Archives and Rare Books

The St. Louis Body-Snatchers

It reads like the beginning of a horror story. “At 8 o’clock Monday evening three very rough-looking men entered a saloon known as the ‘Gravois Cave’ on a corner opposite of the cemetery…The men remained only a few minutes and when they went out they separated going in different directions and leaving a light spring-wagon,  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Arshav Nushan: Immigrant, Orderly and Jazzerino

When the United States entered World War I, Base Hospital 21, the medical reserve unit based at the Washington University Medical Center, placed a call for volunteers as the U.S. had yet to institute the draft. There was a great response from the public. In a nation of immigrants, many enthusiastically joined up in support  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

November 1917 at Base Hospital 21

By November of 1917, the original members of Base Hospital 21 were six months into their deployment to Rouen, France. Recruited from the Washington University Medical Center, the doctors, nurses and enlisted personnel who had left St. Louis in May with great fanfare were now settling into a routine that included being severely overworked. When the unit arrived in France to assume control of a British army hospital, it became obvious they were seriously understaffed.

Archives and Rare Books

A tradition of self-experimentation

As new and returning medical students come to Washington University in St. Louis to throw themselves into their studies, we remember that self-experimentation in medical research has a long tradition at the School of Medicine. One of the earliest examples involves two medical school students, Alfred Goldman, MD 1920, and Samuel B. Grant, MD 1920, and  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Finishing Touches

Lately, it seems the Washington University Medical Center is in a constant state of construction. Before one building is completed, work on another site begins. As the medical center has grown throughout its 100-year history, countless architects, construction workers, and artists have left their mark on its buildings. One unique finishing touch is a concrete  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

It’s Preservation Week – Pass it on!

Nothing lasts forever, but archivists and librarians are dedicated to making sure some things last a very long time. Preservation Week is the perfect opportunity to learn more about what you can do to preserve your own favorite photos and important documents. Following a few simple guidelines can add decades to the life of a  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Diary from Base Hospital 21

When World War I began in 1914, American public opinion was divided about whether the U.S. should get involved. But by 1917, it was clear that U.S. involvement was inescapable. In early April 1917, the United States declared war on Germany. With a great show of public enthusiasm, support for the troops became a rallying  [Read more]

Archives and Rare Books

Santa Claus in the Operating Room

In 1930, Vilray P. Blair, MD, the founder of the plastic surgery program at Washington University School of Medicine, was planning his new operating room in the surgical wing of Barnes Hospital. Blair was world-renowned for his work on the most difficult cases, and still did a considerable amount of surgeries on children under local anesthetic. Many of the children brought into the operating room awake were terrified. He hoped to find a way to comfort them and help them relax during the operations.

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