Friday, July 22, 2011

Creative use of Museum's Civil War photos at Flickr

Here's a nice research use of the Civil War pictures we've been putting online -

From: Brendan Hamilton

I've recently been looking through the fantastic gallery of Civil War medical photographs you and your colleagues have been putting up on Flickr, and I got the idea of writing up brief profiles of the soldiers in them and posting them on my blog:

As a Civil War geek and poet, I'm more interested in the human side than the clinical info., so I thought I'd dig through the muster rolls, census info, etc., to try to paint some picture of who these people are. A macabre effort but that's what grabs me. I've only written up one soldier so far but I intend to do more in the coming weeks.

- his one soldier is Frederick Bentley.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Medical Museum Science Café, featuring author Matthew Algeo

When: Tuesday, July 12, 2011, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Where: Silver Spring Civic Center, Fenton Room
One Veterans Place, Silver Spring, MD 20910

What: In "The President Is a Sick Man," author and journalist Matthew Algeo offers the first full account of a monumental political scandal that shook the Gilded Age. In July 1893, President Grover Cleveland boarded a yacht somewhere off Long Island Sound and seemingly vanished for five days. What the American public did not know was that a dream team of surgeons had been assembled on the boat to remove a cancerous growth from Cleveland’s jaw (the Museum has histological slides with samples of the tumor). When a reporter attempted to expose the truth behind the president’s disappearance, he was immediately discredited by White House staff who had decided Americans could not know the truth.

Join this discussion about public perception and presidential health. Copies of the book will be available for purchase; a book signing will follow.

Presented by the National Museum of Health and Medicine

Cost: Free

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

July 13: NLM History of Medicine Seminar - Cassedy Memorial Lecture

History of Medicine Division Seminar
Fourth Annual James H. Cassedy Memorial Lecture
Wednesday, July 13, 2011, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.
Lister Hill Auditorium
NLM Building 38A
Bethesda, MD

"The Image of Modern Medicine: Aesthetic Belonging and the American Doctor, 1880-1950."
John Harley Warner, Yale University
Distinguished scholar John Harley Warner, Avalon Professor and Chair, History of Medicine, and Professor of History, Yale University, has long studied the cultural and social history of medicine in 19th and 20th century America.  This presentation will examine clinical practice, orthodox and alternative healing, the multiple meanings of scientific medicine, and the interactions among identity, narrative, and aesthetic in the grounding of modern medicine.

All are welcome.
For future programs, consult the NLM History of Medicine Division Seminar webpage:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Yakovlev Collection Day One Packing


Where are we?

Blog posts are getting fewer and further between because the packing of the museum for its move to Forest Glen, MD is well under way. Historical Collections is largely packed up, as is the Human Developmental Anatomy Center. Anatomical Collection’s specimens in formalin are about half packed, and the Archives is due to be packed mid-month. We’re moving to a new command so our email and Internet addresses all are changing too. So our access to everything is lessened for a few months, but please bear with us.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Letter of the Day: June 28

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 04678

War Department,
Surgeon General's Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner of 7th and B Streets SW.,
Washington,June 28, 1900.

Capt. Edgar A. Mearns
Asst. Surgeon, U.S. Army,
(Through Chief Surgeon Dept. of the East)


The Surgeon General directs me to acknowledge receiveing a specimen of aneurism of the aorta, case of Sgt. John F. Walsh, Batty. "I" 7th Arty., and the history of the case dated 25th inst., in making contributions to the Museum of such illustrations of pathology is always much appreciated.

[Lieut. Col. A.A. Woodhull]

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Civil War pictures added to Flickr


We’re finally away from the images of shattered bones, and you can see living men surviving their wounds at

Monday, June 27, 2011

Letter of the Day: June 27

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 05310

War Department,
Surgeon General's Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library.
Corner of 7th and B Streets S.W.
Washington, June 27, 1901.

To the Post Surgeon
Columbia Barracks,
Quemados, Cuba.


At the time of my departure from your station I left on hand in Pathological Laboratory one incubator, under the impression that it was not part of the property for which I was responsible. I now find, however, that this incubator is borne on my annual return and I, therefore, enclose herewith the proper invoices and request that you will be kind enough to receipt me for the same.

Very respectfully,
Walter Reed
major & Surgeon, U.S.A.

(3 Enclosures)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Letter of the Day: June 24

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 05301

War Department,
Surgeon General's Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library.
Corner of 7th and B Streets SW.,
Washington, June 24, 1901.

Dr. M.P. Overholser,
Harrisonville, MO.

My Dear Doctor:

In compliance with your request of recent date, I have mailed to your address a copy of the paper which was read at the Pan-American Congress in February last. A previous paper on the same subject appears in the last Vol. of Transactions of the American Public Health Association; a later paper was read at the meeting of the Association of American Physicians, held in this city May 2-5, 1901, and will shortly appear, I hope, in American Medicine (Dr. Gould's new journal).

I regret to say that I know of no recent literature on the transmission of malaria by the mosquito in either the French or English language, nor anything relating to the propagation of yellow fever, except what I have mentioned above.

Very truly yours,
Walter Reed
Major & Surgeon, U.S. Army.

[hand notation]
Letter of Dr. O. not received for file. P.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Letter of the Day: June 23

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 02342

June 23, 1897

Mr. Albert Worsham
National home, D.V.S.
Hampton, Va.

Dear Sir:

Your letter of the 20th inst. has been received and in reply I would say that the eight-legged kitten referred to is not desired for this Museum. It has no commercial value.

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Letter of the Day: June 22

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 02340

June 22, 1897

Major Sam Q. Robinson,
Surgeon, U.S. Army,
Fort Reno, O.T.

Dear Sir:

In answer to your inquiry of the 17th inst. I would state that the 7 inch centipede, mounted dry, is not desired for the Museum collection. Thanking you for your kind offer, I remain,

Very respectfully,
D.L. Huntington
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S.A.
In charge of Museum & Library Division.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Letter of the Day: June 21

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 03961

June 21, 1899

1st Lieut. C. B. Millhoff,
Asst. Surgeon, U.S. Army,
Comdg. U.S. Genl. Hospital,
Camp Meade, Pa.


The sample of blood sent by you on the 20th inst. in the case of Private Frank Gallay, Co. I, 2nd U.S. Vol. Infty., has been examined and gives a positive reaction. The case appears to be one of typhoid fever. Box returned herewith.

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

Monday, June 20, 2011

Letter of the Day: June 20


20 June 1960

Mr. Isidore B. Meyer
Coordinator of Exhibit
Civil War Centennial
Jewish Historical Commission
1109 Fifth Avenue
New York 28, New York

Dear Mr. Meyer:

Reference is made to your letter of 10 June relative to the loan of operating instruments for incorporation in your Centennial Exhibit.

These insturments, presently on loan to the B'nai B'rith Museum in Washington, will be made available to you on or about the 15th of October 1960.

As these items are not insured, it would be appreciated if you could have them insured for five hundred dolares ($500.00).

If we can be of any further assistance to you, please feel free to write.

Sincerely yours,

Albert E Minns Jr
Colonel MSC
Curator, Medical Museum

Letter of the Day: June 20

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 06780

Army Medical Museum,
June 20, 1903.

Circular Order.

Hereafter no employs of the Surgeon General's Office, except commissioned Officers connected therewith, Dr. Fletcher, Dr. Hodge, Dr. Garrison, the Principal Clerks of the Divisions, Mr. Stone, Mr. Myers, Mr. Clark and Mr. Hardy of the Library, will be admitted to this building on Sundays. Also Dr. Lamb [handwritten note]

The night watchman must remain on duty until 8 A.M. The Superintendent of the building will instruct the watchman and see that these orders are strictly complied with.

Calvin DeWitt
Col. Asst. Surgeon General, U.S.A.
In charge of Museum & Library Division.

June 27, 1903.
Besides the persons above mentioned, Dr. D.S. Lamb and Mr. B Israeli will also be admitted on Sundays.
By order of Col C. DeWitt, Asst. Surgeon General U.S.A.
Coj[?] Myers

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Letter of the Day: June 19

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 02339

June 19, 1897

Captain W. O. Owen
Asst. Surgeon, U.S. Army,
Fort Bayard, N.M.

Dear Sir:

I have the pleasure of acknowledging the receipt of a barbed-wire fence staple removed from the throat of a child aged four months.

The Surgeon General desires me to thank you for this addition to the Museum collection.

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

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Museum & AFIP's history book now available

Our friends at the Borden Institute produced a book on the history of the Museum & AFIP for us this year, which was written by the AFIP's public affairs officer Paul Stone with the assistance of Archivists Mike Rhode & Kathleen Stocker.  You can download it here:

Legacy of Excellence: The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, 1862-2011 - Provides a narrative and photographic history of the AFIP (originally the Army Medical Museum) from its beginning during the Civil War, through the development of the modern field of pathology in the 20th century, to the response to 9/11 and beyond in the 21st century. This book is available for purchase only through the Government Printing Office (see Ordering Information).

Letter of the Day: June 18


18 June 1959


Captain Mauro Gangai, MC
1st Hospitalization Unit
45 Field Hospital
APO 19, New York, N.Y.

Dear Captain Gangai:

Reference is made to your letter of 8 June 1959 relative to obtaining mounted gross specimens and microscopic slides.

The Institute prepares both macropathological and micropathological material for itself and for use by requesting organizations of the Armed Forces. While the Institute does not prepare material for sale, it does have a training program in the technique of preparation and mounting of gross material in which accepted students may learn modern gross mounting methods.

Glass is no longer employed as a mounting medium for gross specimens. the old glass jars have been replaced with plastic containers which are cheaper and more useful.

While commercial sources are somewhat uncertain, Mr. Robert E. Mincey, Bird L. Color Hospital, Welfare Island, New York, is reportedly engaged in a semi-commercial production of modern plastic wet mounts.

If we may be of assistance in this matter, please do not hesitate to write.

Sincerely yours,

Frank M. Townsend
Colonel, USAF (MC)
Deputy Director

Albert E Minns Jr
Colonel MSC
Curator, Medical Museum

Friday, June 17, 2011

Letter of the Day: June 17


17 June 1960

Dr. Francis R. Dieuaide
Medical Director
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company
1 Madison Avenue
New York, New York

Dear Dr. Dieuaide:

The Medical Museum of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology is
dedicated to the collection, preservation and display of military
medical material. It is one of the four major departments of the Armed
Forces Institute of Pathology, a national institution jointly sponsored
by the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.

While the parent organization is located on the grounds of the Walter
Reed Army Medical Center, the Museum is located in the downtown area of
Washington where it can better carry out its mission of service and
interest to the public. It is here that the military services portray
the developments in the field of military medicine and the resultant
benefits to all mankind. A dynamic program of current and timely Armed
Forces medical subjects, together with constantly changing exhibits of
the history and pathology of disease and certain other selected topics
of military medical history, have made this a living museum.

It has been learned through Dr. Hans Smetana, Chief, Pediatric Section,
Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, that you have a very interesting
collection of oriental medical curiosities which you ultimately plan to
give to some museum or other institute of learning.

We would be most happy to have you consider the Medical Museum as a
suitable and logical repository for your collection of objects of
medical interest. Here they would be carefully preserved for the
heritage of the future, and exhibited for the enjoyment and edification
of the more than 360,000 persons who visit the Museum annually. In
addition, your name as donor would always be associated with them.

It would be a pleasure to meet with you the next time you are in
Washington and to show you the many and varied exhibits on display in
the Museum.

Sincerely yours,

Albert E Minns Jr
Colonel MSC
Curator, Medical Museum

Cc Dr. Smetana

CBS News features Museum smallpox photograph

CBS News featured a Museum smallpox photograph in a slideshow of similar
pictures. See for
"23 scary photographs."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Letter of the Day: June 16

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 02335

June 16, 1897

Dr. I.S. Stone,
1449 Rhode Island Avenue,
Washington, D.C.

Dear Doctor:

I beg to report that the microscopic examination of sections of supposed additional ovaries, left for examination on may 26, 1897, shows in both a fibrous structure rich in spindle-shaped cells, such as one generally sees in sections of the ovary. There are no Graafian follicles to be found however. The surface of one of these bodies is partially covered with a low cuboidal epithelium which can be traced into the interior of the growth, where it becomes a higher cuboidal and even ciliated columnar epithelium, lining a number of clefts which branch in various directions. I think that these various clefts lined with epithelium merely mark the outlines of papillary projections which have been cut out transversely. One of those out in a longitudinal direction is seen to be covered with high columnar ciliated epithelium. This epithelium must be considered as modified germinal epithelium, thus demonstrating the ovarian origin of these bodies. I believe, therefore, that from the microscopic appearance, these bodies should be considered as superficial papillomata of the ovary. J. Whitwedge Williams has given a full description of these papillomata in Vol. III, Johns Hopkins Hospital Reports.

Sincerely yours,
Walter Reed
Surgeon, U.S. Army,