Monday, December 30, 2019

Centenary of the Death of Sir William Osler, MD

It was December 30, 1919 when the news arrived in Baltimore that Sir William Osler, MD, had died in Oxford the previous day. His health had been declining since the death of his beloved son, Revere, in August of 1917, during WWI. 
After Revere's death, Sir William continued to work cataloging his library, and on textbook revisions. He made sure to keep busy, so he wouldn't dwell on this tragedy. 
In the summer of 1919, he got bronchitis, and several months later, he came down with what was probably influenza. The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 was waning, but not over. 

At the annual meeting of the Medical & Chirurgical Faculty, Sir William was honored on the occasion of his 70th birthday, and the Faculty sent a cable to him:
"The Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland, in session, unanimously extends "The Chief" on his 70th anniversary, greetings, congratulations and love."
Throughout his illness, he kept up his correspondences with friends around the world, including his friends at the Faculty. He knew his time was short, and he began making lists for the disposition of special items, all bestowed with special notes indicating why he was sending them.

In November of 1919, Sir William had contracted pneumonia, and was in serious condition. 
In mid-December, news came in that Sir William was on the mend. 
But by December 26, it was reported that Sir William had had surgery for empyema, which is usually associated with pneumonia. 
Sir William died at 4:30 on the afternoon of December 29, 1919. His passing was described by some lines by Shelly, which he once quoted in a letter to the Editor of the Spectator: 

Mild is the slow necessity of death:
The tranquil spirit falls beneath its grasp,
Without a groan, almost without a fear,
Resigned in peace to the necessity;
Calm as a voyager to some distant land;
And fill of wonder, full of hope as he.

Word of his death made the front page of the Baltimore Sun on Tuesday, December 30, with a long article, and a large photograph. 
His death was blamed, in part, on a train strike in the UK, which caused him to make a two-day car trip from Oxford to Glasgow, Scotland. On the drive, he caught a cold, which lead to pneumonia and his eventual death. 

Osler’s body lay in the Lady Chapel, Christ Church, until the afternoon of January 1, 1920, when the service was read. The same day, at many places throughout the world, similar services took place. In Baltimore, at Old St. Paul’s Church, the Rev. Almon Abbott  preached the funeral sermon. 

A call was put out to physicians and friends in Baltimore to attend the service which was held just a few blocks south of Osler's former home on the corner of Franklin and Charles Streets. 

On January 13, 1920, a memorial service was held at the Faculty, where Sir William had served as President in 1896, and where he was instrumental in establishing its medical library and much more. 
By March of 1920, Dr. Harvey Cushing, a close friend of Sir William's, had been chosen by Lady Osler to write the biography of her husband. The two-volume book went on to win a Pulitzer Prize. Cushing was also present when Revere Osler died in France. 

Sir William and Lady Grace Osler are both interred at the Osler Library at McGill University in Montreal. 
Sir William Osler, MD
July 12, 1849 - December 29, 1919

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Happy Holidays!

From All of Us at MedChi and 
the Center for a Healthy Maryland
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

John Dabour, Artist

Dr. Allan Jensen recently shared an article from the University of Rochester's Review Magazine. It was from the "Ask the Archivist" columnist about a painting in their collection, one Azariah Boody. What struck me was that MedChi has two portraits by the same artist... John Dabour.
Dabour, as he signs his paintings, was born in Turkey in 1837, and trained in Paris. He emigrated to Baltimore, year unknown. By the 1870's, he was receiving commissions for some of Baltimore's more well-known citizens, including Johns Hopkins and Daniel Coit Gilman. Although we have a painting of Gilman in our collection, it's not by Dabour. 

Our two paintings are Dr. John Hawkins Patterson
and Dr. Charles Frick. 
Unlike the painting at Rochester, which is a pastel over a photograph, ours both appear to be paintings on their own.

While there are pages of biographical and laudatory information, as well as a good biography on Charles Frick
in the Medical Annals of Maryland Medicine, there is scant mention of John Patterson, who barely gets four lines!

Most of the information we have on Dr. Patterson comes from an article in the Maryland Medical Journal about the presentation of this painting to the Faculty by his daughter in 1907. 

In this piece, it is mentioned that the painting is by "well-known artist, J. Dabour."

Monday, December 2, 2019

Ellen Emmet Rand & MedChi

Last week, I was showing the artist, Sam Robinson around MedChi's collection of portraits, and when we stopped to more closely examine one, he realized it was by an artist named Ellen Emmet Rand (1875-1941).
A month or so ago, Sam had shown me a catalogue from the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg, Virginia. It was about an exhibition of Ellen Emmet Rand's work painting fox hunters and the sporting life in the early 1900's. The exhibition, Leading the Field: Ellen Emmet Rand, will be open until March of 2020.
Rand studied at the Cowles Art School in Boston and the Art Students League in New York, and established a studio in New York in 1900. She was mainly known as a painter of portraits of socialites, industrialists and children. 

In the mid-1930's, Rand painted the official portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and in 1936, a solo exhibition of her sporting art was held at the Sporting Gallery & Bookshop in New York City. 

In addition to sportsmen, she also painted at least one physician, the Faculty's Dr. Louis McLane Tiffany.
Dr. Tiffany attended Cambridge in England and received his medical degree from the University of Maryland. As the Annals of Medicine in Maryland puts it:
He was ambidextrous and a most graceful operator. His lectures were always delivered informally, sitting on the rail of the amphitheater in a conversational manner, and without a logical sequence of subjects but interesting and impressive because of his experience and personality.
In 1878, Tiffany became the VP of the Faculty and then was President in 1878-79 and again in 1880-81. He died in October of 1916. 

As always, I continue to find new pieces and great stories every time I explore our offices!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Everyone at MedChi!
We hope that you are able to celebrate with all of your friends!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Stonestreet Museum of 19th Century Medicine

On Saturday, October 26, the Stonestreet Museum of 19th Century Medicine will re-open in Rockville, Maryland. 
Dr. Edward Elisha Stonestreet of Rockville, graduated from the University of Maryland medical school. He served as one of the town’s doctors until his death in 1903. During the fifty-one years of Dr. Stonestreet’s practice, medical knowledge and technology underwent many radical changes. 
During 1862–1863, Dr. Stonestreet served with the U.S. Army as an Acting Assistant Surgeon (Contract Surgeon). During late 1862 and early 1863, he treated the living wounded after the Battle of Antietam in a temporary Army General Hospital, in Rockville, while they were en-route from Frederick, MD to long term care in new Army pavilion style, state-of-the-art, hospitals in Washington, DC, and in Alexandria, VA. During the first half of 1863, Dr. Stonestreet attended the ill soldiers of the 6th Michigan Cavalry Regiment prior to their involvement in the Battle of Gettysburg.
The Stonestreet Museum contains a small office vignette, and changing exhibits that highlight our extensive 19th and early 20th century medical collections including books, instruments and tools, pharmaceutical items, and more.
The office was originally situated in the front yard of the Stonestreet home on East Montgomery Avenue. Some years after the doctor’s death the office was moved to the Rockville fairgrounds (now the site of Richard Montgomery High School), and it was thus spared demolition during the city’s urban renewal project in the mid 20th century. In 1972, Dr. Stonestreet’s office was donated to the Montgomery County Historical Society and moved to the grounds of the Beall-Dawson House.
A book about Dr. Stonestreet, "Send for the Doctor" was written by Clarence Hickey, who portrays Dr. Stonestreet at the Museum and at Civil War events around the region, is available, here. You can read the Historic Buildings & Architecture Survey report here

Monday, September 16, 2019

Jewish Baltimore by Gilbert Sandler

I happened upon a copy of the late (great) Gilbert Sandler's book, "Jewish Baltimore" the other day.
Of course, the first thing I did was to check the index for names I recognized. In a section about schools, I saw a listing for School No. 49. I was not surprised, as I'd heard it referred to as the "Jewish Private School."

Here is the section on School No. 49. Click on each image to enlarge.

Even all these years later, School No. 49's legacy continues in Baltimore. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Podcasts on Medical History

Luckily, my commute to work averages less than ten minutes, and on a good day, it's even shorter (but not by much!). So, it's pretty hard for me to listen to podcasts on my commute. As soon as I get involved and up to speed, I arrive home. 

However, I do make a longer drive about every two weeks, but lose radio reception pretty quickly. I have discovered a series of podcasts that I really enjoy - and many of them have medical topics.
The BBC World Service, which is home to high quality radio, broadcasts a series called The Forum. There is a host and generally three guests who are experts on the week's topic. The guests are leading thinkers, academics, artists, philosophers or writers.

I first heard The Forum last year when I was driving around England. They were doing a deep dive into Moby Dick
I was immediately hooked and have been listening to it ever since. Locally, it's broadcast on WYPR-HD's BBC channel at 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays.

As I mentioned, there is a serious and scientific aspect to these shows, each of which lasts about 45 minutes. Some of the medical topics have included:
Other recent topics are Imhotep: The Man Behind the Mummy; James Watt: The Power of Steam; Balloons and How They Changed the World, and many, many more. The show has been broadcasting weekly since 2008, so they have accumulated quite an archive of a vast range of topics.

I hope you'll take a listen, here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Vision: A Biography of Harry Friedenwald

One of our board members recently lent us the book, "Vision: A Biography of Harry Friedenwald" by Alexandra Lee Levin. The Friedenwalds were a prominent Jewish family of physicians here in Baltimore. 

Our hallways are filled with portraits of members of this family: Harry, Aaron, Edgar, and others. In fact, there are so many family members and so many portraits, we're never sure whether we've matched the right name to the right person. (Click the link to see more information on each portrait.)

Edgar again.

As I said, they're a little hard to tell apart, and since they're not labeled, it's even harder!
Vision is the story of a man and his family and the impact this American Jewish family had on the world. From the book's cover, comes this:
From Jonas Friedenwald who crossed the sea in search of political freedom and economic opportunity, to Jonas Friedenwald [not the same one] who enjoyed a worldwide reputation as an ophthalmologist, we have four generations that, as a family, progressively exemplified personal and cultural adjustment, professional achievement, and devotion to public service of the highest order. 
The Friedenwald family led active lives in both the general and the Jewish fields; they were individualists in whom Americanism and Judiasm were harmoniously blended, each aspect enriching the other.
The family were active for decades here at MedChi, serving on numerous committees, as orators, and as presidents of the Faculty. Jonas, Aaron and Harry served as Presidents, and Harry served on the Centennial Committee, which included the publication of The Medical Annals of Medicine, a compendium of the Faculty's first 100 years. 

It is really amazing to read about this incredible American family who did so much in Baltimore over four generations.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Happy Belated Birthday, Sir William

This summer is going by so quickly, that Sir William Osler's 170th birthday on July 12 just blasted by me. But in this special Oslerian year, I wanted to acknowledge it. 

Sir William was born in Bond Head, Ontario, north of Toronto. If you can imagine the territory, NORTH of Ontario in the middle of the 19th century, you might realize what an isolated childhood Osler had. 

He went to school at Trinity College in Ontario after attending local religious schools in the province. He studied medicine at McGill University in Montreal, the place he always considered his spiritual home.
Following several years of travel on "the continent", he returned to Montreal to become a professor of medicine. 

In 1884, Osler left Canada for America, and a professorship of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he stayed for four years.

In 1888, he came to Baltimore to help establish the medical school at Johns Hopkins and become the first physician-in-chief at the newly opened hospital.
His teaching style, based on the European mode of working at the patients' bedside, revolutionized medical education in America. 

At the same time, Osler began work on his seminal book: The Principles and Practice of Medicine, which would remain in print for the next half century. He served as the President of MedChi in 1896, and was responsible for recruiting our long-time librarian, Marcia C. Noyes, and for establishing one of the top medical libraries in the country. 

In 1905, Osler and his family left Baltimore for a new life in Oxford, England,
where he had accepted the position as Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford University. He lived there until his death in December of 1919, 100 years ago. 
Sir William Osler
12 July 1849 – 29 December 1919

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Cultural Exchange: Sheppard Pratt

I recently found out that Sheppard Pratt has a museum, a library and archives. So I contacted the curator/librarian/archivist and made an appointment to visit. 

Many years ago, I had volunteered at SP. Nothing psychiatric, but playing tennis with the teenagers who were in residence. While there, I got a great appreciation of the Victorian-style architecture, designed by Calvert Vaux, who was an associate of Frederick Law Olmsted, who is responsible for the look of some of Baltimore's notable inner suburbs.
While the hospital has greatly changed since I was last there, the bones are still familiar. New buildings have been added, some of the land is now home to "University Village," the dorm community of Towson University. 

While the Museum was small, it was quite charming, with a number of artifacts from Moses Sheppard's life there. His old book cases were still filled with his books, 

his old statistics book was on display, 

and the silver service from the former Nursing school was shining and polished. 

Although the buildings have been extensively renovated over the decades, there are still glimpses of the original details, including this beautiful Victorian tile work.

For many years, Sheppard Pratt advertised in the Maryland Medical Journals (the pre-1900 ones are on-line here), and I remembered that I had scanned one. This is probably from the late 1800's or very early 1900's, and describes the hospital in detailed terms.

My most sincere thanks to Lisa Illum, the curator/librarian/ archivist for spending the morning with me and showing me her treasures!