Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Best Wishes for This Festive Season!

Some of our gentlemen would like to send you all of their very best wishes for this festive season.

Thomas Hepburn Buckler, M.D.image

Daniel Coit Gilmanimage

Samuel Stringer Coale, M.D.image

Lewis Sydenham Hayden (son of Horace Hayden, M.D.)image

From all of us at The Center for a Healthy Maryland!

Monday, December 22, 2014

This Is Why MedChi Was Founded!

MedChi was founded in 1799 to “promote and disseminate medical and chirurgical knowledge throughout the State and in future prevent the citizens thereof from risking their lives in the hands of ignorant practitioners or pretenders to the healing arts”.

You might think that it would preclude someone like this from practicing medicine!


FYI, calomel is a mercury compound.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Now We Know!

There’s been a mystery swirling around about one of our paintings. Surprise, right? It holds a place of pride above the fireplace in the Krause Room. IMG_7582So clearly, it’s someone special. When we took the painting down for the renovation of the room, I found a number on the reverse, and so could correlate it to a painting in our Sotheby’s log.

However, the notation there wasn’t much help. It said the painting was of either JP or JR Smith, and the painter was listed as ECB. With a search through the 1961 acquisitions log, I found that the initials were still in question, but that the painter was identified as Edward Caledon Bruce, a Virginia artist and writer. With that information in hand, I found that the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Virginia had a collection of Bruce’s paintings.

An email to the museum lead me to Nick Powers, the Curator of Collections. He happened to be coming to Baltimore on another matter, so we agreed to meet so he could look at the painting. Smith JP

We took the painting down, and Nick had a chance to study the back of the painting where he discovered many little clues, which I had overlooked. The painting was signed in two places, and the sitter’s name and date was marked on the back. The stretcher had little notches in the corners indicating how it was to be put together.

But that still left the mystery of who the sitter was. There was a note in an old Maryland Medical Journal talking a bit about the painting, which was given to Marcia Noyes on her retirement. image

Upon her death, only months after receiving the painting, Marcia left it to MedChi, and it’s been in a prominent place ever since.

Although I searched some of the library committee’s records, I wasn’t able to find out where the painting came from, or any more about the sitter.

Nick and I speculated about who the sitter was, and in a late night e-mail, I received this information from him, via his father, a physician and medical historian in Virginia:

I am very pleased to tell you that his full name was Dr. John Philip Smith, and he was a founding member of the medical college here in Winchester, which I mentioned this afternoon. He was born in Virginia in 1822, and died in Clarke County, Virginia, in 1884. During the Civil War he was a surgeon in the 2nd Virginia Infantry. I wasn't sure it was him at first, until I noticed that his eyes skew apart as in the portrait.


Birth:  Jan. 27, 1822 Virginia, USA
Death: Dec. 29, 1884 Clarke County Virginia, USA
Father: Philip Smith
Mother: Louisa Collier Christian

1840 - M.D. degree, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA (fr: Clarke Co, VA)
03/27/1847 - Married, Sally Bland Newton (she died in Clarke Co, VA, in 1867)
1846 - Professor, Theory and Practice of Medicine, Winchester Medical College, Winchester, Frederick Co, VA
1850 - Practiced medicine, Winchester, Frederick Co., VA
05/16/1861 - Surgeon, Volunteer Forces of Virginia, appointed by the Governor and Council, assigned to Harpers Ferry, VA
06/24/1861 - Surgeon, Confederate States Army, Winchester, VA
07/01/1861 - Appointed Surgeon, Provisional Army of the Confederate States
07/01/1861-09/01/1861 - Surgeon, Winchester, VA
09/01/1861 - Assigned to temporary duty as Surgeon, 2nd VA Infantry, near Centreville, VA
09/00/1861 - Surgeon, Camp Pickens, Manassas, VA
10/18/1861 - Surgeon, 2nd VA Infantry
11/01/1861 - Surgeon, 2nd VA Infantry Centreville, Fairfax Co, VA
11/06/1861 - Surgeon, 2nd VA Infantry camp near Winchester, VA
11/11/1861-03/11/1862 - Surgeon, Winchester, VA
03/31/1862-04/06/1862 - Surgeon, Mt. Jackson, VA
05/26/1862 - Surgeon, Winchester, VA
09/02/1862 - Relieved from duty as Inspector of Hospitals and will report to Surgeon [Lafayette] Guild, Medical Director, &c., Gordonsville, VA [S.O. 205/25]
09/30/1862 - Surgeon, Winchester, VA
10/00/1862 - Surgeon-in-charge, Post at Winchester, VA
11/08/1862 - Surgeon-in-charge, Gen. Hospital, Winchester, VA
11/13/1862 - "An Army Medical Board composed of the following officers is detailed for the examination of medical officers and applicants for appointment in the Medical Department, serving with the army under the command of General Robert E. Lee: Surgeon J. P. Smith, president ….." [S.O. 266/16]
01/20/1863 - At a camp near New Market [VA]
07/15/1863 - "Surgeon J. P. Smith is assigned to duty in charge of the general hospitals in Winchester and will report accordingly" [S.O. 167/24]
07/26/1863 - Received pay, Mt. Jackson, VA
07/27/1863 - Surgeon, Winchester, VA
08/08/1863 - Ordered to report to Senior Surgeon P. E. Hines, Petersburg, to relieve [John Herbert] Claiborne, Surgeon-in-charge, Confederate Hospital
08/18/1863 - Ordered to "report to Senior Surgeon P. E. Hines, Petersburg, VA, for assignment to duty as Senior Surgeon of Board of Examiners"
08/19/1863 - Senior Surgeon, Medical Examining Board, Petersburg, VA [S.O. 125/5]
11/10/1863 - "In addition to his present duties will relieve Surgeon J. H. Claiborne in charge of the Confederate Hospital, Petersburg, VA"
03/01/1864 - Surgeon-in-charge, Confederate Hospital, Petersburg, VA
04/23/1864 - Senior Surgeon, Medical Examining Board, Petersburg, VA
05/11/1864 - Surgeon-in-charge, Confederate Hospital, Petersburg, VA
05/26/1864 - Replaced as Surgeon, Confederate Hospital, Petersburg, VA, by Surgeon[Gillespie S.] West
05/00/1864 - Chairman, Medical Examining Board, Petersburg, VA
06/06/1864 - Senior Surgeon, Medical Examining Board, Petersburg, VA
07/01/1864 - Senior Surgeon, Medical Examining Board, Petersburg, VA
08/04/1864 - Chairman, Medical Examining Board, Petersburg, VA
09/02/1864 - Left on leave, from Petersburg, VA (30 days)
10/17/1864 - Assigned to temporary special duty at Camp Lee [VA]
11/15/1864 - Granted 30 days leave 12/05/1864 - Left on leave, from Petersburg, VA (30 days)
01/06/1865 - Returned to hospitals, Petersburg, VA
02/00/1865 - Surgeon in hospitals, Petersburg, VA
12/14/1867 - Practiced medicine, Millwood, Clarke Co, VA
1870 - Physician & farmer, Chapel Township, Clarke Co, VA
1878 - Visitor, Virginia Agriculture and Mechanical College (now Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University), Blacksburg, VA
1880 - Practiced medicine, Chapel, Clarke Co, VA
12/29/1884 - Died, "Wood Park", Clarke Co, VA

Now the only mystery that remains is how did Marcia come to find this painting and acquire it.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

What I Found Today, II

We have a collection of about 110 paintings here at MedChi. And I am using the word “about” because I am not actually exactly sure how many paintings we have. The number seems to fluctuate a bit.

Some bright thing took all of the plaques and plates off of a number of our pictures, so I have essentially spent the past year and a half working to figure out which painting is which. I have a huge spreadsheet where I am keeping track of the paintings, where they are located, and who the artist is. There are multiple colors and notations that help me track the portraits.image

I refer to a catalogue of acquisitions that was created in 1961, in which numbers were assigned to all of the paintings, and also to the 2002 Sotheby’s appraisal of our collection. Regrettably, neither of these documents has images of the portraits.image

I’ve worked on the portraits project on and off over the past 18 months, mostly when I have a few hours of spare time (ha!). But I’ve got a deadline of the end of January to have museum-style signs made for all of the portraits, so I am working to identify everyone and write brief biographies of them.

This is easier said than done! I am still not 100% on who each of the portraits represents. And funnily, I still find a painting here or there, mainly in the Stacks. Although I’ve spent dozens of hours in the Stacks, things still “appear”, most recently, this picture frame. image

I have been known to wander around the building with a spread-sheet and a measuring tape trying to tease out which unknown painting might become known. And sometimes I find this out in unusual ways.

I received a phone call asking about someone’s grandfather who was a MedChi President in the mid-1900’s. Once I had the name, I could pinpoint the exact dates of service and give the caller some information, and he could give me some, too. He mentioned that there might be a painting of his grandfather, but the name didn’t ring a bell as someone I’d identified. But, I mentioned, I have a few mid-century portraits that are unknown to me.
IMG_0927 Picture 024 Goldstein, Albert
“Balding with glasses” was the description I got, and so I was sure it was Doctor Nº. 2! But it was actually Doctor Nº. 3! It’s Albert Elias Goldstein, a noted physician and urologist at Sinai Hospital for more than 45 years!
Another portrait found and identified! A small victory, but a delight none-the-less!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hair, There and Everywhere

As I show people our art collection, I am always fascinated by the changing hair styles, both facial and otherwise. There are some serious chops in our collection and one of the visiting curators told me that you can date paintings pretty closely by looking at the hair… and the cravat!

Here are some of the extreme examples.

Abraham Arnold, M.D. (who looks down at me every day!)Arnold Abram

John Blake, M.D.

J. Brown Baxley, M.D.

Thomas Hepburn Buckler, M.D.

Samuel Stringer Coale, M.D. (I just want to say, Bless his heart!)Coale 5-10 025

Alexander Franklin Dulin, M.D.Dulin

Daniel Coit Gilmangilman 5-10 031

Horatio Gates Jamison, M.D.

Nathan Ryno Smith, M.D. (It’s the eyebrows)

William Stokes, M.D.STOKES

Philip Thomas (To be fair, this wasn’t painted from life)Thomas Philip

Henry Parke Custus WilsonWilson

We hope that you’ve enjoyed our tonsorial travels through time!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

What I Found Today, I

Each and every time I go up into the stacks, I find something new. Today, as I was up looking for some additional books to put in the Krause Room, I had one discovery that was a bit creepy! 

I am in and out of the stacks all of the time, and know pretty much what is where. When I was looking for some books today, I came across this:IMG_5336It’s a huge frame… nothing that I would have missed in passing. Just sitting there, leaning against the shelves. Now, the trick is to match the painting with the frame. Although there’s a little ID sticker on the bottom, it doesn’t correlate with anything.

A few months ago, I found this painting. Same as the frame, just propped up against the wall. This is John H. Patterson, M.D. (1817-1893).IMG_5360

As you can see by the light spot on the bottom of the frame, someone removed all of the identifying information from many of our portraits. It’s been a long and frustrating process to make sure everything is, once again, correctly identified.

Here’s what else I found:IMG_5339It is Paulo Mascagni’s Vasorum lymphaticorum corporis humani historia et iconographia (Lymph vessels of the human body's history and iconography), published in 1787. This is one of the earliest books on the lymphatic system and made Mascagni famous throughout Europe. IMG_5341

The book is fascinating in its handmade, deckle-edged paper and obvious letter-press typesetting. As you run your fingers across the letters, you can feel the history in the pages.IMG_5344Most regrettably, it’s in very poor condition, and although rare, does not have much value remaining.

One of the things I’ve realized is that the worse the condition is, the more lavish and beautiful the illustrations are! This book was presented to us by Thomas Buckler, M.D.IMG_5348This lovely book on the Traits of Syphilis, has the most beautiful script, IMG_5350

and beautifully rendered illustrations. IMG_5352This was one of the tamer illustrations.

There’s always something interesting to find in the stacks, and I wonder if Marcia is playing tricks and leaving things for me to find!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dr. Winslow’s Badges

Randolph Winslow, M.D. (1852-1937) held a membership in the American Medical Association, Southern Surgical and Gynecological Association, and was a Vice President of the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland.

In these roles, Dr. Winslow travelled to many of the AMA’s annual meetings in cities across the country and collected House of Delegates’ badges from each meeting. We recently found the badges from these trips, which he gave to MedChi before his death in 1937. Each of the badges is distinctive, featuring notable images from each of the cities in which the meetings were held.

San Francisco, California 1923IMG_1327

St. Louis, Missouri 1922IMG_1333

Detroit, Michigan  1916IMG_1345

Minneapolis, Minnesota 1913

Cleveland, Ohio  1934IMG_1359

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  1931IMG_1365

New Orleans, Louisiana 1932IMG_1367

Detroit, Michigan, 1930IMG_1375

Minneapolis, Minnesota 1928IMG_1378

New Orleans, Louisiana  1920IMG_1334

Atlantic City, New Jersey  1919IMG_1335

Chicago, Illinois  1918IMG_1338

Chicago, Illinois  1918IMG_1339

New York, NY 1917IMG_1342

New York, NY 1917IMG_1344

San Francisco, California  1915IMG_1349

Los Angeles, California  1911IMG_1352

Los Angeles, California 1911IMG_1354

Portland, Oregon 1905 (please note the beaver!)


Atlantic City, New Jersey  1904IMG_1356

No identificationIMG_1364

Columbus, Ohio 1899IMG_1357

Milwaukee, Wisconsin  1933IMG_1369

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  1931IMG_1373

Detroit, Michigan  1930IMG_1374

San Francisco, California  1923 (please note the bear!)IMG_1380

It’s always fun to look through the old strong-boxes in the archives. You never know what treasures you will find!