Did you know that March 24th is World Tuberculosis Day? Each year the World Health Organization (WHO) commemorates World Tuberculosis (TB) Day to “raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.”
Below is a digitized copy of an oral history interview with Dr. Herbert Goldstone, recording with Helen Sollins on July 22, 1982 to discuss his life history and medical career. He talks a short while near the end of the interview about the closes he came to “making a world-shattering discovery- the cure for tuberculosis.” You can also download a full transcript of his oral history here.
We can’t thank all our entrants enough for sharing their delicious homemade soups with us. We can’t help but feel healthy after all that chicken soup!
And, of course, a very special thank you to our amazing judges, Sam Gallant of WTMD, Tom Lovejoy, executive chef for Eddie’s of Roland Park, Tony Gambino of Ciao Bella Restaurant in Little Italy, and Marvin Pinkert, JMM executive director.
Best Chicken Soup in Maryland: Betsey Kahn’s “Good Old Fashioned Chicken Soup”
1 Roasting chicken
3 Carrots, sliced
4 Celery stalks, sliced
3 medium Onions, sliced
2 large Cloves of garlic
½ large Lemon, juice and rind
1 Tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Salt
1 Tbsp SeasonAll
6 C Water
1 ½ C medium Barley
2 pkts Chicken HerbOx
2×32 oz Chicken broth
16 oz Frozen corn
16 oz Frozen peas
Place the chicken, either whole or cut up, in a 4 qt. pot. Put celery, carrots, onions, and garlic in the pot. Add 6 cups of water, salt, pepper, lemon juice, lemon rind, and SeasonAll.
Cover the pot and bring the liquid to a boil, turn the heat down and cook for at least 2 hours. The chicken will be “fall off the bone” at that time. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pot to a plate and remove the skin from all the parts. BE CAREFULL TO REMOVE ALL BONES FROM THE BROTH.
Add as much of the pulled chicken as you want in the broth. Add the barley to the broth and cook for another ½ hour.
Add frozen corn and peas to the broth as well as the 2 packets of HerbOx and (2) 32 ounce boxes of chicken broth. Continue cooking for another ½ to ¾ of an hour.
ENJOY EATING MY GOOD OLD FASHION CHICKEN SOUP!
Best Traditional Chicken Soup: Mary Brady’s “Schmaltzy Soup”
Take a chicken, young or “stewing” (e.g., OLD). This recipe does not discriminate.
Discard the neck and Chop up the giblets.
Cover the chicken in cold water in a BIG pot. Boil that devil for a few minutes and then simmer it for an hour, until the meat falls off the bones.
For each chicken, shred a pound of carrots, celery and shallots. Saute the shredded vegs and giblets in schmaltz for Kosher version; butter for non-Kosher version.
Add Minor chicken base to the stewing chicken (this is the top-knotch chicken stock; available at BJ’s; if you can’t get it use any chicken stock.) Add vegetable stock, as well – about a quart of stock for each bird.
Pick out anything you don’t want to eat, e.g. bones and giant pieces of skin. Leave some skin in. Combine the sautéed vegs and the meat and simmer all for an hour.
Cool in the fridge overnight and then take off most of the fat – leave about a third. Bring to a boil – add a pound of Maneschevitz curly egg noodles – cook until the noodles are al dente.
Best Alternative Chicken Soup: Adam Yosim’s his “Tom Kha Chai”
3 lb chicken wings
1 large onion, quartered
1-2 garlic cloves, smashed
3 quarts water
salt & pepper.
Cook in crockpot 4-5 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Strain.
2-3 quarts chicken broth
1 T each ginger & garlic, chopped
1/4 cup red curry paste
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 can coconut milk
1 lb boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
2-3 T fish sauce
cilantro, scallions, lime wedges.
Cook garlic, ginger & curry page for 5 minutes over med heat, add chicken thighs and stir 2 min.
Add vegetable, cook 3 min.
Add broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, bring to boil, simmer 20 min.
Serve with garnishes.
Director’s Choice: Lan Pham Wilson of Morestomach Blog‘s “Lemongrass Chicken Soup”
1-2 kosher chicken carcasses
3 large carrots, trimmed & rough chopped
3 stalks of celery, rough chopped
6 lemongrass stalks, trimmed & slightly bruised
2″ knob of ginger, slightly smashed
3-4 garlic gloves, whole but slightly smashed
handful of kefir lime leaves
1 med onion, quartered
3-4 red thai chilis, whole and scored
palm-full of whole black peppercorns
In a crock pot, add all the stock ingredients in and add water till it covers everything. lid, turn on low and walk away, 4-8 hours. Strain.
2-3 carrots, washed, peeled & diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
meat of kosher rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 cup rice
1/8-1/4 cup kosher fish sauce
1 T oil.
2-3 lemongrass stalks, slightly bruised
1″ knob of ginger, slightly smashed
1-2 garlic cloves, slightly smashed
1/2 small onion, cut in half
1-2 red thai chilis, whole and scored
splash of neutral oil
In small frying pan gently warm a splash of oil and sauté all the ingredients. Keep on low & every so often move the ingredients around so they don’t feel neglected and burn.
limes, chopped cilantro, chopped red chili
In a big pot, heat oil & saute diced onion until softened.
Add in minced garlic, carrots & celery, mix thoroughly. Pour in the stock. Add in the extra flavoring & shredded chicken, and bring to a boil.
Lower to simmer, add rice, stir, put on lid & simmer 15 min.
Season with fish sauce, to taste.
Serve with garnish. BAM!
Best “Free From” Chicken Soup: David Guy-Decker’s “No Chicken Chicken Soup”
½ medium white onion
2 T grated fresh ginger
2 cups each diced parsnip & celery
1 head diced celery
1 cup parsley
1 small head Chinese cabbage
16oz extra firm tofu
as needed: extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt, crushed peppercorns.
Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking inspired Americans to embrace more “sophisticated” cuisine in the 1970s. While dinner-party hosts fretted over soufflés, a health food movement emerged from the hippie subculture, championing granola, yogurt, and carrot cake (vegetables were in, but fats were not necessarily out).
Lettuce wedges with creamy dressing
Carrot cake with cream cheese icing
French in origin, beef bourguignon is a stew, featuring red wine, beef broth, garlic, and onions.
Lettuce Wedges with Creamy Dressing Lettuce is low in calories and fat, and it up to 90% water! The oldest recipe for lettuce wedges was published in 1916 in Salads Sandwiches and Chafing Dish Recipes by Marion H. Neil. Source & Photo.
Quiche Lorraine is a French dish made of cream, eggs, and ham or bacon. Traditional quiche Lorraine does not contain any cheese! Cheese was added to more modern versions of the recipe. Source. Want to try your own? Check out the classic recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, by Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck.
Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing The origins of carrot cake are unknown, but many historians believe that it descended from carrot pudding that was made by people in Medieval Europe. Though the earliest known recipe for carrot cake is from 1892, the use of cream cheese icing in American recipes didn’t appear until the 1960s! Source.
Want to truly get “That 70s Feel”? Why not throw a retro dinner party! CNN Travel has plenty of suggestions for the perfect menu!
A new article in Moment Magazine explores the future of genetic testing for particular Jewish communities.
“For the Jewish community, perhaps the biggest success story in genetic testing is Tay-Sachs: The disease is carried by one in 27 Ashkenazi Jews (who come from Eastern Europe), and nearly always has been fatal. Today, among Ashkenazi Jewish populations, it has been almost entirely eradicated. Most of the diseases that have become household names—like Tay-Sachs—affect Ashkenazi Jews. But while Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews are also at risk for a host of genetic diseases, the research hasn’t kept up.”
One of the great outcomes of our Beyond Chicken Soup exhibition was making friends and creating partnerships with institutions outside of the usual orbit of the JMM. Our friends at MedChi (the 218-year old Maryland State Medical Society headquartered in Baltimore) wrote to express support after our campus suffered some anti-Semitic graffiti over the weekend. We are grateful for their message.
And, by the way, they added the exciting news that their nineteenth-century volumes (65 of them, totaling some 40,000 pages!) of the Maryland Medical Journal have been digitized! Now anyone can explore these volumes at https://archive.org/details/themarylandmedicaljournal using simple (and advanced) keyword searches.
The Maryland Medical Journal debuted as a weekly publication in May, 1877. While sometimes technical, these pages can be entertaining for the non-medical browser. Descriptions of 19th century procedures, medical mysteries, For example, look for instructions on readying cobweb poultices for use: wash them, dry them in the sun, etc. They are a trove, not only for medical historians and other scholars, but also for genealogists. Have a physician ancestor in the family? Find out about their scientific interests, and also their activities in their professional society.
I checked out the name Friedenwald, of course. Dr. Harry and Dr. Aaron Friedenwald are found regularly among the volumes. In 1877, Aaron Friedenwald was elected one of the Society’s examiners for the Western Shore area of Maryland. Dr. Abram B. Arnold—Jewish doctor in Baltimore since 1849—was elected president of the Society, and also contributed a paper on Bright’s Disease (disease of the kidneys). Dr. S.W. Seldner, newly appointed consulting physician to Baltimore’s Hebrew Hospital, also contributed a paper, this time on a patient’s unusual (unfortunately fatal) case of progressive paralysis.
Take a look yourself, and let us know what you learn about your great-great grandfather the doctor (or the patient—they are sometimes named!) 19th century medical practice in Maryland.
Post by curator Karen Falk. This post has also been published on the Jewish Museum of Maryland blog.
In 1799, Paris was the place to get a modern medical education, inoculation against smallpox was finally gaining widespread acceptance (having first been discovered nearly fifty years earlier), most drugs were made from herbs, and Marylanders usually tended their sick at home, sometimes with the help of a doctor. Also in 1799, as new ideas about health and medicine were percolating throughout the western world, the Medical and Chirurgical [surgical] Faculty of Maryland was organized in an attempt to regulate and support the medical profession throughout the state. One of a handful of such societies in the United States at the time, its papers of incorporation stated its mission to “prevent the citizens (of Maryland) from risking their lives in the hands of ignorant practitioners or pretenders to the healing art.”
Now known as MedChi: The Maryland State Medical Society, the 215-year-old association—celebrating its anniversary this week—has notched some significant achievements. MedChi directors founded Maryland’s first medical school (1807), the world’s first college of dental surgery in the country (1839), and a school of pharmacy (1857)—all are now part of the University of Maryland.
While this is very impressive, its trove of state medical history is the source of its interest to the JMM. Collections of medical instruments, portraits of board members and other Maryland physicians, antique medical journals, and the papers of the Society are housed in its early 20th century campus in mid-town Baltimore. JMM Curator Karen Falk and Board Member Dr. Robert Keehn were lucky enough to visit behind the scenes at MedChi last week for a first-hand look at these riches.
Three early Jewish physicians in Baltimore were among the directors of MedChi: Joshua I. Cohen, a member of one of Baltimore’s earliest Jewish families, was an ear specialist, audiologist of some renown, and president of MedChi in 1857-58; Abram B. Arnold received his MD from the Washington University Hospital of Baltimore (the hospital where Edgar Allen Poe died, later known as Church Home and Hospital) around 1850, published a Manual of Nervous Disorders in 1855, and served as president of MedChi in 1877-78; and ophthalmologist Aaron Friedenwald, a University of Maryland Medical School graduate (1860), Jewish communal activist, and president of MedChi 1880-90. There is even an “Aaron Friedenwald Room” in the current MedChi building, complete with portrait, dedication plaque, and personal objects from the Friedenwald family.
Aaron Friedenwald, his sons Edgar, Julius and Harry, and grandson Jonas formed a dynasty of physicians in Baltimore that will play an important role in our upcoming exhibition on “Jews, Health and Healing,” planned to open in fall 2015. Many thanks to Meg Fielding at MedChi for taking us on a tour of the collections, providing images for this post, and for responding enthusiastically to our exhibition project.
Ellen of Baltimore writes, “Your current exhibition [Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America] is very interesting and extremely well done. I have a question that I wonder if you can answer. Why did Rabbi Lazaron want to stem the tide of Jewish students to medical schools?”
That question had us scratching our heads as well, so in the exhibition’s text panels we fudged. But I recently came across a letter by Rabbi Lazaron that may shed light on the matter.
First, a little background, primarily drawn from “The Jewish Problem in U.S. Medical Education, 1920-1955,” by Dr. Edward Halperin, the most authoritative history of the quota system that discriminated against would-be Jewish doctors (excerpt here https://muse.jhu.edu/article/15241/pdf ). This article, published in 2001 by the Journal of the History of Medicine, also alerted us to the role played by Baltimore Hebrew Congregation’s Rabbi Morris Lazaron in documenting the quota system in 1934. Rabbi Lazaron’s papers, held by the American Jewish Archives in Cincinnati, which supplied us with hundreds of pages related to his study, and an unpublished thesis by Scott L. Shpeen (A Man Against the Wind: A Biographical Study of Rabbi Morris S. Lazaron, 1984), a copy of which is in the vertical files at the JMM, are the other major sources of information for this post.
Antisemitism in the United States increased throughout the early 20th century as approximately two million Jews came to America, mostly from Eastern and Central Europe. By the time the flow of immigrants was staunched by legislation in 1924, the American-born children of these arrivals were seeking to enter college in large numbers, and “overt anti-Jewish prejudice in the academic community…reached its zenith.” Harvard College president Lawrence Lowell started the ball rolling around 1922 when he suggested that “if every college in the country would take a limited proportion of Jews we should go a long way toward eliminating race feelings among students….” Harvard’s board stopped short of instituting an official policy of quotas, but an unofficial practice of restricted admissions was adopted, and it soon spread to colleges and universities around the country.
The problem was particularly acute in medical schools. In 1927, the dean of the University of Michigan’s medical school concluded that since the school based admission on academic qualifications, and since many applicants with high qualifications were Jews from Eastern Europe (that is, immigrants or children of immigrants), the school was going to be overrun with “undesirables.” What was undesirable about these Jewish students? According to one medical school authority of the day, “it is a fairly tenable fact that…personal acceptability and magnetism…is less prevalent among the Jewish class…than among the entire list of applicants as a whole.”
By the 1930s, about half of all applications to medical schools were coming from Jewish students, but only about 17% of those were accepted. When set against the proportion of Jews in the U.S., then about 3.5%, this number seemed fair to many of the day, including Jews. But the rejected students were complaining and resentment of the quotas—at that time an open secret—was growing. This was the situation when Rabbi Lazaron undertook his extensive investigation. Rabbi Lazaron wrote to the deans of 65 medical schools and received 57 responses.
Rabbi Lazaron wrote to the deans, “I have felt for a number of years that too many of our Jewish students are going into medicine….Personally, I feel that we should not let this matter drift…and that it is the obligation of our Jewish people to attempt to divert, if possible, the increasing flow of Jewish students into this profession.” This is the source of Ellen’s question. Why divert them? How could there be “too many” Jewish doctors? Some colleagues and visitors to the exhibit theorized that Lazaron was showing understanding of the “problem” as a way of encouraging a more honest response from the schools. I believe, on the contrary, that Lazaron’s papers show he meant what he wrote.
For one thing, Lazaron collected a number of articles published in medical journals discussing a concern current in the 1930s over competition between doctors, discussed as “overcrowding” of the medical profession. One Jewish doctor wrote that “seldom does a Jewish physician acquire a clientele among non-Jews.” If Jewish doctors were primarily limited to practicing among America’s tiny percentage of Jews, “an economic problem would arise.” The community might see “a condition of severe competition [that] is conducive to a lowering of ethical standards.”
Another concern may have been the current climate of antisemitism. Hitler had been elected chancellor of Germany in 1933, and American Jews were fearful. In the end, Lazaron decided not to publish his findings, uncertain whether “it would be advisable at the present time to make [this] material a matter of public discussion” (emphasis added). Lazaron did not shrink from talking about being a Jew. In fact, he was a leader in the National Conference of Christians and Jews (founded in 1928), and became nationally prominent in 1933 when he toured the country with Reverend Everett R. Clinchy, a Presbyterian minister, and Father John Ross, a Catholic priest, speaking to audiences about their beliefs and theological differences in an effort to dispel stereotypes. They became known as the “Tolerance Trio.” Lazaron saw his role in teaching Jewish students to cope with prejudice on campuses as particularly important, and while he was passionately committed to his Jewish identity and the right of Jews to worship in distinctive ways, he also sought integration and goodwill.
And this is where the answer may be found. The specter of Jewish competition in the professions, where the stereotype of the “commercial Jew” seemed particularly inappropriate, the need to promote interfaith (and what we might today term inter-cultural) harmony, and perhaps, as Halperin suggests, a personal desire not to upset his own social “apple cart,” all led him to write to the dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (who was quite forthright about his school’s quota) that “my chief interest is to present such a picture of the situation as will discourage the flow of Jewish students into medicine.” Further emphasizing the underlying assumption that the push toward medicine was due to commercial considerations, he added “except in such cases where there is conviction of the part of the youth that [medicine] and that alone is his life work.”
As an aside, Lazaron mentions in the same letter that “if I have any energy left after tracking down this material I would like to do the same thing with reference to the number of Jewish students going into law.”
Commentary: Pediatricians called to address racism, intolerance to achieve health equity
Jacqueline R. Dougé, M.D., M.P.H., FAAP, Julie M. Linton, M.D., FAAP and Julia R. Köhler, M.D., FAAP
As pediatricians, we champion the need to address social determinants of health, such as poverty and food insecurity, in an effort to achieve health equity. We emphasize screening for toxic stress. In our conversations about equity, we include data about racial and ethnic disparities.
Because of our commitment to work for the health and well-being of all children, pediatricians are uniquely positioned to consider and address the needs and concerns of the at-risk communities for whom we care. Whether they cope with financial insecurity and deprivation, racism, religious discrimination, or language barriers and immigration status, our attention and support makes a difference for our patient families.
As members of the AAP Public Health Special Interest Group (SIG) and the Immigrant Health SIG, we realize that racism and intolerance continue to obstruct health equity for children of color.
Some of these Fitness Fads Through the Decades posts have proved somewhat difficult to research, with a lack of interesting sources and images. Not so the Seventies! A quick internet search instantly brought up numerous pages dedicated to the hilarious and puzzling exercise trends and equipment of that always-entertaining decade. (I was born in it, so I have at least half a leg to stand on, here.) With headlines like “Strange and Terrible Fitness Products from the 1970s” and tagged with handy keywords like “mind-blowing” and “FAIL”, these recent articles show that sauna suits, vibrating belts, and basic bicycles have not fared well the test of time. (Here are a few examples, minus the snark.)
The Eighties don’t score much better in today’s “OMG LOL”-minded view of the past, and I must admit that I am always amused by the earnestness and enthusiasm – which I myself never achieved in 9th grade gym class – displayed by the participants in, say, the 1988 National Aerobics Championships.
Burnt-orange exercise bikes, sparkly aqua spandex, and sweatbands for everyone might seem humorous today, but as always it’s important to remember that this was the real deal at the time. Yes, some people were in it to make money (and some did quite well), and yes, it seems unlikely that many people thought a vibrating belt thingy would be much practical use. And many of these trends we so closely associate with recent decades are in fact much older; aerobics, Jacki Sorenson’s “aerobic dancing,” and Jazzercizewere all first developed in the 1960s, and the belt vibrator was invented in the 1850s. However, countless Americans were able to improve their health, strength, and endurance by following these fitness fads, however quaintly nostalgic they seem now. After all, those 1988 Aerobics Champions might look a trifle over-exuberant, but they’re also, obviously, extremely fit.
Much of the appeal – to both the entrepreneurs and the consumers – of these exercise styles and gadgets lay in the fact that you could do it at home. Buy yourself a stationary bike, a VCR, and some Jane Fonda’s Workout tapes, and you were good to go. Nevertheless gyms, fitness clubs, and rec center classes proliferated as well, offering the less motivated among us the chance to work out with friends, use the fancy equipment (without having to buy it) and learn from experts. As usual, our JCC collection provides us with some prime examples of Baltimoreans taking advantage of the Jewish Community Center’s equipment and instructors.
Featured Image Caption: Outdoor men’s fitness class at the JCC, 1975. Gift of the Jewish Community Center of Baltimore. JMM 2006.13.1941
According to his descendants, Isaac Walsky of Baltimore “started as a tailor” (he later dabbled in real estate investment), and the family suspects that the idea for this invention – a type of undergarment for men suffering from inguinal hernias of the groin – came about because Mr. Walsky lived close to the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and thus both knew of the demand and had the skills to make a prototype. (Let us hope, for his sake, that the cause was not a more personal one.) Indeed, the 1917 Baltimore City Directory shows Isaac Walsky, tailor, living with his wife Fannie on E. Madison Street near N. Broadway, only a few blocks from the hospital.
The patent language explains, “This invention relates to appliances”, essentially support garments, “for treating hernias or ruptures.” Though many patent applications refer to “improvements,” in this case, Mr. Walsky’s 1917 patent really was for an improvement, on his own earlier invention (No. 1,196,909, September 5, 1916) of a “Rupture-Suspensory”. The new design does the old version one better by “providing an additional means for retaining or holding up the parts.” (The rest of the description is less euphemistic.)
Though it’s not clear if Walsky’s invention was ever manufactured, let alone used at Johns Hopkins or other Baltimore hospitals, it did live on in some fashion: his work was cited in a 1975 patent for a “comfort athletic supporter.”
Post by JMM Collections Manager Joanna Church.
In 1956, in response to an alarming medical journal article on the state of fitness in America’s youth ,President Eisenhower established the President’s Council on Youth Fitness. Once again, U.S children had been compared to Europe’s, and found wanting. In the early 1960s President Kennedy changed “Youth” to “Physical,” hoping to address the health of all Americans regardless of age, and the Council launched a national advertising campaign.
Much of the focus of the Council was fitness programs in schools; perhaps you remember taking the Presidential Physical Fitness Test (if you dreaded it as much as I did, you may be relieved to know that you were not alone, and that the test has been substantially changed. Thanks to the internet, we can watch, or re-watch, some of the Kennedy-era instructional films like this 10 minute movie made for elementary schools. The message here – and it’s not subtle – is that a fit populace is necessary for a successful United States:
Enthusiastic student: “If we’re healthy and strong, wouldn’t our nation be strong?”
Miss Teacher: “Of course! You are the future of America…”
Maryland’s own Future of America was fortunate to have the JCC on its side, along with the school system and the Department of Parks and Recreation. Promotional material from the newly-built JCC facility on Park Heights Avenue in the early 1960s makes clear the connection between occupied, engaged, and active youth, and “healthy-bodied and healthy-minded adults.”
Feature Image Caption: Neal Grossman won the Edward “Pat” Berman Memorial Trophy For the Best, Most Versatile Athlete of the JCC, 1966. Gift of the Jewish Community Center of Baltimore. JMM 2006.13.95
Ronald Krome, A Health Hero in emergency medicine, nominated by his brother, Dr. Sidney Krome.
By all accounts, Dr. Ronald Krome (1936-2013) was “one of the most important and influential leaders in the formation of emergency medicine as a United States specialty.” He was an emergency room physician who walked the walk, as well as a gifted teacher of countless physicians in state of the art emergency medicine. His leadership had an enormous impact on the field. He was president of the American College of Emergency Physicians in 1976-77, president of the University Association of Emergency Medicine in 1978, and president of the American Board of Emergency Medicine in 1984-85. He was also the first and long-time editor of Annals of Emergency Medicine, journal for the field.
According to a report of the Committee on the Future of Emergency Care in the United States Health System “the emergence of the modern emergency department is a surprisingly recent development. Prior to the 1960s, emergency rooms were often poorly equipped, understaffed, unsupervised, and largely ignored. In many hospitals, the emergency room was a single room staffed by nurses and physicians with little or no training in the treatment of injuries.” Today, it is “a highly effective setting for urgent and lifesaving care, as well as a core provider of ambulatory care in many communities. An extraordinary range of capabilities converge in the ED—highly trained emergency providers, the latest imaging and therapeutic technologies, and on-call specialists in almost every field—all available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” All this has come about in part through the efforts of Dr. Krome.
Ronald Krome was born in Baltimore in 1936, and grew up lower Park Heights, across the street from the Talmudical Academy, at Cottage and Springhill Avenues. He attended Isaac Davidson Hebrew School, and the family attended B’nai Reuben (now Winands Road Synagogue Center). He graduated from Baltimore City College in 1953, University of Maryland in 1957, and received his MD from University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1961.
In 1961 Dr. Krome and his wife Eva moved to Detroit, where he began a residency in general surgery. Not long after, Eva was killed in a car accident, and emergency medicine became a personal and professional passion.
In 1969, Dr. Krome became director of the emergency room at Detroit General Hospital, no small job: DGH saw more than 100,000 emergency cases each year. Krome set to work developing a staff that practiced exclusively in the emergency department, and by the early 1970s, this specialty had become a formal part of DGH’s administrative structure. In 1972 Dr. Krome started editing the journal that would become Annals, and other hospitals began to notice what was going on. For example, the first residency in emergency medicine began at the University of Cincinnati in 1973. DGH instituted an emergency medicine residency in 1976, also under Krome’s watch.
Ronald Krome’s influence on his field and on so many patients in American hospitals could hardly have been broader. Wikipedia tells us that “nearly half the physicians currently practicing in Michigan have received some of their training at Detroit Receiving Hospital.”(Note: Detroit Receiving Hospital changed its name to Detroit General early in Krome’s tenure there.) In a eulogy at Krome’s funeral, one of his colleagues estimated that tens of thousands of ER patients from all around the country are alive as a direct result of the changes Ron and his colleagues made to the policies and practices of ER’s and Emergency Medicine as a whole.
Dr. Bryan Zink, author of Anyone, Anything, Anytime: A History of Emergency Medicine (2005), recalls that “Krome was up for the battle to get emergency medicine into the legitimate house of medicine. He was a tough negotiator, but knew how to cajole, so he was effective in working with the medical establishment. [They] didn’t quite know what to make of emergency medicine, and their initial reaction was to shut it out…. Pretty much everything that happened that was important in emergency medicine in the 1970s and 1980s, he was a part of it.”
A memorial resolution adopted by the American College of Emergency Physicians in 2013 sums up his legacy: “Dr. Krome will always be remembered as a tireless doer who led by example, by accomplishment, and by nurturing the people around him—Ron was a true mensch.”
We were thrilled to welcome Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore’s health commissioner on Sunday August 7th for Medicine’s Next Frontier: The Power of Public Health. Dr. Wen’s strong, fact-based presentation was enlightening for the whole audience, medical practitioners and lay leaders alike. The proof of her effectiveness was the large number of questions she received from our visitors – they were totally engaged.
If audience members, or any of our constituents, are looking to help assist with contacting elected officials or the media about the funding issues we are currently facing with Governor Hogan’s office, more information can be found in a recently released article in The Daily Record. Please get in touch with Kathleen Goodwin (Kathleen.firstname.lastname@example.org) to help answer any questions! We know that the voices of Baltimore’s citizens are often the strongest when it comes to advocating for the continuity of life-saving programs in our city.
We also want to share this important white paper from the Baltimore City Health Department on the State of Health in Baltimore. We’ve excerpted the introduction below but encourage you to download the pdf of the entire report!(!(saved in FACEBOOK folder)
Summary of Key Issues, Services and Policies
It is impossible to discuss the health and well-being of Baltimore City’s residents without applying the lens of health equity and systemic disparities. While the overall mortality rate in Baltimore City has declined over the past decade, the City still has a mortality rate 30% higher than the rest of the state, and ranks last on key health outcomes compared to other jurisdictions in Maryland.
This reality is compounded by a series of complicated systemic social, political, economic, and environmental obstacles. With more than 1 in 3 of Baltimore’s children living below the federal poverty line and more than 30% of Baltimore households earning less than $25,000/year, income, poverty, and race have enormous impact on health outcomes.
This state of health is especially urgent when we consider that Baltimore houses some of the best healthcare institutions in the country. We know that healthcare alone cannot drive health: while 97% of healthcare costs are spent on medical care delivered in hospitals, only 10% of what determines life-expectancy takes place within the four walls of a clinic. Where we live, work, and play each day drives our health and well-being.
As the local health authority, the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD)’s mission is to serve Baltimore by promoting health and advocating for every individual’s well-being, in order to achieve health equity for all residents. We work every day to improve the health of our community and address the disparities we face.
Baltimore pharmacist M.L. Cooper was not only inventive with his window displays [link: /], he was also a literal inventor. In October 1950 he was granted US Patent No. 2,525,867 for his “integral grinding and mixing mortar with integral pestle,” a design he had filed four years earlier.
As always, the patent language is detailed and complex, e.g., “Another object [of this invention] is to provide the mating mortar and pestle each with a vertical horizontally curved portion that enables them to apply equalized pressure against particles of a pasty or powdry [sic] substance when the stirring of the latter causes it to adhere to one or both of these vertical surfaces of the mortar and pestle.” (The full description can be read here) Or, as the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia museum curators described it, “Because the inside bottom of this mortar is flat rather than curved, its pestle has a corresponding cylinder-shaped base, which assists the user in reaching and incorporating substances near the wall of the vessel.” In essence, the mortar and pestle fit together like puzzle pieces, using right angles, to avoid empty spaces between them and maximize the grinding surface.
In the prosperous 1950s, advertisers promoted convenience products that brought the latest technologies into the kitchen, so that busy housewives could produce home-cooked meals with ease. Casseroles with cans of cream soup as their base were popular dishes, considered nutritious because they were enriched with vitamins and stamped with the approval of health experts.
Grasshopper Pie, believe it or not, has little to do with the insect! It was most likely born as a commercial hybrid to promote a popular green-colored cocktail of the same name. Its popularity in the 1950s and 1960s is no surprise, as chiffon pies were all the rage during these eras. Made with crème de menthe cordial, gelatin, and whipped cream, encased in a chocolate cookie crust. A popular variation is the frozen grasshopper pie, made with mint chip ice cream – the greener the better!
The Grasshopper Cocktail: While the exact date of its creation is up for debate (though we’ve pinned it down to the prohibition years!), the cocktail’s creator and place of origin are widely agreed on: this brilliant green beverage was mixed up by Philibert Guichet Jr., owner of Tujaque’s bar and restaurant in New Orleans. We do know that Mr. Guichet submitted his recipe for the grasshopper to a cocktail contest in New York City in 1928 – the drink took second place!
For Your Entertainment: Eating Weird Food from the 50s with Katherine
During the Great Depression and the wartime food rationing that followed, Americans tried to stretch their supply of meat with dishes like “liver loaf”. Savvy cooks economized by replacing scarce apples with cheaper, shelf-stable Ritz crackers in the national desert, apple pie.
Steamed Brown Bread
“Mock Apple Pie” filled with Ritz Crackers
Liver loaf, also known as liver cheese, is thought to have originated in 1776 in Germany. Although it is sometimes referred to as liver cheese in English, it contains no cheese. Liver loaf is known as “leberkase” in German, and the literal translation into English is “liver cheese”! It is made by grinding up all of the ingredients (pork, bacon, corned beef, and onions) and then baking it in loaf form. Traditionally, liver loaf is served on a flour roll.
The Origin & History of Spinach – with a Jewish connection! “Mediterranean Jews, the Sephardim, were also fond of spinach and prepare dishes such asshpongous, a savory baked dish of sheep’s cheese and spinach that was customary as a dairy dish served on Shavuot, the holiday fifty days after Passover celebrating the Palestinian harvest and the anniversary of the giving of the Law.”
Mock Apple Pie: “It is certainly true that Nabisco popularized the notion of a mock apple pie. However, the company did not invent the recipe. Although Nabisco Ritz crackers were introduced during the Depression, in 1934, and became very popular, it wasn’t until the Second World War that the company began printing the Ritz mock apple pie recipe on the packages. Cookbooks had been printing mock apple pie recipes long before then.” – Did Nabisco Invent Mock Apple Pie?
Gertrude Elion was born January 23, 1918 in New York City. In school, she enjoyed and excelled in all of her classes, but when it came time to choose a major for college, a family experience led her choice.
In 1937, Gertrude graduated from Hunter College with a degree in chemistry. Upon graduation, Elion began studying at New York University in the evenings and on weekends, while substitute teaching in New York City Public Schools during the day. She taught physics, chemistry, and other sciences. In 1941 she obtained her Master of Science in the field of chemistry.
By this time, World War II had begun and there was a shortage of chemists in industrial laboratories. Although I was finally able to get a job in a laboratory, it was not in research. I did analytical quality control work for a major food company. After a year and a half, during which I learned a good deal about instrumentation, I became restless because the work was so repetitive and I was no longer learning anything. I applied to employment agencies for a research job, and was chosen to go to a laboratory at Johnson and Johnson in New Jersey. Unfortunately, that laboratory was disbanded after about six months. At that time I was offered a number of positions in research laboratories but the one which intrigued me most was a position as assistant to George Hitchings. – Getrude Elion
In this position, Elion expanded her expertise from solely chemistry to pharmacology, immunology, and other relevant sciences.
During this period, Elion was also working to get her doctorate by going to school at night at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. After several years of commuting to night classes, Elion was told she could no longer attend part-time, and must study full-time to obtain her doctorate. It was at this time that she decided to abandon her doctorate studies and remain at her job.
Throughout her career, Elion took part in developing treatments for several ailments, like leukemia, cancer, gout, and malaria. Later in her career, she assisted in the adaptation of AZT, a drug used to treat AIDS. She went on to receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine alongside George Hitchings and received honorary doctorate degrees from George Washington University, Brown University, and the University of Michigan.
Sophie Rabinoff was born in Mogileff, Russia in 1889. Less than a year after her birth, her family immigrated to the United States, settling in New York City. Rabinoff attended Hunter College, going on to study at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, from which she graduated in 1913.
She soon became the first female intern at the Beth Israel Hospital, and later completed a residency at the New York Home for Infants. There, she conducted research on childhood diseases, and infant nutrition.
At the Hebrew Infant Asylum in New York City, Alfred Hess and Sophie Rabinoff attempted to immunize children against mumps and chickenpox. Children who never had mumps received prophylactic injections of blood from convalescent donors and were then placed in mumps wards (Hess, 1915). Sophie Rabinoff’s enthusiastic report of successful efforts to stem the spread of varicella through vaccinations encouraged May Michael to repeat the attempt when chickenpox developed in Chicago’s Home for Jewish Friendless in 1017. She administered vaccines to thirty-two children, but drew few conclusions (Rabinoff, 1915; Michael, 1917). “Historical Overview: Pediatric Experimentation” by Susan E. Lederer and Michael A. Grodin in Children as Research Subjects: Science, Ethics and Law, ed. Michael A. Grodin
Because of her knowledge in this specialized area, Rabinoff was chosen to join the American Zionist Medical Unit, a group that was sent to Palestine to provide healthcare and emergency medical services. The only woman in the group, Rabinoff helped create a clinic for Arab and Jewish children.
Upon returning to the United States, Rabinoff briefly maintained her own private practice, but soon began working as a pediatrician for the New York Department of Health. Rabinoff ran the pediatric clinic at Mount Sinai Hospital from 1919 – 1934 and sometime during the 1930s she was the cardiologist for the New York Infirmary for Women and Children. She was later appointed to Senior Health Officer of a portion of the Bronx.
Rabinoff earned a master of science in public health from Columbia University in 1944. She later went to East Harlem to administer health services to its population of Puerto Rican immigrants. In 1951, she became a full professor at New York Medical College, and was made director of the Public Health department at the school. She maintained this position until her death in 1957.
Shortly before the United States entered World War II, the U.S. Army reinstituted the draft. Thanks to the selective service, many men entered the military who were not always prepared, physically, for this new endeavor. There were certain parameters set – such as minimum height, weight, and “circumference of chest” – but even those men who made it through were not necessarily ‘army strong.’
In 1942, the Army updated its requirements for both men and women, and developed a physical fitness regimen designed to prepare soldiers for the rigors of real-world combat. There are many anecdotal stories about the large numbers of new soldiers who lacked strength and stamina, and were woefully unprepared for army life; true or not, there were certainly some training needs, and new recruits enjoyed conditioning along with other equipment and weapons drills while in boot camp. Running, marching, strength training, and calisthenics were an important tool in preparing a soldier for war, and no doubt many young men did their best to follow similar routines at home before joining up to help the war effort. Let’s let a few World War II soldiers show us why these exercises were needed…
After the war, a new military training manual based on the war-time exercises was introduced, detailing the number and style of sit-ups, pull-ups, and other routines for a total of twelve conditioning drills. Though the military continued to update and enhance its physical training, the 1946 manual was recently ‘rediscovered’, providing fodder for plenty of “modern men have gone soft!” jokes in the media, and allowing a new generation of both military recruits and fitness fans to suffer… er, enjoy an old-school training regimen to get them into fighting shape.
In the Hospital section, illustrating a panel about the introduction of modern maternity wards, is this charming little picture, captioned simply “The first baby born at Pittsburgh’s Montefiore Hospital after its 1929 renovation.”
A close look at the image itself tells us that the young gentleman is Ronald Montefiore Anatole, born July 22, 1929. Yes, he was in fact named after the hospital in which he was born.
Montefiore Hospital, part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center since 1990, was founded in 1908 by members of the Ladies’ Hospital Aid Society to serve both the health needs of Jewish patients, and the training and career needs of Jewish doctors and nurses. Less than ten years later the hospital had already outgrown its facilities, and work began to raise funds for a new building. After five years of dedicated work by Pittsburgh’s Jewish philanthropists, the new Montefiore opened in 1929.
Jules Anatole (1901-1981), born in Kaunas, Lithuania, and his wife Belle (1907-1982), born in Pennsylvania to Russian immigrants, lived in Pittsburgh; Jules was an assistant manager at an automobile company. In July of 1929, they had their first child, who also ended up the first baby born in the new Montefiore’s maternity ward. To celebrate, the hospital’s chairman, Leo Lehman, wrote the Anatoles a check for $100, and little Ronald rejoiced in the middle name Montefiore – in honor of the hospital, or of the hospital’s namesake, or both. His picture was taken, and he was recorded in the hospital annals as an important First.
This moderate fame lasted a little longer than you might expect; the community kept their eye on Ronald, it seems. On June 2, 1951, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published an update, under the headline “Boy Grew Older”: “The first baby born at Montefiore Hospital, a boy, arrived on July 22, 1929…. Tomorrow Ronald Montefiore Anatole will receive his diploma at the graduation exercises of Duquesne University, one of the top 10 in his class.”
The Anatoles eventually moved to Arizona, where Jules and Belle are buried. If Mr. Ronald Montefiore is still with us, we want to wish him a very happy 87th birthday!
Blood is the topic of this M. L. Cooper Pharmacy window display! Posted around the window are several facts about blood and its purpose in the body, including that the heart beats about 100,800 times a day. That’s about 35 million times in a year, and up to 2.5 billion times in a lifetime!!
Some books should be read by everyone. Subtitled “A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine,” this candid discussion of race and culture demonstrates the power of the domain of medicine. Dr. Tweedy places his personal story of becoming a physician at the service of a much-needed discussion of the impact of race on health and healthcare. He examines the prejudices of white society and also confronts his own biases. His generously honest telling creates understanding.
Tweedy opens his book with a dramatic moment. It is the late 1990s, the middle of his first year at Duke Medical School and he has done well on his mid-term exams—he’s within the top half of the class. He’s flying high. His class is taking a break, having just heard an exciting lecture introducing the students to the clinical applications of their newly acquired knowledge of physiology. His tentative confidence as one of the few black medical students in his class is rising.
And then, returning to the classroom for the second half of the lecture, the professor confronts him and asks if he’s there to “fix the lights.” He is confused (after all, he has been attending this class for several weeks), but he knows immediately that he has been mistaken for a maintenance man. “You can see how dim it is over on that side of the room. I called about this last week,” the professor says with irritation. Tweedy describes an uncontrollable physical reaction to this confrontation: “The sounds of the classroom seemed to vanish. So did my peripheral vision.” The author makes us feel his distress, his diminishment, the inadequacy of his reply. He is distracted for the rest of the class, fragile confidence now shaken to its roots.
Tweedy’s (black) friends tell him to laugh it off. “What else are you going to do?” they say. And indeed, he reviews his options and decides there is nothing to be gained by lodging a complaint. Instead, he redoubles his academic effort in an attempt to prove—to himself, as well as to his professor—that he belongs at Duke.
This incident connected me to the author from the outset, reminding me of the story told by Dr. Herbert Goldstone, who also felt profoundly “other” in the medical student’s world. Faced with “antisemitism so thick you could cut it with a knife” during his internship at University Hospital in Baltimore in 1933, Goldstone also could not complain. Like Tweedy, he resolved to not only exceed his supervisors’ rather low expectations for his performance, but to be better than all the rest (Herbert Goldstone oral history #159, Jewish Museum of Maryland). The strategy worked for both men; they got top marks.
Black Man in a White Coat examines how race shapes access to and delivery of healthcare in America. He describes the inadequate care available in poor, rural areas, something he learned about when he saw patients at a clinic staffed by Duke medical students and their volunteer supervisors one day each month. In a county where the population was about 50% African American, all the patients at the clinic were black, working at jobs that didn’t offer health insurance, unable to afford medication for diabetes or high blood pressure.
Dr. Tweedy’s experience connecting to a racist, white patient who initially refuses to speak to a black doctor is uplifting. The doctors around him were disgusted but not surprised by the patient’s blunt expressions of racism and offered Tweedy the option to have someone else assigned to treat this man. Tweedy goes ahead, however—mostly out of a determination not to be labeled over-sensitive by his colleagues—and eventually the patient, his family, and their doctor finally overcame their mutual antipathy to achieve a warm understanding.
More eye-opening was Tweedy’s awakening to the more subtle ways that a doctor’s possibly unrecognized bias adversely affects patient care. His case in point is a black man admitted to the hospital with chest pains. Observation and testing rule out a heart attack, but in a standard care protocol, the doctors recommend that the patient stop smoking, undergo a follow-up stress test, take a daily aspirin and blood pressure pills. The patient, middle-aged, generally fit and otherwise healthy, is convinced by his chest pain episode that he’s done with cigarettes and assures his doctors he can quit “this time” without going back to smoking. But he balks at the blood pressure pills, aware of their sometimes unpleasant side-effects. When he tells the doctors he’d prefer to try “life-style interventions” before medication, they challenge him: “What do you know about life-style interventions?” Hearing this, Tweedy, an intern, first considers it may not be as disrespectful as it sounds. They are working in a public hospital, where poor and uneducated patients of all backgrounds are often unable to make lasting changes to unhealthy habits. But this patient calmly pushes back: “My understanding is that diet and exercise changes can be tried for a while before starting medicine. I have a lot of room for improvement with both.” Tweedy was encouraged by this reply, but his supervisors were doubtful. The conversation continues with the doctors trying to assert the need for medication and the patient trying to assure them of his commitment to diet and exercise. “Just give me a month. Two at the most,” he pleads. “I understand this is serious.” Finally, the doctors acquiesce.
As soon as they leave the patient’s room, however, the doctors begin talking about the patient’s “disorder.” “Probably obsessive-compulsive,” they agree, and suggest a psych consult. Although he says nothing, Tweedy was disturbed and angered by this exchange. For one thing, he himself had been diagnosed with hypertension as a student, and with the help of university clinic doctors had been able to get his blood pressure under control with exactly the diet and exercise interventions the patient had suggested. Tweedy knew this patient’s blood pressure readings indicated he was a good candidate for this kind of treatment. Instead, the doctors entered a diagnosis of OCPD—obsessive-compulsive personality disorder–on the patient’s chart, labeling him in a way that could prejudice future treatment. Why were the doctors so dismissive of this patient’s wishes?
“Was it because he was black? Because he worked in a hardware store? Or was it because he challenged their knowledge and authority in some fundamental way? Perhaps it was a combination of all of these factors. It was as if Gary [the patient] had shown himself to be ‘too smart’ to be a patient in this hospital and therefore had to be mentally ill….I couldn’t escape the sense that racial bias, likely unconscious, had shaped their response.”
At the time, Dr. Tweedy felt powerless to confront his superiors with his suspicions. Today, an accomplished psychiatrist and assistant professor at Duke University Medical Center, he has written a book which raises everyone’s awareness of the need to be vigilant about our own unconscious biases and unrecognized assumptions.
In our current exhibit, “Beyond Chicken Soup: Jews and Medicine in America,” there is a section about genetics. One half of the section focuses on Eugenics and the other on genetic predisposition in the Jewish population, particularly Tay-Sachs. These two big ideas create tension with each other and stage an important conversation on genetic screening. Should we do it? Does it matter? Is the expense worth it? An interactive screen asks these types of questions to our visitors.
Ashkenazi Jewish heritage is a risk factor for several recessive genetic diseases including but not limited to Tay-Sachs Disease, Canavan Disease, and Niemann-Pick Disease. More recent research shows a connection with Crohns Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Before genetic testing was possible and doctors understood the importance of DNA, they understood that somehow parents pass down similar traits to their offspring. This idea developed into the eugenics movement, claiming that some people were better than others. The positive outlook on eugenics claimed that two desirable people would create desirable offspring, but in order to make sure that only desirables reproduced the theory claimed that some people should not have children. This outlook was popularized by the Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations as well as many medical professionals who legitimized the movement. Combined with the efforts of these foundations and reputable medical endorsements, eugenics was spread throughout public social awareness. It was responsible for the voluntary and forced sterilization of over 60,000 Americans in the early twentieth century.
Eugenics quickly declined when it was declared a crime against humanity after the Second World War when the German government had used it as a justification for their unethical sterilization and euthanizing policies, but its memory casts a dark shadow over current genetic debates. Where is the line? Should people be able to use their genetic predispositions to decide their future? These tests, if taken by the whole population, could be used as an encouragement to create the optimum population. Some worry that genetic testing would lead to another government sterilization operation.
When our guests take the internal question survey, the last question they answer is “Do you think the science of genetics should be used to alter the human population?” There are four possible answers and an overwhelming 44% has selected “No, because this could lead down a dangerous path of conformity to a single idea of perfection.” Still a significant 32% believes that we should use genetics to alter the population. If genetic alteration is a reality, where is the line? These questions are academic, but they are also moral. If you lived with genetic markers for a condition that could potentially cause pain and suffering for your children, would you choose to have them? Would it make a difference? The debate will continue.
I was recently diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, an event that’s likelihood was four times more likely because of my Jewish ancestry. No one in my immediate family has it, but my heritage increased my risk. If my mother found out there was a visible chance she could have a child with Crohn’s and decided not to have biological children, I would not be alive. On the other hand, a parent with Crohn’s has a 10% chance of passing their disease on to their children if their partner does not have Crohn’s and a 50% chance if both parents have Crohn’s. Many factors, including quality of life can be taken into account. Medications and treatments get better every year and someone with Crohn’s still has the ability to live a very full life. Is it the responsibility of the government to prevent those with hereditary diseases from having children or should the decision remain a personal one? It is my hope that eugenics does not repeat itself, for both ethical and personal reasons.
Not every medical patent relates directly to treatment or medicine. Any invention you want to protect needs a patent, whether it’s a pacemaker or – in this case – a better-fitting nurse’s uniform.
Baltimore’s Morris & Co was founded by Edward Morris in 1867 as a men’s underwear manufacturer. The company moved into production of men’s shirts and overalls, and soon added women’s clothing as well, including the “Middy” blouse under their Paul Jones label.
By the late 1920s, Morris & Co. had moved away from ‘everyday’ clothes and began producing women’s work uniforms, aprons, and housecoats, again under the Paul Jones name. Though styles were made for beauticians, maids, and waitresses, nurses’ uniforms became the company’s specialty. Early in World War I, the United States government adopted the company’s navy nurse uniform design as the standard.
The company offered a several different material and color options, as well as a variety of styles with different collars, belts, fastenings (front, back and side), sleeve lengths, &c., &c. Hoping to appeal to as many women as possible, they kept an eye on both practicality (sturdy fabrics, ease of laundering) and fashion (flared or straight skirts, rising waistlines and hemlines), making changes and adding new details when necessary.
Some of these innovations were patentable. In 1932, Oscar A. Berman of Baltimore obtained U.S. Patent 1,885,047 for “an improvement in nurses’ uniforms of the wrap-around style,” and assigned the rights to Morris & Co. The new invention was intended “(1) to provide a uniform that will fit any figure; (2) to provide means by which a uniform can be made adjustable to fit women with large or small busts, large or small waists, or large or small hips, by simply drawing toward each other the ends of a belt permanently attached to the body of the garment; and (3) to provide a means by which the uniform can be held permanently at the adjustment necessary for the figure on which it is worn.”
Morris & Co. used this improved fastening on both the “Miracle” nurses’ uniform and, with more enthusiasm, the “Magicoat” housecoat, available in a number of different styles and prints. Both can be found in the Spring-Summer 1934 Paul Jones Uniform Dresses catalog:
Berman’s description of his invention, quoted above, was clearly sufficient for the U.S. Patent Office, but wholesale and retail customers of Morris & Co. needed a bit more to convince them of the value of an easy-fitting dress. The Miracle uniform comes across somewhat prosaically in the 1934 catalog (“Fits every figure. Slips on like a coat. Can be worn either high or low neck”), but the Magicoat, designed to appeal to a variety of women both at work and at home, warrants a bit more:
“Little wonder Magicoat has created a sensation among women in all walks of life. Trim-fitting, fresh-looking and smart for household duties. Ideal, all-purpose garment for thousands of professional women. Paul Jones Magicoats are made in all white, in vat-dyed blue and green with various collars and cuffs and in attractive prints. They launder perfectly. Leading stores everywhere are featuring Magicoats – America’s smartest, most practical garment for everyday wear.
Fits every figure – adjusts automatically to bust, waist and hip size.
Doesn’t just hang straight – it’s cut to fit.
Wraps away over to side – will not gap.
Reversible front with two patch pockets – stays clean longer.
Deep, flat hem – easy to lengthen or shorten.
No buttons to break or come off – no danger of losing belt.
Spreads out flat for easy ironing.
Slips on or off easily as a coat without mussing hair or garment.
Magicoat is a patented garment and the name MAGICOAT is registered in the U.S. Pat.Office.”
Thanks to the family, the JMM has a large Morris & Co collection covering the 1890s through the 1907s, including catalogs, advertisements, correspondence, patent and trademark documents, and even a few nurses’ uniforms – but, alas, no Miracles or Magicoats. How will we get our husband on the 8:15 train without one?
The cap consists of a flexible wool “skull” or fitted cap, edged with black twill and lined with leather, topped with a stiff board, twelve inches square, covered with a fine black wool. The cap gets its name from the “hawk” mortar boards used by masons and plasterers, which it closely resembles (if you wore a plasterer’s hawk on your head). In the center of the board is a black velvet button, from which hangs a short black tassel.
Like Dr. Friedenwald’s gown, his cap shows wear and tear – dented corners, frayed binding, an overall faded look – indicating it was worn and used for many years. It also has his name stamped in the underside, probably so that fellow professors would not make off with each other’s caps accidentally.
Our cap does not have the manufacturer’s label, but it may have been made by Cotrell & Leonard of Albany, NY. The firm of hat makers was founded in 1832; in the late 19th century Gardner Cotrell Leonard began developing a standard of academic regalia designs, and naturally his family’s firm was involved in their manufacture, soon becoming one of the leading providers of caps, gowns, and hoods in the U.S.
“…The Oxford cap, or Mortar Board. The cap with stiff skull part is still used, but has been displaced in best outfits for men by that with a folding skull part, an improvement which admits of carrying easily when off the head and packing compactly at any time. [Dr. Friedenwald’s cap is of this “improved” variety.] It fits a man’s head more comfortably, stays on more firmly and cannot get out of shape unless the flat board is broken…. The boards of all caps properly made are proofed with shellac to resist rain.”
As for the short tassel, which is missing the long string from which most modern-day graduation tassels depend, this is original to the cap – but I’ve not found anything that describes the difference between the two types, both of which can be seen in images from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Leonard’s 1896 treatise shows the short variety – on both women and men – and, just for fun, here’s William Lyon Mackenzie King, the tenth Prime Minister of Canada, with his short-tasseled Harvard doctoral cap, in 1919.
The New York Times just published some great statistics on what American public thinks is healthy food and what nutritionists consider healthy. There are some interesting areas of agreement and disagreement between the two groups, but the article only hints at the importance of the historical element in this discussion, noting that it takes time for popular and scientific opinion to synch up.
What it does not suggest is that the opinions of medical and nutritional experts on the health value of foods have fluctuated through the years. Check out our other posts for some background on eating healthily, decade by decade. Or visit the exhibition to play with our wheel of meals!
In this window of M. L. Cooper Pharmacy, medical remedies of the past and present were compared. Did you know that people used to treat the influenza virus with aspirin? It wasn’t until 1963 that research began to show that taking aspirin while coping with a viral disease could actually be harmful. Adding aspirin to a viral disease could ultimately result in Reye Syndrome, a rare but serious illness that affects the brain and liver.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, interest grew in the physical, educational, and moral benefits of athleticism, particularly for children. Educators and reformers worked on to introduce gymnastics into school curricula, build playgrounds for children, and promote physical activity from a young age. By the 1920s, however, attention turned to the needs of adults.
In 1924, President Coolidge addressed the first National Conference on Outdoor Recreation, noting that as more and more American jobs turned to “purely clerical activities,” physical exercise must be supplemented through other opportunities for (as he stated several times) “both old and young.” Around the same time, the National Park Service and the National Education Association turned their attention to the organized sports, and spaces in which to play them. It was time for public parks to make room for ball fields and courts amongst the bucolic vistas and greenery.
Maryland was already in the game, so to speak; the Public Athletic League had been organizing sports games for Baltimore’s young adults since 1908. In 1922, it merged with the Children’s Playground Association of Baltimore City to form the Playground Athletic League, providing services in “the Playground Department, embracing the free play and motor activities of children under ten years of age; the Athletic Department, directing the organized, competitive athletic contests of adolescent boys and girls; and the Adult Recreation Department, handling the larger problems of community recreation and the intelligent use of leisure.”
As part of its mission, the PAL (as both the Public and Playground versions were known) organized athletic competitions and tests of “efficiency” for “school children, as well as the boys and girls who may not be attending school, and also the people at large.” A glance through the 1922 handbook shows that the group was very busy, with divisions in each county across the state, and a separate branch serving Baltimore’s African-American community. PAL employed a wide number of men and women, from coaches and “play leaders” to nurses and mucisians.
Both versions of the PAL provided opportunities for Jewish organizations like the Young Men’s and Women’s Hebrew Associations, the Jewish Educational Alliance, and the Hebrew Orphan Asylum – all of which are represented in the 1910s-1920s PAL listings – to participate in Baltimore’s recreation community. The JEA boys seem to have done particularly well in the institutional basketball competitions; for example, in the Fifteenth Annual Institutional Basket Ball Tournament of 1923 – in which “great interest and enthusiasm marked the season, which furnished an entry of 68 teams and 539 players” – there were six age/weight classes in competition, and the JEA won five of them.
True, this photo predates this week’s “Fitness Fad” time frame a bit, but it’s too good to pass up. These nine boys from the JEA posed while participating in a Public Athletic League event in 1914. Lee L. Dopkin (front row, second from left) won several PAL medals during the 1910s, including the linked set shown here attached to a general PAL badge. These rectangular medals were awarded to Dopkin (for his relevant age/weight class) in: (top to bottom) Broad Jump, 1910; Dodgeball, 1912; Potato Race, 1915; Dodgeball, 1910; Dodgeball, 1913; Basketball, 1914.
Despite economic setbacks during the Depression, the PAL continued to provide athletic and exercise options for the youth of Maryland. In 1940, the various private sports and recreation organizations in Baltimore – of which PAL was only one – were merged into a newly formed Baltimore City Department of Public Recreation, which in turn merged with the City’s Parks Department in the late 1940s; other county and municipal governments took up the slack in their own areas. Today, we may take our local Parks and Recreation Departments for granted, but it’s worth remembering the men and women, staff and participants, who worked to make sure that recreational sports were available to all, not only school children.
For more on the history of public recreation in Baltimore, see The Play Life of a City: Baltimore’s Recreation and Parks 1900-1955, by Barry Kessler and David Zang, 1989, or the other resources listed here.
Image at top: Young men practicing basketball drills in the Jewish Educational Alliance gymnasium, circa 1935. Gift of Jack Chandler. JMM 1992.231.146