Product News: Shopping Hints from 1967

by Sandra Yates, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

Archives Assistant, Gina, started a much-needed inventory of the Medical World News Collection this week. To our surprise, it isn’t just medical news! The archive staff had a great time looking at some of the cutting-edge household products of 1967, and we think you will, too. Here’s a handful of our favorites. You might have some of these concepts in your home today.

The poodle looks annoyed. - Shopping Hints #94, Item #2, Pet Bed. Product News, 2/3/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.40]

The poodle looks annoyed. – Shopping Hints #94, Item #2, Pet Bed. Product News, 2/3/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.40]

The Clapper! - Shopping Hints #95, Item #2, Sound Switch. Product News, 2/10/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.40]

The Clapper! – Shopping Hints #95, Item #2, Sound Switch. Product News, 2/10/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.40]

It's a pool table and a table! - Shopping Hints #99, Item #2, Billiard Buffet. Product News, 3/17/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.39]

It’s a pool table and a table! – Shopping Hints #99, Item #2, Billiard Buffet. Product News, 3/17/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.39]

A place to put your cig while you brush your teeth! - Shopping Hints #99, Item #4, Mountable Ashtray. Product News, 3/17/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.39]

A place to put your cig while you brush your teeth! – Shopping Hints #99, Item #4, Mountable Ashtray. Product News, 3/17/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.39]

Useful and tidy! - Shopping Hints #105, Item #4, Stackable Tables. Product News, 4/21/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.38]

Useful and tidy! – Shopping Hints #105, Item #4, Stackable Tables. Product News, 4/21/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.38]

Look at all that food! - Shopping Hints #103, Item #2, Convertible Refrigerator. Product News, 4/7/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.38]

Look at all that food! – Shopping Hints #103, Item #2, Convertible Refrigerator. Product News, 4/7/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.38]

It's about the stool, not the suspicious looks over a grapefruit. - Shopping Hints #105, Item #2, Adjustable Stool. Product News, 4/21/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.38]

It’s about the stool, not the suspicious looks over a grapefruit. – Shopping Hints #105, Item #2, Adjustable Stool. Product News, 4/21/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.38]

Sigh... folding towels to music. - Shopping Hints #96, Item #4, Stereo Theatre. Product News, 3/3/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.39]

Sigh… folding towels to music. – Shopping Hints #96, Item #4, Stereo Theatre. Product News, 3/3/1967. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 94.39]

Mystery church: Solved!

Alethea Drexler

archives assistant

We got a pile of emails about this one, from architectural detectives from who knows how many institutions and organizations.

After a lot of wrangling, Lauren at the University of Houston suggested that it might be the First Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is no longer standing but was located on Texas Avenue between Austin and Caroline Streets–she noted, too, that maps showed a curve in the streetcar tracks on Caroline.  Several readers have commented on the streetcar tracks, which do curve.

The First Evangelical Lutheran was founded in 1851 and their website says that the congregation “moved to the northwest corner of Texas Avenue at Caroline Street, to a new red brick and sandstone edifice built in the Gothic tradition” in 1901.  I emailed them.  They emailed me back but also passed my inquiry to Preservation Houston.

Jim with Preservation Houston called me to say they had gotten a “flood of emails” all of a sudden about an unidentified church in a blog post but confirmed that it was the First Evangelical Lutheran and said that there is a memorial plaque on a lamppost near its former location.

Can you identify this church?

Alethea Drexler
archives assistant

I did a quick inventory of a box of photographs the other day as part of our preparations for the Library Centennial next year. This box is from the Hermann Historical collection but it’s kind of a grab bag: It includes pictures of George Hermann, of Hospital staff in the 1940’s, of downtown Houston in the early twentieth century, nursing school graduates, and even copies of a few pictures of downtown Houston before the Civil War.

Most of the items either came with captions or were easily identified. One of them, though, is playing hard to get so I thought I’d post it here to see if anyone out there could help. (Would I sound more cutting-edge if I said I was “crowdsourcing” this? I’m crowdsourcing it.)

This beautiful, no-holds-barred, Disney palace of a Gothic church has a cornerstone but the lettering on it isn’t legible, no matter how powerful a loupe I use. Higher-resolution scanning won’t help; the individual letters just don’t exist in the photo. I have tried searching for “Houston church”, “Houston Gothic church”, by all kinds of denominations, and even “Houston church postcard”. Believe it or not, the postcard search has worked for me before since photo-postcards of showy buildings used to be so popular; I’ve identified buildings that no longer exist because I found postcards of them on eBay. Internet research can be weird.

Gothic church from Hermann Estate photo collection edit

However, the nets keep coming in empty on this one.

My best guess is that this image was taken in the first quarter of the twentieth century, but I don’t have much basis for that apart from that range being in keeping with the dates of most of the rest of the images in the box. I don’t actually know that it’s in Houston, either, but if it’s not I have no idea how we’ll ever find it, and I had to start somewhere.

If anyone has any more suggestions or recognizes the building, please let us know. We haven’t found any documentation and we would love to know which church this is and where it was located.

Addendum:

We’ve gotten several contributions from Library staff and from readers.  Some of the observations included:

1) In addition to the obvious Gothic Revival style [Encyclopedia Britannica online], Laurel noted that the building has a Romanesque flavor [Wentworthstudio.com], which would put construction after about 1880, and probably between 1890 and 1905.  The trees along the side of the church are pretty small so, if this picture were taken, say, around 1910, it seems reasonable that the building was fairly new at the time.

2) Reader Kirk commented with this Wikimedia Commons link to an 1891 map of Houston.  There are two churches at Texas and Milam streets that resemble the building in this picture.  This is across the street from the Houston Chronicle building now; the area has been completely modernized and none of the buildings on the map are still around.  (The famous 1884 Cotton Exchange [HoustonArchitecture.com] on Travis Street is featured among the vignettes at the bottom.)

3) Other readers suggested that the rest of the picture resembled the Heights.

4) The church does look a lot like Annunciation Catholic Church.  This church seems to be smaller, but Annunciation was remodeled in 1884, so the two buildings were probably similar in age.  [Annunciation Catholic Church]

5) The streetcar tracks are common in old pictures of Houston.  Houston used streetcars mostly between 1891 and 1940.  [Houston Streetcar History Pages]

Fracture Apparatus

by Sandra Yates
Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

I was going through the photograph files today, looking for some interesting images for our up coming centennial celebration, and I came across a envelope labeled “Fracture Apparatus, c. 1890s.” Obviously, I had to take a look! There were four negative images from the George Tiemann & Co.’s Surgical Instruments catalog, published in 1889. Oh my, the contraptions and the description are amazing! I almost believe I can put these apparatuses together like IKEA furniture.

"Buck's apparatus, for suspending the upper limbs, is made of iron tubing; its upright portion is fastened by clamps at the head of the bedstead and its lower portion overhangs the bed and holds suspended at its extremity a flattened strip of hard wood, on the upper edge of which a row of screw-heads serves for fastening the ends of the canvas bands that suspend the limb. The strip of wood that supports the limb plays horizontally on a swivel-joint at the extremity of the iron tubing. For suspending the lower limbs five-eighth inch iron tubing is bent, in the manner shown by the picture. The horizontal portion overhanging the bed is supported by two upright iron rods resting upon the mattress astraddle of the thigh. A row of screw-heads inserted along the outer surface of the horizontal portion serves for fastening the end of the canvas bands that suspend the limb. The upright portion of the apparatus is securely fastened to the two cross-rods at the foot of the bedstead by clamps, and can be adjusted at any required height. The suspending bands are of stout sail-cloth canvas, cut of any required length and width, and buttoned on the the screw-heads by slits cut for the purpose. The canvas being very strong does not tear, and will sustain any weight it has to bear"

Buck’s Suspension Apparatus: “for suspending the upper limbs, is made of iron tubing; its upright portion is fastend by clamps at the head of the bedstead and its lower portion overhangs the bed and holds suspended at its extremity a flattened strip of hard wood, on the upper edge of which a row of screw-heads serves for fastening the ends of the canvas bands that suspend the limb. The strip of wood that supports the limb plays horizontally on a swivel-joint at the extremity of the iron tubing. For suspending the lower limbs five-eighth inch iron tubing is bent, in the manner shown by the picture. The horizontal portion overhanging the bed is supported by two upright iron rods resting upon the mattress astraddle of the thigh. A row of screw-heads inserted along the outer surface of the horizontal portion serves for fastening the end of the canvas bands that suspend the limb. The upright portion of the apparatus is securely fastened to the two cross-rods at the foot of the bedstead by clamps, and can be adjusted at any required height. The suspending bands are of stout sail-cloth canvas, cut of any required length and width, and buttoned on the the screw-heads by slits cut for the purpose. The canvas being very strong does not tear, and will sustain any weight it has to bear” ["The American armamentarium chirurgicum" by George Tiemann & Co. McGovern Reference Collection, McGovern Historical Center.]

Buck's Extension "consists of: 1st. Two bands of heavy adhesive plaster, to which are attached the necessary buckle and elastic webbing. 2d. A perineal band, for counter extension, made of heavy rubber tubing, with straps, buckles and rings. 3d. Four guttered coaptation splints, leather covers; three elastic straps with buckles for fastening the same. 4th. One pulley, one bag for shot and some strong fishing line." ["The American armamentarium chirurgicum" by George Tiemann & Co. McGovern Reference Collection, McGovern Historical Center.]

Buck’s Extension “consists of: 1st. Two bands of heavy adhesive plaster, to which are attached the necessary buckle and elastic webbing. 2d. A perineal band, for counter extension, made of heavy rubber tubing, with straps, buckles and rings. 3d. Four guttered coaptation splints, leather covers; three elastic straps with buckles for fastening the same. 4th. One pulley, one bag for shot and some strong fishing line.” ["The American armamentarium chirurgicum" by George Tiemann & Co. McGovern Reference Collection, McGovern Historical Center.]

Coaptation Splints ["The American armamentarium chirurgicum" by George Tiemann & Co. McGovern Reference Collection, McGovern Historical Center.]

Coaptation Splints ["The American armamentarium chirurgicum" by George Tiemann & Co. McGovern Reference Collection, McGovern Historical Center.]

Sayre's Extension Sundries: "...consisting of two stout tapes, A, adjusted through button holes to the cross-piece, C. The ends of A are attached to the plaster secured to the limb, and C very nearly approaches the sole of the foot. To C is attached a strong cord, to run over the pulley B. To the end of the cord is to be attached a bag, as shown..." ["The American armamentarium chirurgicum" by George Tiemann & Co. McGovern Reference Collection, McGovern Historical]

Sayre’s Extension Sundries: “…consisting of two stout tapes, A, adjusted through button holes to the cross-piece, C. The ends of A are attached to the plaster secured to the limb, and C very nearly approaches the sole of the foot. To C is attached a strong cord, to run over the pulley B. To the end of the cord is to be attached a bag, as shown…” ["The American armamentarium chirurgicum" by George Tiemann & Co. McGovern Reference Collection, McGovern Historical]

"The American armamentarium chirurgicum" by George Tiemann & Co. McGovern Reference Collection, McGovern Historical Center.

“The American armamentarium chirurgicum” by George Tiemann & Co., page 577. McGovern Reference Collection, McGovern Historical Center.

"The American armamentarium chirurgicum" by George Tiemann & Co. McGovern Reference Collection, McGovern Historical Center.

“The American armamentarium chirurgicum” by George Tiemann & Co., page 582-583. McGovern Reference Collection, McGovern Historical Center.

The Doctor and the Herb-Woman

By Kiersten Bryant, archives metadata intern

The McGovern Collections and Research Center is home to an extensive collection of original artwork published in various journals produced by the Medical Arts Publishing Foundation beginning in the early 1950s. One of these artworks is the cover art for the first issue of Heart Bulletin published for March-April 1952. The painting is meant to represent the story of how the foxglove compound digitalis was discovered to be a heart condition remedy in late Eighteenth Century England by Dr. William Withering.

A painting of Dr. William Withering, and an herb-woman with a foxglove plant, used as the cover for the first issue of the Heart Bulletin journal published by the Medical Arts Publishing Foundation

Original painting created for the cover of Heart Bulletin, March-April 1952.

The story, as told in the cover information for this issue, is this:

During the latter part of the Eighteenth Century a dean of one of the colleges at Oxford (England) was stricken with heart disease, for which his physicians could offer him no relief. At the same time, there lived an old herb-woman in neighboring Shropshire who was producing miraculous cures in patients with heart disease through the use of a “magic brew.” The dean sent for the old herb-woman as a last resort, and she fed him a cup of her potent tea. To the amazement of doctors in attendance, the dean recovered. A physician familiar with the dean’s case, Dr. William Withering, managed to obtain the secret from the woman. He found that the effective agent in the potion was made from the roots of a plant called foxglove.

According to the Texas Heart Institute website the foxglove compound called digitalis is still used today as treatment for congestive heart failure and heart rhythm problems.

The cover art is a painting created by Dutch artist Joseph F. Doeve for this issue of Heart Bulletin. Mr. Doeve was a frequent contributing artist to the Medical Arts Publishing Foundation publications, and produced several Heart Bulletin covers.

More images of some of the artwork in our Medical Arts Publishing Foundation collection can be seen here Hallowe’en Season and here Medical Artwork.

George Hermann and the year 1914

By Philip Montgomery
Head of the McGovern Historical Center

In 2015, the Houston Academy of Medicine, Texas Medical Center Library will celebrate 100 years of providing medical knowledge to Texas physicians. However, the year before the library was created in 1915 was a momentous year for the world and Houston. 1914 marked the beginning of World War I, a conflict that would soon engulf the United States. In Houston that year, the death of George Hermann indirectly set in motion the creation of the Texas Medical Center. More on his death in a later blog.

Portrait of George Hermann, June 22, 1914

Portrait of George Hermann, June 22, 1914

In 1914, George Hermann, who became a millionaire with the discovery of oil in Humble, Texas, donated the site of his sawmill to the City of Houston. That donation became Hermann Park. Hermann gave the following picture of himself to an unnamed person and signed the picture and dated it June 22, 1914. By the following October he was dead. His funeral was a major event in the city.

Hermann stipulated in his will that a public, charity hospital be created. Hermann Hospital opened its doors in 1925. In the late 1940s, the Texas Medical Center would take shape on land adjacent to Hermann Hospital.

MS 19, Hermann Hospital records, Box 1, Historical Photos 1918-1940s, G.H. Hermann portrait.

“TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER,” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/), accessed August 08, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Texas Medical Center Library Centennial: Pellagra in a nutshell

by Alethea Drexler, archives assistant

Today’s post combines history, medicine, and food. 

We’ll start with the Harris County Medical Society Bulletin, Volume 3, Number 4, August 1912[1], and an excerpt about pellagra (this image has been photoshopped so that it would fit in one space.  These are from pages 12 and 13):

V03-n04-1912-08-p12-13 750 pellagra

Nineteen-twelve was a long time ago, but not out of reach.  All of my grandparents were born within a few years of 1912; there aren’t many people around who are old enough to remember 1912 but there are plenty of people around who knew somebody who was. 

The disease in question is pellagra.  Pellagra is a disfiguring and disabling disease[2] that was relatively common in the American South well into the twentieth century.  It’s clear from the article above that the Medical Society (along with the rest of the world) didn’t yet know what caused it.  Theories had been bandied about for centuries.

Public health official Joseph Goldberger, M.D.[3], would confirm the corn-diet theory through a series of experiments on patients at the Spartanburg [South Carolina] Pellagra Hospital and on a set of prisoners, between 1914 and 1926[4].  The root cause–lack or inaccessibility of the B-vitamin niacin in the diet–was finally discovered by Conrad Elvehjem[5] in 1937.  (That there was at least one entire hospital devoted to study and treatment of pellagra suggests how widespread a problem it was.)

It would turn out that Gaspar Casal[6], the eighteenth-century Spanish physician who first described the disease’s dermatological symptoms and blamed it in part on a corn-based diet, noted in the article above, had it at least kind of right.  Specifically, the problem was a diet based on unprocessed corn.  Native American populations that had relied on corn for centuries developed a method of processing grain known now by the Nahuatl-derived[9] term nixtamalization[10].  Nixtamalization uses an alkaline solution to break down the grain’s cell walls, making the corn’s niacin[8] content available for absorption when eaten, sparing them from pellagra.  Nixtamalization creates what we would recognize as hominy or masa (masa is the basis for the tender corn mush used in tamales.  You’ll recognize the root word “tamal”).  Populations that relied on a diet of plain corn-meal that had not been processed were at risk of vitamin deficiency because their bodies couldn’t access the vitamin in the grain[4].

This webpage[13] is not academic but it does have a picture of the Spartanburg Pellagra Hospital. 

Works consulted:
1] Harris County Medical Society Bulletin, V.03 N.04, August 1912, pages 12, 13.
2] MedlinePlus: Pellagra
3] National Institute of Health: Joseph Goldberger
4] Wikipedia: Pellagra
5] Wikipedia: Conrad Elvehjem
6] Wikipedia: Gaspar Casal
7] La Fundación Gaspar Casal
8] PBS.org, “A Science Odyssey: Joseph Goldberger
9] Omniglot: Nahuatl
10] Wikipedia: Nixtamalization
11] MedlinePlus: Niacin
12] University of Alabama: Pellagra in Alabama
13] Slobot About Town: Pellagra
14] National Academy of Sciences: Conrad Arnold Elvehjem (1901-1962)