Sakamasu: a sake tradition

by Philip Montgomery
archivist and head of the McGovern Historical Center


I found this small wooden box among papers and photos from the estate of Dr. William Jackson “Jack” Schull. Dr. Schull was involved in the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) and later the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) from the late 1940s until his death on June 20, 2017.

To the best of my knowledge this is a masu or more specifically a sakamasu or measuring cup for sake. Several of these have appeared in the archive. This item is 3.25 inches square and just a bit over 2 inches tall. The wood appears to be cypress or cedar, although I am hard pressed to identify wood unless it is clearly labeled.

Traditionally, a small glass is set in the masu, sake is poured into the glass until it overflows and partially fills the masu. Then the lucky recipient drinks from the cup. When the cup is finished, the user drinks from the corner of the masu to finish the excess sake.

This masu is stamped with the date 1981, the place Japan, a strange tower-like or mountain-like icon and then “3rd ICEM.” I am not sure what ICEM means. I thought it might be the “International Conference on Emergency Medicine” but that ICEM never held a 1981 conference in Japan as far as I can ascertain. So, if you know what ICEM might stand for in relation to Japan let us know.

One final point of interest, this masu is signed. Written in ink opposite of ICEM are the names of two men. The first is Ernie Hook, although I am not certain about the spelling of the name. The handwriting may say “Emil” or “Emie.” The other signature is of Tony Searle, the spelling of which I am fairly confident. Along with the names is a combination of katakana and kanji. Maybe if I have time I can laboriously translate the Japanese.

And if you have a masu around the house, drink a toast of sake to Dr. Schull. He would have liked that.


Posted in Medical Archives

Three for One: Memorial Hospital

Nursing students and faculty in front of Memorial Hospital, 1940s. Memorial Hospital was located at Lamar and Smith in Downtown Houston. [Memorial Hospital System records, McGovern Historical Center, Texas Medical Center Library, IC 022, IC022-1909-1970sPhotos-03-002]

by Sandra Yates
Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

The McGovern Historical Center has three finding aids available related to the Memorial Hospital System, one of the earliest hospitals in Houston. Founded in 1907 as the Baptist Sanitarium, Memorial Hospital began as a two-story, wood-framed building at the end of the trolley line on Lamar and Smith. It had 17 beds and eight trained nurses on staff. It was the second general hospital established in Houston after St. Joseph Hospital which opened in 1887. It was also the second Baptist-supported hospital in the United States. The other was the Missouri Baptist Sanitarium in St. Louis. The Baptist Sanitarium Training School for Nurses was the first chartered nursing school in the city, graduating its first class in 1909. Graduates from the school received a Registered Nurse certificate as well as a Sunday School Teacher certificate. All three collections are rich with historical materials from the nursing school, depicting students, staff, and activities.

MS 181 Leta Denham, RN papers, 1918-1920
IC 022 Memorial Hospital System records, 1907-1997
IC 103 Memorial Hospital Photograph Collection, 1903-1976

Leta Denham, RN papers (MS181) is a small collection that includes photographs, nursing certificates and artifacts as well as a yearbook. Leta Denham was a student at the Baptist Sanitarium and Hospital Training School for Nurses, graduating in 1919. She served as a medical missionary in Yingtak, China from 1921 to 1922.

Memorial Hospital System records (IC022) has many scrapbooks and photographs chronicling its long and proud history. The collection includes a photograph album from 1918 with amazing images of nursing students. The album overlaps with Leta Denham’s time at the nursing school (see the 1918 images below).

Memorial Hospital Photograph Collection (IC103) has over 4000 photographs that date from 1903 to 1976. The photographs depict the staff, physicians, personnel, departments, nursing school students, faculty and Lillie Jolly (director), facilities and building construction of the Memorial Hospital System. There is a small collection of 31 photographs from Lela Smith Hickey, who graduated from the nursing school in 1933. The photographs are of nursing students, staff, and physicians at Memorial Hospital in 1932 (See the 1932 images below).

It’s fun to compare the photographs from 1918 and 1932. The similarities are amazing! Through the years, the roof of the hospital remained a place for relaxing, having fun, and enjoying the view of downtown Houston.



Posted in Hospitals, Institutional Collection, Manuscript Collection, Medical Archives

Complete Finding Aid for the Medical World News Photograph Collection Is Available!

IC77 b 8-3-16 no84-10 moon man with owl

by Sandra Yates
Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

The Texas Medical Center Library, McGovern Historical Center is excited to announce the completion of the IC 077 Medical World News Photograph Collection. A complete finding aid and inventory is now online and available for researchers.

The Medical World News Photograph Collection is one of the largest and most interesting in the McGovern Historical Center. Comprised of an estimated 500,000 photographic prints, negatives, and transparencies, it offers an expansive visual tour of medical advances from 1960-1988. Through biographical files, subject files, article files, raw negative footage, color transparencies, and source materials for feature stories, this collection documents the production of a premiere medical news magazine, and it contains most of the images published in the magazine from 1967-1985.

The collection consists of 22,003 folders within 424 document boxes and 8 oversize boxes, which includes images for 8,198 articles, 3,017 medical personalities, and 2,141 subjects! The collection was processed by our dedicated Archives Assistant, Gina Leonard, who painstakingly inventoried every folder. It was a project that lasted over five years, two and a half of which was focused on rehousing every roll of 35mm negative into PAT (Photographic Activity Test) negative preserver sleeves. Gina’s work has enabled us to provided a very detailed folder-level inventory that is easily text searchable. Eventually, we hope to use the inventory as a foundation to create a more interactive search experience that will allow researchers to filter by year, subject, and photographer.

I won’t bore you with the spreadsheet formulas that made this massive task manageable, but… Who am I kidding! We could not have created such a detailed finding aid without (1) entering the inventory data into an Excel spreadsheet and (2) using SUBSTITUTE formulas to clean-up and standardize dates and CONCATENATE formulas to combine everything into encoded, valid XML component tags.

A Little Background

Medical World News was a weekly publication that focused on medical developments, issues, and personalities. It was published for 35 years from 1960 to 1994. Self-described as “The Newsmagazine of Medicine,” Medical World News was the only news magazine devoted solely to medicine during its years of publication.

With Maxwell M. Geffen as the publisher and Morris Fishbein as editor, the first issue of Medical World News hit the newsstand on April 22, 1960. From the beginning Medical World News aspired to be more than just another medical journal. It was a unique and independent publication with the freedom to report all aspects on controversial issues in medicine. Its target audience was the physician, and the image-rich content made for easy reading.

Fishbein emphasized photography to differentiate Medical World News from other medical journals. He had a photo staff of six people, including Rick Giacalone as art director and Don Monaco and Martha Roberts as photo editors. The work of the staff and amount of images created, reviewed, and used for each story was a massive undertaking. Geffen describes, “[the picture staff] handles about 30,000 pictures every year. For a single story, they may scrutinize as many as 150 color slides or a dozen rolls of 36-frame black-and-white film–from which they will choose only four or five of the best for publication.” (MWN, 1967, 03/31, p.21) This output explains the size and breadth of the collection! Medical World News used freelance photographers for assignments all over the world. Notable photographers who contributed to issues are George Tames, Art Shay, Joe Baker, Ivan Massar, Jerry Miller, Al Geise, and Bob Phillips. Some photographers were associated with photo agencies, like Black Star and Magnum Photos.

Accessing the Materials

The collection is open for research. You can search the finding aid and contact the mcgovern staff ( for images that suit your research needs. We can provide reference images of folder contents and high-resolution scans of prints, negatives, and color transparencies. Through the years, researchers have found the partial inventory that we had online and requested images from the collection for documentaries and journal articles. Some materials have been digitized and are available upon request.

Below are some images from the Medical World News Photograph Collection that we’ve featured previously on the blog:

Contact Sheet from 1966 Lasker Awards. Individuals in the image include: Dr. Sidney Farber, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, Mary Lasker, Dr. George E. Palade. Photographer, Mottke Weissman. [Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 21.9, negative# MW-250A-04]

Contact Sheet from 1966 Lasker Awards. Individuals in the image include: Dr. Sidney Farber, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, Mary Lasker, Dr. George E. Palade. Photographer, Mottke Weissman.

[Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Center, IC077, Folder 21.9, negative# MW-250A-04]

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]

"Before separation, x-ray reveals that twin girls share liver (triangular mass)" Image from article in the May 31, 1968 issue of Medical World News. Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Collection, IC077, Box 119, #6628

“Before separation, x-ray reveals that twin girls share liver (triangular mass)” Image from article in the May 31, 1968 issue of Medical World News. Medical World News Collection, McGovern Historical Collection, IC077, Box 119, #6628

Actress-model Rose McWiliams mimics pathological conditions.

Actress-model Rose McWiliams mimics pathological conditions to help train junior medical students in meurology at the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine. Photo by Bill Bridges. Medical World News collection; malingering model IC 77 OV 1-17-1964.

IC77 b 8-3-16 no84-10 moon man with owl

Painted man with owl from IC 077 Medical World News Photo Collection.

Posted in Images, Medical World News

“I Question” by Anonymous

by Kelsey Koym
Archives Intern

This letter was found in the back of the book, “I Question.” The book is believed to have been written in 1947 by one of the patients of Dr.Luton, as evidence of this letter.

The Menninger collection contains hundreds of books spanning the various periods of psychological history and its specialties. Although the idealization of Freud and his near idol-like status saturate many of the pages of these books, unique items will stand out written by the patients of these medical professionals. One of these has greatly intrigued me, and it is worth the time to give it publicity.

The book is titled, “I Question,” and it is written by an anonymous author. At first this book seemed inconsequential. It consists of only eighty-two pages and has a foreword written by a Dr. Frank H. Luton, who grants a seemingly sincere recommendation to readers about the book’s value. There is no table of contents, and it lacks an index. What it does contain, however, is a piece of evidence of the book’s origination. In the back is a letter from Dr. Luton to Dr. William Menninger, brother to Dr. Karl Menninger whose name is formally attached to the collection. The letter is dated March, 20, 1947, and reveals that the anonymous author is one of Dr. Luton’s patients. Luton (1947) writes, “Writing the book has given him considerable satisfaction and I believe has enabled us to avoid institutionalization.” I needed to investigate more.

The book went to Phase Two of the appraisal process, which means the book needed to be checked against WorldCat to determine whether other facilities had the item. WorldCat listed six libraries that house this work, and now McGovern Historical Center makes seven. Mystery of authorship intrigues its audience, and it builds user’s curiosity enough to explore a book’s pages. We are closer to understanding this work’s origins because of a single letter pasted to a book that has been seemingly forgotten.

In the book, “Anonymous” consistently mentions the “other world.” His narrative skips, and its stop-and-go introspection reveals a mind that is reflecting upon its psychiatric history and the emotions accompanying it. The author speaks with authority regarding the voices he hears from this other world, and a reader cannot help but sense the whispers of a troubled mind.

The Menninger collection has books for the practicing doctor with a focus on the profession’s evolution and its historical context. However, there are works divulging the intimate stories of those patients who have undergone evaluation and treatment. Their journeys have been recorded and preserved to illuminate the experiences of the mentally ill and their healing.

Posted in Medical Archives, Rare Books

Colonel Bates: enemy of the Klan

By Philip Montgomery
Head of McGovern Historical Center

Yesterday, Colonel William B. Bates and his role in moving Baylor College of Medicine from Dallas to Houston came up in a conversation with Bryant Boutwell, the John P. McGovern Professor of Oslerian Medicine, at the UT Health Science Center-Houston.


William “Bill” Bates in 1920 walks with Virgie [Dorsey], the cousin of Mary Dorsey. Mary and Bill married shortly after this picture was taken at West End Lake on a Sunday afternoon near Nacogdoches, Texas. Photo from MS 11, Colonel William Bates papers; series A, box “Family and Home,” folder “Family Photos,” circa 1920-1921.

Boutwell, an historian and author, described how Baylor came to the Texas Medical Center. Baylor’s move at the time was an off-the-charts seismic event full of drama, and Bates was in the middle of it.

Listening to Boutwell explain the deal making piqued my curiosity about Bates, so I started digging through his papers and photographs. I also scanned N. Don Macon’s interview of Bates that was published as “South from Flower Mountain: a conversation with William B. Bates.”

Macon captured the Bates interview on video tape. Macon interviewed many of the leading figures responsible for the creation of the Texas Medical Center. The McGovern Historical Center has a collection of his video interviews, some of which have been digitized. In Macon’s interview, Bates speaks with an economy of words in an East Texas accent.

Bates had an enormous impact on the growth of Houston from the moment he arrived in the city in 1923. By 1925, he was a board member of the Houston Independent School District.  He was chairman of the board when the University of Houston was established. He served on the advisory board of the Bank of the Southwest, now known as Amegy Bank of Texas. In 1939, he became chair of the board of trustees of the M.D. Anderson  Foundation. In that role, he contributed to and assumed a position of leadership for the creation of the Texas Medical Center.

Most of the images I see of Colonel William B. Bates show a portly, elderly, tight lipped man who never smiles. This photo shows a different and rare side of Bates. He has a rakish smile and walks with a bit of swagger. I like to think that his future wife Mary took this picture, which is why he has that smile on his face. She wrote on the back of the photo to describe the scene and signed her name, so there is a good chance she was present even if she was not the photographer. Her cousin Virgie probably had the role of chaperone.

Bates served in the U.S. Army from 1917 to 1919 during World War I. He was wounded three times, served in the front lines and briefly describes his first horrendous combat experience to Macon. Eventually, he was promoted to Captain and served in the Army of Occupation after the war. Dan Moody slapped the title of “colonel” on Bates when Moody ran for governor of Texas.

After the war and around the time this photo was taken, Bates was elected district attorney for the old Second Judicial District  of Texas, which included Angelina, Cherokee, and Nacogdoches counties during the early years of Prohibition. The Ku Klux Klan was at the height of its power at that time. According to Bates in his interview with Macon, the Klan came to Nacogdoches to organize.

“The Ku Klux Klan was a quite a force then,” Bates told Macon. “They almost ran Houston in those days. They were strong in several counties up here in East Texas, including Nacogdoches County. I was against them, fought them.”

“They were always mysterious,” Bates said, “never let you know who they were.” A Klan leader met with Bates and the mayor of Nacogdoches Judge Middlebrook to offer the services of the Klan to clean up the “undesirables.”

Bates quoted the Klansman as saying “… if somebody ought to be tended to, this Center [Texas] group will come and take care of him, take him out and ride him on a rail.”

Bates and the Mayor told the Klansman they did not approve and would “resist it with everything we had.” After that Bates became a marked enemy of the Ku Klux Klan. He ran for re-election as District Attorney, but this time the Klan opposed him and he was defeated by about 125 votes in every country in the district where he ran for office. After that defeat, Bates moved on and joined the law firm of Fulbright and Crooker in Houston in 1923.

A lot happened to Bates in the few years from 1919 to 1923. The photo would have been taken in the middle of this compressed time frame. He probably was still feeling his war wounds, he fell in love, married, ran for election as district attorney, enforced prohibition, faced off against the Ku Klux Klan, lost an election and moved to Houston.

His career was just getting started, and his involvement with Baylor College of Medicine’s move from Dallas to Houston is another story.




Posted in Medical Archives

Dr. Cooley’s Eisenhower jacket

By Philip Montgomery
Head of McGovern Historical Center

Today, Dena Houchin, RN, dropped off several of Dr. Denton Cooley’s old military uniforms, including pants, shirts and an Eisenhower jacket,  along with his Johns Hopkins University academic regalia robe, hood and hat. The Johns Hopkins regalia is pretty snazzy, but it was the Eisenhower jacket that caught my attention today.


Dr. Denton Cooley’s U.S. Army Eisenhower jacket.

Ms. Houchin is the former administrative director of cardiovascular surgery for the Texas Heart Institute where she worked for more than 30 years with Dr. Cooley. She is a close friend of the Cooley family, who gave her the garments to donate to the McGovern Historical Center.

Dr. Cooley probably wore the Eisenhower jacket when he served in the U.S. Army in Linz, Austria with the 124th Station Hospital between 1946 and 1948.

The Eisenhower jacket is a waist-length jacket with pleated back, adjustable waist band, fly-front buttons, bellows chest pockets, slash side pockets and shoulder straps. The jacket is made of 18-ounce wool serge, and it is heavy. This jacket still looks sharp and is in excellent condition for a 69-year-old article of military clothing.

Soon I will tell you about the academic regalia. You will need eclipse-type sunglasses to look at the Johns Hopkins University robes.

Posted in Medical Archives

Railway Surgery

By Philip Montgomery
Head of McGovern Historical Center

The McGovern Rare Book Collection just added a book on treating railway injuries published in 1899. Dr. Clinton B. Herrick’s “Railway Surgery: a handbook on the management of injuries” is quite an interesting book. The library’s resource management assistant Mireille Clark discovered the book in the stacks and passed it on to a rare book librarian.

railway-surgeryHerrick wrote at a time when railroad hospitals could be found in cities, such as Houston. He notes that railroad injuries had some commonalities, including steam burns, crushing injuries and limb injuries caused by the nature of the business. He also describes the railroad hospital car, car sanitation and disinfection.

Posted in Medical Archives

Cross species applicability of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment (1969)

Alethea Drexler, archives assistant

I found this recently on the back of an article saved in MS159, the Dr. Herbert Fred papers (it’s crossed out because it wasn’t the item of interest).

Cross Species applicability - cat

British Medical Journal, volume 299, 23-30 December 1969, page 1569.

Scientists will note that one subject is not a valid sample size, but cat owners will note that of course cats are happier with toys, snuggles, and playmates.

It’s also good to know that the British Medical Journal values patient anonymity, even when you’re a cat.

Note: Please don’t give your cats milk.  Most adult cats are lactose intolerant and, as noted in the article, milk can cause gastric upset and diarrhea[1].

[1] PetMD, “Top Five Cat Myths Debunked“.

Posted in Medical Archives

The goat-gland doctor of Del Rio

By Philip Montgomery

Head of McGovern Historical Center

John Richard Brinkley (1885-1942) was best known as the notorious goat-gland doctor. He made his reputation and his millions of dollars by performing xenotransplants. He inserted goat testicles into the scrotum of human males to increase their virility. He also inserted goat glands into women to cure a variety of disease including cancer.

J.R. Brinkley

J.R. Brinkley submitted this photo in 1918 to the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners to receive a license to practice medicine in Texas. The license was granted. IC 58 Texas State Board of Medical Examiner records.

Brinkley earned his medical degree from Eclectic Medical University in Arkansas in 1915.  At the time, Brinkley received his Texas license, Arkansas evidently had a reciprocal agreement with Texas. Throughout the years of controversy in the 1920s and 1930s, when Brinkley was being investigated, he never lost his license to practice medicine in Texas.

The state of Kansas did revoke his license and the federal government shut down his radio station in Kansas. He found a more receptive home in Del Rio, Texas where he established a thriving practice and the first blaster-radio station across the Rio Grande in Mexico. XER-AM broadcast at 50,000 watts and could be heard in Kansas. Brinkley introduced popular music groups, such as the Carter Family, to widespread audiences as he touted his services and the Brinkley brand of pharmaceutical remedies.

Brinkley’s success came to a slow grinding halt as the lawsuits mounted, and the FDA turned its scientific scrutiny upon his methods.

Apparently, the State of Texas never revoked his license. In 1942, the Texas State Board of Medical Examiners sent Brinkley a notice to renew his license. The notice was returned with a note that Brinkley had died that year.


Brinkley’s 1918 application for a license to practice medicine in Texas. IC 58 Texas State Board of Medical Examiners.

Posted in Medical Archives

Houston Archives Bazaar!

The McGovern Historical Center will be at the Houston Archives Bazaar at the White Oak Music Hall on Sunday, September 10th from 2pm – 6pm. We’ll have some collection materials, and we’re looking forward to sharing them with the community.

For more details you can go to Hope to see you there!

Posted in Archives, Outreach
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