Cortisone

by Sandra Yates
Archivist and Special Collections Librarian

As you may or may not know, the McGovern Historical Center houses the personal and professional papers of Philip S. Hench, MD. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1950 as co-developer of cortisone treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. While looking through some boxes in the archive, we found this rather dramatic photograph of Hench (second from right) and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic demonstrating the wonders of a cortisone injection on a Life magazine photographer.

"When Life magazine sent the celebrated ALFRED EISENSTAEDT out to Mayo Clinic to photograph work on cortisone, Mayo consultants retaliated by throwing him on an examining table and subjecting him to cruel duress. At reader's left: Dr. CHARLES H. SLOCUMB; at his left: Dr. EDWARD C. KENDALL (1886-1972), who discovered and partially synthesized cortisone; center: Dr. JAMES ECKMAN; at his left: Dr. PHILIP S. HENCH (1896-1965), who introduced cortisone into the clinical practice of medicine; at his left: Dr. HOWARD F. POLLEY (applying protractor to determine mobility of joint). Dr. KENDALL and Dr. HENCH received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1950 for their work on cortisone. Photograph taken at Saint Mary's Hospital, Rochester, Minnesota, on May 11, 1949, by ERVIN W. MILLER, Section of Photography of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota." [Philip S. Hench, MD Papers, MS076, McGovern Historical Center]

“When Life magazine sent the celebrated ALFRED EISENSTAEDT out to Mayo Clinic to photograph work on cortisone, Mayo consultants retaliated by throwing him on an examining table and subjecting him to cruel duress. At reader’s left: Dr. CHARLES H. SLOCUMB; at his left: Dr. EDWARD C. KENDALL (1886-1972), who discovered and partially synthesized cortisone; center: Dr. JAMES ECKMAN; at his left: Dr. PHILIP S. HENCH (1896-1965), who introduced cortisone into the clinical practice of medicine; at his left: Dr. HOWARD F. POLLEY (applying protractor to determine mobility of joint). Dr. KENDALL and Dr. HENCH received the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1950 for their work on cortisone. Photograph taken at Saint Mary’s Hospital, Rochester, Minnesota, on May 11, 1949, by ERVIN W. MILLER, Section of Photography of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.”
[Philip S. Hench, MD Papers, MS076, McGovern Historical Center]

You can review the finding aid on the McGovern Historical Center website for more information about Philip S. Hench, MD Papers.

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Posted in Archives, Manuscript Collection
One comment on “Cortisone
  1. I would like to contact Sandra Yates regarding this photograph. I have a couple of questions and perhaps a correction and some additions to the information. The framed photo hangs in our family’s front entry hall, as it was taken by my father, Erv Miller, long-time Mayo Clinic photographer. I would like to compare notes on parts of the commentary. Would appreciate if you could share her email, phone or contact information. Thank you very much.

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