Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 31

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 00722

War Department,
Surgeon General's Office,
Washington, May 31, 1895.

My Dear Doctor:-

Your letter of May 22d related to two supposed cases of leprosy has been received. I am so very much occupied with my official duties that I have no time for making personal investigations in a matter of this kind. I will, however, refer your communication to Major Walter Reed, Surgeon, U.S. Army, Curator of the Army Medical Museum, who will I have no doubt be glad to examine the specimens and who is entirely competent to give you an opinion on the matter.

Very sincerely yours,
(Signed) Geo. M. Sternberg.

Dr. C. O. Probst,
Sec. State Board of Health,
Columbus, Ohio.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 29

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 02291

May 29, 1897

Mr. F. A. Brockhaus,
Leipzig, Germany.

Dear Sir:
Please purchase for this Museum the prothetic [sic] apparatus invented and described by Dr. W. Liermann, of Frankfurt a.M., in the Deutsche Militaraztliche Zeitschrift, Jahrgang XXVI, 1897, Heft I, p. 13 etc. The apparatus is made by L. Droll, Frankfurt a.M., Friedenstruasse, 6.

Have it carefully packed and forwarded to this Museum in the usual manner and send the bill to me.

Very respectfully,
D.L. Huntington
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S.Army
In charge of Museum and Library Division

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 28

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 00691

May 28, 1895

Major C.E. Munn,
Surgeon, U. S. Army,
Post Surgeon, Benicia Barracks,

Dear Doctor:

I have sent you a second set of cultures of pathogenic organisms. I am sorry that you have had so much trouble in obtaining them, which was, as you well know, the fault of no one here.

Owing to the continual demand which has been made upon the Museum for slides of malarial parasite, I am unable at present to send you a slide; but I have placed your name first on the list, and just as soon as the fever begins at Washington Barracks, will send you a carefully stained slide.

Very truly yours,
Walter Reed
Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Friday, May 27, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 27

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 06723

Surgeon General's Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner of 7th and B Streets, NW
Washington, May 27, 1903.

1st Lieut. E.L. Ruffner
Asst. Surgeon, U.S.A.
Base Hospital, Iloilo,
Panay, P.I.

(Through the Surgeon General, U.S. Army)

I have the honor to acknowledge with thanks the receipt of thirty (30) dried cover-slip films of Aestivo-autumnal malarial blood for the use of the Army Medical School.

I would be very glad to have more of such specimens as about 50 will probably be needed to go around the class.

Very respectfully,
James Carroll
1st Lieut. Asst. Surgeon, U.S.A.
Asst. Curator.

Canadian War Museum exhibit borrowed from Medical Museum

War and Medicine exhibit shows healing in conflict
CBC News May 26, 2011

-the exhibit is from Britain, but the Canadians jazzed it up with material from North America.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 26

May 26, 1917.

From: W.O. Owen, Colonel Medical Corps, U.S. Army,
Curator Army Medical Museum.

To: Professeur Jacob,
Directeur des Archives et Documents de Guerre,
Paris, France.

Subject: Specimens for the Army Medical Museum.

Your letter of the 9th of May is at hand. I am indeed obliged to you for
your willingness to assist me in making the collections here what they
ought to be.

I am particularly anxious to have specimens of the modern armor, such as
I am informed are in use by all of the armies engaged in this warfare,
and if you can place me in communication with anyone who has the
material for sale, or if you can inform me if there is any way by which
I may, properly, obtain this material form the military authorities of
France, by purchase or otherwise, I will be much obliged to you for the

It will give me pleasure to make a collection of any material that you
may want from this Country, or to let you have such material as we may
have in duplicate that may be desired by your Museum, if it may suit
your convenience to let me know your needs in these directions.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Concept new museum

National Museum of Health and Medicine moving to Forest Glen

Architectural rendering of the new museum facility.
National Museum of Health and Medicine moving to Forest Glen
'National Treasure' relocating to new facility, new command, same wonderful old stuff

Letter of the Day: May 25



25 May 1959


Mr. William Fowler

Instruction Aids Division

Quartermaster School

Fort Lee, Virginia


Dear Mr. Fowler:


The Medical Museum of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and display of military medical material. It is one of the four major departments of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, a national institution jointly sponsored by the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force.


While the parent organization is located on the grounds of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Museum is located in the downtown area of Washington where it can better carry out its mission of service and interest to the public. It is here that the military services portray the developments in the field of military medicine and the resultant benefits to all mankind. A dynamic program of current and timely Armed Forces Medical subjects, together with constantly changing exhibits of the history and pathology of diseases and certain other selected topics of military medical history, have made this a living museum. The positive support of the Museum by the Surgeons General of the three Armed Services assures its continued growth and improvement.


In view of this and to continue its collection of historical material the Medical Museum is seeking to obtain and preserve actual uniforms worn by those who have distinguished themselves in Medical Service and will live long in its history. It is also hoped to have type uniforms of the Medical Services complete in every detail to show the changes through the years. Naturally the passing of time makes it increasingly difficult to find either.


Your display of uniforms at the Armed Forces Day Exhibit at Andrews Air Force Base, Washington, has caused me to write to you as to what the possibility would be of getting type uniforms of bygone years, new or discarded, or the specifications for their making.


Sincerely yours,


Albert E Minns Jr

Colonel MSC

Curator, Medical Museum

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Confederate photographs uploaded to Flickr

We’ve had a request for pictures of Confederate soldiers and have posted what should be every one to Flickr at


Letter of the Day: May 24



War Department,

Office  of the Surgeon General,

Army Medical Museum and Library.


May 24, 1918.



Lieutenant Robert Ross,

C/o Col. Bispham, Officers Training Camp,

Fort Riley, Kansas.


My dear Bob:


I am in receipt of your letter of the 21st and am indeed sorry to learn that you missed the big crowd which you intended to take.


You certainly have gotten me in a fine hole with the “Battle of Cambrai”. No sooner had you left town than they were on the phone about this film and have been on the phone ever fifteen minutes since as it had been booked for the Metropolitan Opera House, Philadelphia to play before an audience of 7,000 people more or less, and we are all going to get into trouble before the show is given. Up until the present time the show has not been given.


Hurry up and get through with the picture you are on and get back here. Fifteen different jobs here need your attention. Pay rolls have already been forwarded for the men to sign.



Tom Evans

Monday, May 23, 2011

Archives technician job in Museum open



Department: Department Of The Army

Agency: Army Medical Command

Job Announcement Number: NEBB11982400D


$42,209.00 - $54,875.00 /year


Friday, May 20, 2011 to Friday, May 27, 2011




- This is a Permanent position. -- Full Time


FPL 07


1 vacancy - DC - Washington


US Citizens


Challenge Yourself - Be an Army Civilian - Go Army!

Civilian employees serve a vital role in supporting the Army mission. They provide the skills that are not readily available in the military, but crucial to support military operations. The Army integrates the talents and skills of its military and civilian members to form a Total Army.


About the Position: For more information about the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) please visit our website at

Who May Apply: Click here for more information.

·  Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP) eligibles.

·  All U. S. citizens.


Letter of the Day: May 23



23 May 1960


Mrs. Helen Chatfield

Histopathology Laboratory

Mary Hitchcock Hospital

Hanover, N.H.


Dear Mrs. Chatfield:


Reference is made to recent letter inquiring if you might visit the Laboratory to repair several mounted specimens during your visit to Washington on 6 and 7 June 1960.


You are welcome to continue your training in macropathology and there should be no problem in repairing your mountings.


If we may be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to write.


Sincerely yours,


Albert E Minns Jr

Colonel MSC

Curator, Medical Museum


Capt. Elgin C. Cowart, Jr., USN, M.D. former Museum Curator & AFIP Director

[this obituary was provided to us by his family]

Elgin Courtland Cowart, Jr., M.D., USN Ret.

Dr. Elgin C. Cowart, 87, of Potomac, Maryland died November 1, 2010, after a long bout with Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Cowart is survived by his wife, Madeleine Mary Hoge Cowart; and their children: Phillip Joseph Hoge (Susan) of Crofton, MD; Mary Kim Hoge Kammann of San Diego, CA; James Christopher Hoge, Michael Gregg Hoge of Washington, DC; and John Patrick Hoge, of Annapolis, MD. Additional survivors also include his son & daughter of his first marriage, Steve Cowart (Teresa) of Escondido, CA; daughter, Susan Cowart Ellis of El Paso, Texas; and many grandchildren. He was predeceased by his parents, Elgin Sr. and Annie Susie McAllister Cowart; his beloved grandmother, Susie McAllister; and his brothers, Mac and Jack Cowart.

Originally a born native of Dothan, AL, Dr. Cowart's childhood was mostly spent in beloved Fort Gaines, GA. In those early years, he and his brothers happily visited his grandmother, "Miss Susie", and other relatives there. In Fort Gaines, he was known by his nickname, "Bubba". At the age of 13, Elgin's family set off for New Orleans, LA where he attended and graduated from Alcee Fortier High School in 1940. Having such a close-knit family, Elgin decided to stay close to home as World War II was starting. With the impending war, and having already signed on with the United States Navy, he studied at the Tulane School of Tropical Medicine, and earned his Doctorate of Medical Sciences degree in 1946. Upon finishing at Tulane, Elgin entered active duty being indoctrinated at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas. It was there he received his orders to serve in WWII in the South Pacific theatre on the islands of Guam and Yap, where he was featured in the National Geographic Magazine providing medical aid. Upon his return from war, Dr. Cowart practiced family medicine for five fulfilling years in Brook Haven, MS.

In 1955, Elgin returned to active duty in the US Navy, for his residency training and serving in pathology at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland (1955-1960). Then upon receiving promotion, he was assigned to be a Commander supporting the Naval Medical Research Unit in Cairo, Egypt (1960-1964). In 1964, he was appointed curator at the United States Army Medical Museum back in Washington, DC on the National Mall until it closed and was relocated to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center campus (1964-1969). He was a very quiet and proud man - especially when it came to his work. Tying the up the ribbon to the Medical Museum in the closing ceremony with President Lyndon Johnson, where the Hirshhorn Museum and Gardens now stands, for him that was a very sad day and he looked forward to one day having a medical museum on the National Mall again.

Dr. Cowart served in the Vietnam War and in 1971 was presented the National Legion of Merit on behalf of the United States President in recognition of his meritorious conduct as commanding officer of the Naval Hospital aboard the USS Sanctuary out of Port Hueneme, California. Post-Vietnam War, he returned to AFIP as the Deputy Director (1975) and then Director (1976-1980) where he retired a first time after receiving the select distinction of being honored as the "Clinical Scientist of the Year (Sunderman Award)" for making outstanding contributions to clinical science in research, service, and teaching. Missing his passionate career, he came back to work to become the Director of American Registry of Pathology (1981-1990).

Elgin took great interest in his large extended family and looked forward to hunting trips back in his old childhood stomping grounds with his brothers and sons. He took fishing quite seriously until he took more interest in his Chesapeake Retriever dogs with which he spent many long hours training to receive awards and certificates of distinction. He had always hoped to travel to Alaska to cruise the waterways to see nature in its purest form and witness the Aurora Borealis. He no doubt will be remembered with great affection by those who truly knew and loved him.

A memorial mass and full honors burial will be held on Monday, June 13, 2011 at 11:00 A.M. at Ft. Myer Chapel, Arlington National Cemetery. Those attending are asked to arrive at the administration building at 10:30 A.M.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 22

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 06713

Surgeon General's Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library
Corner of 7th and B Streets S.W.

Washington, May 22, 1903.

Major W.C. Borden
Surgeon U.S. Army
Washington Barracks, D.C.


I have the honor to submit the following report of the results of an examination of a portion of a tumor of the rectum handed me several days ago by 1st Lieut. J.C. Gregory, Asst. Surgeon, U.S. Army.

The essential lesion is a cancer with extensive infiltration of the muscularis and indaration [sic]. There is also a well marked purulent infiltration of the tissue with localized areas of necrosis. Some of these areas present the appearance of tubercular caseation but the structure of a tubercle is nowhere apparent. Sections are being stained for tubercle bacilli and if they are found the fact will be reported. The primary lesion is carcinoma.

Very respectfully,
James Carroll
1st Lieut. Asst. Surgeon, U.S.A.
Asst. Curator.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Museum director speaks on Sickles' leg on Youtube

Amputated leg of Civil War general on display at Fort Detrick

by on May 18, 2011

Major General Daniel E. Sickles fought in the Civil War and lost his leg after being injured by cannon fire. The 148-year-old leg will be exhibited at Fort Detrick while the National Museum of Health and Medicine relocates to Fort Detrick's Forest Glen annex.
Video by: AJ Messer
Originally published May 18, 2011

Museum's brain collections featured in academic journal

One has to have university access to see the article unfortunately -

Brain collections at the National Museum of Health and Medicine

  1. Archibald J. Fobbs, Jr.1,
  2. John I. Johnson2

Article first published online: 20 MAY 2011
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

Volume 1225, S1 Resources and Technological Advances for Studies of Neurobehavioral Evolution pages E20–E29, May 2011

Owing in large part to the foresight and efforts of Wally Welker, the National Museum of Health and Medicine has become a major repository for collections of brain specimens vital to the study of neurobehavioral evolution. From its origins in the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, with the collection of largely pathological specimens assembled by Paul Yakovlev, the museum has added to its resources four additional extensive collections, largely consisting of specimens acquired specifically for comparative and evolutionary studies: Welker's collection from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, John I. Johnson's collection from Michigan State University, the Adolf Meyer Collection from the Johns Hopkins University, and the Elizabeth Crosby collections from the University of Michigan. We describe here the history and contents of each of these five collections, to inform the scientific field of the extent and details of these remarkable resources.

Smithsonian Magazine on Medical Museum

The National Museum of Health and Medicine

Once it re-opens in its new Silver Spring, Maryland location this fall, this site will scare and educate, with displays of prosthetic eyes, amputated limbs and incomplete skeletons

  • By Tony Perrottet
  • Smithsonian magazine, June 2011

Letter of the Day: May 21

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 06710

Internal Revenue Service,
1st District of New York,
Collector's Office,
Brooklyn, N.Y.

May 21, 1903

To the Surgeon General, U.S. Army
Washington, D.C.


Referring to your letter of the 20th instant, relative to the delivery of alcohol, I would respectfully state that the U.S. Storekeeper stationed at the distillery will deliver alcohol on receipt of the duplicate permit issued by the Hon. Secretary of the Treasury to your office. I would therefore suggest that you have the said permit properly receipted, per instructions on the back of the form, and forward same to the Chief Quartermaster of the Department of the East, to be presented by his agent at the Columbus Distilling Co., 450 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn, this district.

Very respectfully,
Edward B. [illegible]
Collector of Internal Revenue

Friday, May 20, 2011

National Archives article on Edson Bemis

"I am still in the land of the living." The Medical Case of Civil War Veteran Edson D. Bemis

By Rebecca K. Sharp and Nancy L. Wing

National Archives Prologue Spring 2011, Vol. 44, No. 1

-for some reason, they didn't include Bemis' photograph from the Medical Museum, but here it is.

Letter of the Day: May 20

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 06710

Transportation &c. of alcohol.

Surgeon General's Office,
U.S. Army medical Museum and Library,
Corner 7th and B Streets S.W.

Washington, May 20, 1903.

To the Surgeon General,
U.S. Army


I have the honor to transmit, for your signature, a letter to the Quartermaster General, U.S. Army, requesting transportation for seven (7) barrels of alcohol from warehouse No. 4, of Columbus Distilling Co., 1st District of New York, to Army Medical Museum, and also a letter to Collector of Internal Revenue, 1st District of New York, requesting him to turn the alcohol over to the Chief Quartermaster, Department of the East.

The duplicate permit for free withdrawal of alcohol is forwarded herewith.

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

(3 enclosures)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 19

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 03890

Dr. F. T. Meriwether,
U.S. Army Retired.
No. 14 Grove Street.

Asheville, N. C. May 19th, 1899

Maj. Walter Reed, U.S.A.
Washington, D.C.


I send today in your care specimens of a probable Sarcoma of the Jaw, and what is of more interest a piece of a cancer of the lung. The history in brief of the latter is as follows. Male, age 35. Both father and mother died of Carcinoma of some form. Three months ago he was tapped Aspirated while in Baltimore for supposed Pleutritic effusion. Only a pint obtained. History up that time was an almost perfect one so far as health concerned. Cough developed shortly and he was sent to Asheville for supposed Tuberculosis. The chest when I saw him in consultation was enlarged upon the side affected, the left one; respiration was disturbed, had Hemoptysis and twice coughed up large masses of what seemed to be lung tissue. Temp and pulse record about that of Tuberculosis. The diagnosis was never made with certainty , though I rather incline towards malignancy. Aspiration secured some broken down cheesy looking masses which did not contain T.B. Patient suffered much at the last from Dyspnoea, and died five weeks after arriving here, the total duration being Three months. "Post" showed a lung very much broken down in spots, and the remainder of the tissue I send you. A small spot in the centre of the right lung seemed to be of the same tissue. Knowing the infrequency of Cancer of the lung I take the liberty of sending you this specimen, and request that when an accurate diagnosis is made you let me know the results. The largest piece is that of the lung and the smaller that from the jaw. The case will probably be reported at the meeting of the State Society to be held here shortly and I will see that you get a more complete history if you would like one. Let me also know the form of Sarcoma the smaller specimen.

I trust I am not imposing on your kindness too much and that I will be able to return the favor.

Very respectfully,
F[illegible] Meriwether

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Museum and Fort Detrick

Detrick celebrates new partnership with National Museum of Health and Medicine
Originally published May 18, 2011

By Megan Eckstein
News-Post Staff

Letter of the Day: May 18

[The venom of the Heterodon platirhinos (aka Eastern Hognose Snake, Puff Adder, Hissing Adder, Spreading Adder, Blow Viper, Hissing Sand Snake) is non-threatening to humans, but can cause a mild allergic reaction in some. According to the University of Florida "The Hognose Snake is renowned for its 'death feigning' behavior. When threatened, it flattens its head and neck and hisses loudly. It may strike, but only with its mouth closed. If it is further harassed, it will flip on its back and convulse for a short period and may defecate and regurgitate its food. It will then remain motionless with its belly up, mouth open, and tongue hanging out.[...] [Native Floridians] call the banded form of the Hognose Snake a "Puff Adder" and correctly believe it to be harmless. However, the black form of the Hognose Snake is called a "Spreading Adder" and is wrongly believed to be deadly. Another old myth says that the Hognose Snake can mix venom with its breath and is thus able to kill a person from a distance of twenty-five feet. In truth, its breath is harmless."]

Smithsonian Correspondence

United States National Museum
Under the Direction of
The Smithsonian Institution
Washington, May 18, 1883.
Surgeon General Charles H. Crane:
Medical Bureau,
War Department.

Dear Sir:

At the request of Dr. Henry G. Yarrow, Honorary Curator, Department of Reptiles, I have the pleasure to present herewith to the Army Medical Museum a specimen of a blowing viper, Heterodon platyrhinus [Heterodon platirhinos], having certain morbid growths upon different parts of its body. I enclose a copy of a memorandum sent to Dr. Yarrow by Dr. J.C. McConnell, relative to the nature of the pathological structure.

Your very respectfully,
Spencer Baird
Director: U.S. Nat'l Museum

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sickles' leg temporarily displayed on Army base

Civil War general's severed leg on display in Md.


Associated Press May 16 2011


Letter of the Day: May 17

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 03882

May 17, 1899.

Mr. H. G. Johnson,
Lambertsville, N.J.

Dear Sir:

I have the pleasure of acknowledging the receipt, on the 16th inst., of a malformed duckling, and to thank you for this contribution to the Museum collection. The malformation consists in in [sic] there being but one socket and either but one eye or two eyes immediately side by side. There is also a corresponding malformation of the brain.

This Museum issues no publications, and I can, therefore, send you no printed description.

Very respectfully,
Dallas Bache
Col. & Asst. Surgeon General, U.S. Army
In charge of Museum & Library Division.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Civil War general's severed leg on display in Md.

Letter of the Day: May 16

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 03883

May 16, 1899.

Chief Medical Officer
Army of


I have the honor to request information upon the subject of the employment of trained female nurses, or nursing sisters, in the Army medical service under your control.

1st. Have you a small force of female nurses, or sisters, employed in time of peace, and a registry of those available in time of war? If employed in time of peace, how many? Are such nurses obtained through the agency of charitable societies, or such an association as that of the Red Cross, and under what rules as to length of service, payment, and subordination to military authority.

2nd. Whether employed in the general and large permanent hospitals only, or employed in the infirmaries and hospitals in the camps of instruction, or even in the field hospitals of troops not actively engaged in a campaign.

Should this information be included in any publication relating to the medical service which you have the honor to direct, will you be kind enough either to send such publications to this Library, for deposit, or to inform me where it can be obtained?

With an apology for any trouble which this request may give you, and asking your courtesy in the matter, I remain, General

Your obedient servant,
Dallas Bache
Col. & Asst. Surgeon General, U.S. Army,
In charge of Museum & Library Division.

Chief Med. Officer, Army of Norway, Christiania, Norway
""" Mexican Army, Mexico, Mexico.
""" Belgian Army, Brussels, Belgium.
Director General, Army Med. Dept. Army of Great Britain, London, Eng.
Chief Med. Officer, Army of France, Paris, France.
""" of the Army of the German Empire, Berlin, Germany.
""" Army of the Austrian Empire, Vienna, Austria.
""" Army of Italy, Rome, Italy.
""" Russian Army, St. Petersburg, Russia.
""" Turkish Army, Constantinople, Turkey.
""" Army of Switzerland, Geneva, Switzerland.
""" Army of Greece, Athens, Greece.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 15

War Department,
Surgeon General's Office,
Washington, May 15, 1902

Col. Calvin DeWitt
Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Army,
Army Medical Museum,
Washington, D.C.

Sir: I am directed by the Surgeon General to request that you will have the picture of Dr. John Morgan, now in the library, Surgeon General's Office, photographed, and send four copies to this office. Also of Drs. Shippen and Craik -- if the pictures of these officers are in your possession.

Very respectfully,

John Van R. Hoff
Lieut. Colonel, Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 14

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 05920

Surgeon General's Office
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner 7th and B Streets S.W.
Washington, May 14, 1908

Sally Rosenberg,
Frankfurt a/m
Scillerstrasse 18


Referring to the letter of Michael von Lukacsich (Catalogue of 1901, p. 114, No. 2272) recently received from you, I would like to informed of the following points:

What was Lukacsich's connection with Heiligengeist Hospital?

Was he a graduated physician?

When did his death occur?

I should be pleased to receive the above information which is probably obtainable from the officers of the "Heiligengeist Hospital" of your city.

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

Friday, May 13, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 13

Curatorial Records: Incoming Correspondence

Post Hospital,
Fort Davis, Texas, May 13, 1881

Surgeon General USA
Washington, D.C.-Thro[sic] Medical Director Director Dept of Texas


I have the honor to state that I have turned over to the quartermaster
at the post for transmission to the Army Medical Museum - one box -
containing a foetus of about 3 monthe growth delivered of a mule at this
station. The specimen was presented to me by First Lieutenant S.L.
Woodward 10th Calvary - who informed me that he was present at the
accouchment [sic] and that there could be no doubt about the facts in
the case.

The mother is a pack mule - age unknown belonging to Troop K 10th
Calvary - and the sire [word inserted] father a young Broncho Stallion -
which was allowed to run in the corral with the pack mules and had been
repeatedly noticed in attempts on this and other mules.

I have the honor to be
Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant
Harvey E. Brown
General U.S. Army

Letter of the Day: May 12

Curatorial Records: Incoming Correspondence

12th May 1885

Dr. Jno [sic] S. Billings,
Army Medical Museum,
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir:

Your favor of the 8th inst to hand.

Photonegative arrived at our office this A.M. broken into a number of
pieces the enclosed roughed-out will show how the box was broken, the
boards being so thin that the expressmen must have put something heavy
on it + thus broken it in.

We would advise bracing thus [illustration] brace mail on lip crosswise
in about center of box.

Please let us know what you will do i.e. are we to expect another

Hoping to hear from you-
We remain-
Yours very truly
Crosscup and West Engraving Company

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Museum exhibit case at MMRC headquarters

Beginning installation of Sickles exhibit at MMRC

Deinstalling "Trauma Bay II, Balad, Iraq" exhibit

Deinstalling "Trauma Bay II, Balad, Iraq" exhibit

Letter of the Day: May 11

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 02215

May 11, 1897

Dr. Arthur A. Snyder
Corner 31st and N St. N.W.
Georgetown, D.C.

Dear Doctor:

I regret to inform you that it is impossible to make a diagnosis of the tumor of the testicle which was received April 30th at this Museum, for the reason that the structure is so completely necrotic as to fail to give any idea whatever of the original structure of the growth. The necrotic mass is surrounded by a much thickened tunica vaginalis, between which and the mass of the tumor there appears to be no connection whatever. It is one of the possibilities that this is a specimen of an old encapsulated abscess.

Sincerely yours,
Walter Reed
Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More Civil War soldier photographs added to Flickr

3 or so pictures continue to go up each day, including

CP 1220 Captain JW Force, 22nd US Colored Troops.

CP 1216 Confederate soldier Columbus Rush, 21st Georgia Volunteers

CP 1219 Corporal J.H. Jaxcox, 143rd New York Volunteers

PR: Visualizing Prosthetics research project at University of Maryland, Baltimore County

As requested -

UMBC anthropologist Seth Messinger recently began a new collaborative
arts-based research project exploring the everyday lived experiences of
people who wear prosthetics. An illustrated announcement is at <> , and we invite you to post this on
the Bottled Monsters blog if you'd like, or to share it with your

Letter of the Day: May 10

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 00649

Subject: Correction of check.

War Department,
Surgeon General's Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner 7th and B Streets S.W.,
Washington, D.C., May 10, 1895

Lieut. Colonel Thomas Wilson,
Asst. Commissary General of Subsistence,
Army Building,
New York.

Dear Sir:

I beg to return herewith check No. 76619 payable to the order of Augustus Tracy, Hospital Corps, U.S. Army. This check has been presented at the Treasury Department, and payment refused on account of the difference in the spelling of Private Tracey's name. Will you not therefore have another check issued. The proper spelling of his name is Tracey.

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

Monday, May 9, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 9

Ft. Sanders, WY
May 9th 77

Dr. G.A. Otis, U.S.A.

Dear Dr.

I send to day this the Z.M. Department for the Museum a fine specimen of a Fish - believed to be a "salmon fontinalis". Should there be no fish in the museum please dispose of it to some of your friends at the Smithsonian.

In return for this unusually large specimen I beg to have a reply to the following queries -


in which several besides myself are interested

1. Is it a true "Salmon fontinalis"? If not please make the distinction?

2. Are there any specimens in the Smithsonian of greater size or weight.

I also invite attention to the fact that Bear Lake in Utah is a feeder of the Bear River + the latter empties into Great Salt Lake. The fish is therefore actually completely landlocked.

I will know soon whether it was caught in the river or lake - merely for sake of precision - I will notify you.

I will esteem it a favor if you will notify my brother of its arrival - his address is State Dept., Washington D.C.

With great regard
Very truly yours
B.A. Clements, U.S.A.

[Enclosed description]

Descriptive Memorandum of Specimen of Fish

The fish this day sent to the Army Museum was taken either in Bear River or Bear Lake Utah. I was shipped from Evanston U.P.R. Road in Laramie City Wyoming, where it was found on sale by me on May 7, 1877. Cleaned of its entrails + gills it weighed - before immersion in alcohol - exactly six pounds.

The color (before placed in alcohol) of the gill cores was a lake red - as if stained. Under the lower jaw a streak of a light brick red color: the spots were uniformly blank: the general color of a silvery grey, with deep red staining on the sides -


The weight of the entrails + gills is estimated at from 2 to 3 pounds.

B. A. Clements
Maj, U.S.A.

Fort Sanders WYS[?] [Wyoming]
May 9, 1877

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 8

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 04558

War Department,
Surgeon General's Office,
U.S.Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner of 7th and B Streets S.W.
Washington, May 8, 1900.

Hon. William B. Allison,
U.S. Senate,
Chaiman of the Committee on Appropriations.


I have the honor to request at your pleasure an audience before the Committee on Appropriations, a sub committee; or a member thereof having charge of the Civil Sundry Bill, with the view of explaining the extreme need of additional shelving for the Medical Library, known as the Surgeon General's.

The Surgeon General of the Army approves this request.

I am, Senator,
Very respectfully,
Your obedient servant,
Alfred A. Woodhull

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 7

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 02235

War Department,
Surgeon General's Office,
Washington, May 7, 1897

Lieut. Colonel D.L. Huntington,
Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army,
Army Medical Museum.

My dear Colonel:

It is understood that there is at the Museum a Greenleaf's travois with harness complete. If such is the case, the Surgeon General desires that you ship it by express addressed to Lieut. Colonel W. E. Waters, Deputy Surgeon General, U.S. Army, Columbus Barracks, Columbus, Ohio. It is needed for the use of the approaching Military Surgeon's Association, and will be returned to the Museum after the meeting. Expressage both ways to be paid by the Association at Columbus.

If there is none on hand, please telephone me.
Very truly yours,
C.H. Alden

[handwritten notation]
May 8, 1897, travois with harness and stretcher shipped by Adams Express.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 6 (1 of 2)

[Note: a "gumma" is non-cancerous growth with a necrotic center, resulting from syphilis in the tertiary stage.]

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 03113

May 6, 1898

Surgeon in Charge of Freedmen's Hospital
Washington, DC

Dear Sir:

I beg to inform you that the tumor of mediastinum in the case of J. Chase, colored, contributed by you Dr D.S. Lamb [name noted in pencil] to this Museum on March 28, has been examined under the microscope and proves to be a gumma.

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

[Handwritten notation]
Specimen No. 11453 Path. Sect
credit Dr. Lamb

National Library of Medicine Announces Release of "Embryo" App

National Library of Medicine Announces Release of “Embryo” App

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, Louisiana State University and National Museum of Health & Medicine Collaborate

 April 28 2011

The US National Library of Medicine (NLM), the world largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health, has released "Embryo" (, a new app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad.

Embryo is a collaborative project between the NLM, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD), the Virtual Human Embryo Project (Louisiana State University/ and the National Museum of Health & Medicine's Human Developmental Anatomy Center (

The National Museum of Health & Medicine's Human Developmental Anatomy Center (HDAC) acquires and maintains collections pertaining to general developmental anatomy and neuroanatomy. Scientists and educators have used the National Museum of Health and Medicine's Carnegie Embryo Collection ( to define normal human embryo development for decades.  This archival collection was developed between approximately 1887 to 1956 and focuses on normal development in the first eight weeks. The Virtual Human Embryo database was created to provide digital serial sections of human embryos from the collection.

The Embryo app provides this collection of digital serial sections of early stage human embryos for mobile devices. Features include human fertilization videos, photo micrographs of early-stage embryo development, 2D and 3D digital images using visual stack dissections, and a pregnancy calculator.



Letter of the Day: May 6 (2 of 2)

Leipzig, May 6, 1885


Dear Sir [John Shaw Billings],


I am much obliged to you for the sending of the photographics (sic) of crania. The methods of photographing several heads upon the same plate with scale of measure added appears indeed to be of great interest. I have shown these plates to Dr. Emile Schmidt (formerly in Essen), whose collection, embracing 1300 nos. is to be placed in our institution.


I have myself, I am sorry to say, little time for craniological studies, as all my free time is devoted to embryology, but whenever I can help to promote craniology, I do so with pleasure. With regard to the specimens Prof. Braun (spelling?) has already written to you, I presume, that he had made for you a series of sections, ready to be forwarded, simply waiting for your directions. The sudden death of our dear president Panum has undoubtedly grieved you. He was in the position which he filled with so much conscientiousness, as if made for it and would have assisted you in the organization of the Congress in 1887, with his advice.


Very respectfully

W. His


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 5

Smithsonian Institution,

Washington, D.C., May 5, 1880.


Dear Doctor Otis,


Charles Ruby, Private Co. D, 4th Infantry, Fort Laramie, says that while out between Hat Creek + Red Cloud Agency he passed the spot where the Cheyenne Indians two years ago made their last stand + nearly all were killed. He remarks that their skulls + bones lie scattered in all directions + will soon be lost. The thought occurred to him whether it would not be of interest to have some of these skulls collected.


Having called your attention to this subject, I remain,


Sincerely yours,

SF Baird


Dr Geo. A. Otis

Army Medical Museum.



Memorandum (written on reverse)


See letter of Dr. Carlos Carvallo, U.S.A., dated May 14, 1880, who states that as soon as possible he will go with a  small detail in search of the skulls etc., alluded to within.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

news article: Fort Detrick to oversee Walter Reed closure

Fort Detrick to oversee Walter Reed closure
Originally published May 04, 2011
By Megan Eckstein
News-Post Staff

Letter of the Day: May 4

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 02230

May 4, 1897

Dr. W.C Gorgas, Asst. Surg., U.S. Army,
Fort Barrancas,

Dear Doctor:

Referring to your letter of May 1st, '97, I have to report that the specimen of sputum therein referred to has been examined with the following result: No tubercle bacilli present, but many diplococci are seen which have the shape and staining re-action of the diplococcus lanceolatus, the organism for croupous pneumonia. I do not mean to say that your patient has pneumonia, because this organism is so often met with in the normal saliva of human beings.

Sincerely yours,
Walter Reed
Surgeon, U.S. Army,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 3

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 02222

May 3, 1897

Dr. Joe T.D. Howard,
U.S. Indian Service, Green Bay Agency,
Keshena, Wisconsin.

Dear Doctor:

Your letter of April 26th, together with the specimen of discharge from the intestinal canal of a patient, have been referred to me by Surgeon General Sternberg for answer.

A careful microscopic examination of the contents of the bottle has been made for tubercle bacilli but none have been found. It will not be possible to isolate the typhoid bacillus, even if it were present, from this specimen of intestinal discharge. If, however, you will place a small drop of the patient's blood drawn from the lobe of the ear upon a small piece of glass and allow the same to dry, I can, by testing the dry blood decide whether the case is one of typhoid fever or not. If you will, therefore, send me such a specimen I will be glad to have the test made. I may add that the specimen sent by you contains a considerable quantity of a heavy oil, which appears to be the oil of sassafras.

I do not know whether you have added this to the bottle or whether your patient have been taking the oil medicinally.

Sincerely yours,
Walter Reed
Surgeon U.S. Army

Monday, May 2, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 2

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 03856

Established 1844

Sharp & Smith
Makers and Importers of
Surgical Instruments
Deformity Apparatus, Artificial Limbs,
Artificial Eyes & c.
92 Wabash Ave.
Chicago, May 2, 1899

D. Bache
Washington, D.C.

Dear Sir:

In a recent letter to us you asked us to send you some information regarding Artificial Limbs, either literature or samples of something of old device. We are sorry to report however, that we have thus far been unsuccessful in getting any literature, and have no old styles on hand that we think would be of any service. Should anything come to hand however, that we think would interest you, we will be pleased to notify you of it.

Yours truly,
Sharp & Smith


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Letter of the Day: May 1

Curatorial Records: Numbered Correspondence 03853

Subject: Emergency purchases

War Department,
Surgeon General's Office,
U.S. Army Medical Museum and Library,
Corner of 7th and B Streets S.W.

Washington, May 1, 1899.

To the Surgeon General,
U.S. Army.


I have the honor to request authority to purchase for use at the Army Medical Museum laboratory:


to be paid for from the Museum Appropriation as emergency purchases.

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