Sunday, October 31, 2010

Washington Post on military medicine advances

Another good article - Operation damage control
By David Brown
Washington Post October 30, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 31

Army Medical School
Royal Victoria Hospital,
Netley 31st Oct. 1865

To Surgeon General Barnes
United States Army

Dear General

I think I must be indebted to your consideration + kindness for a portfolio of 30 large illustrations, photographed at the Army Medical Museum at Washington, which I received a short time since by railway from Liverpool. The parcel did not contain a letter, + the cover simply bore the words “courtesy of Dr. Haight,’ to whom, no address being given, I have been unable to write my acknowledgements of its safe receipt. I have been greatly interested in the drawings – many of them illustrate cases of great scientific value as well as of great credit to the operator, while all of them are of subjects calculated to be useful as affording material for thought + instruction on military injuries. Your Museum must indeed be rich in specimens of the effects of gunshot wounds, judging from the examples photographed in the collection of drawings I have received. I thank you very sincerely for giving me the opportunity of seeing those which are now in my possession, + I feel that the profession at large in Europe is indebted to you for giving to it the means of studying some portions of your museum at Washington, by such photographs, notwithstanding the distance which divides us from it.

I take the opportunity by this communication of transmitting to you a report on the effect on health of the present system in England, + elsewhere in Europe, of carrying the knapsack, kit, and accoutrements by soldiers. The report, though printed, is not published, - a certain number of copies only being circulated among those who have been engaged in or connected with the enquiries to which the report refers. I should feel obliged if no public use of the report is made. I mean reference in public prints. I send it on account fo the importance of the questions involved, + in the belief that the questions are of such a nature that you will feel an interest in them. The recommendations of the Committee in p. 11 are to be carried out, + I hope that the trials may lead to much good.

I also enclose one or two reprints from the 5th Vol. of the Army Medical Reports. I hope you have also received the volume itself.

I am
Very faithfully yours
Tho. Longmore

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 30

Post Surgeon’s Office
Fort Laramie Wyo. Ter.
30th October 1879.

Dr. Doctor –

A specimen of the Canadian Porcupine, Hystrix Hudsonius of Brisson, an animal that is becoming rarer every year in this country, was procured near this post several days ago, and having been engaging in making skeletons for the past year, of birds and not a few animals, I prepared this animal for the Museum of Comparative Anatomy, and send it to you by this mail. I did not mount it, not having the conveniences and the liability of its being injured in that condition during its transportation, but have been careful to leave the following guides for the workman,

1. The vertebrae are on a string in their proper order:-
2. The ribs are sewed to paper to show their arrangement:-
3. The first rib of right side is left attached to its vertebra, so there will be no doubt as to its proper faces[?] and where ribs commence,
4. The carpus and four toes of right foot left sufficiently in site for a guide to put fellow of apposite side together, same for tarsus and five toes of right hind foot.
5. Patella of left side shows its position.
6. Caudal vertebrae left attached. By accident some of their haemal spines were removed but are sent in package.

I have on hand in addition 15 duplicate skeletons of birds, several specimens of morbid anatomy, united fractures, parasites, etc. and would be glad to learn in what manner they should be prepared in order that they would be considered most valuable and acceptable.

Very respectfully + sincerely yrs,
R.W. Shufeldt
1 Lt+ A. Surgeon U.S.A.
Post Surgeon

Lt. Col. Geo. A. Otis.
Med. Dept. U.S. Army.
Washington D.C.

Received by mail November 8, 1879., and ack. and turned over with copy of letter to Dr. Woodward same day as received.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 29

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 00269

October 29, 1894

Mr. William Snowden,
1107 Walnut St.,
Philadelphia, Pa.

Dear Sir:

If you have an illustration or description of the Reeve's flexible stretcher, will you have the kindness to send me a copy.

This Museum has a number of stretchers of different patterns, and should you desire to donate a sample of the Reeve's stretcher I shall be pleased to place it on exhibition in this collection, giving you due credit as donor.

Very respectfully,

J.S. Billings
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 28

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 00985

October 28, 1895

Dr. Charles G. Stone
Brightwood, D.C.

Dear Doctor:

About three weeks ago I sent a messenger, as requested by you, to procure water from Mrs. Page's well at Takoma Park. The water was received in two sterilized flasks, and brought at once to the Laboratory, where it was not only promptly plated, but ten different specimens of the water were subjected to Parietti's test for the typhoid organism. Since that time we have carefully followed out the identification of all colonies appearing; and I am compelled to report to you that this examination not only does not show the presence of any typhoid bacilli, but we have not perceived any colonies of colon bacilli.

Very respectfully,

Walter Reed
Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

DCist Photo of the Day - NMHM skeletons

Though they certainly aren't spooky.

Letter of the Day: October 27

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1766

October 27, 1896

Captain W. C. Gorgas
Assistant Surgeon, U. S. Army,
Fort Barrancas, Florida

Dear Doctor:

The sputa of the two patients, Mr. and Mrs. Diffin, forwarded by you on October 21st, has been received and examined, and tubercle bacilli found in both specimens.

Slides have been forwarded to you as requested, by mail, under separate cover.

Very sincerely yours,

Walter Reed
Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 26

Department of the Interior
Census Office
Washington, D.C.
October 26, 1891

Dear Sir:

In response to your verbal request, I beg leave to say that the figures given below, representing the total number of veterans returned to this office for the country at large, and for the states of Ohio and Massachusetts, are somewhat better than an approximation. For all practical purposes they are accurate, the actual number probably being slightly in the excess.

Veterans of Civil War returned for United States, 1,076,162
" " " " " " Ohio, 106,328
'' " " " " " Massachusetts, 39, 996

With reference to your inquiry as to what would be shown in regard to families and dwellings, I omitted to say that in addition to showing them in detail by wards of the one hundred and twenty-four (124) principal cities, --or down to the limit of twenty-five thousand (25,000),--and countries, they will be shown for the totals of cities of eight thousand (8,000) or more inhabitants. This is now the intention and the plan will not be altered materially.

For those cities which we are furnishing you population data by sanitary districts, do you wish the totals of families and dwellings for wards, or do you want them in the detail of size and number developed in the count?

Very respectfully,
Howard Sutherland
Chief of Fourth Division.

Dr. John S. Billings, U.S.A.,
Army and Medical Museum
Washington, D.C.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 25

Office of F.W. Langdon,
No. 65 West Seventh St.

Cincinnati, Oct. 25th 1883

Dear Doctor:

In compliance with your request of the 20th inst, I mail you herewith a full set of the reprints of the publications of the Literary Society of Madisonville, in reference to the prehistoric cemetery near that place. These papers are reprints, the originals of which appeared in the "Journal of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History" as indicated below.--

Part I. --appeared in Vol. III - April 188- pp. 40-68
Part II.-- '' '' " - July 1880 pp. 128-139
Part III.-- '' '' " - Oct. 1880 pp. 203-220
Part IV.-- '' '' IV - Oct. 1881 pp. 237-257

I shall be very glad to receive any photos of specimens that you may be pleased to send, especially those of an ethnological or archaeological character.

If I can be of any further service to the Museum, please consider my time at your disposal.

I have the honor to be
Very respectfully
Your obedt [obedient] servant

F.W. Langdon, M.D.

Dr. D. L. Huntington, U.S.A.
Curator Army Med. Museum
Washington D.C.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

NMHM takes part of Scifest at the National Mall Washington DC

Heres some pics of the event a good time was had by most!

enjoy, navjeet

Letter of the Day: October 24

Lima Peru Oct 24th 1888

Dr. J.S. Billings
Washington D.C.

Dear Sir-

Confirming my letter to you of the 10th inst. I am since in receipt of your communication, dated Sept 11th ult. I think you will find in my * last shipment what you desire. I took the precaution to carefully wrap up two skulls with the Hyoid bone adhering; also a skull cut in two with one joint of the hyoid bone still in its place. I would not have recognised (sic) the bone by the drawing you sent me as they do not occur in that shape with the Peruvians but as a general thing they are shorter than the specimens I have sent you. I have always taken an interest when examining skulls and digging up mummies to look for this bone but it is surprising how often they fail to exist. It seems that in some cadavers they must have decayed in the first process of decomposition. I shall however give myself more pains in any future expeditions to look more carefull (sic) into the matter and gather the different sizes of both you and old to make a proper comparison.

Truly Yours

Geo Kiefer

*Received Nov. 10, 1888.
A.M.M. Nos. 2977-2995 Anat. Sect.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ad for Collections manager for museum move?

A few weeks ago, this project manager position appeared to refer to our museum's move. Now there's an announcement for a collections manager that sounds like it's for us, posted by History Associates. It's the first job here. We don't actually know who's handling the move yet.

Letter of the Day: October 23 - numismatics

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 976

October 23, 1895

Dr. Horatio R. Storer,
Newport, R.I.

Dear Dr. Storer:

Your very kind letter of the 20th inst. has been in received and in return I wish to say that it will give me great pleasure to assist you in making your articles on the interesting subject of medical numismatics as complete as possible, asking only that you will give due credit as to the source of information.

The description of the Vercelli medal of which I spoke in my previous letter is as follows:

Obverse: Bust to left, in high relief. Under shoulder: G. Galeazzi F. – Perigraph: AL CARD. GVALA BICCHIERI PATR. VERCELL. FONDATORE. Beneath bust: MCCXX.


Bronze, size 28.

I attempted to take an impress of the medal, but did not succeed on account of the high relief.

The errors pointed out by you at the time the Lee collection was purchased for the Museum have all been corrected long ago, and this office endeavored to carefully compare the descriptions of medals given by you in your various publications with the medals in this collection, and to ascertain what medals of the Museum collection have not been referred to by you. To complete this comparison I am anxious to obtain the following publications which are not on file in this office, viz.:

American Journal of Numismatics,
1887, October.
1888, January, July, October.
1889, April, July, October.
1890, January, April, July, October.
1891, “, “, “, “
1892, “, “, “, “
1893, January, April.
1895, October.

and I should be very thankful if you will point out a way of obtaining them. All other publications noted on the printed circular which you kindly forwarded are in the Library.

In making the above comparisons some deviations from your publications have been noted on our cards, and I shall gladly point them out to you. As you well know the work will have to be carefully done and will require considerable time and labor; but I will endeavor to give you from time to time such information as may be of use to you.

In regard to duplicates that you may have received through the Fisher and other collections, if you will send me a list of them, with prices, I will select such as are not in our collection to be submitted for purchase.

There was lately submitted to me a medal of Fortunius Licetus, 1577-1657- (see C.A. Rudolphi, 1829, No. 395, and Duisburg, 1862, No. XLVI, ) silver, claimed to be very rare, if not unique; but I hesistated to purchase on account of the price, $37.50. Is the medal as rare as represented?

Returning Dr. Frazer’s letter, I remain,
Very sincerely yours,
D.L. Huntington
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army,
In charge of Army Medical Museum and Library.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Faber Hour 10/21

Images from the weekly drawing class at NMHM, held Thursdays 12-1pm.

Letter of the Day: October 22

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 971

October 22, 1895

Mr. R.P. Iddings
Lawrence, Mass.

Dear Sir:

In answer to your letter of the 16th inst., I would state that there is at this Museum among the slides of the late J.J. Woodward, U.S. Army, one which contains the Lord's prayer, written with a diamond, 227 letters, in a space of 1/294 x 1/441 of an inch, or the 1/129654 of a square inch. The legend on the slide says that this is at the rate of 29,431,458 letters to an inch, which is more than there are contained in eight bibles, each bible containing 3,566,480 letters.

Very respectfully,

Dr. L. Huntington

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

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Letter of the Day: October 21

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1766

Fort Barrancas, Fla.
October 21st, 1896

Major Walter Reed

Dear Doctor,

Yours of October 16th with slide received. Am much obliged.

I send by todays [sic] mail sputa of two other patients, Mrs. U. Diffin + Mr. Diffin, will you have them examined + if bacilli are found send me slides.

With kindest regards I remain,
Very truly yours,
W.C Gorgas

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

TODAY! "Resolution for the Missing: Bringing our Fallen Soldiers Home" features AFDIL, 10/20, 12pm, in the Museum!

Brown Bag Lunch: "Resolution for the Missing: Bringing our Fallen Soldiers Home"


When: Wednesday, October 20, 2010, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.


What: Have advances in DNA analysis made it so that our honored war dead will never again be labeled "unknown"? Come listen as a senior DNA analyst from the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) shares her experiences working with scientists from Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in positively identifying U.S. service members missing from past military conflicts. Suni Edson, assistant technical leader of the Mitochondrial DNA Section at AFDIL, will offer a rare look into the role DNA analysis plays in the process of scientific identification, and how advances in technology have increased the number of persons identified each year. Learn more about the USA Science and Engineering Festival at


Where: Russell Auditorium, Bldg 54, Walter Reed Army Medical Center


Cost: Free! Bring your lunch!


Questions? Call (202) 782-2673 or email or visit the Museum on the web:


Letter of the Day: October 20

Smithsonian Institution,

Washington, D.C., Oct. 20 1870


Dear Sir:


In behalf of the Smithsonian Institution we acknowledge, with thanks, the receipt of your favor or October 18th in regard to “a tin globe which formerly ornamented a flag staff + was struck by lightning” – the specimen itself has, also, been received and will be placed with other matter of a similar character for future reference.


Yours respectfully,

Joseph Henry,

Secretary Smithsonian Institution.


Dr. Geo. A Otis

Army Med Musm


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Washington Post on modern military medicine


Military medics combine ultramodern and time-honored methods to save lives on the battlefield

By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 17, 2010; 1:14 AM


Letter of the Day: October 19

Fort Sisseton, D. T. [Dakota Territory]

October 19, 1880


I have the honor to inform you that I have this day turned over to the Post Quartermaster for transportation to the Army Medical Museum a box containing the pelvic bone of a mound builder (male) from a tumulus near this fort. These bones were found near the centre of the mound and about six feet three inches from its surface. No other human remains have I been able to discover. A few flint chips and a very peculiar heart shaped stone pierced with numerous small holes and a broken flint arrow head I found just beneath the surface of the mound. I have forwarded these articles to Professor Putnam of the Peabody Museum of American A & E [Archaeology and Ethnology] at Cambridge Mass.


The Port Quartermaster's receipt will be forwarded as soon as I can obtain it.

I am Sir
very respectfully
Your obdt [obedient] servant.

August Gecks
Hospital Steward, U. S. A. [United States Army]