Hallowe’en Season

by Alethea Drexler, archives assistant


Happy Hallowe’en from the McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center!

Archivist Phil Montgomery suggested that, this year, we should set up an exhibit for Hallowe’en.  Since we’re a medical school archive, we probably have an unfair advantage when it comes to selecting creepy artwork.

The first item in our little exhibit is a “death book” from Hermann Hospital.  It’s a logbook of deceased patients.  This one is dated 1950, but we have several others and they’re all plain black composition notebooks.  Somehow, that they’re so understated makes them sadder and more unnerving.

Hermann Hospital death register, 1950

The rest of our exhibit is made up of artwork by Joseph “Joe” Schwarting, a Houston artist who was once the only fine arts major on the University of Texas football team[1], and apparently was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles[2].  These originally accompanied articles published in The Psychiatric Bulletin in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Schwarting was the foremost illustrator for Houston’s Medical Arts Publishing Foundation.

The McGovern Research Center also has a collection of his illustrations for The Heart Bulletin, which can be seen here[3].

The following have been divorced from the articles they accompanied so I cannot provide any context, but I hope you enjoy their eeriness.

You can’t have Hallowe’en without a devil:

Smoking Devil


Dental mirror


The phantom wolf


The one below reminds me very much of both James Thurber’s The Thirteen Clocks[5], and of the illustrations that often accompany writings by Edgar Allan Poe[6] and J. Sheridan Le Fanu[7].



Big eye


The surgeon


The shadow man


El Cid




Didn’t I see this in an old Disney movie?

The tree man


Skull and demons

Works consulted:

[1] LIFE magazine, November 17, 1941, page 115.

[2] College Football Reference.

[3] Houston Academy of Medicine-Texas Medical Center Library, John P. McGovern Historical Collections and Research Center, Medical Artwork collection, The Heart Bulletin.

[4] LIFE magazine, November 17, 1941.

[5] Wikipedia, The Thirteen Clocks.

[6] Edgar Allan Poe Museum.

[7] Wikipedia: Sheridan Le Fanu.

Posted in Images
3 comments on “Hallowe’en Season
  1. Jeremy Jansen says:

    Joe Schwarting was my grandfather. Thanks for putting these up. There are a few of these I’ve never seen. The family has literally thousands of his drawings, doodles and illustrations. Most of the journal covers he did were actually paintings and they are scattered here and there. It is one of my lifelong plans to archive his work and make his amazing style and work more publicly know. Thanks again!

    • mcgovernhrc says:

      Jeremy, you should contact us at mcgovern@library.tmc.edu. I would love to visit with you. The archives has an extensive collection of your grandfather’s work. We have an art and paper conservator organizing and putting the art in context so future generations can appreciate Mr. Schwarting’s art. He is quite remarkable. Philip Montgomery, archivist.

  2. […] images of some of the artwork in our Medical Arts Publishing Foundation collection can be seen here Hallowe’en Season and here Medical […]

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