Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 30

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 01842

Dr. Jay Perkins,
78 Broad Street,
Providence, R.I.

Nov. 30, 1896

Dear Sir:-

In an editorial in the Journal of the Am. Med. Assoc. reference is made to work done by you in regard to the Serum Diagnosis of Typhoid fever. I am now working up this subject for a medical society here and if you have written any thing which has been printed on this subject in any medical journals or publication of the sort[?], would you be kind enough to give me references to them? Or if nothing has been published would it be troubling


you too much to give me your opinion as to the value of the test. Thanking you in advance for any attention given to this I remain

Yours truly,
Jay Perkins

To Dr. Walter Reed
U.S. Army

Monday, November 29, 2010

Evacuation in military medicine article in Wash Post


U.S. strategy for treating troops wounded in Afghanistan, Iraq: Keep them moving

By David Brown
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 27, 2010


Museum collections continue to have relevance due to Dr. Taubenberger

Dr. Jeffrey Taubenberger was on the staff of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology when he did groundbreaking work on deducing the genetic code of influenza, using stored tissue samples collected by the Medical Museum in 1918. He’s gone back to one of those samples to make another exciting discovery.

Here’s the initial Wired story -

From 1918 Autopsy, A First Glimpse of Sickle Cell — and a Warning


-an NPR followup -

92 Years Later, A Sickle-Cell Surprise

by NPR Weekend Edition Sunday November 28, 2010


-and finally the original short report –

 Sheng Z-M, Chertow DS, Morens D, Taubenberger J. Fatal 1918 pneumonia case complicated by erythrocyte sickling [letter]. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 Dec;



Letter of the Day: November 29

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 01057

November 29, 1895

Mr. Ed Frossard
108 East 14th St.,
New York

Dear Sir:

Of the medals enumerated in your letter of the 23rd inst. I should like to examine the following which are not in this collection:

No. 1. Acrel.
" 2. Berzelius.
" 3. Flosser.
" 4. Hess.
" 5. Kreysig.
" 6. Linnaeus.
No. 8. Ros. A. Rosenstein.
" 9. Rudolphi.
" 10. Thunberg.
" 11. Fingsladius.
" 13. Hortus medicus.

If you have not yet disposed of the Fortunius Licetus medal referred to in your letter of Oct. 16th, I will take it at the price offered by you, viz., $33.60.

Very respectfully,

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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 28

Fort D.A. Russell, Wyoming
November 28 1874

Asst. Surgeon Geo. A. Otis, USA.
Curator Army Med. Museum.
Surgeon General’s Office
Washington, DC


In reply to your communication of the 11th I have to state that the pathological specimen in the case of Private James Cassidy recorded in the monthly report of this post for March 1874, was carefully preserved by my predecessor, Surgeon John F. Randolph, USA, for transmission to the Army Medical Museum. Through the carelessness of one of the hospital attendants it was lost, and all efforts to recover it have proved unavailing.

I am, Sir,
Very Respectfully Yrs,
R.M. O’Reilly
Asst Surgeon, USA
Post Surgeon

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 27

27 November 1957

[To] Assistant Chief, Medical Illustration Service

[From] Curator, Medical Museum

[Subject] Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association

Request that application be made for the presentation of the following exhibit at the Annual Meeting of the American Urological Association, to be held in the Hotel Roosevelt, New Orleans, Louisiana, 28 April – 1 May 1958:

a. Exhibit title: Some Contributions of Dr. Hugh H. Young to Operative Urology.

b. Exhibitor’s name: Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Col. H. W. Coddington, Curator and Helen R. Purtle, and the Instrument Collection Committee of the American Urological Association, Dr. Edward E. Ferguson, Chairman, Washington, D.C.

c. Description: This exhibit shows some of the instruments devised by Dr. Young with a brief biographical introduction.

d. Space requirement: Four, 4’ x 5’ panels (already constructed).

H. W. Coddington
Colonel, MSC, USA
Curator, Medical Museum

Friday, November 26, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 26

N.R. Moseley,
Surgeon U.S.V., in charge
U.S. General Hospital “Emory,”
Washington, D.C. Novr. 26th, 1864.


I have the honor to transmit herewith One Pathological Specimen accompanied by Medical History.

Very Respectfully
Your Obedt Servt
NW. Moseley
Surgeon U.S.V.
In Charge

Brig. Genl J.K. Barnes
Surgeon General U.S.A.
Washington D.C.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


REEVE 0015201 Thanksgiving dinner. Dinner served by Headquarters Troop 32nd Div. [Division] on Thanksgiving Day. The soldier in the picture is Sgt. [Sergeant] Robert B. Craik. Chateau Letellier, near Consdorf, Luxembourg, France. [Food and drink. United States. Army. Signal Corps.] World War 1.

Reeve 11325
REEVE 0011325 American Red Cross. Paris, France. Menu of Thanksgiving dinner. Original Signal Corps caption - Thanksgiving Dinner. Paris, France. Menu of Dinner given by the District of Paris Chapter of the ARC to men of the hospitals in Paris. [Food and drink.]


NCP 3457
NCP 3457 Thanksgiving dinner on the USS Repose at Inchon, Korea, in 1952. It is unlikely that this nurse found time to eat turkey that day. also in collection as MIS 09-5085-29 Inchon, Korea: Aboard USS Repose Thanksgiving Day. Lieutenant Junior Grade Weece Wood, Nurse Corps, U.S. Navy, assists Private 1st Class Jack W. Newman, U.S. Marine Corps, with his holiday dinner. [Wounds and injuries.][Korean War.][Food and drink.][Hospital ships. Transport of sick and wounded.][Scene.] Repose (AH-16) Folder 2 11/27/1952; USN 449212; U.S. Navy BUMED Library and Archives

MIS 09-5085-30 Inchon, Korea: Aboard USS Repose Thanksgiving Day. Corporal Richard R. Hollander, U.S. Marine Corps, is assisted with his dinner by Lieutenant Junior Grade Caldie Green (Nurse Corps) U.S. Navy. [Wounds and injuries.][Korean War.][Food and drink.][Hospital ships. Transport of sick and wounded.][Scene.] Repose (AH-16) Folder 2; 11/27/1952; USN 449213; U.S. Navy BUMED Library and Archives

NCP 006067 Thanksgiving. [Kitchen employees.] [Dietitians.]

...and a curiosity...

NCP 6472 New York, Nov. [November] 22-Crash victim given plasma. An unidentified doctor crawls into wreckage of two Long Island rail road trains here tonight to provide plasma for a victim pinned in the twisted jumble of steel. Trains bound from Manhattan to Long Island points, crowded with Thanksgiving Eve commuters, crashed in the Kew Gardens section of Queens. (APWirephoto) (See wire story) (OB42205stf) 50.

Letter of the Day: November 25

620 F. St.
Tuesday Nov. 25th [1884]

My dear Doctor-

I have been looking over my Husband’s private letters but find none of the correspondence of which you spoke. Indeed I may say there is none of this scientific correspondence among the letters I have.

They are from many people and on divers subjects but with the exception of a few from Dr. Maddox on photo-micrographs, and some from Gen’l Cox on microscopic work and one or two from a German Doctor (Munnich the name I think) they are all more or less private letters.

I can send you the list of his library books and I think it is complete. Also a list of the various Societies he belonged to. But as to Diplomas or Certificates I can find nothing. I have one or two medals conferred upon him and all of his commissions.

I fancy you will find all of the letters you spoke of in his “letter book” at the office and as for the Diplomas +c if they are at the office, do you not think I ought to have them?

I have looked over the pamphlets and have quite a number ready to send you, if you will be so good as to dispose of them.

The other bound books I think you have a list of and I can send them to you at any time whenever you may want them.

With kindest regards,
Yours very truly
Blanche Woodward

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Early 1960s Civil Defense Medical Kits

The museum surfaced yesterday in 'John Kelly's Washington' in the Washington Post (November 23, 2010). The column mentions the transfer of a cache of Civil Defense medical kits to the museum from the U.S. Senate about a year ago. They were found by Heather Moore, photo historian at the Senate, in a storage space at the Russell Senate Office Building that was under renovation. The kits are assembled in cardboard boxes that, while dusty, remain in excellent condition.

Survival supplies furnished by Office of Civil Defense, Department of Defense, Medical Kit C, 300-325 Shelter Occupants [ca. 1963]

They at once are a fine complement to our Civil Defense and Cold War-era collections and also represent the interesting additions to the collection that are (re)discovered in one way or another. That medical material culture tucked away, hidden, and forgotten in rafters, attics, storage lockers and drawers.

Kelly's story, "No negative fallout from these shelters," is here:

Dangers of dental radiation and medical technology in Times

Radiation Worries for Children in Dentists’ Chairs

November 22, 2010



Peek into the Archives: Contributed Photographs collection

The "Contributed Photographs" collection, as it came to be known, consists of photographs donated or contributed to the Museum.  Photographs arriving during and after the war were usually added to the Surgical Section and numbered like the bones were.  Many photographs were sent by doctors who wished to see their cases included in the History.  Doctors such as Reed Bontecou of Harewood Hospital in Washington, J.C. McKee of Lincoln General Hospital in Washington (who also provided surplus photographic equipment after the Museum's burglary), and J.H. Armsby of Ira Harris General Hospital in Albany, New York, contributed dozens of photographs at the end of the war.  They received photographs from the Museum in exchange.  Most of the photographs given to the Museum were albumen prints, but infrequently a tintype (a photograph printed on thin metal) was donated.  (Otis to Lyster, May 11, 1866)  Tintypes were never as popular as other photographs.  (Welling, p. 117)  Their dark background made medical subjects harder to see and reproduce in print. 


          Otis frequently wrote to surgeons requesting a photograph of a specific case which he would then have engraved for the History.  He also wrote to patients asking them to have their wound photographed.  Otis wrote to Charles Lapham, who had been with Co. K of the 1st Vermont Cavalry:



                   The interesting report of your case, which is recorded

          in this office, leads me to desire to possess if possible, a

          photograph which shall farther illustrate it.  The Surgeon

          General possesses photographs of a number of the very rare

          cases in which patients have survived after the very grave

          mutilation of the removal of both thighs, and has instructed

          me to request you to have a photograph prepared, the expense

          to be defrayed by this office.

                   It would be well to have two pictures taken: one

                   representing the stumps, the other the appearance with

          artificial limbs attached.

                   The photographer might take two or three prints of each

          to be retained by you, and then should forward the

          negatives, carefully packed to this office, by express,

          enclosing at the same time the bill for his services.

                   I enclose copies of a photograph of the size desired. 

          (Otis to Lapham, May 25, 1865)


Lapham had the work done and two photographs were added to the collection.


          Otis commissioned physicians such as E.D. Hudson of New York City to take photographs for him.  Writing to Hudson, Otis said "I am anxious to obtain photographs of double amputations of the thigh or leg and of other cases of unusual interest, and am willing to pay for such.  I hereby authorize you to have photographs taken of cases of especial interest.  As near as may be they should be uniform in size with those taken at the Army Medical Museum, of some of which you have copies."  In the same letter, Otis sent a list of soldiers who had survived the operation of the excision of their humerus.  Hudson, a maker of prosthetics, undoubtedly appreciated Otis' fulfilling his request for the names.  Otis and Hudson's arrangements to look out for each others interests, resulted in striking photographs such as the two of Columbus Rush, a young Confederate from Georgia who lost both legs. (Otis to Hudson, February 7, 1866)  Otis and Hudson cooperated so closely that Hudson was able to display his prosthetics in the Medical Department's exhibit at the Centennial fair.  (Otis to Hudson, March 8, 1876)


          For many years, these photographs received a Surgical Section number and were bound in volumes labeled Photographs of Surgical Cases. (Otis to Washburne, April 4, 1866)  The photographs donated to the Museum were often rephototographed to be included in the Surgical Photograph series.  Roland Ward's plastic surgery after the destruction of his lower jaw (SP 167-170, 186) is an example.  Columbus Rush's photograph, in which he demonstrates his Hudson-made artificial legs, was copied and sent out as part of the series.  Otis also purchased photographs from studios, buying "two dozen of the war views for the Museum" from E. & H.T. Anthony & Co.  (Otis to Anthony, September 25, 1865)


          Contributors of photographs like Hudson also used the pictures themselves.  Dr. Gurdon Buck is particularly noteworthy for his use of photographs.  He had engravings made of "before and after" photographs for his 1876 text on plastic surgery, Contributions to Reparative Surgery.  In the engravings, Buck used drawn lines to explain his operation.  Buck deposited a set of his photographs in the Army Medical Museum soon after the end of the war. 


          About 1876, as photographs of many sizes and from many people continued to arrive, the collection was removed from the Surgical Section and named the Contributed Photographs.  Otis no longer had the photographs bound in albums.  All of the photographs were renumbered from the beginning in red ink with the identifying "Cont. Photo." or the initials "C.P."6  Some of the best photographs were copied in the Museum and published as part of the Surgical Photograph series.  Others were engraved for the History.  Some photographs almost certainly taken by the Museum such as the one of Neil Wicks, probably by Bell,7 were added to the collection after the original negatives disappeared.  Unfortunately, many photographs were given away by Daniel Lamb in 1915 including scores to Reed Bontecou's son. 


6  These abbreviations never stood for "contract photograph" as has been surmised by earlier authors.

7 The photograph is listed in a logbook of Museum stereographs (MM 8797), p. 20, Curatorial Records: AMM Collection Logbooks, Box 18.

Letter of the Day: November 24

Mrs. Charles T. Sivers
R.D. No. 3
Oswego, New York

Oswego, New York
November 24, 1957

Mr. Robert W. Davis
Medical Museum of the Armed Forces
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. Davis:

Since reading the enclosed article in the Oswego Palladium Times, I thought I would write to you to see if the museum would be interested in purchasing a great deal of material I have on Dr. Mary Walker.

I am a "picker" for antique dealers, and I have a collection of things that were owned by Dr. Mary Walker. I have such things as the family sampler, many of Dr. Mary's medical books with her autograph on the fly leaf, her brass name plate with which she had her cards printed, a journal kept by Dr. Mary's father about 1820, the "sit tub" in which she bathed, the suitcase she carried during the war, her albums of many of the Civil War generals and friends of Civil War days, and many, many personal items such as letters, invitations, etc. I also have some actual snap-shots in large sizes, taken of her as an old lady. There are many pictures of her as a young woman in the albums. I also have her scrap book which she kept about herself, made up of clippings about her taken from the papers of her time. They are pasted in one of her old medical record office books.

My price on the entire collection is three hundred dollars. If the museum is interested please write me and I will send a detailed list of the things I have.

My address is listed on this stationary.

Very truly yours,
(Sgd) Mrs. Charles T. Sivers

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Adolph Cluss buildings and better ideas?

The Washington Examiner is reporting that an Adolph Cluss-designed building at 13th and K Sts, NW needs a new future. The DC government would like to turn the old Franklin School into a botique hotel while community advocates disagree.

NCP 3064 (OLD RED BRICK" - ARMY MEDICAL MUSEUM BUILDING 1968, right before being demolished for the Hirschorn Museum.)

From 1887 to 1968, the Museum was in the Army Medical Museum & Library building (above) designed by Cluss. In 1971 it reopened at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Now the Center is being shut down due to BRAC. In Sept 2011, the Museum will move to Silver Spring/Forest Glen, MD. for the first time in its history, it will not be located in the District, and the building currently under construction is significantly smaller than the space the Museum currently occupies.


Letter of the Day: November 23

Medical Purveyor's Office,
Washington, D.C.
Nov. 23, 1863


The confiscated Liquor on hand in this Dep't, has been ordered to be turned over to the Curator of the Army Medical Museum. I respectfully request that you state where the Liquor may be sent to?

Very Respectfully,
Your obdt. Servant

H. Johnson
M.S.K. U.S.A
and Actg. Med. Purveyor

[To]Surg. J.H. Brinton
Curator of Nat. Med. Museum
Washington, D.C.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 22

War Department,
Surgeon General's Office,
Washington, D.C.
Nov. 22nd 1869


I have the honor to report that the large Stereoscope in the Museum stall has become so disordered from constant use, as to require repairing.

Also, that one of the Thermometers was thrown down and broken, by Charles while washing the cases. He is commonly very careful.

I am, Sir, very respectfully,
Your obt. servant,
Rob't E. Williams Hospl. Steward
U.S. Army

Brt. Lt. Col. Geo. A. Otis,
Assistant Surgeon, U.S.A.
Curator, Army Med. Museum

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 21

Post Hospital
Fort Sill, Ind. Ty.
Nov. 21st 1875

To The Surgeon General U.S. Army
Washington D.C.


I would respectfully state that a citizen, Thomas Dougherty, died in hospital on the 13th inst. of Remittent Fever – the deceased was however of intemperate habits. This patient was found to have an ununited fracture of the right forearm of a number of years standing – both bones were fracture. No attempt at bony union has resulted, and free motion remains between the upper and lower fragments. As the specimen appears to be somewhat interesting, the forearm which has been preserved, will if desired be suitably packed and turned over to the Post Quartermaster for shipment to the Army Medical Museum.

Very respectfully
Your obt. servant
F.L. Town
Surgeon U.S. Army
Post Surgeon

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 20

Smithsonian Institution.
U.S. National Museum,
Washington City, Nov. 20, 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, the receipt of which please acknowledge.

Very respectfully, yours,

Spencer F Baird
Secretary S.I.

Ball of hair taken from stomach of cow. Received from E. P. Armistead, Newton, Newton Co., Mississippi

Friday, November 19, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 19

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 317


November 19, 1894


Dr. Judson Daland

319 S. 18th St.

Philadelphia, Pa.


My Dear Doctor:


Can you give me any information concerning a centrifugal machine which is considered superior to the Litten centrifugal? Dr. Gray has just informed me that you are using a superior machine for urinary and blood analysis, and hence I write to ask you that you will be kind enough to enlighten me on this subject, especially as Surgeon General Sternberg is considering the matter of supplying certain of the larger military posts with the latest and most improved centrifugal apparatus.


Very sincerely yours,


Walter Reed

Major and Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Curator Army Medical Museum.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 18 (2 of 2)

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 7132


November 18, 1903.


Mr. Henry Reens,

409 Fourth Ave.,

New York, N.Y.


Dear Sir:


In accordance with your request of the 17th inst. 6 copies of printed circular of Museum photograph 177, recovery after fracture of the right ilium by a musket ball (from your own case), are herewith forwarded.


Very respectfully,


C.L. Heizmann

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

In charge of Museum & Library Division

- note that he just asked for a copy of the label - not the photograph, which originally showed him nude. This version had a figleaf added for the 1876 Centennial fair. 1903 seems like a long time after the Civil War, but Reens was just 60 when he wrote in.

Letter of the Day: November 18 (1 of 2)

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 01806

November 18, 1896

Dr. H. R. Storer,
Newport, R.I.

Dear Doctor:

We have lately added to our collection a few medals, some of which may be new to you:

Amsterdam Bot. Gardens: “Adest maximus.” etc, 57 mm. On rim: Hieronymus de Boach, H. F. H. N. natus Amstel. D. XXIII Mart. MDCCXL.

Galilei. Duisburg, p. 17, No. 44-5 – years in Roman.

Cholera 1854. “Au Dur Lepine.”

Haerten. Sanit. 1889, Vol. 22, p. 329, No. 992. On reverse “J.J. Putman,” not “J.G. Putman.”

Puhlmann. Sanit., 1893, Vol. 30, p. 250. No. 2071.

Pilet. Med. Major, 6 B de Ch. a P (Crimea, 1854.)

Boyer. Sanit., 1888, Vol. 21, p. 429, No. 707. – “1756” is not on reverse.

Belleteste. Duisburg, Suppl., 1863, p. 6, No. 250-4.

Thieullier, Sanit., 1889, Vol. 23, p. 445, No. 1166.

Acad. Roy. De Med., Paris, Louis Philippe I.

“ “ “ “ “ Louis XVIII de France.

Gassendi, Duisberg, p. 18, No. 55-1.

Buffon, “ “ 24, “ 144-1.

In Sanit., 1888, Vol. 21, p. 155, Nos. 626-628, you refer to Newmann, Beschreibung der bekanntesten Kupfermunzen Nos. 25635-6-7. Will you please send me a brief description of these three medals, as I have no copy of Newmann to refer to.

Very sincerely yours,

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Contributed Photograph #  




Title or Subject  




Contributed Photograph #  


Title or Subject  



Letter of the Day: November 17 (3 of 3)

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 7132


N.Y. Nov. 17. 03.

Geo. A. Otis. Esq.

Asst. Surgeon +c.


Dear Sir.


Will you be kind enough to forward to me at your earliest convenience 6 copies of Circular Photograph 177, Recovery after fracture of the right Ilium by a musket ball, +c. and oblige.


Very Respectfully,

Henry Reens.

Late Private Co. I.

30th Regt. Mass. Vols.


409 4th Avenue

N.Y. City. c/o. Wilson

Letter of the Day: November 17 (2 of 3)

10/17 [1863]




A box containing a stone jar redolent of alcohol was left by the Express, at my house yesterday.


It evidently is intended for the Cabinet and not the Cuisine, please send for it.


JKB [Joseph K Barnes, the Surgeon General of the Army]

Letter of the Day: November 17 (1 of 3)

Scovill Manufacturing Company

423 Broome Street.

Direct All Communications On Business To The Company.

New York Nov. 17th 1885




Prof. A. Graham Bell

Washington D.C.


Dear Sir:-


Having seen in the N.Y. Tribune, a notice of a paper by Dr. Billings which was read by you at the meeting of the National Academy of Sciences at Albany, on the 10th inst. on the Craniaphore used for taking composite photographs of skulls, +c we take the liberty to request that you will favor us with a copy of said paper for publication in The Photographic Times.


If you can thus oblige us, You will very much please

Yours Truly

R.S. Lewis.

Pr. E.R.

Letter of the Day: November 17

Post Hospital
Fort Duncan, Tex.
November 17th, 1875

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

I have the honor to transmit herewith the receipt of one box, containing Pathological Specimens for the Army Medical Museum, turned over to Lieut. G. Valois, 9th law[?], A. A. of M. for transportation. The Specimens are one snake, one lizard, a few tarantulas, centipedes, etc.

Very respectfully
Your obd’t Servant

Donald Jackson
Asst. Surg. U.S.A.
Post Surgeon

Specimens received, acknowledged and turned over to sph. Surgeon J.J. Woodward, U.S.A. in charge of the section of Comparative Anatomy, Feb. 21, 1876

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Exhibit Design Rendering By Navjeet Singh

Its a draft, I am working on populating the space now.
will post it soon.

Deinstall of AAOS in Baltimore

Went up to Baltimore
with our exhibits manager (Pic right)and registrar(pic left) to deinstall the AAOS wounded in action
exhibit.  This is the lower gallery where we packed and cataloged the artwork. Here we are struggling
with a poorly packaged -- not crated -- artwork, the tatters that you see here was how it was sent to us, in a cardboard box, ...nonetheless I really enjoyed
designing this exhibit for this space, and hope to 
have shows there in the future. Thanks AAOS UMB.

Letter of the Day: November 16

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1801


November 16, 1890


Major A.A. DeLoffre,

Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Fort Logan, Colorado.


Dear Doctor:


In reply to your favor of November 12th, I send by today’s mail a slide of the malarial parasite, tertian variety. I am afraid that this will not assist Dr. Johnson in diagnosing your cases of fever. It so happens that we have not at present any slides of the aestivo-autumnal organism, as I have been unable to procure any material of this kind during the present fall.


Regretting that I cannot send you slides of all the varieties of parasites, I am,


Very truly yours,


Walter Reed

Surgeon, U.S. Army,


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.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 14

Museum of the College of Physicians
Philadelphia Nov. 14 1868

Dear Sir

It would be a great convenience if you could now send on the specimen promised to the College in March last.

There is at present no work on hand and I am desirous of keeping my man employed in mounting preparations.

Very Truly
Th. Hewson Bache

Geo. A Otis MD
Asst Surgeon USA

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Letter of the day, November 13

Not one letter but a series starting on today's date, negotiating the transfer of the bodies of her quintuplets to the Museum.

Kevil, Ky. Nov 13- 1915

President Woodrow Wilson
Dear sir
In the year of Our Lord 1896 I gave Birth to five Boy Babies on April the 29th but had the missfortune of loosing them all and was afraid to bury them for fear the grave would be robbed of there Boddies as there was such excitement over them[.] I had them embalmed and they are now In a mummyfied condition. and I wish to know if they would be any benefit to the Goverment for Educational Purposes I have any amount of afidavits which I can furnish with them to the face I don’t want to sell them but Will let them out on a limited time for a reasonable sum. My Husband and I Both are getting old and have lost all of our family but four and we both are In very Bad Health and will ask you If you can do any thing for us Please answer soon as possiable.

I am living at Kevil Ky R#4.
Mrs. O.D. Lyon.

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

No. 577.

November 19, 1915

Mrs. O.D. Lyon
Kevil, Ky.

Dear Madam:

Your letter addressed to the President, relative to the five boy babies to which you gave birth April 29, 1896, has been referred to this office.

The Army Medical Museum would like to have these specimens to add to its collection, provided they are in condition and would be desirable for exhibit; but they cannot be accepted as a loan.

Should you wish to donate them the Museum would be pleased to receive them and will give you credit for them; otherwise their purchase would be considered if you will inform us of the amount at which you would be willing to dispose of them.

But before further action in the matter, the Museum would like to obtain a statement from some reliable physician as to their condition and desirability, and it is suggested that some physician in Kevil be asked to examine and report to this office the condition and desirability of the specimens for exhibit in the collection of this Museum. Such a report from Dr. D.E. Burrows or Dr. Thos. E. Scott would be acceptable.

Very respectfully,
C.C. McCulloch, Jr.
Lt. Col. Medical Corps, U.S.A.
Curator, Army Medical Museum.

The statement from the physician:

Hospital College of Medicine
Louisville, Ky.
Thomas E. Moss
Physician and Surgeon
Specialty: Diseases of Infancy and Childhood
Cumberland Phone, 12 ring 2
Home phone, No. 73, Kevil Exchange

Kevil, Ky. December, 5- 1915

1st Indorsement.
Respectfully returned to C.C. McCulloch Jr. Lt. Col. Medical Corps, U.S.A. Curator, Army Medical Museum with the information, as requested, that the five boy babies of Mrs. O.D. Lyon born April, 29th. 1896. are in a fair state of mummification and will, I believe, be a valuable addition to any museum. Any other information desired will be forwarded upon request.

[signed] Thomas E. Moss, M.D.

Kevil Ky. Dec 6th 1915
C.C. McCulloch Jr
Washington D.C.

Dear Sir
If you think the Babies are desirable from the statement of the Dr and want to purchase them I will sell them for the consiteration of $1500. Fifteen hundred Dollars and If further Information be wanted I will be glad to furnish all I can-
Yours Truely
Mrs O.D. Lyon

December 9, 1915
No. 584

Mrs. O.D. Lyon
Kevil, Ky.

Dear Madam:

Yours of 6th inst. enclosing statement of Dr. Moss, which is quite satisfactory, concerning the five babies to which you gave birth April 29, 1896, has been received. In reply you are informed that your proposition to dispose of them for $1500.00 is hereby declined.

Very respectfully,
C.C. McCulloch Jr.
Lt. Col. Medical Corps, U.S.A.
Curator, Army Medical Museum.

A note in the file:
Mrs Lyon might be told that the statement of Dr. Moss is quite satisfactory. However we think that her price is too low; that $15000.00 (ahem!) would be more appropriate[e.] All the same the museum cannot afford such prices and therefore is unable to further consider the purchase.

[signed] Lamb


Kevil Ky 12/13-1915

Mr C.C. McCulloch Jr
Dear Sir:
I am in receipt of yours of the 9th declining my proposition of $1500.00 for the disposal of the five babies. I thought my proposition a reasonable one for such a rare collection[.]
But I am willing to be reasonable and now ask you to make me a proposal.

Very respectfully yours
Mrs OD Lyon
Kevil Ky
Route #4


Kevil Ky Dec 29-1915

Mr C.C. McCulloch
Washington D.C.

Dear sir
In regard to your letter of the 15th I wish to ask If the appropriation Is so limited That you could not give me any thing what Ever for the Quintuptels. I had rather for them to be In the hands of the Goverment than any where else.for I know that they would be taken care of There. and would like to make a deal with you If possible.

I remain yours
Mrs O.D. Lyon.
R#4 Kevil Ky


Kevil Ky. 1/8-1915 [sic 1916 ERW 21 June 1979]

Mr. CC McCulloch Jr

Dear sir
In reply to yours of the 3rd I will say that I had much rather have the Credit of donating the Quintuplets than to sell them but I am not able to do so. I have had several offers to sell them for much more than your Price but never thought of selling them untill now and I had much rather for the Goverment to have them than any one else. For I might stand a chance to see them sometime then otherwise I would not. and I am unwilling to dispose of them to the Govenment for $200.00 which I think is little enough and If you except my proposition you can send me directions for preparing and shipping them to the Museum.
Yours very Truely
Mrs O.D. Lyon.


Kevil Ky. Feb 12th 1916.

Mr C.C. McCulloch Jr

Dear sir
Replying to your of Jan 3rd I will say that I have decided to except your offer of $100.00 for the Quintuplets and you can send me directions for preparing and shipping them to the Museum
I remain yours Truly

Mrs. O.D. Lyon
R#4 Kevil Ky.


Kevil Ky. Feb 28-1916
Curator. Army. Medical Museum
Washington D.C.

Dear sirs
In reply to yours of the 25th I will say that Each Infant was In a seperate sack with one afterbirth. There was no twins In my family or my Husbands. There was an Embalmer at Paducah Ky. that
Embalmed the Children but did not five satisfaction and I carried them to Nashville Tenn where they was Embalmed In a dry stage as they are now[.] I herewith Inclose Picture of afterbirth the only one I have[.]
Yours very Truely
Mrs O.D. Lyon


Kevil Ky 11-16-1916

Mr CC McCulloch
Will you be so Kind as to let me here from the Lyon Quintuplets as I Study a bout them so much[.] My health is give down and that causes me to Study more than I would if I was well[.] Do they create much Interest among people and do you Know whether the President has seen them or not[.]
I have a curiosity to know

Very Respectfully
Mrs. OD Lyon

Friday, November 12, 2010

Basket weaving pictures on Flickr?

A lot of pictures of occupational and physical therapy via basket weaving in World War 1 are going up on our Flickr site right now because we had a comment asking for more photos from someone who had an ancestor who taught this at Walter Reed hospital.


Letter of the Day: November 12

Mangum, Green Co., Okla [Oklahoma]
Nov. 12th [18]94

Dr. John Billings
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir

I have in my possession a Skeleton of a man that was found in a cave in the mountain in the west part of this AV[?] found by Mr. Braidy a Lofer Wolf skinner.* The Skeleton looks to be about forty years old [sic] that is the man lost his life about forty years ago the bones are all sound as it was found in a very dry place found with it an old filint [Flint] Lock Rifle gun[,] five files, Sword and Several othe[r] trinkets – though some of the thing[s] greatly damaged by rust you can plainly see what they are

Judge Eastorr of Vernon Tex called on me to see the Skeleton and gun +c. and thinks it is the remains of one Col. Blacks [sic] party that started out in 1836 to explore this country all of this party were killed and captured by Indians save three only three returned to there [sic] Homes to tell there [sic] story

I am offered $10.00 for the outfit here but I want more I will box it up and ship it to you for $25.00

Awaiting your Answer

A.R. Wilson
Maugum, Okla

*The “loafer wolf” was also known as the Great Plains or “buffalo wolf” due to its enormous size and fearsome reputation. Early settlers in the west put a $10 bounty on the buffalo wolf and it was extinct by 1926. Wolf subspecies/taxonomy: canis lupus nubilus.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Armistice Day and Veteran's Day

68-6199-1 (MIS)

Armistice Day was established in 1926 to commemorate the end of World War I on November 11 at 11 am - 11-11-11. In 1954, it became Veteran's Day.

You can see other World War I photographs on our Flickr site.

Letter of the Day: November 11 (1 of 2)

Surgeon General’s Office
Army Medical Museum
Washington D.C. Nov. 11” 1870.


I have the honor to report that the following specimens in the Army Medical Museum are available for exchange with other Museums and Instititutions.

Illustrating Gunshot Injuries

Four illustrations of gunshot injuries of the shoulder joint.

Thirty four specimens of gunshot injuries of the shaft of humerus.

Fourteen specimens of gunshot injuries of the elbow joint.

Nineteen specimens of gunshot injuries of the forearm.

Six specimens of gunshot injuries of the carpal articulations and hand.

Sixty three specimens of gunshot injuries of the femur.

One hundred and twenty one specimens of injuries of the knee joint.

One hundred and seventeen specimens of gunshot injuries of the bones of the leg.

Sixty two specimens of gunshot injuries of the bones of the ankle and foot.

Twenty two leaden bullets

From Prof. William Gibson’s Cabinet.

Twenty two oil paintings.

Five femurs, three bones of the leg, and one humerus.


Four preparations of the heart, purchased in Paris.


Once Indian medicine drum and rattle.

One Assiniboine Indian rattle.

One deformed hoof.

Three entomological specimens.

Six specimens of Indian food, of which samples have been sent to the Agricultural Department, Smithsonian Institution, and to the Springfield Museum.

“A right boot, showing the wound of entrance and exit of a bullet passing nearly transversely through the middle of the foot”

I am sir,
Very respectfully
Your obedient servant,
E.T. Parker
Hospital Steward U.S.A.

Assistant Surgeon George A. Otis.
U.S. Army
Curator Army Medical Museum

Letter of the Day: November 11 (2 of 2)

Ward’s Natural Science Establishment,
College Avenue (opposite University),
Rochester, N.Y., Nov. 11 1884

Dr. John Billings, Washington.

Dear Sir,

I have for the past fortnight been greatly busy in packing and shipping 10 car-loads of specimens to the World’s Exposition at New Orleans.

And now I must follow them day after tomorrow, to stay there for six weeks, or until New Years. This leaves me no time to go through my stock and my late African acquisitions and pick out things which I can offer you.

I must request you to kindly wait on me for this until my return from the South, when I will give it prompt attention.

Respectfully yours

Henry A. Ward.

We have set aside for you the Elephant skull – to ship to you with other things later.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Megan and Michelle - New interns first blog post

Hello! Our names are Megan and Michelle. We are interns from Wootton High School working at NMHM in the Human Developmental Anatomy Center (HDAC). This past week, we have been scanning acetate models, which are beginning to decompose, into the computer in order to have digital copies of the images which can later be turned into 3D models. While we are here, we hope to learn more about defects and the formation of embryos, specifically the defects in eye development.

Image from Sadler TW. 2006. Langman's Medical Embryology, 10th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Letter of the day debate continues...

The game is afoot!

Since sending out my last update, I have heard back from several folks about what could have caused the muscular atrophy of our mystery patient. Some suggestions include sudden spinal injuries, early undiagnosed polio, or psychological conversion.

As many of you know, my background is in cultural studies from the Gilded Age, particularly concepts of masculinity. Initially I had also thought that our patient might be suffering from a psychological illness, especially as Dr. Leale made reference to “the insane.” Much of my own research has focused around neurasthenia, which had reached “epidemic” proportions in the US in the 1880s. It was discovered by George Beard in 1869 and was what we would consider extreme exhaustion. Men all over the United States were suffering severe, incapacitating physical and mental breakdowns (it was considered so characteristic of Americans that William James, Harvard professor and brother of Henry James, called it ‘Americanitis’). Most historians now believe that there were numerous cultural factors that led to this “epidemic”, but it would not be an exaggeration to say that most prominent Americans at the time deeply feared this mysterious mental and physical weakening of American men (this would in turn, they believed, weaken the country, making it susceptible to invasion, etc.). All this is by way of saying that though doctors did not understand the causes of mental illness at the time, they were certainly aware that it could have physical repercussions. I feel confident that the experts brought in on this particular case would have considered this possibility.

Also, while I do agree that unwanted marriage could have been a trigger for such a psychological reaction, I think in this case we do not know enough about the patient’s background to make a generalization that a marriage would have been formally or informally “arranged.”. The consultation of so many experts from this time suggests to me that 1) this was a relatively wealthy patient, and/or 2) that the patient’s condition was so unusual that it attracted medical attention. This is important because negotiations of marriage at this time depended very much on socio-economic status, class, race, and numerous other factors. Certain groups, what would have been termed “classes,” of people would certainly have been involved in more “arranged” marriages because of family reasons, religion, etc. But we just don’t know in this case.

The other possibility that occurred to me was that marriage might have been prevented because there was no possibility of consummating the marriage or having children. Depending on how the illness was presenting, doctors could have made this diagnosis. I can think of many circumstances where this would have led to the dissolution of an engagement.

Another follow-up

From Alan Hawk, Collections Manager in the Historical Division:

"The problem with your diagnosis is that spinal muscular atrophy shows up in infancy and most patients die within the first couple of years of his or her life.

A couple of possibilities.

1) This might be an early case of polio, which would account for the sudden onset and “abruptly prevented matrimony.” On the other hand it is a highly infectious disease so one would think that other doctors would have seen other examples of these symptoms.

2) This could also be a psychological conversion reaction. If the patient was severely depressed, he or she could have become paralyzed. That would account for the normal muscle tissue as there would be nothing physically wrong with the patient other than the fact that he or she convinced herself that he or she was paralyzed. The triggering event could have been either the upcoming matrimony or its ‘prevention’ as the bride and the groom frequently had little say in who they ultimately married. This would also explain why the patient was apparently the only case.

While doctors of the time would not been able to diagnose either case, Polio existed as a diagnosis since 1840, but it cause would be unknown until 1908. While depression was recognized as a disorder (melancholia) since ancient times, it wasn’t until the late twentieth century that it symptoms, causes and effects were understood. However, physicians of the time had a good grasp of anatomy and, if the muscle appeared normal, the spinal cord was the next logical place to look. It sounds like the doctors intuitively understood the problem was psychological."

A follow up: Today's letter of the day

It appears that Dr. Leale first contacted Dr. Huntington on October 17, 1883. He sent the doctor “a piece of the left gastrocnemius muscle taken from a patient having that very rare disease progressive muscular atrophy.” Leale had been the patient’s physician for six months and evidently the case had generated considerable interest in the medical community. Leale mentions consulting in excess of 11 prominent doctors who claimed they had never seen such a case. Because of the great interest in the case, Leale asked Huntington to do a microscopic examination done “to aid in the scientific investigation of one of the vexed unsolved problems on the pathology of muscular degeneration and perhaps the general paresis of the insane.”

Huntington wrote to Leale on October 20th, requesting a piece of the spinal column, to aid the investigation. On November 9, Huntington wrote to Leale with the results of the microscopic investigation. His letter:

November 9, 1883

Dear Sir:

The piece of the left gastrocnemius muscle removed from a patient suffering from progressive muscular atrophy has been examined under the microscope.

With the exception of a small inter deposit of adipose tissue and a slight increase of the cell elements of the interstitial tissue, the general appearance of the muscle was normal.

The change in the connective tissue had not yet proceeded sufficiently far to strangle the fibre, thereby producing atrophy, as the following measurements of six contiguous fibres will show:

.04, .031, .019, .031, .025, .038mm

The extreme measurements of normal fibre are stated to be .0113, .0563, mm.; therefore the measurements in the fibre before us come quite close to the mean.

It is to be regretted that a portion of the spinal cord was not preserved in which the lesion could probably have been shown more accurately.

Very respectfully,
You obed’t servt,
D.L. Huntington
Acting Surgeon General

Today’s letter of the day (November 10) is Dr. Leale’s reply. Given Dr. Huntington’s interest in the brain and spinal cord, my guess is that this patient had what we now know as spinal muscular atrophy, which I believe is genetic and was perhaps relatively new within the medical community (at least in the U.S.). Anyone out there who has any other ideas, feel free to let me know.

As for the “melancholy surroundings” and the “abruptly prevented matrimony” mentioned in Leale’s letter: Within the cultural parameters of the time, and without knowing too much about the patient, I can say generally that if this patient was female and the man she was marrying was financially secure and could afford medical care, it is possible they could have married (if her husband was willing to care for an “invalid wife”). If the patient was male it would be very unlikely, nearly unheard of, for him to marry, as he would be considered a “burden” to his wife and in death could leave her financially destitute, brokenhearted, etc. I don’t know the duration of this illness, after it first presents, but it is likely that when it did present in this case (possibly four years earlier), the parents of the patient or fiancĂ©e would have demanded an end to any engagement. I can imagine that doctor’s would not have known how long the patient would live and might have discouraged marriage for multiple reasons. When the patient lived for another four years, the parent(s) who encouraged or demanded the dissolution of the engagement might have regretted the decision.

Letter of the Day: November 10

C.A. Leale, M.D.
749 Fifth Avenue.
New York

D.L. Huntington, M.D.
A. Surgeon General, U.S.A

Dear Doctor

Please accept my sincere thanks for the microscopied examination report just received.

In this instance it was utterly impossible to secure the brain and spinal cord on account of the extremely melancholy surroundings. The death scene was very harrowing to the parent who four years ago abruptly prevented matrimony.

Very respectfully,
Your Obedt Servant

Charles A. Leale

Nov. 10, 1883

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 9 (2 of 2)

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1171


War Department,

Surgeon General’s Office,

Washington, Nov. 9, 1895.


My dear Doctor:-


I am not aware that anything has been done with reference to the souring of hams, to which you refer. It is an interesting subject of investigation and I shall be glad to know what results you arrive at. If you could send one of the hams by express to me I would have some investigations made in the laboratory at the Army Medical Museum in this city.


Very truly yours,

(Signed)  Geo. M. Sternberg.


Dr. W.T. White,

Kansas City Medical College,

Kansas City, Missouri.


Letter of the Day: November 9 (1 of 2)

Fort Wadsworth D.T.
Nov. 9th, 1868

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

I have since my communication of the 5th uls. explored two Tumuli and obtained a few bones, very incomplete parts of a number of skeletons seventeen tibiae, twenty one femura etc, etc, but no crania. From one I obtained about a peck of decayed wood, which had been used in interring the bones. I propose to disinter the remains of a hostile Indian (Dakota) who died of syphilis while a prisoner during the “Outbrake” [sic]. I would respectfully inquire if you desire the specimens for the museum?

I have a “Medicine Bag,” (parflesh bag) the skin of an otter, which I purpose to contribute. I have been preparing a map, or rather designating the location of the tumula on the map of the reservation, which with a description of the location, from and structure of the mounds I shall forward hereafter.

May I inquire if the implements we shipped on the 5th ult. have reached you.

Very Respectfully
Your Obed’t Servt
A. J. Comfort

Monday, November 8, 2010

Von Hagens is selling the plastinated body, and BTW animals as home decorations on his site.

I think we should get the head, its only 30k.

Happy birthday, x-rays!

Google reminds us that today is the 115th anniversary of the history of x-rays. I know there are some interesting and disturbing images on the museum's flickr pages, many more than the two linked to here.

Letter of the Day: November 8

Ira Harris General Hospital
Albany, N.Y., Nov. 8th, 1865


I have the honor to state that I have this day forwarded to your address, for the Army Medical Museum, a box containing an album of photographs of morbid specimens + necrosed bones removed from patients treated in this hospital.

Attached to each specimen is a descriptive label upon a card.

The views in the album are taken from a collection of several hundred in my possession, being chiefly photographs of specimens in the Museum of the Albany Medical College, and in private collections.

Resp. Your Obdt. Servt.,

J.H. Armsby
Asst. Surg. U.S.V.,
in charge

[To] Brig. Gen. J.K. Barnes
Surgeon General U.S.A.
Washington, D.C.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 7

Ft. Concho, Texas
Nov. 7. 76.

My dear Sir-

I deferred replying to yr. last kind letter until some explorations, which I have undertaken, were concluded. I had discovered a number of ancient Indian graves 30 miles from Concho. I regret to say they proved to be too ancient. The remains having mostly crumbled away. After several days hard + dangerous work, I was only rewarded with a few fragmentary specimens which I will forward on a future occasion.

However, this is only one point. I have ascertained numerous localities, at no great distances, where I have little doubt of being more amply repaid for my exertions. It necessarily occupies time, having to leave the post for a day or two, which is not always feasible. Before Spring I trust you will concede I have done well. I know of several murderer’s and outlaws’ graves + propose sending some of their calvaria.

I wd [would] not have thus forwarded the Apache skeleton, but that it was so perfect. I dreaded an accident. Moreover any other method in Texas is slow and not remarkably safe.

More anon from,
Yrs. ever most truly,
J.H.T. King.

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

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 6

Washington, Nov. 6, 1875.

Dear Doctor

I spoke to you some time ago about making a selection of at least a single series of skulls, to represent the various tribes of aborigines of North America, for exhibition at the Centennial, either by the Army Medical Museum or by the National Museum.

I would like to hear from you to know whether you will make this display; as I consider it extremely important that the very large ethnological collection to be exhibited on that occasion, should be supplemented by the series in question.

We will gladly receive the specimens here, + be responsible for their safe return, + arrange to exhibit them under suitable circumstances, of course as the property of the Army Medical Museum.

Any other method will suit us equally well, only we hope the exhibition will be made. We are now unpacking a collection of about 300 crania from the vicinity of Santa Barbara + the adjacent islands – a most magnificent series of specimens, + we would be glad to have you come over + look at them + see whether you wish them turned over to the Army Medical Museum, + whether you have space for their accommodation. Many more are yet due.

Yours truly,
Spencer F Baird

Dr. Otis,
Army Medical Museum,
Washington, D.C.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Walter Reed medical center and Army Medical School cartoon

Reeve 43604

Army Medical School, Walter Reed Hospital, Officer of the Day. [Illustration. Cartoon.]


This cartoon is  almost incomprehensible to us now, so I’ll do a quick read of what I think it means. The Walter Reed medical center baby is trying to reach a toy labeled for the Army Medical School Officer of the Day – implying I think that the hospital base wanted administrative control over the medical school, which had moved onto the campus in 1907. The school eventually became the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and will be our neighbor when we move up to Forest Glen, Md next year.

Letter of the Day: November 5

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1171


Kansas City Medical College

Kansas City, MO., Nov 5” 1895


Dr Geo M Sternberg

Washington D.C.


Dear Sir:-


Your communication at hand I would have been willing to acted as partner in your laboratory but since thee is no opening of any kind, I can only thank you and say I am sorry.


I am now trying to investigate the cause of “hog hams souring” Swift + Co one of our packers looses (sic) about $8000\00 per annum and I am quite sure it is due to bacterial origin. I have worked two weeks without making much headway and have six weeks left until I make a report. If you will kindly express me any literature on the subject I will take excellent care thereof, and return at your pleasure + my expense.  Hoping you can help me I am yours very truly


WT White

17 + Bellview

K.C. Mo

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Post on medic's gear

Letter of the Day: November 4 [Criminal edition, part 2]

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 01779

November 4, 1896

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


The Museum has a specimen of excised testicle from a military convict, John J. Moore, who was admitted to the hospital at Alcatraz Island, California, November 25, 1892, with subacute orchitis; testicle excised December 7; Discharged from Hospital December 22, 1892.

It would be interesting in connection with the specimen to learn the history of the patient subsequent to his discharge from the Hospital on December 22, 1892, and I would therefore respectfully request that an inquiry be made at the Adjutant General’s Office for such late data as may be on record in the case of Moore.

Very respectfully,
D.L. Huntington

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

Letter of the Day: November 4 [Criminal edition, part 1]

Headquarters, Post of Waco
Waco, Texas, November 4th 1869

My dear General:

General Reynolds and I arrived here safely last evening after a pleasant ride of two days, and today been busy in inspecting this post and enjoying the hospitalities of the citizens. We shall probably return to Austin day after tomorrow.

I write to ask you whether you would like to have me send to the Army Medical Museum, a novel specimen. It is the head of Bickerstaff, the most notorious of all Texan desperados. It is admirably preserved in alcohol, and can be sent to Washington in that state, if you desire. If you do not wish to preserve it in that state after arrival, you can have it dissected, and put the cranium in the museum as a typical representation of a Texas desperado. Bickerstaff, the head of an organized set of murders, was the terror of Northern Texas for a long time, successfully defying and eluding the civil and military authorities. His head was sent to this place for securing the reward for his capture.

Sincerely your friend,
Warren Webster
[To] Gen. C. H. Crane, &c. &c.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 3

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 01782

Dr. H.L.E. Johnson
Washington, DC
Nov. 3rd, 1896

DR. Walter Reed,
Surgeon U.S. Army, Curator
Army Medical Museum

My Dear Dr. Reed:

I enclose the report which you sent me last Jany. [January] to call up the circumstances and also a similar specimen in alcohol, passed yesterday by the same patient. Would you kindly tell me the nature of this specimen. I operated upon this patient for appendicitis, evacuating a very large abscess, on the 28th. ult. I intend reading a paper on appendicitis at the Congress in Mexico, including this and other cases and if it is perfectly convenient to you and meets your approval, I wish to incorporate this last report in my paper. I expect to start for Mexico on Sunday the 8th. inst.

Thanking you for this and other favors,
I am,
Faithfully yours,

H.L.E. Johnson


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Natural history of plague revealed

October 31, 2010

Europe's Plagues Came From China, Study Finds


Letter of the Day: November 2

War Department
Surgeon General's Office
Property Division
Washington, DC

November 2nd, 1885

Maj, J. S. Billings, Surgeon, U.S.A.
Curator Army Medical Museum
Washington, DC


I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 20th inst. forwarding two hundred and sixty (260) Esmarch's triangular bandages found in a storeroom at the Museum.

By order of the Surgeon General.

JH Baxter
Chief Medical Purveyor,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Letter of the Day: November 1

Fort Ridgely, Minnesota,
November 1st 1862


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a letter from the curator of the Army Medical Museum, under date of October 15th, 62, acknowledging the receipt of an Indian arrow head and requesting me to procure further specimens etc.

I have already collected some specimens referred to in his letter and shall continue to make further collections as opportunity shall present. Articles of Indian warfare (including both new and old shotguns), captured by our troops from the Indians, have been delivered at this Post and gone into the custody of the proper Army Officer, some of them, in my judgement, would be proper to be secured for the Army Medical Museum.

If you would obtain an order from the War-Department, directing the Commander of this post or other Officer in Charge of these "trophies," to allow me to select from them such articles as I might deem proper, for the purposes of sending them to the Army Medical Museum, I would with pleasure do so.

Very respectfully,
Your Obedient Servant,
Alfred Muller
Act. Asst. Surgeon

[To] Brig'd General Wm. A. Hammond
Surgeon General, U.S. Army
Washington, D.C.