Saturday, January 30, 2010
By Lisa Rein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 30, 2010
The article contains the intriguing "District officials said Thursday night that the September 2011 closing date had been pushed back, although it is not clear to when."
Surgeon General’s Office
Washington City D.C.
Jany 30th 1866
About 12th September 1865, there was received from you, from Santa Fé, a cranium which has been given the number 4385, in the surgical section of the Army Medical Museum. The specimen shows a discolored surface of six inches by four over the superior anterior portion of the frontal bone. This spaa is also cribriform – No history accompanied the case, and it has been suggested it was one in which scalping had been practiced without immediately fatal results. You are earnestly desired to transmit such notes of the matter as you may possess.
Your obedt. servant,
By order of the Surgeon General
[George A. Otis]
Surgeon & Bvt. Lt. Col, U.S. Vols. Curator, A.M. Museum
Bvt Major H.E. Brown,
Assistant Surgeon U.S. Army at Hart’s Island, N.Y.H. [New York Harbor]
Care of Medl. Dir. Dept East, New York
Friday, January 29, 2010
Swift and Company
Kansas City Stock Yards
Address All Mail To Station ‘A’
Bacterialogical (sic) Dept.,
Referring to our favor of recent date, we enclose herewith memorandum invoice covering 2 Sour Hams, shipped [to] you.
Will appreciate a copy of your report when completed on these two hams. Shipment made at the request of Dr. D. H. White.
Swift and Company,
Numbered Correspondence 1215
January 29, 1896
Mr. Wayland F. Reynolds,
Clarksburg, W. Va.
In answer to your letter of the 28th inst., I would state that there is in this Museum a microscopic slide which contains the Lord’s prayer, 227 letters, in a space 1/294 x 1/441 of a square inch.
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army,
In charge of Museum and Library Division.
Dr. Fred Pettersen
January 29, 1881
Surgeon General, U.S.A.
By to-day’s mail I have forwarded a piece muscle (biceps) taken from a girl aged 8, who died from trichinosis, the same is remarkably full with trichinae spiratis in the second stages.
Your Obt. Servt.
Fort Larned, Kansas
Jan. 29 1878
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
The photographs he refers to have not been catalogued and may no longer exist. Darn it.
County Clerk’s Office
John C. Johnston,
Newton, Kas. Jan 29, 1885
Army Medical Museum
Washington City DC
If you remember I was in your Department last May (1884) and you had me photographed. I am the original of Cast No 1401 Shell wound in right side of my face, Battle of Spotsylvania CH [Court House] May 10 1864. You gave me several phots. But you said if I would write you would sand me some better ones when you had more leisure to get them up. If it is not asking too much I wish you would please send me ½ doz. of each side. I had both sides of my face taken etc.
John C. Johnston
[1 doz Photographs sent April 9, 1885]
The world of medical museums is pretty small today, but there are still ones spread around the world. Our new copy of South Africa's Adler Museum Bulletin arrived today. Topics include disease detectives, British colonial nurses in Concentration Camps of the Anglo-Boer War, world’s first in vitro fertilisation of a gestational surrogate mother and “Do museum objects speak for themselves?” among others.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Selected by Kathleen this time.
ND [immediately following letter of January 28 1864]
Specification of jars, for Army Medical Museum
Best pure glass, ground stoppers (extra with Emory) – stopper with glass knob, as in pattern. Each stopper to be provided with a hook inside. This hook to be attached as in figure 1, & not on the bottom of stopper as in sample, the object of the change to being to gain room for suspension of object. The mouths of the jars to be as wide as possible. In case it is not possible to make stoppers to the larger jars (24 in by 10 in; 18 in by 9 in; 16 in by 8 in) then these jars must be made as in figure 2, the top edge of the jar ground level so that a plate of glass or lead may be laid over it, & tied on with bladder.
The sizes and number of the jars required by the museum are as follows
12 jars 24 inches high by 10 inches wide
12 jars 18 inches high by 9 inches wide
48 jars 16 inches high by 8 inches wide
72 jars 12 inches high by 6 inches wide
72 jars 10 inches high by 4 inches wide
144 jars 7 inches high by 2 inches wide
Gentlemen, I desire to know the price per pound at which these jars can be delivered in Washington, and also the approximate number of pounds in all. As the funds at the command of the museum are somewhat limited the number of jars ordered must depend on this information. Is the government tax included in the prices as specified?
Surgeon, USA & Curator, A.M. Museum
Mssrs Muzzey & Munro
419 Commerce St.
Jasmine High has been managing the Medical Illustration Service Library since last April, and handling the quality assurance on our large scanning project. She’s leaving us for the Smithsonian’s Natural History museum and we’ll miss her.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
This paper is pretty neat. Written by a military surgeon, Paul Wegeforth, from the Army Neuro-surgical Laboratory at John's Hopkins Medical School in 1919, it talks about reconstruction of the skull after traumatic injury on the battlefield. Some amazing, pioneering techniques.
Have you seen this man? Found this image tucked in an envelope in the Carnegie Reprint collection. The name is tough to read and we don't seem to have any papers associated. But great picture. Its from a photography studio in Boston.
An anatomy class handbook and grade sheet from the University of Toronto, 1892. It's not shown here, but the only thing in bold inside the green-ish pamphlet is something like "No tobacco permitted in the dissection room." For anyone that has looked through Blast Book's Dissection pictures, Toronto seems pretty advanced in that respect.
Six months after the establishment of the Museum, Civil War hospital doctors were saving material for it.
U.S.A. General Hospital No. 1,
Frederick, MD., Jany 27 1863
I will endeavor to pl[ea]s[e] also [illegible] to take Davis place & at any rate the specimens “shall be preserved”. Enclosed please find corrected bill.
Asst Surgeon, USA
Dr. J.H. Brinton, USA
Surg. Gen’l Office
Curiosity over this letter leads me to transcribe the earlier one:
U.S.A. General Hospital No. 1,
Frederick, MD., January 25 1863
Enclosed find your vouchers for expenditures for whiskey to preserve pathological specimens. Will you please have them settled as the money had been advanced by Dr. Davis who has recently left for England & me, heir to bones & [illegible – whiskey?] collections. When may we expect to see the new Catalogue[?]
Asst Surgeon, USA
Dr. J.H. Brinton, USA
Surg. Gen’l Office
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
The Museum’s eventual transformation into a pathology institute is foreshadowed…
Numbered Correspondence 1956
January 26, 1897
Captain John L. Phillips,
Assistant Surgeon, U.S. Army,
Fort Walla Walla, Wash.
The specimen of testicle referred to in your letter of January 9th has been embedded and examined microscopically, with the following result: Marked fibroid thickening of the normal covering of the testicle together with such extensive interstitial change in the structure of the testicle proper as to render it extremely difficult to even make out any of the remains of the spermatic tubules, which are here and there seen as narrow crevices lined by low epithelium. The diagnosis, therefore, would be chronic interstitial orchitis, which may have had a syphilititic origin. There is no appearance, whatever, of any malignant disease.
A slide will be forwarded by to-day’s mail.
Very sincerely yours,
Surgeon, U.S. Army,
Monday, January 25, 2010
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So many of our images have no or very little information, but in this case his mother's name was spelled out in the caption to all four!!! photos of her. I have often said to myself, as I am posting this kind of detail, that someone is going to be trolling the internet, looking for their mom or dad, and may very well find one of the things we've tossed up there.
It's exactly this reason that we do what we do, with the hope that we're the connection between today and yesterday. Have I said I love my job?
This letter followed immediately after one thanking a Colonel C. Sutherland for his donation of two Indian arrowheads.
January 25, 1869
It appears to me right that the contributors to the section of Indian Curiosities etc., should be notified of the transfer of their donations to the Smithsonian Institution, and I would therefore respectfully submit the enclosed “Memorandum,” and suggest that it be printed, or some modification of it, and distributed in the form, if you approve, of the Memorandum of Sept. 1868.
Your obd’t servant,
[George A. Otis]
Ass’t Surgeon, U.S.A.
Bvt. Brig Gen’l C.H. Crane,
Ass’t Surg. General, US Army
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I have no idea why he's buried in New Orleans and not Los Angeles.
Follow the picture to close-ups of the two statues flanking the door.
U.S. National Museum
Washington City, Jan. 24, 1878
In accordance with the arrangement between the Smithsonian Institution and the Army Medical Museum, I have the honor to transmit the collections mentioned below,t he receipt of which please acknowledge.
Very respectfully, yours,
Spencer F. Baird
Asst. Secretary S.I.
Collection human bones from Indian graves in Santa Barbara Col, Col., gathered in 1875 by the expedition of Lt. Geo. M. Wheeler.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Fort Riley, Kansas
Jan: 23rd, 1868
I have the honor to send herewith for microscopic examination (if desired) the kidneys of Pvt: James Garrode Co “G” 10th U.S. Cavalry, who died at this hospital of Brights disease on the 19th inst:
I have a full record of this case, which I will transmit with my next monthly report of Sick and Wounded.
I also transmit a fibrous polypus, removed from the pharynx of Pvt David Young Co “K” 10 US Cavalry.
Your obt: servt
Asst. Surg: & Bvt. Maj
Bvt. Maj. Genl. J.K. Barnes
Surgeon Genl: US Army
[an accompanying note written on the reverse says “Receipt acknowledged 1-30-68, and statement that kidneys were too much decomposed and were thrown away. Request for history of polypus.]
Friday, January 22, 2010
I went to a dusty, off-the-beaten-track museum in New Orleans last weekend - the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. I have a lot of very neat stuff from there, but have to lead off with A Safe and Speedy Remedy for the Cure of Gonorrhea and Gleet. I have never heard of Gleet.
Here’s a letter showing both how the Museum expanded its interests and influences after the Civil War, and how the photographic collection grew. By the way, this was a very rare operation even through the Civil War. When a surgeon performed one, the case was named after him.
Surgeon General’s Office
Washington City, DC
January 22nd, 1868
I am instructed by the Surgeon General to acknowledge the reception of your interesting letter of the 20th inst. A photograph of the patient on whom you operated eighteen years ago, and who has so long survived so dreadful a mutilation, would be a very interesting addition to our collection. In a few days, I will send you a picture we have secured of Dr. Morton’s patient taken nearly a year after the photograph from which the plate in Circular No. 7 S.G.O., 1867, was copied.
I should be glad to secure a picture of your patient of about the same size. The expence (sic) will be defrayed from the Army Medical Museum Fund.
Please instruct the photographer to print four or five copies and to send them with the negative to me at the Army Medical Museum, No. 454, Tenth Street, Washington, together with the bill.
The Surgeon General is much gratified that you and other surgeons of practical experience, in the operation of amputation at the hip-joint, commend the report he has published on the subject.
I am, Doctor,
Your obt. servant,
By order of the Surgeon General:
[George A. Otis]
Ass’t Surgeon, U.S.A.
Curator Army Medical Museum
Dr. Washington T. Duffee
N.E. corner of 18th & Wallace Sts.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Aid Urged for Groups Fighting Internet Censors
By BRAD STONE
Published: January 21, 2010
Five United States senators want the government to move ahead with plans to provide $45 million to help people in other countries evade Web restrictions.
This paragraph could easily have "Walter Reed medical center" substituted in for "China and Iran":
But in the online age the nature of censorship has changed, and regimes like those in China and Iran often deny their populations access to Web news outlets and sites like Google, Facebook and Twitter.
...although we can get to Google. Not Youtube, or blogs though.
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.
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?
Col. Asst. Surgeon General, U.S.A.
In charge of Museum & Library Division
The Museum has an extensive numismatics collection – this letter shows how it was built up.
January 20, 1897
Dr. H. R. Storer,
Newport, R. I.
Your letter of the 17th inst. Has been received. I shall be glad to purchase the medals you offer at the prices quoted, viz:
Howard, Am. Jour. Num., 687, .35
“ “ “ 689, .35
“ “ “ “ 726, .50
You may send them by Adams Express, freight to be paid here. We have Howard, Am. Jour. Num., #688.
The famine, Germany (Danket dem Herrn) seems to be identical with Pfeiffer u. Ruland #157, but ours has “Ps. 116,” and I can notice no defacement.
D. L. Huntington
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army
In charge of Museum and Library Division
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The 12th annual meeting of the Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science-SAHMS- will be held in Louisville, KY March 5-6, 2010. There will be over 70 papers presented in these two days, along with a tour of the first U.S. Marine Hospital built on an inland waterway. Registration for all students is only $75.00. All meeting, registration, and hotel information can be found at:
Please share this information with your faculty and graduate students.
Thank you for your assistance.
Jonathon Erlen, Ph.D.
SAHMS Program Committee
History of Medicine
University of Pittsburgh
NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE
History of Medicine Division Seminar
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 2-3:30pm
NLM Visitor Center, Bldg 38A
"Health and Medicine on Display: International Expositions in the United
Julie K. Brown
International expositions, with their massive assembling of exhibits and
audiences, were the media events of their time. In transmitting a new
culture of visibility that merged information, entertainment, and
commerce, they provided a unique opportunity for the public to become
aware of various social and technological advances. This presentation
examines how international expositions, through their exhibits and
infrastructures, sought to demonstrate innovations in applied health and
All are welcome.
Note: The next history of medicine seminar will be held on Thursday, February 25, 2010 at 2-3:30pm in the NLM's Lister Hill Auditorium. In aspecial program celebrating African American History Month, NIH scholar Sheena Morrison will speak on "Nothing to Work with but Cleanliness: The Training of African American Midwives in the South."
Sign language interpretation is provided. Individuals with disabilities
who need reasonable accommodation to participate may contact Stephen
Greenberg at 301-435-4995, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Federal Relay (1-800-877-8339).
Due to current security measures at NIH, off-campus visitors are advised to consult the NLM Visitors and Security website:
Stephen J. Greenberg, MSLS, PhD
Coordinator of Public Services
History of Medicine Division
National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Department of Health and Human Services
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Stealing the idea from another museum’s blog - http://www.starbulletin.com/features/20100117_ahoy.html - it seems like it might be interesting to look at 150 years of museum history, one day at a time by transcribing letters in the collection. Here’s one from 101 years ago, showing that ordering office supplies never gets any easier. This is page 1 of Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 3629.
Washington, January 19, 1899
Bausch & Lomb Optical Co.
I have received through the Medical Purveyor at New York, 4 dozen stender dishes, Cat. No. 4075, D. They are altogether too small for our purpose and I have this day returned them to you, by express, to be exchanged for 4 dozen No. 4075 B. If you will examine your Catalogue you will see that the illustrations of No. 4075 do not at all agree with the figures given as to sizes and proportions, an error which misled us in ordering the goods.
Major & Surgeon, U.S.A.
B&L sent the correct order a week later.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
I was given a couple of cds of AFIP poster sessions by the IT department guy who puts them together. I got 83 attached to the online catalogue today – barely catalogued themselves, but still findable, and not dependent on cd technology, or the hard drive of one computer.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Fort Detrick to inherit medical museum
Fort Detrick will bring a renowned medical museum under its control, as the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington prepares to close and scatters its resources to local military installations....
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Book review: Susan Jacoby reviews 'Condom Nation' by Alexandra Lord
By Susan Jacoby
Sunday, January 10, 2010
The U.S. Government's Sex Education Campaign From World War I to the Internet
By Alexandra M. Lord
Johns Hopkins Univ. 224 pp. $40
One slight note about the review - there seems to be some confusion about the various Surgeon Generals. There are four SGs in the US government - Army, Navy, Air Force and Public Health Service. The article is illustrated by a poster from the US Navy, a poster by the US Army is quoted in the review, and the book itself is on the PHS Surgeon General of course.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
(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)
Thursday, January 7, 2010
While cleaning out boxes that hadn’t been looked at in a while, I found a 2-ring binder of notes and drawings done by James E. Kindred in 1959. He was a Ph.D. in the Anatomy Department at the University of Virginia and the binder is a record of some studies on vestigial tail (embryology). This is a kind of find we call “Found in Collection.” When I googled his name to find out more about him, it looks like he had a long career: I found articles published as early as 1929. If his name rings a bell, please let us know.
Monday, January 4, 2010
I’ve been busy uploading PDFs of our scanned curatorial logbooks to our in-house database (and to a lesser extent to the Internet Archive, although they will all be eventually put there too), and came across a few entries in the logbook with the above title. I mean, how could you not open this one up for a look, with a title like that?
“One foot of submarine telegraph cable. It is made of copper wire, coated with gutta-percha cased in tarred [coke?] and spirally wrapped with twelve strands of iron wire in one layer. Believed to have been laid by the Rebels between forts Gregg and Sumter and Charleston, and to have been contributed by Acting Assistant Surgeon H.K. Neff.”
“Four arrows pulled from the bodies of men slain in the massacre at Ft. Phillip Kearney December 1866. The one with a head is an ordinary hunting, showing that they are also sometimes used in war. Contributed by Bvt. Lt. Col. H.S. Schell, Asst. Surg. USA.”
“A crudely fashioned strap, two inches wide made of Army cloth and fastened with two buckles, which was successfully used by a malingerer to induce atrophy of the right leg. Private Ira A. Davidson. E. 13 Connecticut at Knight U.S.A. General Hospital, New Haven, Connecticut.”
“A carved soapstone pipe from the West Coast of America. Presented by Mr. J.B. McGuire.”
Saturday, January 2, 2010
U.S. Reaction to Swine Flu: Apt and Lucky
By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
Published: January 2, 2010
Medical experts have found that a series of rapid but conservative decisions by federal officials worked out better than many had dared hope.