not feel that the Museum can offer more than $10 for the animal. If you desire to dispose of it at this price, you can either ship it to us by express alive, addressed “Army Medical Museum, Cor. 7th and B Sts., S.W., Washington, D.C., “ or you could kill the animal, and pack it at once in sawdust, and ship it to us by express, charges to be paid at this end of the line.

Be kind enough to acknowledge the receipt of this letter.

Very respectfully,
Walter Reed
Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Letter of the Day: June 17 - Wheeler survey

United States Engineer Office,
Explorations and Surveys West of the 100th Meridian,
P.O. Lock Box 93.
Washington, D.C., June 17, 1874

Bvt. Lt. Col. Geo. A. Otis
Curator Army med. Museum,


By direction of Lieut. G.M. Wheeler in charge of the Geographical and Geological Explorations and Surveys west of the 100th Meridian I have the honor to forward as a donation to the Army Medical Museum the following specimens:

1 Skeleton of wild Turkey Meliagris var mexicanus No x 4
1 Pathological specimen fract. of leg of M.M.
1 skull monkey macacus cynomolgus from Dr. Yarrow
1 Bottle containing 15 bird crania presented by Dr. yarrow
1 Cranium Picus Columbianus No 892
1 Skeleton Massena’s quail Cyrtonyx Massena No 996
1 Skull of Gray Rabbit Lepus sylvaticus
3 Skulls Navajo Indians {1085, 1086, 11087 [Anatomical Section]
1 Skull Apache ? Indian {1088 [Anatomical Section]
1 Skull of Black Bear Ursus americanus no. R.O. 82
1 Skull of Black Bear Ursus americanus young
1 Sternum of Swainson’s hawk Buteo swainsoni No. 877
1 Sternum Prairie Falcon Falco polyagous No. 64
1 Sternum American Avocet Recurvirostra Americana No 39,
1 Sternum Red Breasted Teal Anas cyanoptera No. 417

It is hoped that these specimens may prove of some little value to the museum under your charge. Please acknowledge the receipt of the specimens.

Very respectfully Your obdt Servnt.
H.C. Yarrow
Surgeon, Nat. Expd.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rebecca's Post - June 15, 2010

As a new intern at the Human Developmental Anatomy Center, I have been asked to blog weekly about my experiences here. I am an undergraduate at NYU studying physical anthropology, but embryology is pretty new to me. I guess you’ll learn along with me through these blog entries (or at least see some cool pictures from my scanning adventures).

Well, it seems like I have been glued to this chair next to the scanner for a while now. I scan old crinkly acetate models from sun up to sun down (I hyperbolize as well). Usually, it’s not so bad because most of the stuff is really interesting and it’s incredible to handle original models from the 1920s.

Take this scan, for example; it was in a small box labeled only “Tadpole Ears, Streeter, 1920.” Tadpole ears?! At first I thought George Streeter had just pulled a fast one on me, mixing tadpole ears in with collections of human embryos and research on rhesus monkeys, but then I realized it did make sense after all to include tadpoles in a study on development. I continued to scan, appreciative of the great lengths to which scientists went so many years ago in order to understand human development.

As I continued to scan, however, my attention drifted elsewhere and I began to see angry clowns in every slide. This tadpole looks horrifyingly similar to the killer clown in the movie “It,” don’t you think?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Letter of the Day: June 14

June 14, 1880


I have to acknowledge your communication of the 12th inst., and to return to you the specimen of the foetal calf accompanying it, you were good enough to forward to the Army Medical Museum, but which is not regarded as a desirable acquisition for the section of comparative anatomy of the Museum.

I am Sir, very respectfully,
Your obedient servant
George A. Otis
Assistant Surgeon, U.S.A.
Curator Army Med. Museum

Stabler, James R.
Department of Agriculture

Monday, May 17, 2010

Letter of the Day: May 17, 1 of 2

Camp Gaston, Cal.

May 17, 1878


Surgeon General U.S.A.




I have the honor to enclose herewith a Receipt for a package I have this day turned over to the Post Quartermaster for shipment to you, for the Army Medical Museum.


The package contains a four-legged chicken. It was hatched from an egg of a common hen and was born alive. Mrs. Williams, a soldiers wife, told me yesterday forenoon that one of her hens had during the night, hatched out a chicken with four legs which was still alive and doing well. I at once went with her to see it. We found the feathered quadruped but it was dead. I do not know whether it was killed by accident, or whether its malformation was incompatible with a continuance of its life. It must have lived several hours at least.


I have not examined any of the viscera but have left all untouched. I have placed it in Alcohol, having first filled the alimentary canal with Alcohol, so far as I could by introducing a tube into the throat and allowing as much to run in as would do under a hydrostatic pressure of about one foot.


This specimen may not be rare or valuable but it is the first of the kind that has fallen under my observation.


Very Respectfully,

Your Obt. Servt.

C.E. Price

Asst. Surg. U.S.A.

A note on the envelope said the Museum's anatomist discarded it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Letter of the day, May 14 (2)

[Numbered Correspondence 8350]

Caney River Oil Co.
General Office
Harvey, Illinois

Chas. F. Craver, Pres.
M.W. Miles, Vice Pres.
James A. Sharp, Secy.
Arthur H. Craver, Treas.

Our Oil Lands are in Chautauqua Co., Kansas

Monett, Kans. 5/14 '05
Army Medical Museum
Washington, D.C.

I have in my possession the back bone of a large mare that died on my premises here about three years ago - presumably from being poisoned - which back bone is rigid throughout its entire lengty from coccyx to first vertebra of the neck. There are occasional markings showing where the vertebral joints should be & the scars at junctions of the ribs are at the usual intervals, also an occasional part of rib is in place.

It has been broken into two parts - one from coccyx forward is (32") in length & the next piece is 8" in length. - This break is at the marking of a vertebral junction, but it plainly shows that the whole length of 40" was in life rigid & one solid piece. The mare of whose skeleton this is a part was well known this this vicinity - as being an animal of great strengths and value & during her lifetime exhibited no peculiarities that would suggest anything abnormal in her structures. Do you care to investigate this case & would this specimen possess any monetary value? Kindly reply to me at Monett, Chautauqua Co. Kan.

I oblige
Yours truly
W.H. Harp

The reply:

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

May 20, 1905.

Mr. W.H. Harp
Chautauqua Co.


Referring to your letter of the 14th inst., in regard to the diseased spine of a mare, I would state that this Museum possesses several specimens of this kind, "spondylitis deformans". I would be pleased to add your specimen to the Museum collection but would not care to pay for it, except the express charges for forwarding.

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

Saturday, April 24, 2010

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 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,


Monday, March 1, 2010

Letter of the Day: March 1 (2 of 2)

The 'heart of Jumbo' is from P.T. Barnum's famous elephant, of course.

Ward's Natural Science Establishment

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

Rochester, N.Y., March 1 1886


Dr. John S. Billings,

Army Medical Museum.


Dear Sir,


I have lately received directly from Australia a fine Foetus of Dugong (Holicore australis) in alcohol. It is about 3 ½ feet long, and is in excellent condition. Price is $75.


Heart, & Penis, & Eyes of adult Dugong in alcohol, $18.


I still have Heart of Jumbo in alcohol $30


Or, the whole lot for $118.


Shall I send by Express or Freight?!


Very truly yours,

Henry A. Ward.


No hurry about payment.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Letter of the Day: February 23 (2 of 2)

U.S.A. Post Hospital

Jacksonville, Fla

February 23, 1869




I have the honor to forward you the receipts signed, and desire to be informed if the alligator when received was in good condition, as the delay caused by Quartermasters has been considerable, about six or seven weeks from Jacksonville to Washington!


Very respectfully

Your Obedient Servt

Theodore Artrand



Brevt Lt Colonel Otis U.S.A.

Curator Medical Museum

Washington, D.C.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Letter of the day, February 9 follow-up

What a coincidence. When the February 9 LOTD hit my inbox, I saw that it was written by H.C. Yarrow, whose manuscript "List of Skeletons and Crania in the Section of Comparative Anatomy of the United States Army Medical Museum" was uploaded just this morning to the Internet Archive. As of right now, the upload hasn't been processed by the Archive, but it should be available in a few hours. In the meantime, here's the first page:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Letter of the Day #2: February 4

February 4, 1889


I have the honor to request authority to purchase for deposit in the Army Medical Museum the following specimens to be paid for from the Museum appropriation:

Skull of Troglodytes gorilla, adult, Cost, $30.00
Skull of Troglodytes niger, adult [Cost] $13.00

I am, General, Very respectfully, Your obedient servant,

(Signed) John S. Billings

Surgeon US Army
Curator Army Medical Museum

Surgeon General, US Army
Washington D.C.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Letter of the Day: January 29 (2 of 5)

Fort Larned, Kansas

Jan. 29 1878


Surgeon General

U.S. Army




I have the honor to enclose copy of receipt issued this day to me by Post Quartermaster for one box addressed to the Army Medical Museum.


The contents are,


1)      One Golden Eagle – shot near here Dec 2, 1877. I have roughly dressed it so as to leave the plumage on the skeleton, that the curator may use it as preferred, applying salt or alum.

2)      One skull & bal. [balance] of skeleton of a male Raccoon found dead here Dec 2, 1877.

3)      I also send in behalf of Asst. Surg. W.E. Whitehead the skin & extremities of one whooping crane (I believe) shot near here in fall of 1877 – arsenic and Plaster of Paris were used.


I am, Sir, with great respect

Your Obt Servt

Francis H. Atkins

A.A. Surgeon

U.S. Army