Thursday, July 6, 2017

Bringing the Past to Life

When we look at all of the old black and white photos in our collections, they seem so flat and lifeless, even if they include lots of people. In our minds, these aren't real people, because they don't look like the people we see every day. 

But when you add color to the image, it instantly comes to life. I am the resident photoshop wizard, so have played around with colorizing some of our images here. 

The first picture I did was our Marcia Crocker Noyes. As you might know, we like to pose Marcia for the holidays. But when you've got a black and white Marcia on a bright sunny beach, it doesn't look right. So, she needed to be colorized. 

I went down to the Krause Room and tried to channel Marcia, so I could figure out what colors her dress and cape were. I had to guess on some things, but overall, I am pretty happy with the result.

Next up was one of MedChi's early headquarters buildings. This was a lot more of a challenge, as it was on the second floor of the Emerald Hotel on Calvert Street. There were tons of advertisements, windows, brickwork and other details, so it was a perfect job for that odd not-quite-holiday day.

Finally, I played around with a group of physicians from the late 1800's. They're a dour bunch, clearly posing for the camera. I am not sure if that's a room at an early HQ building of ours, or a backdrop set. 

Half of this picture is in color, so you can see the contrast.
And here's the fully colorized version. 

I looked at old advertisements for men's clothing in the late 1800's to come up with the color. I picked hair and eye colors based on closely looking at each of the men and making educated guesses. I have portraits of Drs. Chew and Donaldson, but Chew's hair is white, and Donaldson's hair is a close approximation to this. 

I realize that there are a lot of people who hate the idea of colorizing images, but it's not like the original people or places were in black and white. We are just giving them life again. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Marcia C. Noyes Award Winner

The highest honor that MLA confers is the Marcia C. Noyes Award. Jean P. Shipman, AHIP, FMLA, executive director, Knowledge Management and Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, and director, MidContinental Region and National Library of Medicine National Training Center, National Network of Libraries of Medicine, University of Utah–Salt Lake City, received the 2017 Marcia C. Noyes Award at MLA ’17 in Seattle, Washington.

As has become tradition, MedChi sent a bouquet of flowers to Ms. Shipman, as did the physicians to Marcia when she was the librarian here.

Shipman launched her professional career in 1980 at the Welch Medical Library, Johns Hopkins University. In 1981, she joined the Maryland Association of Health Sciences Librarians, and since that time, she has been robustly active in service to the health sciences librarianship community of practice.

With a career spanning over thirty-five years, Shipman has proved to be a remarkably effective advocate for the profession, as evinced by the leadership positions she has held on behalf of MLA. She joined MLA in 1984 and began holding leadership positions at the national level in 1992, when she served as chair of the Ida and George Eliot Prize Jury.

Since then, she has held at least seven elected or appointed leadership positions, including, but not limited to, 1998–2001 cochair of the 2001 National Program Committee, member of the 1999–2002 Board of Directors and secretary of the Board of Directors from 2000–2002, 2001–2002 chair of the Informationist Conference Task Force, 2006/07 MLA president, 2007/08 chair of the MLA Nominating Committee, and 2011–2014 Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) associate editor, Building Projects. Additionally, Shipman was awarded MLA Fellowship in 2009.

Her passion for the profession is evident in her words and actions. Shipman’s leadership of the National Library of Medicine (NLM)/MLA Health Information Literacy Project has had a positive and enduring impact on patients and health sciences librarians. Many libraries used the tools that the project developed to bring information literacy resources and health literacy concerns to health care professionals, improving patient education activities and interdisciplinary cooperation.

Shipman has devoted her life to innovation in health sciences librarianship, making impactful and durable contributions through service to the profession and through research, scholarship, and applied practice initiatives in the areas of scholarly communications, library space planning, health information literacy, hospital librarianship, mentoring and leadership, and the evolution of new roles for health sciences librarians. Like Marcia C. Noyes, Shipman models the professional and personal characteristics that honor the enduring principles of health sciences librarianship.

We received the nicest thank you note from Ms Shipman and hope to meet her the next time she’s in Baltimore. Thanks to Jean Shipman for carrying on the tradition of excellence started by Marcia Crocker Noyes when she came to the Medical & Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland in 1896.

Thanks to the Medical Library Association News for the article on Jean Shipman. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Our Marcia

With the 50th anniversary of the classic album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, this week, we decided to take another look at the cover. Seriously, it’s probably been about 49 years since we last looked, but with all of the publicity about the album, we gave it a re-listen and checked the cover again.

We knew that one-time Baltimore resident, Edgar Allan Poe, was on the cover, but taking a second look, we were shocked to see our own Marcia Noyes among the luminaries! 

See if you can find Marcia!

Monday, May 8, 2017

The 8th Annual Hunt History of Maryland Medicine Lecture

Please join MedChi and the Center for a Healthy Maryland
for the
8th Annual Thomas E. Hunt, Jr. MD
History of Maryland Medicine Lecture

Nancy McCall, Archivist
The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Thursday, June 29th, 2017
MedChi's Osler Hall
Reception: 5:45 p.m.
Lecture: 6:15 p.m.

Free & Paid Parking is available in the immediate vicinity

Please RSVP by June 25 to 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

MedChi's Pre-1900 Medical Journals Are Now Digitized

MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, is pleased to announce that 65 volumes of the Maryland Medical Journal, from 1878 to 1899, have been digitized and are now available to the public in a fully searchable version. Twentieth century medical journals from all 50 states are being digitized as part of a national project, but MedChi’s medical journal was founded in 1878, and the decision was made to privately fund the digitization of the nineteenth century volumes. Please click HERE to see the digital versions. 

In the 1800’s, the Maryland Medical Journal was published Medical & Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, now known as MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society. Each weekly issue was 50 to 70 pages long and featured articles on medical advances, papers on specific diseases and cures, obituaries of physicians from around the world, and news, notes and anecdotes.
The digital versions of these early medical journals will be invaluable to scholars, medical historians and genealogists, as the volumes are fully searchable by name, topic and other criteria and are available through

Digitization was done through, a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to books, movies, music, and 284 billion archived web pages, at its location in Beltsville, Maryland. Funding for the project was provided by Dr. Mario Molina, a member of MedChi.

This project has taken a while, but literally, now our journals will be available forever!

Monday, March 6, 2017


Are you friends with MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society on FaceBook? If you aren't, you should be, and if you are, you might have seen our #TBT (Throw-Back Thursday) photographs.

Each Thursday, we post a picture and an explanation of it. We are hoping to share with our followers some of the items that are in our archives. Here are some of the recent entries!

MedChi's HQ building two months into its construction in 1909. You can see our other building just to the right.

Detail of the old school building.

An early HQ building on Calvert Street.

Harvey Cushing's bookplate.

Hopkins in the early years.

I hope that you will follow MedChi on Facebook, if only to see what we're "throwing back."

Monday, February 20, 2017

Library Hand

Have you ever heard of "Library Hand", the uniform style of handwriting used in card catalogues?
I just learned of it this weekend in the amazing Atlas Obscura, a website of all things wild and wonderful. 

It was created in the 1880's before typewriters became a common office machine. Handwriting at that time was full of flourishes and swoops, and totally unsuitable for a library's card catalogue. 

After much discussion, a hand which featured “a slight back-hand, with regular round letters apart from each other, and not shaded” was selected as the standard for cards. The emphasis was on legibility and not haste, so hand-writing out the cards took an incredible amount of time. 

In MedChi's card catalogue, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of hand-written cards, including many in Marcia Noyes' handwriting which looks very similar to library hand! 
It's always fun to find something new. Here's the link to the original Atlas Obscura article.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

Please accept all of our very best wishes for a wonderful Valentine's Day!
We love that you read our blog!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hayden: The Man & The Mineral

While most people know Horace H. Hayden 

as the founder of the first dental school in America, he's got another claim to fame!

Dr. Hayden was one of the founders of the Maryland Academy of Sciences and served as its president in 1825. In 1820, as a pioneer geologist and botanist, he published the first general work on geology to be printed in the United States. 

He discovered the mineral called Haydenite, obviously named after him. It's only been found in one place: the Jones Falls Valley which bisects Baltimore City. There have always been quarries along the Jones Falls, including one at Bare Hills. The specific quarry where Haydenite was found is at the intersection of the Jones Falls and Stoney Run, somewhere around North Avenue and Maryland Avenue.

Haydenite is an orange to golden brown chabazite with scalenohedral modifications and showing contact twinning. The chemical make up of Haydenite is (Ca,K2,Na2)2[Al2Si4O12]2 · 12H2O

The portrait of Dr. Hayden at the top of the page is by Rembrandt Peale, a famed Baltimore painter. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Thomas Cromwell Corner, Portrait Artist

Have you ever heard of Thomas Cromwell Corner? You might not know who he is, but if you've ever visited MedChi, you've surely seen his work. 
Sir William Osler, MD

Cromwell was born in Baltimore in 1865 and attended Baltimore City College. He attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and the Art Students League in New York. He also studied in Paris at Acadêmie Jullian. 
George Warner Miltenberger, MD *

When he returned to Baltimore in 1892, he became one of the city's leading portraitists, beginning with the city's leading businessmen and then moving on to the top physicians. 
Henry Mills Hurd, MD

Corner was on the committee to help establish an art museum, and when the Baltimore Museum of Art opened in 1915, he became one of its Trustees, bridging the gap between the museum and the art community.
William Travis Howard, MD

MedChi is fortunate to own five of Corner's paintings, all shown here. 
Clement Clark, MD

There is a book, of which only 190 copies were privately printed, which is the catalogue raisonné of the works of Thomas Cromwell Corner. MedChi was fortunate to recently acquire a copy for our library. 

* I must confess that the portrait of Dr. Miltenberger is my favorite of all of the portraits.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Tom Cullen of Baltimore

Over the weekend, I read the book "Tom Cullen of Baltimore" by Judith Robinson. It's a semi-autobiography of Dr. Thomas S. Cullen (1868-1953), who studied gynecology under Dr. Howard Kelly at Johns Hopkins, arriving in Baltimore in 1891. The book was written in 1946, several years before Cullen's death. 

Before serving as the gyn resident under Dr. Kelly, Cullen spent three years in the pathology lab, studying various gynecological tissues and learning about the causes of diseases which affected women. He was a prolific writer, publishing four academic texts, numerous articles, and several monographs, including one on the history of MedChi and one on his close friend, Max Broedel, who engraved Cullen's bookplate. 

As I said, the book is semi-autobiographical, featuring long passages and personal anecdotes from Dr. Cullen. After he reached Hopkins' mandatory retirement age of 70, Dr. Cullen was active in Baltimore and around Maryland. Among other things, he chaired the Pratt Library for ten years, was the head of the Maryland State Health Commission and the Chesapeake Bay Commission. In the 1940's, he advocated for oystermen to farm oysters, and even conducted a pilot project for 10 years. 

Cullen lived most of his life in Baltimore in the Mount Vernon section of the city. One passage in the book reflected his love of the city (and mine as well!). 
Charles Street in certain lights can revert. The sky clears after a storm, the day thins and recedes. Along Charles Street, Baltimore is again the Baltimore Tom Cullen knew in youth; the town whose portrait is engraved in old prints, withdrawing in mannerly perspective before the eye of the beholder, accepting with happy serenity of the well-proportioned the homage of regard. It was so, coming to Eager Street on a remembered evening. 
New snow on the sills and cornices laid soft-edged accents below and above the ordered rows of lighted windows. The west was blue-green over the gas lamps of the climbing cross streets, the east pale with reflected brightness. Against it on the far hilltop a dome showed - small and dark beyond the balustrade of Mount Vernon Place and the lines of lights falling away and lifting again - the lanterned dome of Johns Hopkins. Tom Cullen broke a silence that was long for him.
"I love this old town," he said.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Osler Hall Refreshed!

When Brooke Buckley, M.D. was inaugurated as President of MedChi, she hosted a Silent Auction to raise funds for the refreshment of Osler Hall. Two of our board members kindly matched those and other funds which were donated. Over the Christmas holiday break, we undertook a sprucing up of Osler Hall, to much acclaim!

The main steps to the refreshment were:

  • Painting the room in a warmer color
  • Adding a chair rail
  • Adding trim to the doors
  • Painting the dais
  • Purchasing new tables and chairs
  • Rehanging and adding paintings.
There were about eight paintings in Osler Hall, with Sir William Osler as the centerpiece behind the dais. We brought up paintings from the basement lunchroom and added them, gallery-style, to Osler Hall. We hired a professional art installation specialist to hang the artwork.
In addition to updating to a gallery-style room, we also bought new tables and chairs! I had found a picture of Osler Hall in the early 1960's, complete with ashtrays and the tables we're still using. We bought tables with wheels which will save a lot of time and effort by the staff who frequently has to reconfigure the room. The chairs we bought are actually comfortable, and slightly wider than the original ones. 

Osler Hall was christened on Monday, January 9th for the first meeting of the 2017 Legislative Council. 

During a break, the entire group gathered for a ribbon-cutting and nice round of applause for the donors who made the refreshment possible!

We are continuing the tradition of honoring our past while working for a better future for citizens of Maryland.