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A Centennial Time Machine: The Jeffersonian Magazine, Spring 1907

[From a 2007 issue of the JEFFLINE Forum]

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Cover of
The Jeffersonian,
May 1907
Cover of
The Jeffersonian,
October 1907

One hundred years ago advances in technology and science were daily news. 1907 witnessed such inventions as neon lighting, Bakelite (proto-plastic material), as well as the first (albeit brief) helicopter flight. 1907 saw the maiden voyage of the giant, turbine-powered luxury liner Lusitania, and British authorities promoted the adoption of Daylight Savings Time (DST) to conserve fuel and provide more hours for productivity.

In 1907 Jefferson Medical College was the largest private medical school in the nation. Its new hospital building was erected and opened that same year. With a new teaching hospital and excellent laboratory facilities, its forward-looking students had established their own scientific publication, The Jeffersonian.

The Jeffersonian was a monthly journal edited by JMC undergraduates and was produced from 1899-1916 (excepting summer months when the college was not in session). Part newsletter and part nascent medical journal, it provided students with experience in publishing - one of the few means then of promoting new scientific studies and clinical discussions. The topics ranged from the antiquated to very modern-sounding issues like those facing the medical world of 2007.

The following items are copied from The Jeffersonian volumes from spring of 1907.

          Professor Hare is never at a want for an apt remark. At a recent lecture, when his entrance was received with unusual enthusiasm, he said that it reminded him of the gladiator in the Roman amphitheatre, who, preparatory to the bloody combat, greeted the officials with the remark "Those who are about to die, salute thee." The comparison was significant in view of the approaching exams.

          A recent case in New York City where a woman was being tried for murdering her mother by administering her doses of bichloride of mercury has revived the discussion of the subject of euthanasia.
          ...Mrs. Binge was dying of cancer, and her suffering was so great that she had repeatedly requested her physicians, nurses and members of her family to end her misery, demanding that euthanasia be practiced in her case as a measure of mercy. ...Mrs. Wallau, unable to bear the sight of her mother's increasing agonies, finally yielded...and gave her the bichloride of mercury or else left the poison within easy access, thus permitting the woman to commit suicide.
          That the practice of euthanasia, or hastening death in cases of extreme suffering, will not receive the countenance of leading physicians and surgeons during the present generation, and that any legislative measure looking to the legalizing of such practice will be overwhelmingly defeated, is quite evident...
          ...As medical science progresses, diseases which formerly were considered incurable yield to treatment based on newly acquired knowledge. Suffering which at one time was without alleviation is eradicated by newly discovered remedies or new methods of surgery. Thus it is evident how difficult becomes the problem of proper practice of euthanasia...

          Professor Hare is responsible for the following: When ether was first introduced, a certain Jefferson professor was of the opinion that either not enough ether could be given to produce anesthesia, or that so much would be required that the patient's life would be threatened. He determined to conduct an experiment before the class in the old college building, and secured a pugnacious and virile billy goat as he victim. After a lengthy and vigorous argument between the goat and a number of students the animal was placed on the table and duly anesthetized. In a few minutes the goat appeared to be breathing its last. The Professor dwelt upon the dangerous use of the new drug, and the class adjourned for the lecture. Hardly had they started down the stairs, which were narrow and precipitous, than the goat, which had come to, appeared in their midst and viciously butted them in all directions.


December, 1906

When testing for albumen in the urine, how do you determine between it and other coagulable proteids?

Materia Medica
Write a complete prescription for a child of three years suffering with pertussis?

Name five vegetable and three mineral astringents, describing method of administration and dose in each instance?

Give symptoms and treatment of placenta praevia.

Give the most frequent causes of puerperal mammary inflammation and give treatment.

Define surgical shock and give the treatment.

Describe the objective and subjective symptoms of strangulated inguinal hernia, and an operation for the relief of same.

Describe the formation of the palmar arterial arches, and give anatomical landmarks for the location of the same.

What muscles are attached to the great trochanter of the femur?

To the Editor of THE JEFFERSONIAN:

          Dear Sir: -- Owing to the great need for human embryonic material in the Division of Embryology (Department of General Anatomy) for the purposes of teaching and investigation, and appreciating that many of the graduates would be glad to furnish material which other wise might be lost or not utilized, I venture to ask THE JEFFERSONIAN to inform the graduates of this college living in and; in the neighborhood of this city of our needs. We should have a collection of human embryos, carefully preserved and catalogued, the good sections to be cut into serial sections, some in the transverse, some in the sagittal and coronal planes. Valuable collections of this kind exist at Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Columbia and other institutions...
...In the course of a few years we may hope to have accumulated a collection of embryos that may be extensively used for research as well as teaching...
Professor of General Anatomy

An address delivered before the H.A. Hare Therapeutic Society, February 15th, 1907
BY HOWARD A. KELLEY, M. D. Professor of Gynecology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

          I want to speak to you this evening of some the lessons life has taught me, not in order to boast, for I have nothing to boast about, but to warn you of certain errors, into which I and a few of my friends have fallen and to encourage you to stick to the right way...
          ...When I left the hospital [residency]...I...recall some of the cases that served to give me confidence, especially in surgical lines...
          ...I must tell you of the boldest thing I ever tried to do. A man came into my office on Front Street one evening and said, "Doctor, I want your advice, I've got a stone in the bladder." I tried to hide my eager interest as I questioned him, and took his history. I found he had been going the rounds of the hospitals, and among other surgeons had seen Professor Samuel Gross at Jefferson; with such august predecessors, I felt that there was but little hope of his letting a tryo touch him. I then examined him and found he really had a stone. His next question sounded like mocking me, as he asked, "Well, Doctor, when will you operate?" So in desperation I boldly answered, "Now." "What?" "Yes, now right here, I'll do it under cocaine." Cocaine was then a new drug, and that must have charmed him, for he got up on the office table, and I cut and took the stone out; in great astonishment he carried it off, and I never saw him again. I heard of him however, for he went downtown and displayed the stone to some of the surgeons who had seen him before, and the case made me famous, giving me a reputation for daring not altogether enviable...
          ...I feel rather ashamed, and certainly very little like boasting, as I look back at this early work, for I ought to have been better prepared and my judgment ought to have been riper. I cite these cases, however, as examples to show you that a certain aggressiveness towards your field of work, a certain go-aheadativeness is one important element of success.


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New College Building of 1898 Subscription form - one dollar for one year College Hospital and list of faculty Advertisements for local goods and services for JMC students


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