Showing posts with label embryology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label embryology. Show all posts

Friday, May 6, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 6 (2 of 2)

Leipzig, May 6, 1885


Dear Sir [John Shaw Billings],


I am much obliged to you for the sending of the photographics (sic) of crania. The methods of photographing several heads upon the same plate with scale of measure added appears indeed to be of great interest. I have shown these plates to Dr. Emile Schmidt (formerly in Essen), whose collection, embracing 1300 nos. is to be placed in our institution.


I have myself, I am sorry to say, little time for craniological studies, as all my free time is devoted to embryology, but whenever I can help to promote craniology, I do so with pleasure. With regard to the specimens Prof. Braun (spelling?) has already written to you, I presume, that he had made for you a series of sections, ready to be forwarded, simply waiting for your directions. The sudden death of our dear president Panum has undoubtedly grieved you. He was in the position which he filled with so much conscientiousness, as if made for it and would have assisted you in the organization of the Congress in 1887, with his advice.


Very respectfully

W. His


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Letter of the Day: December 22

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1888

December 22, 1896

Mr. A. R. Harper
Ruston, La.

Dear Sir:

Your letter of the 15th inst., with photograph of human monster has been referred to me by the Smithsonian Institution. If you will forward it for inspection, I will examine it and let you know what its value to the Museum would be. I will add, however, that under no circumstances, it is worth more than $12.00 to $15.00, as such specimens are not rare.

Should you decide to forward it, you may send it properly boxed by Adams Express, which has authority to receive and forward it and collect freight charges here. Address: Army Medical Museum, Cor. 7th and B Sts., S.W., Washington, D.C.

Very respectfully,

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

[the photograph was kept as CP 2276, but is now missing]

Monday, November 15, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 15

McPherson Barracks,

Atlanta, GA Nov. 15/78


Asst Surg Geo. A. Otis. U.S.A.

Washington D.C.




I have a female human foetus of four months with placenta and all in good condition, carefully presented in proof-spirit born two days ago. All packed ready to send to the A.M.M. if desirable. Do you want it. If so will send it at once with history.


Very respectfully

Your Obedt servt.

W.H. Forwood

Surgeon U.S.A.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 23

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 875

August 23, 1895

Dr Lee, Jr.
Grass Lake, Mich.

Dear Sir:

In answer to your letter of the 21st inst., to Dr. J.S. Billings, U.S. Army, I would state that it is not customary for this Museum to purchase such specimens, and that the price offered by Dr. Billings, viz., $20.00 is considered its full value, as far as this Museum is concerned.

Very respectfully,

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

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 21

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 875

Grass Lake, Mich., Aug. 21, 95

Dear Doctor:

Your letter at hand, contents noted. Replying to same will state, These babies stand me a great many dollars, and the alcohol I have used and jar alone stands me over $25.00. They could not be any better preserved and they are very handsome babies. I claim them to differ from any on record. These babies I can present to a great many museums but they stand me to (sic) much money to do that. I have also had offers from museums, but they are all too small. By the way, the offers were all larger than yours. It would be impossible for me to set a price on these babies, but I know what they stand me, and I know they differ from all monstrosities on record. I feel that they ought to be worth what they stand me, and a great deal more. Hoping to hear from you soon, and trusting that we will be able to deal.

Yours Sincerely

Dr Lee, Jr.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 19

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 875

August 19, 1895

Dr Lee, Jr.
The Lake House,
Grass Lake, Mich.

Dear Doctor:

In answer to your letter of the 17th inst., in regard to the girl babies connected at sternum by bony union, I would say that such specimens are usually presented to this Museum, and only exceptionally purchased by it.

If the specimen is in perfect condition, and has been preserved in alcohol, I would be willing to give $20.00 for the same; if dry, it is not wanted.

If you will forward it on approval, you may box it carefully, marked Army Medical Museum, Cor. 7th and B Sts., S.W., Washington, D.C., and send by Adams Express, which has authority to receive and forward the box and collect freight charges here.

Very respectfully,

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

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Letter of the Day: August 17

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 875


The Lake House

B. Teufel, Proprietor.

Grass Lake, Mich., Aug. 17 1895


Dr. Jno. S. Billings

Washington, D.C.


Dear Doctor


I have a monstrosity, which would add greatly to your selection and which I claim to differ from any on record, and which I wish to sell.  These are two perfectly form[ed] girl babes connected at Sternum by bony union only. Weith 15#, two (2) heads, four (4) arms – four (4) limbs and every thing usual, except connection. They are nicely preserved, and very handsome.


If you wish a better description I refer you to Dr. Martau (Prof. dis. of women) at Ann  Arbor. Hoping that the Museum is in need of such and trusting that I may hear from you in a few days,


I remain,

Dr Lee, Jr.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 14

Smithsonian Institution,
July 14, 1869

Dr. G.A. Otis,
Army Med’l. Mus’m.

Dear Sir:

We have lately selected from our alcoholic collections a number of human foetuses, animal monstrosities, entozoa, etc, which we shall be happy to deliver to your messenger, together with a human skull [AMM No 623 Anatomical Sect.] from the mounds of Indiana.

Please send us the label of the Indian Cerement lately forwarded by you to this Institution,

Yours very truly
Joseph Henry

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?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Letter of the Day: May 23


23 May 1963

Mrs. Ruby M. Taylor
Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School
McElderry and Caroline Streets
Baltimore 5, Maryland

Dear Mrs. Taylor:

The Medical Museum of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology has an exhibit on human reproduction that should be of interest to your biology classes. The exhibit shows a series of normal embryos and fetuses. A study is presently being conducted on the abnormal specimens, but they will not be on display for several months.

It is hoped that your students will derive much benefit from the embryology, anatomy and other medical exhibits.


John W. Sheriden
Colonel, MSC, USA
Deputy Curator

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.

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.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Letter of the day: Jan 21st

Embryology was a new science in 1905 – and the museum was apparently back in the business of taking ‘bottled monsters. Liz Lockett of our embryology collection notes that embryology dates from the 17th century, but the large systematic collections were done at the turn of the twentieth century.


Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 8084


January 21, 1905


Dr. J. J. Repetti,

404 Seward Square, S.E.

Washington, D. C.


Dear Sir:


I am directed by the Surgeon General to express his thanks for the specimen of monstrous foetus received from you on this day. It will be added to the collections with a properly inscribed card.


Will you have the further kindness to furnish the Museum with a history of the case?


Very respectfully,


C.L. Heinzmann

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

In charge of Museum & Library Division

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Kindred embryology notebook

From the Kindred notebook. An interesting end of career project. For all you students out there this is a great example of what a lab notebook should look like.

(this notebook was discovered mixed in with Registry of Noteworthy Pathology records by Ass't Archivist Stocker, and we've housed it in the Human Developmental Anatomy Center for researchers - Mike Rhode)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Embryo Models Found

Jim Curley has been in contact with an anatomy professor at Johns Hopkins Medical School. It seems they are moving to new digs and a closet full of anatomical models had been found. Would the museum like them? Jim got some pics of the contents and were we excited. Not only were there what looked to be some Zeigler wax models, but there was a model that had originally been part of the Carnegie Collection. Beth, Jim and I went up today for a look and there were lots of Zeigler and Carnegie models! This is the kind of fun treasure hunt I expect most museum people live for, finding beautiful things thought the be lost.

Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 2, 2009

Photographs of Museum specimens on French blog

Morbid Anatomy tipped me to E-l-i-s-e's blog post on photographs of specimens taken at the Museum. It looks like some of these were shot behind-the-scenes as even I don't recognize some of the specimens (not that it's my department...)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In other news... excellent History of Embryology site launches

This press release came through the Caduceus history of medicine list today:

Making Visible Embryos,

An online exhibition by Tatjana Buklijas and Nick Hopwood, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge, with funding from the Wellcome Trust.

Images of human embryos are everywhere today: in newspapers, clinics, classrooms, laboratories, baby albums and on the internet. Debates about abortion, evolution, assisted conception and stem cells have made these representations controversial, but they are also routine. We tend to take them for granted. Yet 250 years ago human development was nowhere to be seen.

This online exhibition is about how embryo images were produced and made to represent some of the most potent biomedical objects and subjects of our time. It contextualizes such icons as Ernst Haeckel's allegedly forged Darwinist grids and Lennart Nilsson's 'drama of life before birth' on a 1965 cover of Life magazine. It also interprets over 120 now little-known drawings, engravings, woodcuts, paintings, wax models, X-rays and ultrasound scans from the fifteenth to the twenty-first century. It displays the work of making visible embryos.


One image on their site is from our museum - a His Embryograph - but we have similar collections of wax models, embryos and embryo models as discussed in the article. The two photographs here are from our collection. Some of the embryological collection is on display and I've heard that a reworking of it is underway.