Thursday, November 16, 2017

It's All on Eutaw

Eutaw Street and Eutaw Place are two of the iconic streets of old Baltimore, running in a north-south direction, starting close to the Harbor and moving north to Druid Hill Reservoir. It changes from a street to a place where it widens and is bisected by a long park-like median, with fountains, statues and old trees. 
Eutaw Place is lined with huge residential town-houses, many of which are now divided into apartments. 

Eutaw Street is more commercial. It is and was a hub of shopping and medicine.

Few streets in Baltimore had a greater concentration of physicians than Eutaw Street, just west of where MedChi is located. In 1895, the Faculty was searching for a new headquarters building and looked first at 837 N. Eutaw Street, but then purchased 847 N. Eutaw Street, where they were confident they would stay for a generation or more. 
Sadly, it's no longer there, having been replaced by a parking lot. And within 10 years, the Faculty had moved into their new building, just a few blocks away. That building has lasted several generations!
But, as someone once told me, there were almost 100 physicians located on Eutaw Street and Eutaw Place between Dolphin Street and North Avenue.
Both William Halsted and Howard Kelly, two of the "big four" lived on Eutaw Place, with Kelly's house still standing and sporting a "blue plaque." 
Unfortunately, Halsted's house was demolished in a road-widening effort, but if the remaining adjacent house is any indication, it was amazing.

In the Medical Annals of Maryland (1799-1899), I did a search for Eutaw, and came up with the following.

Dr. John R. Abercrombie - 827 Eutaw Street
Dr. Joseph H. Branham - 2200 Eutaw Place
Dr. Claribel Cone - 1616 Eutaw Place
Dr. John M.T. Finney - 1300 Eutaw Place
Dr. William S. Halsted - 1201 Eutaw Place
Dr. Howard A. Kelly - 1406 Eutaw Place. Dr. Kelly also operated a private hospital at 1418 Eutaw Place.
Dr. Thomas P. McCormick - 1421 Eutaw Place
Dr. William B. McDonald - 1030 Eutaw Street
Dr. Samuel K. Merrick - 843 Eutaw Street
Dr. Amanda Taylor Norris - 1035 Eutaw Street (She was the first woman to receive a diploma from a "regular" medical school.)
Dr. William W. Requardt - 2235 Eutaw Place
Dr. John Ruhräh - 839 Eutaw Street
Dr. James G. Wiltshire - 819 Eutaw Street

On the south end of Eutaw Street, there was the Women's Hospital, the Medical Dispensary and some of the University of Maryland's Medical School buildings on the southern end of Eutaw. 

And for those of you not from Baltimore, Eutaw is pronounced like the western state of Utah. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Ghost Story for Halloween

Of course, Halloween is special here at MedChi, what with us having our own personal resident ghost, dear Marcia!
For decades, there have been stories about hearing footsteps going up the main staircase to Marcia's old penthouse apartment on the fourth floor, hearing the squeak of book cart wheels, finding paintings tucked into the stacks and much more. 

As I read through a lot of old accounts of the early years on Cathedral Street, time and time again, I read about the physicians sending Marcia bouquets of flowers after she had done them some favor or for her birthday, or in Sir William's case, just because...
(There's a note on the back of this saying "Of course, he knew it wasn't really my birthday.")

When we first decided to give a bouquet of flowers to the winner of the Noyes Award at the Medical Library Association of which she was a founder, I went to the top floor of the stacks and told Marcia that we were doing this in her honor. We wanted to acknowledge the influence she had on her profession down through the years. And we wanted to circle Marcia back to MedChi where she worked for 50 years.  


Naturally, I felt a little silly making my little speech out loud, but I thought that if she was to ever know we were doing this, I had to actually speak the words. 

No sooner had I finished up, than I heard something like a pencil fall and hit the ground. My hair stood on end and I had goosebumps all over. I said something like "Oh, I am glad you like the idea," and flew down all four flights of stairs! It was totally spooky and no other time I've been up in the stacks has something randomly fallen. 


The bouquets of flowers have been a big hit with the winners of the Noyes award, and it's been fun continuing the tradition started more than a century ago by such notables as Sir William Osler, Dr. John Ruhräh and other friends of Marcia's.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Owls Have It!

I was looking through our collection of bookplates the other day and noticed something interesting. In the plates which were designed by the noted medical illustrator, Max Brödel, you often find owls. 

Of course, owl symbols are a tradition for many libraries because of their longstanding association with wisdom.  Sources on myth and magic explain that birds which could “see” in the dark were thought to have mysterious powers, later identified with prophecy, “nocturnal sciences,” and, in a broader sense, wisdom.

Here are some of Brödel's bookplates, as well as others with owls.

Bernard Lucien Brun, MD

The Osler Testimonial Fund 

John Ruhräh, MD 

George Oliver Clark, MD


John Vernon Hopkins, MD 

Fred Lloyd Wells, MD 

It's always fun to discover something new!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Our 1909 Building Explained in Architectural Terms

This building is three stories high and five bays wide. Above the stone basement, the building is essentially masonry laid in several different bonds. After a row of stretchers in straight bond, the first story is laid in Flemish diagonal bond (1). In the second and third stories, the areas around the windows are laid in Flemish double stretcher (2). The piers, the frieze, and the parapet are laid in running bond (3).

In the first story, four marble stairs flanked by blocks, each surmounted by a scroll and ball, lead to a double door with a rectangular transom (4). This is contained within a shallow portico consisting of two unfluted columns with truncated caps and thin abaci supporting an entablature with a braced cornice(5). To either side of this are two double hung, eight-over-eight windows with splayed, flat-arched stone lintels having large brackets as keystone(6). A stone belt course serves as the sill (7).

Above the first story windows is a wide, projecting stone belt course(8). The three inner bay windows of the second story (French with sixteen lights, fanlight transoms set in keystoned stilted around arch-lintels of straight bond) rest on this belt course(9). Between these windows runs another stone belt course which is flush with the façade (10). This forms the sill for the two outer bay windows of the second story(11). These windows are double hung, six-over-six with splayed, flat-arched stone lintels which have keystones.(12) 
Between second and third story outer bay windows are two rectangular niches emphasized by headers laid in straight bond(13). Outer bay windows are flanked by flat brick piers which rise from stone bases atop the projecting belt course above the first story windows, and terminate in stone composite capitals which appear at the lower edge of a blank stone frieze located just above the third story windows(14).

Third story windows are all double hung, six-over-six with moulded stone framing, flat-arched and keystoned at the top, resting upon a braced sill(15). In the outer bay windows, a swag relief appears beneath the sill(16).

Appearing above the aforementioned blank stone frieze is a row of dentils, immediately above which appears the moulded, braced roof cornice(17). The cornice supports a brick parapet topped with stone(18).

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Our Building Explained in Architectural Terms

This building is three stories high and three bays wide. It is laid in common bond, and has a stone water table and details.
In the center of the façade’s first story, four steps flanked by stone blocks (1) lead to a double door with a one piece, round-arched transom overhead (2). This is contained within a beveled, stilted round arch which contains vertical anthemion bands (3) below the impost block and above, in the intrados of the arch. At the crown of the intrados is a cartouche flanked by palmettes (4). Between the transom and intrados is a band of rinceau moulding (5). Beneath, the extended portions of the impost blocks are puti heads (6). At the crown of the arch, above the cartouche, is a bracket which serves as a keystone (7). The extrados are filled with egg-and-dart moulding(8).
To either side of the entrance, the basement is pierced by two casement windows, each containing one light (9).
First story windows are arranged in two pairs. They are double hung with stone sills and moulded, flat-arched frames which contain terra cotta tiles with foliate motifs (10). The surface of the first story façade achieves a rusticated effect through deep incisions in the masonry which occur at intervals of two feet (11).

Between the first and second story windows is a stone belt course underscored by a strip of egg-and-dart moulding (12).
Second story windows are arranged in threes. These windows are all single hung with six lights, and have four-light transoms overhead (13). The window groups are contained within a large, moulded cornice supported by flat pilasters with composite capitals (14). The frieze of the cornice contains two rondelles flanked by ribbons (15). At either end of the frieze is an egg moulding (16). The junctions of the muntins and mullions contain cruciform mouldings with inscribed squares (17). In the outer window groups, a tablet bearing a wreath surround an open book appears beneath either outer window (18).
Third story windows are double hung 1/1, and have a common flat-arched lintel and sill (19). A flat, rusticated, fluted pilaster appears at either end of the window group (20), while in between bays, fluted, rusticated colonnettes resting on projecting, bracketed, cornice-like dados, support the lintel (21). Above the pilaster and colonnettes are rondelles (22).
The braced roof cornice is coffered between the braces (23).


From the Maryland Historic Trust's Building Survey, 1975

Friday, September 1, 2017

Marble Art

I was scanning the Morgan Library's fabulous Instagram feed when I saw something that stopped me in my tracks. The photographer, Abelardo Morrell, who was at one time, a security guard at the Morgan, took pictures of all of the inside covers of Henry David Thoreau's journals.
He put them in order from first to last to create a huge collage of the beautiful marbleized end papers. 
You can read about the project in the New York Times, here. And here it is in place at the Morgan.
I thought it would be a fun idea to create a similar project for an item at our upcoming Silent Auction, in honor of the inauguration of Gary Pushkin, MD in October. 


We have loads of books with marbleized end papers, so there's no shortage of patterns that we can use. 


 Stay tuned for the final project.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Revere Osler: December 28, 1895 - August 29, 1917

In March 1915, Revere Osler went off with one of the Canadian contingents, and was given duty at one of the hospitals as an orderly officer. The hospital was one of the best in England, and had been erected at Cliveden, the Astor estate. Osler was a consultant to this hospital and visited the McGill Unit at Camiers. A postcard sent from Montreuil-sur-Mer, on the way, is characteristically Oslerian: “Here with Revere – such a lovely walled town – the first stopping place of Sterne on his Sentimental Journey. Am sending you a full account of my trip.” How many Sterne enthusiasts would remember that at such a time?

Revere was now an assistant quartermaster at Camiers, awaiting his call to the combatant forces. Before this time came, he had a leave and went home to Oxford where, during his stay, the house caught fire and threatened the loss of the library. All this time, the “Open Arms”, as the house at 13 Norham Gardens came to be called, was just what its nickname implied. It was always full of guests coming and going. Everyone turned to the Oslers in their trouble.
Revere had one more leave. He was now with the Royal Field Artillery and was getting his training. Osler took refuge in his books, and evinced an active interest in his growing collection, as many references in his letters of the period testify.
His activities in the hospital continued and many a cable went to Canada to cheer the recipients. These usually read, “Has been seen by Osler considers doing well”. He wrote many letters and received and answered hundreds of cables of inquiry from anxious relatives. He was much moved by the injustice of a Canadian Commission appointed to investigate the care of Canadians in the hospitals. As a protest, he resigned his position as consultant to the Canadian Hospitals, but later on, when the commission was replaced, his resignation was withdrawn.
Towards the end of 1916, Revere was in the 593 Brigade, Battery A, and was stationed on the Seine right in the thick of the fight. [This was the Battle of Ypres)
Until August 29 of the next summer, he continued at it. Then, while he was at work preparing to move the battery, a shell struck, and wounded him severely in his chest, thigh and abdomen. He was carried to the dressing station, but in spite of transfusion and operation, he died before morning. The great-great-grandson of Paul Revere was buried near the place he fell.
Osler made the following entry concerning this blow:
I was sitting in my library, working on the new edition of my textbook, when a telegram was brought in, “Revere dangerously wounded, comfortable and conscious, condition not hopeless.” I knew this was the end. We had expected it. The Fates do not allow the good fortune that has followed me to go with me to the grave – call no man happy till he dies. 

The War Office telephoned at nine in the evening that he was dead. A sweeter laddie never lived, with a gentle, loving nature. He had developed a rare taste in literature and was devoted to all my old friends in the spirit – Plutarch, Montaigne, Browne, Fuller and above all, Izaak Walton, whose Compleat Angler he knew by heart, and whose “Lives” he loved.

There is no need to attempt to picture the sorrow or the bravery of the stricken father. Sir William and Lady Osler remained a day in seclusion and then courageously took up the challenge of comforting others. He continued his routine duties in the cataloguing of his library. He resumed work on a new edition of his textbook, the work interrupted by the news of his son’s death.
Osler entertained soldiers and friends, trying to be his old self and even deceiving those who did not know him well. But all the time, he continued to lose weight. To a friend who had had a similar loss, he wrote:
Grief is a hard companion, particularly to an optimist, and to one who has been a stranger to it for many years. We decided to keep the flag flying and let no outward action demonstrate, if possible, the aching hearts. 
The Edward Revere Osler Memorial Fund was established by his parents at the Johns Hopkins University. This took the form of a Tudor and Stuart Club, with club rooms and a library, the nucleus of which was Revere’s own collection. The Club was “to encourage the study of English literature of the Tudor and Stuart periods” and the fund was for the “purchase of further books relating to these periods, and in the promotion of good fellowship and a love of literature among the members.”

This passage is from 
"Sir William Osler: A Personal Biography" by John Ruhräh, MD, 
published in 2015 by MedChi.