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!