Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Flexner Report

I was asked to do a little searching of the Flexner Report for a board member, and as always, I find it to be a treasure trove of fascinating information and horrifying reports. From Wikipedia: The Flexner Report is a book-length study of medical education in the United States and Canada, written by Abraham Flexner and published in 1910 under the aegis of the Carnegie Foundation. Many aspects of the present-day American medical profession stem from the Flexner Report and its aftermath.

Essentially, each medical school in the US and Canada was examined on a sliding scale, using Johns Hopkins as the ideal.

After the report was issued, the number of medical schools dropped from 155 to 31, and the number of medical schools requiring an undergraduate degree soared to 92%.

The Flexner report changed medical education from often primitive conditions to more like what we know now. 

Medical schools became more standardized with educational and graduation requirements, exams, and curriculum to include both classroom and textbook work, as well as a specific amount of clinical work. 

There were some failings, including fewer women and minorities in medical schools, and the oversight and regulation of medical education by state governments. However, much of what is in the report is still relevant today.

To read the Flexner Report, please click here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Marcia for the Holidays: Thanksgiving

As you might have seen, we usually dress Marcia for the holidays, but since I realized that this Thanksgiving is the 70th anniversary of her death, I am going to be a little more respectful.

There were two notices of Marcia’s death in the Baltimore Sun, the first on November 26th, announcing her death and saying that the service would be held at MedChi, the first time this had happened.

The second notice was a summary of the service, with lists of pall-bearers and other details. It appeared the day after the service was held.

Marcia is buried at Baltimore’s Greenmount Cemetery along with many other city luminaries of the time.

I hope that, at some level, Marcia knows how important she was to MedChi and to the field of medical libraries.

In making a living, she made a life. 

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween!

Don’t forget our lecture about Marcia, the Friendly Ghost!
 Wednesday, November 2 at 6:30 p.m. in Osler Hall.

There will be a “candy bar” and sodas.
(With apologies to Sugar Free Kids)

Please rsvp to

and let me know if you are attending.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Lecture: Marcia, The Friendly Ghost!

As much as we tease Marcia by dressing her up for the holidays, we have the utmost respect and admiration for what she did during her 50 year tenure at MedChi. In addition to creating the Medical Librarians Association, she was responsible for managing the building of our 1909 building, enlarging our library from 7,000 to 65,000 books and much more that we don’t know about.

We are hosting a lecture on Marcia’s academic and professional background, as well as her current status as ghost in residence at MedChi. Additionally, an MFA student at MICA will be showing some of her artwork featuring Marcia.

Poster for Lecture

Tickets, which are free for MedChi members, and $5.00 for non-members. For more information, or to make a reservation, please email here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Death by Parrot

As I was searching our old bequests files, I came across a character whom I did not know. He was Dr. William Royal Stokes, a long-time MedChi member. He was also the Baltimore City Bacteriologist from 1896 until his untimely death in 1930.image

In the file, along with numerous solicitation and acknowledgement letters, bearing the signatures of luminaries including Alexius McGlannan, MD and our Marcia Noyes, I found an old newspaper column called “Man in the Street”. This was a weekly column which researched street names in Baltimore.

Now the position of City Bacteriologist doesn’t sound too grand, but Dr. Stokes was responsible for eliminating typhoid by cleaning up the City’s milk and water supplies. He started the battle against rats, a war which has not yet been won.

In the early years of the 1900’s, the Baltimore City Department of Health made it its business to destroy every parrot in the city, because they were carriers of the dangerous and often fatal Parrot Fever, or psittacosis. imageParrots, macaws, pigeons, ducks and other birds are carriers of this disease, mostly eradicated now. There are fewer than 50 reported cases a year, and those can be treated with antibiotics. Dr. Stokes realized that parrots carried the disease, and he made it his business to find the antidote to this. But this meant closely studying the dead parrots and eventually, he contracted psittacosis and died from it. image

Hundreds attended his funeral, including the Governor who was an honorary pall bearer. Dr. William Welch and his fellow physicians at MedChi raised money for a bronze tablet in the Municipal Building. They also raised funds for an annual lecture in his name and a library dedicated to bacteriology.

The city named a street for him – Stokes Drive – which is near the Gwynns Falls Park. image

 I never know what I will find and where it will lead me.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Happy Labor Day!

Marcia has taken off for the beach for a few days, and is spending time drinking margaritas and getting a little bit of a tan.

She wishes you all a safe and happy Labor Day!

Marcia also wants us to let you know that we’re doing a lecture about her and her life… and afterlife… on November 2, 2016, which just happens to be All Souls day. Stay tuned for details!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Another Piece of Baltimore History

One of our generous members kindly dropped off a print for us the other week, and I’ve just had the chance to take a really good look at it. Fairmount

It is essentially a view from the old Church Home & Hospital, from where Johns Hopkins is situated today. You can see the iconic dome of Church Home in the center of the image. The amazing building on the right in the foreground is Fairmount Hill Vocational High School, which is no longer in existance.image

Fairmount Gardens, near the intersection of East Fayette and Broadway, served as a private pleasure ground in the decades before the Civil War. The hotel with observation deck to the right, “situated upon the most lofty pinnacle near our city, stands in the centre of an enclosure of about five acres,” where visitors could treat themselves to ice cream, a lemonade, or a Baltimore seasonal favorite, strawberries and cream.

Along the bottom of the image is a series of numbers which correspond with highlighted locations. image

The map was drawn by Edward Sachse, a premiere map-maker in the mid 1800’s, and the maker of what is called the most spectacular drawing of Baltimore ever made. imageMeasuring 10 ½ feet by 5 feet and produced in 12 sections, the Bird’s Eye View of Baltimore, printed by the lithographic firm of E. Sachse and Company in 1869, is probably the “largest panoramic view of an American city ever published.” baltimore buildings

The map is reputed to show every house, church, business, and park—many in fine detail—in Baltimore, which in 1869 was bound to the north by Northern Avenue (today North Avenue), Canton to the east, Gwynns Run to the west, and the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River to the south.

There is even a detail of MedChi’s corner of Preston & Cathedral Streets in the 1850’s, long before we were located there. A downloadable copy from the Library of Congress is here.image

For more on Sachse, click here for a Maryland Historical Society article.

We are so delighted to have this amazing piece as part of our collection!