Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mutter Museum features Civil War medicine

Philly's Mutter Museum sharpens focus on the Civil War's slain and ...
"So the Army created the Army Medical Museum during the war, in Washington. There was a standing order for physicans in the field -- when they see something ...

Thursday, September 5, 2013

BUMED's Office of Medical History's 1000th item added to the Medical Heritage Library

The Navy's Bureau of Medicine and Surgery's Office of Medical History is uploading their 1000th item to the Medical Heritage Library ( ).  Oddly enough, the item, a logbook from Dr. James Ambler, is not medical. Instead it documents polar weather conditions.

In 1883, Lieutenants Giles B. Harber and William H. Schuetze journeyed to Siberia's Lena Delta to retrieve the bodies and personal effects of the crew of USS Jeannette, an ill-fated expedition to the North Pole. Among the remains was the body of Passed Assistant Surgeon James Markham
Ambler (1848-1881), his personal journal and a logbook of atmospheric conditions that he maintained throughout the expedition (1879-1881). One hundred and thirty years later, Dr. Ambler's journal and weather observations, in the respective collections of the National Archives
(NARA) and the Bureau of Medicine (BUMED), are to be used in the "Old Weather" project ( ) headed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) and NARA. BUMED's historians brought the logbook to NARA which photographed it in 2012. Volunteers at the "Old Weather" project, which uses Navy logs to track climate, should soon finish the official deck logs and be able to work on transcribing Ambler's log ( ).

Two versions of "Atmospheric Observations on board U.S. Arctic Steamer Jeannette, 1879-1881" are being uploaded for use in different viewers - the double page where a reader can see the entire page for the day is at
The single page version, which may work better on tablets, is at

For all of the items uploaded by BUMED, click
Adding to the value of items in the MHL, a full-text search of the interiors of publications is provided by Harvard University's Countway Library. Updated once a month, this feature can be used at the MHL homepage at

Attached is an image of Ambler, taken from a historical plaque in the
Office's collections and a picture of the logbook cover

James L. Monro, FRCS (1939 - 2013), great-grandson of Major Walter Reed.

James L. Monro, FRCS (1939 - 2013), great-grandson of Major Walter Reed.

I was informed last week by Mrs. Sean (Mary) O'Dwyer, the great-grandaughter of Major Walter Reed, that her brother, James L. Monro, FRCS, (great-grandson of Reed) died 29 August 2013 (see below). Dr. Monro, an accomplished paediatric cardiac surgeon, died at his home in Southampton, England after a long battle with prostate cancer.

Major Reed (1851-1902) and his wife Emilie (Lawrence) had two children, MG Walter Lawrence Reed and Emilie (Blossom).

His son, MG Reed (1877-1956) married Lucy Blackford and they had two daughters, Mary and Landon.

Landon Reed (1906-1999?) married Dr. John Monro (1903-1993) of England. They had a son and daughter, the two great-grandchildren of WR named above, James (1939-2013) and Mary (b.1941), a Nightingale Nurse.

In early 2000, on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of the Yellow Fever Board, Dr. Monro was invited to attend ceremonies as guest of honor at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Hospital obligations in England prevented him from doing so. His sister Mary, however, was keenly interested and, welcomed in his place, she visited the old Walter Reed AMC in October. She was warmly received by the staff. She gave a brief talk describing the family tree of Major Reed, toured the hospital, visited the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences where a lecture on the Yellow Fever Board was presented, and was shown archival material at the National Museum of Health and Medicine (then at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology) by Mr. Michael Rhode.

Dr. Monro, a renown cardiac surgeon in his own right, was a modest man who seldom, if ever, alluded to his family heritage. But he kept prominently displayed in his office at Southampton General Hospital an old framed National Geographic map of northern Virginia (titled "Reaches of the Nation's Capital"). The map itself was illuminated, so to speak, with a border of a dozen small portraits of local historical figures and their birthplaces. Included in these embroidered figures was Major Reed -- Monro's only tip-of-the-hat to his great grandfather.

His funeral will be a private service for family only, 6 September.

A memorial service is scheduled for 23 October at Romsey Abbey, Hampshire, England.

-Dave Edmond Lounsbury, MD, FACP