Saturday, July 31, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 31

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 836

Schulze-Berge & Koechl,
79 Murray Street, New York,
Importers and Sole Licenses for the United States For the Modern Medicinal Products
Of the Farbwerke, Vorm. Meister, Luciuss & Bruning,
Hoechst-on-the-Main, Germany.


Dear Doctor:--

It will probably interest you to learn that the Serum department of the FARBWERKE vorm. MEISTER, LUCIUSS & BRUNING at Hoechst-on-the-Main, Germany, where the original DIPTHERIA ANTITOXINE of PROF. BEHRING is manufactured, is now and has been for some time, under the immediate supervision of the GERMAN GOVERNMENT. Each vial of the serum is not only tested and approved by PROFS. BEHRING and EHRLICH, but as a further guarantee of its reliability is also approved and passed by the government experts before it is put upon the market.

In order to be certain of obtaining the genuine “BEHRING” serum, it will be well to specify DIPHTHERIA ANTITOXINE-“BEHRING” and to observe that each vial bears the label herewith reproduced in fac-simile, which is printed in four different colors in order to distinguish the respective strengths.

Literature will be sent upon application to SCHULZE-BERGE & KOECHL,
Sole Licensees for the United States,
79 Murray Street, New York.

Undated but received July 31, 1895

Friday, July 30, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 30

Office of Geo. W. Knox

Storage Passenger, Freight, and Baggage Express.

Cor. 2d. & B Sts NW

Washington, D.C. July 30th 1887


Surg: J. S. Billings USA

Washington D.C.




Your letter of 28th inst was received by me this A.M. upon my return to the city after an absence of two days.


Arrangements will be made to commence the work of moving to the new Army Med: Museum Bldg. on next Tuesday August 2nd. My wagons will report for duty at 7 AM, as my understanding with Capt. Hoyt was for a full days work from 7 A.M. to 6 P.M.


Will confer with you in person next Monday to make final arrangements.


Respectfully +c

Geo. W. Knox


Thursday, July 29, 2010

PR: NLM "Turning The Pages" Adds Richly Illustrated Japanese Manuscript

NLM "Turning The Pages" Adds Richly Illustrated Japanese Manuscript, Hanaoka Seishu's Influential Surgical Casebook


The National Library of Medicine, the world's largest medical library and an arm of the National Institutes of Health, announces the addition of Hanaoka Seishu's Surgical Casebook ( to its growing collection of virtual books and manuscripts available for thumbing through online via Turning the Pages ( The virtual volume is also available on kiosks in the Library's Visitor Center (Building 38A, first floor) and the History of Medicine Division Reading Room (Building 38, first floor), and marks the continued collaboration of the Library's Lister Hill Center and the History of Medicine Division.


The newest addition to Turning the Pages is a magnificently illustrated manuscript depicting the likenesses of the men and women who came to Hanaoka for treatment in early 19th-century Japan. It is the first in the collection in which users will turn the pages according to Japanese custom, right to left.



Hanaoka Seishu (1760-1835) was a pioneering Japanese surgeon who was the first to use general anesthesia to remove tumors from cancer patients. The images in the Surgical Casebook are colorful, often charming, and depict quite graphically the medical and surgical problem to be treated.



Hanaoka studied both traditional Chinese-style medicine and Western-style surgical techniques. At age 25, he took over the family business and began to practice an eclectic style of medicine that combined these two traditions. He was greatly concerned with his inability to treat cancer patients, and over a period of 20 years he developed an herbal concoction he called "mafutsusan," made up of several highly toxic plants. It did not include opium derivatives which European doctors were only beginning to identify as anesthetics. The narcotic effects of Hanaoka's anesthetic could last as long as 24 hours, allowing him to surgically remove many different kinds of tumors which previously had been inoperable.



Images from the manuscript were selected and curatorial text was written by Dr. Ann Jannetta, Professor Emerita of History at the University of Pittsburgh. The descriptive text can be viewed if one clicks the "T" in the upper left corner of the virtual book page.



Letter of the Day: July 29

Phil: 29.7.63


Mr: J. H. Brinton


Dir (sic) Sir


I send you by returning of mail the priese (sic, price) of Cartoon covord (sic, covered) with Paper as sample. The large size will by (sic, be) $2.00 your priese (sic, price), and the small 24x36 $1.20.



Yours trouly (sic)

Lo. Kaufz


The letter’s note for filing says it’s “relative to canvas covered with paper for artist”


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Intern Project, Excitement, and Art

There is still a lot of work to be done in editing the “Exciting Intern Project”, mostly just adding additional pictures here and there or clarifying explanations. The Google Wiki that we are currently using to create the webpage does not let us play with the images as much as we would like and Liz is looking into a new host site that would provide more flexibility. With Rebecca back at home I will be taking on the transfer as a solo endeavor.

To break up my time working on the Project Liz gave me lecture on excitement written by Dr. Elizabeth Ramsey and a response from Dr. Donald Barron. The lecture talked about the excitement one experiences when they first see something that no one has ever seen before. Dr. Barron recalled images of “Bancroft’s description of the Balyiss and Starling, as excited as school boys when the first drops of bile began to flow after their injection of the extract of the duodenal mucosa”, and of his own excitement at learning of a motor neuron firing through the continuous stimulation of a current. I was glad to be reading about the excitement of others triggered by discoveries/details/things that others would A. be apathetic to or B. find disturbing. This is especially true since my friends are often amused by the “strange” things/concepts that excite me like the recent Neanderthal Genome Project. Ok, I “rewarded” myself for finishing finals (and not procrastinating by reading it early; although, it may have helped on one of my finals if I had) with the May 7th issue of Science on the Neanderthal Genome, so maybe it makes sense that they tease me.

Today Liz gave another lunch time Art lesson, this week drew prosthetics. Hopefully this time you can tell what it is, if not, it’s a prosthetic leg.

"Excitement" by Elizabeth Ramsey

Part of a lecture given at University of Vermont 1983,  Dr. Ramsey's observations about what research is and should be is something all researchers, no matter their field, could take to heart.

The Scientific method is so integral a part of our approach to science nowadays that we do not think of it very often.  It comprises, of course, the two complementary techniques of observation and experimentation and whenever we are confronted by a problem to be solved or a question to be answered, we automatically take hold of one or the other or both of those tools.  What we do not do is sit down and speculate what may be the answer or might be or would be logical if it were.  Nor do we consult ancient tomes by long dead "authorities" to find support and justification for our supposings.  Such arm chair research is an anathema to modern science.  What we want are facts; hard, objectively demonstrable facts.  And on the basis of them we achieve our triumph and excitement.

Letter of the Day: July 28

Fort Hamilton, N.Y.H.

28th July, 1879


The Surgeon General,

U.S. Army,

Washington, D.C.




 I have the honor respectfully to report that the following specimens were this day turned over by me to the Post Quartermaster for transportation to your office for the Army Medical Museum, namely:


Cholera morbus

No. 1. Heart from body of Pvt Maurice Ashe, C, 3d Artillery, showing advance fatty degeneration

No. 2. Tumor from mesentery, lying just below coeliaac axis, from same. Probably Scirrhus cancer.



No. 3. Aneurism of arch of aorta, rupturing into left bronchus, from body of Serg’t Edward Finley “L” 3d artillery.

No. 4 Upper lobe of left lung, from same, showing consolidation, with calcareous deposits.


Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant.

J.C.G. Happersett

Surgeon, U.S. Army

Post Surgeon


Rec. Ack. And turned over to Dr. Woodward Aug. 2, 1879.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

John's Last Blog - July 27

Over the course of this summer I have learned a lot while working at the Human Developmental Anatomy Center (HDAC). It has been an interesting experience working here as an intern; I have never before worked a 7-8 hour day with the exception of school. During my time here I was assigned a variety of projects. Some of the things I did were creating games relating to the topic of embryology, tying packages to ensure they would not come open when transferred, and in the spare time reading about embryology. One of the things I learned while doing all this is what embryology actually is - the study of the developmental process. I was able to learn things I never knew and things that were not taught in school. I appreciate the guidance of my mentor and her assistant along with the help provided from the other interns. Ultimately, I enjoyed working at HDAC and am saddened as this is my last day and last blog.

Letter of the Day: July 27 - early radiology?

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1622


July 27, 1896


Queen & Co., Inc.,

1010 Chestnut St.,

Philadelphia, Pa.




Please forward to the Army Medical Museum at your earliest convenience, with bill: 1 Fluorescent screen, 11” x 14”, (tungstate of calcium) for use in contact with plate for lessening time of exposure – the screen to be made as fine as possible to prevent granulation.


Very respectfully,

D.L. Huntington

Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army,

In charge of Museum and Library Division.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 26

American Museum of Natural History,

Central Park, (77th St. & 8th Ave.)

New York, July 26 1880


Genl. Geo. A. Otis.


Esteemed Sir.

Will you have the kindness to send me a copy of the “List of Specimens in the Anatomical Section of the Army Medical Museum. 1880.” Prefer a copy bound in cloth.


I am Sir, with respect,

Very Truly Yours,

James Terry


Pl address corr above.

Who is Walter Reed?

Walter Reed was born in Virginia in 1851.  In 1869, after a year of medical school, Reed graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in medicine. He then studied at Bellevue Medical Hospital in New York.  He joined the Army Medical Corps in 1875 and spent most of the next two decades at frontier posts, but did post-graduate education at Johns Hopkins and other places.  In 1893, Reed began serving as curator of the Army Medical Museum and professor of bacteriology and clinical microscopy at the Army Medical School.  As part of the Surgeon General's Office staff in Washington, Reed was assigned to investigate typhoid fever in 1898 and then yellow fever a year later. 



Reed spent the war studying typhoid fever.  In 1899 during the wake of the Spanish-American War, Reed and Dr. James Carroll (also of the Army Medical Museum) investigated the bacteria thought to cause the disease and concluded that it did not.  In May 1900, Reed headed the Yellow Fever Board, investigating the cause of the fever.  The team, including Reed and Carroll also included Dr. Jesse Lazear and Cuban-born probably-immune Dr. Aristides Agramonte.  The men who all knew each other convened at Columbia Barracks near Havana, Cuba.  Their first accomplishment was to again rule out the recently-proposed bacterial theory. After a prison outbreak when one prisoner was infected and died but the eight other prisoners were not infected, Reed suggested a method of transmission by mosquitoes, which were already known to transmit malaria.  Finlay was contacted and provided mosquitoes for testing and Dr. Lazear, who had previously worked with mosquitoes, began experiments in a lab at the Barracks with them while Reed returned to Washington to finish the Typhoid Board's report.  Since no animals were known to get the fever, the Yellow Fever Board concluded that the ethical experiment would be to try to infect themselves. By having a mosquito bite them, Lazear successfully infected Dr. Carroll and a volunteer soldier named Pvt. William Dean in August.  Lazear though may also have been testing himself for he was infected and died on September 25, 1900.  He had reported being bitten by accident in Havana, but his notes implied he might have experimented on himself; Reed was not sure if Lazear was infected accidentally or purposefully, but accepted the accidental theory.  Lazear's notebooks enabled Reed to study the data Lazear compiled when he returned from the States.  Transmission by mosquito was obvious to the Board at that point and Reed reported that they were the cause in October - after 5 months of work, not a year as stated in the movie.  The Washington Post called the hypothesis "the silliest beyond compare," but in November, Camp Lazear was established as a quarantine site to prove the theory beyond a doubt.    Fourteen American soldiers volunteered and recent Spanish immigrants were hired using the first "informed consent" form.  Private John Kissinger was the first to get the fever, and Charles Sontag, the last. No one in the experiment died, Spanish or American. Congress eventually authorized gold medals for the American volunteers.   Using volunteers, the team also tested the fomite theory with articles fouled with the effusions from yellow fever victims including the dead men's clothes (although they were allowed to eat outside).  This theory was proven wrong - "burst like a bubble" in Reed's words.


            Reed realized that the Aedes aegypti  mosquito (which has been renamed three times) carried yellow fever but only under certain conditions.  The female mosquito must bite a yellow fever victim during the first three days of an attack, incubate the virus in its body for at least twelve days and then bite another person to pass on the disease.  Reed's team was the first to prove the mechanics of infection of yellow fever.  Since there was no cure or vaccine, soldiers continued to die from the disease, but Gorgas' mosquito control efforts meant by the summer of 1901, Havana was free of yellow fever.  This discovery enabled the United States to essentially eradicate yellow fever within its borders after one last epidemic in New Orleans in 1905.  In Panama, William Gorgas was able to suppress the disease so the Panama Canal could be built, although he was able to use methods such as oiling water so the mosquitoes suffocated. The disease proved easy to conquer because the Aedes aegypti mosquito is an urban mosquito and breeds only in small pools of stagnant water such as fish ponds or even flower jars.  Although a vaccine was developed in the 1930s, yellow fever is still prevalent in tropical climes due to both a different mosquito vector and the fact that jungle yellow fever, as it is occasionally known, can live in monkeys as well as human hosts.


Reed died in 1902, of appendicitis, at Washington Barracks hospital, now on Fort McNair in the District. The hospital named in his honor opened in 1909, and the Museum he headed is open to the public on its grounds until the hospital closes and the Museum moves in 2011.




Sunday, July 25, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 25

Nunda, N.Y. July 25 /85
Hon. Geo A Otis
Asst Surgeon USA

My dear Sir

Please send me four sep slips of the printed history of my wound. I refer to Nos. 167, 168, 169, 170 + 186 – my photographs in your Department. You promised me them.

Very Respectfully Your Obedient Servant,
Rowland Ward
Nunda N.Y.

Here's the photographs and printed history that Ward referred to:


Surgical Photos
SP #
167-170, 186

Title (Caption)









Additional Photos In Series
SP 167-170; CP 1145-50


SURG I, P. 373.

Date of Injury
25 AUG 1864

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Galileo's bones go on display

A Museum Display of Galileo Has a Saintly Feel
Published: July 22, 2010

A Florence museum, renamed for Galileo, is exhibiting newly recovered bits of his body as if they were the relics of an actual saint.

Dengue fever, mosquito-borne disease, found in US first time since 1934

Dengue Fever? What About It, Key West Says
Published: July 23, 2010
Floridians are unsettled by the disease’s impact, and the way the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has publicized it.

Letter of the day, July 24

We still have this painting in our collection, although it's been on long-term loan to the National Gallery of Art. Which might give you the idea it's probably worth more than $350.00.

Army Medical Museum
War Department
Washington, D.C.

July 24, 1936.

MEMORANDUM for the Executive Office, S.G.O.:

1. You will note from the attached letter that the Museum has been left a legacy consisting of a portrait of the first curator, Dr. John H. Brinton, Surgeon, U.S. Volunteers. It is very appropriate that this portrait should hang in the Museum and we will be very glad to receive it. Such a portrait is of great sentimental value to the Museum but it probably would have little monetary value in the open market, although it is valued at $350.00 in the letter.

2. An opinion is desired from the Judge-Advocate General's Department as to our legal right to accept this legacy and as to whether or not the Museum would be required to pay the Pennsylvania inheritance tax.

[signed] Hugh R. Gilmore, Jr.
Captain, Medical Corps, U.S.A.
Acting Curator


Friday, July 23, 2010

Who is George Otis?

Dr. George Otis must be regarded as one of the mainstays of the Museum. He served for 17 years until his early death at 50 in 1881. Under his direction, the second, much larger Catalogue of the Army Medical Museum and the Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion were published, as well as many shorter monographs. Over 100 years after his death, Otis has become something of a cipher. His personal life is hard to trace. He married Pauline Baury in 1850. They had three children, Agnes Pauline, Anna Maria, and Alfred Louis, but only the girls seem to have survived to adulthood. His wife apparently died as well, since in 1869 he married Genevieve Poe and later disinherited her for abandonment. Thousands of pages of his official correspondence exist, but the formal style of the nineteenth century gives little feeling for the man. We can turn instead to his friends. Otis is described by his colleague J.J. Woodward as, "Hesitating, often embarrassed in his manner in ordinary conversation, especially with strangers, he became eloquent when warmed by the discussion of any topic in which he took interest." Otis was born in Boston on November 12, 1830. His father died before his first birthday and his mother returned with her son to her native Virginia. Otis had an undistinguished career at Princeton, preferring to read French literature instead of the assigned material. He returned to Virginia and privately studied in Richmond. He received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in April, 1851. He spent the rest of that year and the next studying in Paris. A coup d'etat gave him the opportunity to begin a first-hand study of military medicine. He returned to Virginia in spring 1852 and the next year began the Virginia Medical and Surgical Journal. The Journal, in competition with the Stethoscope, was not a financial success. Otis sold a partial interest to Dr. James McCaw and moved to Springfield, Massachusetts but maintained his connection as corresponding editor. McCaw later became known for his organization of Chimbarozo Hospital in Richmond for the Confederacy. Otis enlisted as a surgeon in the 27th Massachusetts Volunteers to particpate in the war. He moved over to the regular army as the war continued and joined the Museum staff in 1864.

Otis wrote the first two volumes of the Surgical Section of the Medical & Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion as well as curating the collection of bones. He also oversaw the Division of Surgical Records. Otis supervised or created four photographic collections, the Surgical, Medical, Microscopical and Anatomical, which loosely paralleled the arrangement of the Museum. The Medical Series photographs, a very small run, consists of now little-used pictures of colons made by Woodward, who during the war was looking for physical clues to the cause of disease, especially the "alvine fluxes" or dysentery and diarrhea. Woodward also took thousands of Microscopical Series photographs in which he experimented with photomicrographs using artificial lights and specialized stains. Otis's Anatomical Series photographs compared skulls of aboriginal people throughout the world. This work stemmed from an arrangement with Secretary Joseph Henry of the Smithsonian Institution, under which the Army Medical Museum became the government's home for human anthropological remains while the Smithsonian handled cultural remains. Otis had plans for a larger publication (probably like the Surgical Photographs) and began compiling a checklist of the specimens which was published for the 1876 Centennial. The Army was not interested in funding this project though, and most of the photographs and remains were returned to the Smithsonian some years after Otis's death. Otis was also an accomplished surgeon and performed the difficult amputation at the hipjoint on Julius Fabry, removing the infected remains of his femur. Fabry survived for many years after the second operation.

Otis stayed with the Museum through a stroke in 1877 until his death in 1881. He continued working on Museum projects even after the stroke made him an invalid.

Letter of the Day: July 23

Surgeon General’s Office

Washington City, D.C.

July 23d 1866


Prof. H.L. Smith


Dear Sir,


Yours of the 19th came duly to hand and I thank you very much for the growing slides. They are very ingenious and I shall value them the more as being your work. You know that the whole energy of the microscopic labor under my direction is directed towards Pathology and I only turned to the Diatomacea as test objects in developing the photographic process which we are using with the most complete success on the tissues. Still as I feel we have mastered the whole matter of microphotography, I should be glad to photograph a few more diatoms by way of showing those who are not interested in Pathology how good and reliable our process is and of inducing them to use it also. Should you therefore care to take the trouble of sending us a few specimens of carefully selected single diatoms for the Museum, we would in the course of the summer and fall undertake their photography, and cheerfully furnish you copies of our results. I think Wales really a clever young man. He has made me a number of pieces of apparatus, which with rare exceptions have given perfect satisfaction. His photographic 4/10, 1/8 and amplified leave little to be desired further. I have just received from him a 1/5 for photography, which however I have not tried. All of these lenses are made on Rutherford’s formula and can only be satisfactorily used for vision when illuminated with violet light. He is now making me a 1/16 on the same principle, from which I expect great things. He has improved enormously since I first knew him.  In fact in /62 I saw lenses of his in the hands of various parties and regarded them as very inferior. It was not until 1864 that he began to make work of the highest class and I do not think that at present he would claim even to have made a 1/16 of the best quality. Barnard objects to his 4/10 that it is really a ¼ and so perhaps it is, but it is the habit of nearly all opticians to misstate the power of their lenses and I find his run quite parallel in nomenclature to those of Smith + Beck and other English opticians.


I am, Sincerely,

signedd. J.J. Woodward

Bvt. Maj. and Ass’t. Surg. U.S.A.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 22


Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1604


July 22, 1896


Sister Beatrice,


Providence Hospital,

Washington, D.C.


Sister Beatrice:


I return herewith four of the registers showing admissions etc., to Providence Hospital under your charge. The other two, being those at present in use at the Hospital, I returned yesterday by messenger, as I feared their retention by me might inconvenience you. I hope they reached you safely.


Please accept my sincere thanks for your kindness in permitting me the use of these records, which will, I hope, be of some service to me in an investigation regarding malarial fever at Fort Myer, Va., and Washington Barracks, D.C., which the Surgeon General has directed me to make.


Very respectfully,

Walter Reed

Surgeon, U.S. Army,


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Moulage kit

Jim Curley aka "niceguy", showed me some cool stuff from his historical collection,
its always fun to interact with Jim, he knows his stuff... as you walk into hammond hall the 12"floor to ceiling stacks of out of date medical instruments from the banal to bizarre in powder blue cabinets, labeled with wierd notes like... stop playing with this stuff or you'll go blind...
you start to have expectations of seeing something extrooordinary (said like the monarch) This moulage kit was from the 50's, my favorite inside is the atomic burn face. probably unlikey to
encounter this ever, but at least i know what to look for. doubt you could help that victim out unless its just sunburn and then you can hand em a can of cocoabutter.
Thanks to Jim C
NC out

Moulage kit from the museums historical collection

Moulage kit

[Insert Epic Title Here]

Today is my last day at the museum. I refuse to say things like “It is with mixed emotions that I write today…” or anything else sappy or staid. The saddest part of all this is that I will have to give up my temporary AFIP badge at the end of the day, although I do plan to try my hardest to sweet talk them into voiding it and letting me keep it. This internship has been great and I learned a lot more about embryology than I ever thought I would in my entire lifetime.

On a happier note, the exciting intern project is almost finished – for real this time! We are still waiting on permission for one photo and need to edit the credits and such, but all the info is there and it looks good. We’ve been looking through the teratology collection at HDAC and found some great images to put up as well. I’m glad I won’t have to leave Sarah with tons of clean-up work to get the website working.

Today Liz is having a lunchtime class on medical drawing, which I plan to grace with my terrible artistic skills. She showed me some of the specimens we will be sketching and it looks like it will be interesting. Maybe Sarah and I can post some of our sketches after the class. We will probably also have to explain what the sketches are supposed to depict, since my drawing of a gangrenous foot will likely be confused with the skull with an arrow through its eye.

So goodbye to everyone at the museum and whomever may be reading this blog (I suspect just Mike and my parents)! I hope to read about more exciting things to come from the museum in the future.


Sarah and I completed the sketching class and came back with two masterpieces. Sarah drew a 1959 Army medical model of a broken femur that could be strapped to a leg in a mock trauma situation. In her defense, the model itself was very amorphous and if you saw it in person the sketch would make sense. Maybe. I drew a gangrenous, frostbitten plastinated foot. I am thinking about framing it and giving it to my parents as an anniversary gift. I will judge where it is placed in the house as how much they love me.

Overall, the class was very successful and informative. Some of the students left with incredible (but extremely disgusting) drawings. Others, like myself, left with indistinguishable sketches, but this was certainly no fault of the instructor. Liz gave all the help she possibly could to salvage our sketches, but they were doomed like the Titanic the second Sarah and I held pencils.

Letter of the Day: July 21



3200 A.G.O. 1884.


War Department,

Adjutant General’s Office,

Washington, July 21st, 1884.


The Surgeon General




Referring to your endorsement of the 17th instant, forwarding a communication from Acting Assistant Surgeon H.C. Yarrow submitting suggestions for an  expedition having for its object the collection of Indian skeletons, crania and other material for the Army Medical Museum; I have the honor to inform you that the proposed expedition is approved by the Secretary of War.


A copy of Dr. Yarrow’s letter will be furnished the Commanding General of the Division of the Missouri, with instructions to cause the requisite orders to be given for the necessary escort, transportation and outfit from Fort Douglas, as indicated therein.


I am Sir,

Very respectfully,

Your obedient servant,

(Signed) C. McKeeever

Acting Adjutant General




Official copy respectfully furnished for file in the Army Medical Museum.

By order of the Surgeon General:

D.L. Huntington

Surgeon, U.S. Army.


Surgeon General’s Office,

July 23rd, 1884

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Intern John's Post

Hello. This is my second to last week working as an intern at HDAC. Today our mentor Ms. Lockett and assistant Emily treated us out to lunch at a Chinese restaurant which I very much appreciated. Over the course of this week I have been working on a project to create games and activities that relate to embryology. In entirety I have made 5 games; a word search, crossword puzzle, sliding puzzle, hangman, and word scramble using I have also continued to improve and modify the flashcards that were mentioned in my last post. After finalizing the games and flashcards, I placed them on the HDAC website with the help of Rebecca (another intern working here). So far I’ve enjoyed working here over the summer and have learned a great deal about embryology.

Letter of the Day: July 20 (2 of 2)

Office of Geo. W. Knox

Storage Passenger, Freight, and Baggage Express.

Cor. 2d. & B Sts NW

Washington, D.C. July 20th 1887


Dr. J. S. Billings USA

Army Med: Museum



Dear Sir,


I have been informed by Capt C. H. Hoyt, USA in charge Supply Division &c War Dept. of the acceptance of my proposal for removal of Army Med: Museum from its present quarters to the new Building and that you have been addressed as to the conditions of contract, and will call on me for the transportation as required.


As my teams are often engaged three or four days ahead of the time the work is to be done, I respectfully ask that you give me as much notice of time you will require the wagons, as possible, so that I can arrange for prompt attention to your orders.


Respectfully +c

Geo. W. Knox

Letter of the Day: July 20 (1 of 2)

U.S. Army General Hospital,

McKim’s Mansion,

Baltimore, MD., July 20th 1863


J.H. Brinton

Surgeon U.S. Vol.

Curator Medical Museum.




I have the honor to request that you send me one half barrel spirits for the preservation of morbid specimens.


Very respectfully

Your obt Servant

Lanvington Quick

Surgeon U.S. Vol.

 In charge of Hosp

Monday, July 19, 2010

The restoration of Eakins' Gross Clinic

Published: July 18, 2010
After a revealing restoration, Thomas Eakins's masterpiece "The Gross Clinic" will go on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

While it's not as exciting a painting, the National Gallery of Art has had the Museum's "John Hill Brinton" on loan for almost 50 years and has cleaned it recently. Interesting details showed up and I think there will be an academic article or two on it, if not a NY Times piece.

Letter of the Day: July 19

Surgeon General’s Office

Washington City, D.C.

July 19th 1866


Hon. G. W. Scofield




In reply to your letter of the 17th I have the honor to state that in the case of the Assassin Booth the fracture was of the left fibula just above the malleolus.


Very Respectfully

Your Obedient Servant

By order of the Surgeon General sgd. J.J. Woodward

Bvt. Maj. and Ass’t. Surg. U.S.A.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 18 - French skull

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 44

July 18, 1894

Mr. Gustav Goldman,
Maryland General Hospital,
Linden Ave., North of Madison St.,
Baltimore, Md.

Dear Sir:

In reply to your favor, just received, I beg to inform you that a French skull, disarticulated, will be forwarded to your address this afternoon.

Hoping that it will prove satisfactory, I remain,
Yours very sincerely,
Walter Reed
Major and Surgeon, U.S. Army,
Curator Army Medical Museum.

The skull has been sent as directed, to 841 Hollins St., Baltimore

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 17 (2 of 2)

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1601

W.W. Godding, M.D.,

Government Hospital for the Insane.
Washington, D.C., July 17, 1896

Dr. Walter Reed.
Curator, U.S. Army,
Medical Museum,
Washington, D.C.

Dear Doctor:

In reply to your communication of recent date referring to your investigation of the etiology of malarial diseases etc; I have to inform you that we record the mental rather than the physical condition of our patients, and in this respect our statistics differ from those of a general hospital.

Many of the insane treated here suffer from malaria, but up to this time it has only been treated as a complication and not as a distinct disease, hence it would be impossible to give you definite information in the direction you request.

Regretting my inability to aid you in your interesting and valuable investigations, I remain,
Very respectfully,

W.W. Godding,

Letter of the Day: July 17 (1 of 2)

No 115 Cedar St New York
July 17, 1866


I have the have (sic) honor to enclose herewith duplicate accts for cast of Dr. Thebard’s case of elephantiasis of scrotum and also Express receipts for package containing the same, I paid the cash bill $11.50 and will send photography and history of case as soon as received.

I am, sir,
Very respectfully
Yr. Obt. Svt.
John P. Milham
Bvt Lt. Col. + Surg. USA

Dr. Geo. A. Otis
Asst. Surg U.S.A.
Curator A.M.M.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Wash Post on the commercialism of human remains, and art

An artistic body of work's bone of contention
By Monica Hesse
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 16, 2010

I hadn't realized the supply had become quite that tight. In the museum, we tend to get decades-old collections.

Letter of the Day: July 16 - spreading the word

War Department,
Adjutant General’s Office,
Washington, July 16 1867

The Surgeon General is authorized to furnish Dr. Pancoast such publications, drawings etc for distribution abroad as can be spared or as may be current with the service.

E.M. Stanton

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 15

Ahh, bureaucracies never change…
Commissary Office
Alton, Illinois, July 15th, 1863


Enclosed I send you a copy of a Voucher, for commutation of rations in favor of C.A. Dresser, certified to by you, but which is defective by reason of the omission of his Regiment, Company and rank, and the clause, in the certificate, which alleges that he has “no opportunity of messing.” Will you be so kind as to insert, in this copy, the requisite additions and return them to me with an authorization to make the same corrections in the original. I have put in, in pencil, the words which you are requested to fill in with ink.

By favoring me with an early reply, you will greatly oblige,

Very Respectfully,
Your Obt. Servant,
R.C. Rutherford, Capt. & C.S.

Surgeon J. H. Brinton, U.S.A.

And the enclosure, with the missing words in bold-
The United States.
To C.A. Dresser
Private Co. A. 11 Regt US Vols.

For commutation of rations while on detached service as Clerk in Medical Directors Office from Nov 12th, 1861 to Dec. 4th, 1861, twenty-three days at .75 per day - $17.25

I certify that the above account is correct, that the commutation was made by my order, and was necessary for the public service -and that he had no opportunity of mess.
J.H. Brinton
Bvt Surg. + Me. Director

U.S. Grant
Brig. Genl. Com.

Received Cairo Dec. 4th, 1861 of R.C. Rutherford … Seventeen dollars and twenty five [missing] in full of the above account.
C.A. Dresser

Brinton filled the missing parts in, but apparently forgot to send it in because there was another note asking him about it in August.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bones Abroad

Last semester I studied abroad in Prague. One of the trips I went on was to a tiny town in Bohemia called Kutna Hora. There was absolutely nothing of interest in this town except for a single tourist attraction: the bone church!

This small, unassuming church had a huge graveyard in front and a giant skull ice sculpture outside. My friends, already familiar with my tendency to freak out in the face of anything anthropological, had to constantly remind me to not look so excited in a church full of human bones, but I couldn’t help it - it was amazing! As the story goes, an old half-blind monk was in charge of the church and when the cemetery reached capacity during the time of the bubonic plague, he simply dug up the old bodies in 1511 and put their bones on display in the church. This cemetery was a hoppin’ resting place as it had been sprinkled some years earlier with earth from Golgotha. During the plague, 30,000 bodies were to be interred here.

He turned their bones into works of art, carefully sorting and arranging all the different body parts around the church. There are strings of vertebrae running like garland from the eaves and great shields made of femora hanging on the walls. The focal point of the church interior is definitely the chandelier, a massive, intricate structure of many different types of bones in front of the altar. Sure, it’s all a little macabre but I think this church lends reverence to the dead in a way no other church could.

The chandelier in the center of the church made with innominates, femora, vertebrae and skulls, among other bones

Exciting Intern Project Part III (!)

This past week Rebecca and I have been working diligently to finish up our project and it looks like we should be done by the end of the month (fingers crossed). I am especially hopeful on this point since Rebecca will be returning home after next week. Aside from more editing, it looks like we will be making our project website compatible, with any luck I will be able to recall the basics HTML coding. Converting our PowerPoint document to an on-line set of web pages has had its own share of difficulties, especially regarding the formatting abilities of the HDAC Wiki.

The authors that we contacted last week have been very helpful, offering further papers to look into and advice on the challenges in confronting publishing companies for permission. We would recommend checking out “Self-recognition in an Asian Elephant” PNAS 2006; one of the authors J. Plotnik has been exceedingly helpful and encouraging. If our schedules permit we may even meet with him in person to talk about his research. We also found a great site,, which has a large database of brain specimens that we were able to compare and use in our project. We are hoping that our luck with compliant authors continues, since we sent out a few more request for image permission.

This is an image of our projects proposed title page, with images taken from Moore, Persaud and Shiota Color Atlas of Clinical Embryology

Letter of the Day: July 14

Smithsonian Institution,
July 14, 1869

Dr. G.A. Otis,
Army Med’l. Mus’m.

Dear Sir:

We have lately selected from our alcoholic collections a number of human foetuses, animal monstrosities, entozoa, etc, which we shall be happy to deliver to your messenger, together with a human skull [AMM No 623 Anatomical Sect.] from the mounds of Indiana.

Please send us the label of the Indian Cerement lately forwarded by you to this Institution,

Yours very truly
Joseph Henry

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

John's post

This is an example of one of the flashcards I made.

Hi, my name is John Kim and I go to Magruder High School. I’ve been working as an intern at the Human Developmental Anatomy Center tying packages, working on projects and at the same time learning about embryology. During this week I have been able to work on creating flashcards accompanied with pictures that test one’s knowledge on general embryology and more specifically the nervous system. In total I made 15 flashcards. This was interesting to do because I learned a new thing for almost every flashcard I made. Besides making flashcards, I have also made a couple jigsaw puzzles from pictures related to embryology that can be both fun and stimulate thinking on the subject at the same time.

The image on this flashcard was taken from:

Letter of the Day: July 13 - veterinary museum continued

Surgeon General’s Office
Washington City, July 13, 1868

Dear Doctor

Veterinary Surgeon Braley has called on the Surgeon General this morning to ask that the “horse collection” may be inspected before it is packed up and sent to the Surg Genl, so that a proper selection of those specimens really desired for our Museum may be made.

Will you please ride over to the Lincoln Depot tomorrow morning, see Braley and the Collection, select the specimens you think desirable to accept and ask him to send them to the Museum building?

Yours very truly,
C.H. Crane

Dr. Geo. A. Otis
U.S. Army

Monday, July 12, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 12 - Pompeii

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 9748

War Department,
Office of the Surgeon General,
Army Medical Museum and Library,
July 12, 1906

The Kny-Scheerer Co.,
225-233 Fourth Avenue,
New York City.


Referring to your letter of the 6th instant, please furnish to the Army Medical Museum the collection of thirty-seven imitation surgical instruments from the Ruins of Pompei (sic, Pompeii), enumerated in your letters of June 12 and 16 and July 6, 1906, as follows:

Trocar & canula
Cautery iron
The crochet or obstetric forceps
Pair of pincers
2 bladed vaginal specula, with wide handle bars
Craniotomy forceps
Surgical forceps
Tongue depressor
Vaginal depressor
Female catheter
Drainage canula
Conical catheter, female
Hook retractor, large
Hook retractor, small
Pair of pincers, with button end
Pair of pincers, flat end
Abolition hook
Spoon curette & spatula
Specula & probe
Round spoon on metal handle
Probe & spoon
Probe pointed sound
Spatula & probe
Spatula & sound
Spatula & sound, smaller size
Spatula, small
Probe & curette

You state in your letter of June 16th, “It is possible that we may be able to offer these duty free to the Museum, in which case a reduction of fully 18% can be made upon the prices stated”; it is assumed therefore, that the price quoted in your letter of July 6, 1906 ($220.00) includes the import duty, and as articles for Government use are admitted duty free, you will please render bill accordingly.

Kindly notify this office of the arrival of the instruments so that an application can be made for their free admission at the Custom House, New York, N.Y.

Very respectfully,
V. Havard
Col., Asst. Surgeon General, U.S.A.
In charge, Museum & Library Div.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 11 - veterinary museum?

Surgeon General’s Office
Washington City, July 11th 1868

Dear Doctor

Genl. Meigs informs the Surgeon General that “veterinary Surgeon Braley has been directed to turn over to the Surgeon General’s Office the veterinary museum some time since collected and arranged by him for this office and now in his possession, for enlargement and re-arrangement.”

The Surgeon General desires that you will designate a suitable place for the reception + exhibition of these specimens.

I am going to the Arsenal this evening and see what I can do with Genl Ramsay about obtaining the “fourteen skeletons” or “remains”.

Yours truly,
C.H. Crane

Dr. Geo. A. Otis
U.S. Army

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 10

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 788

July 10, 1895

Dr. John E. Ruebsam
635 F St, N.W.,
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir:

I am instructed by the Surgeon General to acknowledge the receipt this day of,

1. Leg extension and rest apparatus,
2. Puncture Counter Irritant,

devised by you, and contributed to the Army Medical Museum, and to thank you for this interesting addition to the Museum collection.

Very respectfully,
Walter Reed
Surgeon U.S. Army,

Friday, July 9, 2010

Surgery cartoon from 1969

This is from the Chicago Today Magazine Dec 7, 1969, in a column called Pause – For  a Laugh. I can’t read the cartoonist’s signature though. The paper was padding out a collection of medical models that was donated to us.

Letter of the Day: July 9

Medical Director’s Office,
Louisville, Ky., July 9 1863


I have the honor to enclose four photographs for the “Cripple’s Gallery”, Army Med. Museum,
+ to remain,
Very Res’lly
Yr Obdt Svt.
J. F. Head,
Surg’n. U.S.A.

Brigr. Gen. W. A. Hammond,
Surg. General
Washington D.C.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 8

No. 1209 ? Hessan St.
Wilmington Del,
July 8th, ‘74

Dr. Otis
Surg. U.S.A.

My dear Sir,

I owe you an apology for not sooner answering your letter relating to a portrait of my Grand Uncle, Dr. James Tilton formerly Surg. Gen. U.S.A. and of Delaware, of which Dr. H. Tilton, Surg. U.S.A. wrote you as being at my house here.

The fact is I was in Washington when your letter was sent here, and upon its being forwarded to me there, I set out to find you, and met with my old friend Surgeon Gen’l Barnes, with home I arranged to have the portrait sent to him at Washington.

To-day the picture goes to Gen Barnes, by Adams Express, it is an old painting, + is badly cracked by age + exposure to hot rooms, but is an admirable likeness, painted by Rembrandt Peale, at Phil. early in this century. I beg you to communicate to my relative Dr. Henry Tilton of the Army, that his wishes or suggestions with regard to this picture of our relative, have been gladly complied with by the grand=nephie of the old Surg. Genl (after whom I was named) + the cousin of the present Doctor, himself.

Most Truly
Your ? + Obt Srvt
James Tilton, C.E.

The painting is now in the National Library of Medicine -

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Little bit of art history leads sideways to embryology

HDAC has a lot of work of Mall’s, who’s mentioned in this article, and was a pioneering embryologist.

July 5, 2010

A Portraitist, and His Images of the Famous, Come to Light


Working with only a catalog from a 1914 show in Rochester, Mr. Seyffert hunted down a portrait of Dr. Franklin Mall, a renowned professor of anatomy at Johns Hopkins University. The painting, which was in storage at the university, had vexed archivists.

“We were very interested to have the identity of the artist,” said Nancy McCall, director of the archives for the Hopkins Medical Institutions. “It is an extraordinarily well-done portrait. The head and hands are exquisite.”


Lunchtime Art Workshops at the Medical Museum - 7/21, 7/28. 8/4 - Limited Seating !



Lunchtime Art Workshops at the Medical Museum, July 21, July 28, and Aug. 4, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m., Free!


Enjoy a short discussion about artworks featured in “Wounded in Action: An Art Exhibition of Orthopaedic Advancements” and then spend time creating your own work of art. Explore different media each week in the workshops featured below.


Wednesday, July 21: Sketch wounds as seen in wax models from the Museum’s Historical Collections.


Wednesday, July 28: Draw medical technology, including historic prosthetic devices.


Wednesday, August 4: Sketch sculptures that depict the human form.


These workshops are free, but reservations are required. Ages 15 & up. To reserve a spot or for more information, call 202-782-2673. Art supplies will be provided, but attendees are welcome to bring their favorite materials.


Where: NMHM (Building 54)

Questions: (202) 782-2673 or





Letter of the Day: July 7 (1 of 2) - Dredging the Potomac

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1589


July 7, 1896



Major Charles J. Allen,

Engineer Corps, U.S. Army,

In charge of Improvement of Potomac river, etc.,

Washington, D.C.


Dear Sir:


In connection with an investigation which I am now making by direction of the Surgeon General, concerning the prevalence of malarial diseases at Washington Barracks, and at Fort Myer, Va, I have the honor to request that I may be informed as to the date when the work of dredging the Potomac River and filling in the flats was begun, and, if possible, the amount of work accomplished each year., vis.: the number of cubic yards raised and deposited monthly, etc.


It is believe that information upon these points may throw considerable light on the investigation in which I am an engaged.


Very respectfully,

Walter Reed

Surgeon, U.S. Army,



Letter of the Day: July 7 (2 of 2)

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 1590

July 7, 1896

Colonel F.C. Ainsworth,
Chief Record and Pension Office,
War Department,
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir:

In connection with an investigation which I am now making by direction of the Surgeon General concerning the prevalence of malarial diseases at Washington Barracks and at Fort Meyer, Va., I have the honor to request that I may be given access to the medical records of these posts for the period including the years 1870 to 1895.

Very respectfully,
Walter Reed
Surgeon, U.S. Army,

July 8, 1896, permission granted by telephone message

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Visiting the Museum in the early years

Here's a bit I wrote some years ago, that may be of interest...

Opened to the public on April 16, 1867, the Museum drew around 6000 visitors by the end of the year. (Lamb, p. 43-4) By 1874, over 2600 people visited some months. (Parker to Otis, April 30, 1874) The standard hours for the Museum to be open, at least on Saturday, were 10 am to 2 pm. During the first years, the staff of the Museum worked from 9 am until 3 pm, Monday through Saturday; in January 1867 an hour was added to the end of the day. (Otis to Crane, January 17, 1874; Lamb p. 43) Even before opening to the general public, the Museum was known enough for Dr. S. Weir Mitchell's fictional story, "The Case of George Dedlow," to appear in the Atlantic Monthly in July 1866. Mitchell's Dedlow, who had lost both his legs during the war, was contacted by spirits during a seance. The spirits proved to be his amputated limbs, preserved in the Medical Museum. "A strange sense of wonder filled me, and, to the amazement of every one, I arose, and, staggering a little, walked across the room on limbs invisible to them or me. It was no wonder I staggered, for, as I briefly reflected, my legs had been nine months in the strongest alcohol." (Mitchell) Undoubtedly, readers of the story would have wished to visit the Museum to look for Dedlow's (fictional) limbs.

Exciting Intern Project - Part II

Sarah and I have been pounding out this intern project and making great headway. Our PowerPoint is a little crazy at the moment, but we hope to organize it by tomorrow. We found some great images thanks to Intern John and books like Altman's Development of the Human Spinal Cord. We are currently working on trying to get permission to use these images but have so far e-mailed two defunct addresses. Excellent.

Liz suggested possible topics for the comparative section of our project, including dolphin and whale brain composition and self-recognition in birds. The bird experiments involved putting a colored sticker on a bird without it noticing (how on earth they do this, we don't know...) and seeing if it tried to scratch off the sticker when looking in a mirror, thus confirming that it knew it was seeing itself. She also mentioned studies on a parrot that could form entire coherent sentences, so if you're into talking birds, get excited. Emily also told us about "theory of mind," regarding experiments done with chimps on awareness of others' knowledge. Basically this entails one chimp taking advantage of another if the first chimp knows his competitor doesn't know the location of a banana. Or something. We promise we will understand this in our project. Once we fix the eyesore of a PowerPoint presentation we hope to have better luck accessing resources for the second half of our project.

Coming Next Week: "Pest Week at the Medical Museum!" -- Lyme Disease Talk--7/15--12pm



“Lyme Disease in Your Community” Lunchtime Talk at Medical Museum, 7/15/10, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m., Free!


Featuring Registered Nurse Marilyn Algire and SGT Jason Patterson of the Preventive Medicine Department at Walter Reed Army Medical Center


Concerned about a tick bite? Will you or your pets spend time outdoors this summer? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then bring your lunch and join the National Museum of Health and Medicine for an informative talk about Lyme disease. The talk will include information about the geographic location of most cases of Lyme disease; how the disease spreads; the do's and don'ts of prevention; and the importance of early disease detection. This event is being presented in conjunction with the poster presentation, “Solving the Puzzle: Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus & You,” from the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University.


Where: NMHM (Building 54), in Russell Auditorium

When: Thursday, July 15, 2010, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (bring your lunch!)

Questions: (202) 782-2673 or



Coming Next Week: "Pest Week at the Medical Museum!" -- Yellow Fever Talk--7/13--12pm



“Yellow Fever – The Scourge Revealed” Lunchtime Talk at Medical Museum, 7/13/10, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m., Free!


A Presentation by CAPT Stanton E. Cope, Ph.D.

Medical Service Corps, U.S. Navy

Director, Armed Forces Pest Management Board

Bring your lunch and celebrate Pest Week at the National Museum of Health and Medicine with an intriguing talk about Yellow Fever and some of the events that led to greater control of this terrible disease. The talk will focus on a brief history of the disease and its impact on the U.S. and world; the experiments done in Cuba by the Walter Reed Commission using human volunteers; and more. Additionally, papers, books and other items, some of which are from the 18th century, will be on display. These items, including a reprint signed and corrected by Major Walter Reed, are from CAPT Copes award-winning collection on Yellow Fever.

Where: NMHM (Building 54), in Russell Auditorium

When: Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. (bring your lunch!)

Questions: (202) 782-2673 or




Letter of the Day: July 6

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 6826
Surgeon General’s Office
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner 7th and B Streets SW
Washington, July 6, 1903.
Mr. Wm. Dant,
711 I St, S.W.,
Washington , D.C.

Dear Sir:

I am directed by the Surgeon General to express his thanks for the specimen of double monster chicken received from you on this day. It will be added to the collection with a properly inscribed card.

Very respectfully,
Calvin DeWitt
Col. Asst. Surgeon General, U.S.A.
In charge of Museum & Library Division.

Specimen No. 12691 Path. Sect.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 5

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 5

July 5 1894


I notice in the British Medical Journal of June 23rd (No. 1747, p. 1368), a description of a new basin for mounting and embedding in plaster-of-Paris specimen dissections of the human body. The basins are made by Messrs Powell, of Temple Gate Pottery, Bristol, 10 inches in diameter, and 4 inches deep, of two patterns, as shown in the illustrations in the article above referred to. Will you kindly inquire of the Messrs Powell at what price they will furnish for this Museum a dozen of each of the above basins, and whether they have other sizes.

I would also like to have you inquire of Mr. Claude-Henry, Brandon Terrace, Edinburgh, if, and at what price, he will furnish a sufficient quantity of cement for the sealing of the two dozen basins, the cement to be of the same quality as that furnished by him to Professors Fawcett and Cathcart.

I shall be in London in the early part of August, and shall be pleased to receive the above information at that time.

Very respectfully,
J.S. Billings
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S.A.
Director Army Medical Museum and Library

Messrs Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.
London, W.C., England

Sunday, July 4, 2010

NY Times on quadruple amputee at Walter Reed

Published: July 2, 2010
Brendan Marrocco lost his arms and legs to a bomb in Iraq. A year later, he is walking again and is an inspiration to fellow veterans.

Letter of the Day: July 4

I've looked through a dozen years of correspondence and haven't found a letter yet. I had been hoping on finding one written to the Museum. In lieu of a letter, here's two photographs. Happy July 4th.



Saturday, July 3, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 3 (1 of 2) - French model maker

x x x x x
Dr. C. Lailles has the special charge of the Museum of the St. Louis Hospital – he has introduced me to Mr. Barella (sic, actually Baretta) – who makes the best anatomical models known. Most of his time is taken by the said Museum. Still he could make about 20 models a year for you. He has no price catalogue. He is to write out a list but when will that be done. Some of his models are in Philadelphia.

x x x x x

Letter by Mr. L. Bossange, Paris,
July 3, 1885

Friend Meyers,

In order that this matter may not be lost sight of-, and as the question may come up again, I send you the extract enclosed.

Yours etc.
F.W. Stone
July 16 / 85

Letter of the Day: July 3 (2 of 2) - a new curator

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 6836

War Department,
Surgeon General’s Office,
Washington, July 3, 1903.


First Lieutenant James Carroll, Assistant Surgeon, U.S. Army, is hereby assigned to duty as Curator of the Army Medical Museum, and will report in person to Colonel Calvin DeWitt, Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Army, in charge of Museum and Library Division of this office.

Robert O’Reilly
Surgeon General, U.S. Army.

Colonel Calvin DeWitt,
Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Army,
in charge of Museum & Library Division,
Surgeon General’s Office.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 2 - Civil War photography

Washington, D.C. July 2, 1885

Mr. Trout

Please deliver to bearer sixty of the Wilderness negatives. He will designate the sixty wanted.

Yours truly,
Albert Ordway

J.S. Billings
Surg USA
To be returned within a week

Trought has list of number sent to Ordway

This is of interest to me because we no longer have these photographs, but they were done by two cameramen of note. In 1865, Museum photographer William Bell and Dr. Reed Bontecou, a proponent of medical photography, roamed Virginia battlefields taking photographs including stereographs of the Wilderness battlefield. One hundred and twenty-one negatives of the Wilderness were taken, although 21 were missing by 1874; they had not been printed since Bell's departure from the Museum in 1868. (Otis to Keen, March 8, 1879; Otis to Bontecou, October 8, 1866; Parker to Otis, February 9, 1874, none are still in the Museum)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Letter of the Day: July 1

Nashville 10 se
July 1st / 63

Dear Brinton:

No doubt you will be surprised by the receipt of this, but I trust my motive will be my excuse.

I write to inform you that I have ascertained that there have accumulated, in the Hospitals in this Department, a large number of valuable specimens intended for the “Army Med. Museum,” but that Adams Express Co. refuses to forward them to Washington unless the fright be pre-paid.

Consequently, they are still here, and are spoiling and being lost for want of care etc. Moreover, the knowledge of these facts discourages Med. Officers here from collecting additional specimens. I would suggest that some arrangement be made with the Express Co. which will enable Med Officers to transmit these specimens to the S.G.O. whenever expedient.

I arrived here some days ago – and am in charge of Hospital No. 4. It contains some 225 beds and is considered one of the most desirable in the city. The weather is very warm and tells on the subscriber severely.

I saw Goldsmith last night. He is on his way to Murfreesboro to learn something about the nature etc. of Pyaemia & Gangrene. We are totally in the dark as to Rosecran’s movements.

I see that you are having a “high old time,” in the East. Hooker relieved, the rebels playing the divil (sic, devil) in Md + Pa. + threatening Balto. + Washington! I am sorry I had to leave before the fun.

Give my regards to Mast. Dunstin etc. etc.
Yours very truly,
C.C. Byrne

Surg. J. H. Brinton U.S.V.
Washington D.C.