African Americans

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2 Archival description results for African Americans

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John C. Herweg Oral History (OH079)

  • OH079
  • Collection
  • March 2005

Candace O'Connor conducted the interview with John Herweg as part of her research in the history of the St. Louis Children’s Hospital for the hospital’s 125th anniversary publication. Approximate Length: 1 hour and 53 minutes.

O'Connor asked John Herweg to discuss his experiences at St. Louis Children's Hospital during the Alexis Hartmann era, 1936-early 1960s. As a medical student at Washington University in 1942-1945. he found the milieu at Children's Hospital was exciting, almost magical, because the medical and nursing staff were early adopters of each new antibiotic. Diagnosis was key in cures of children with meningitis and mastoiditis, who could be cured if caught in time. The pediatrician in-chief Alexis Hartmann Sr. and Jean Valjean cook provided guidance to the medical students in their sophomore, junior and senior years to save children’s lives.

Herwig reviews his experience as a student, intern, and resident of the Washington University School of Medicine in the early 1940s, and his memories of thrilling teachers such as Hartmann Sr. and Zebatine Hybias???? [Zentay?}. They knew medicine not only the laboratory aspects but clinical aspects. Hartmann brought patients and their mothers to the amphitheatre as well as the clinic where students saw clinical practice demonstrated. Herwig also rubbed shoulders with outstanding people who were research scientists besides the five research scientists, who were or were about to be Nobel Laureates including Carl and Gerty Cori, Joseph Erlanger, and Dr. Hershey in Bacterioiogy.

Hartmann insisted that Herweg stay for his internship and residency. Herwig was one of the bright medical students that Hartman recruited into pediatrics and nutured along. He helped them rise.

He mentions his first wife, Janet Scovill, who had finished her pediatric residency at Children’s (Which Children’s ) before him. [She died in 1958.} He also speaks of his present wife Dottie Glahn, who was head nurse of the infant ward at St. Louis Children’s Hospital from 1947-1959.

The interviewer asked him his recollections of Mrs. Langenberg, Gracie Jones and other women on women on the Board of Children’s hospital. He also briefly discussed interactions with Estelle Claiborne, the hospital administrator.

He recalls that World War II’s major effect on St. Louis Children’s Hospital was reduction of the number of house officers. The residents who were in charge of the hospital during the nighttime hours were consequently overworked.

The budget was very stringent at the end of the war. For example there were 2 glass syringes and they had to be autoclaved before use and they were in constant use. The staff cooled Patients were co by blowing a fan over a 50 pound cake of ice to make up for a lack of air conditioning.

Concerning the Butler Ward, the segregated ward for African-Americans, he admits the house officers might have integrated Children's Hospital earlier. He thought integration came about when Dave Golden called up Hartmann later and said he wanted to put an African patient on a ward by treatment needed rather than in the Butler ward. Hartmann agreed and Herwig thought that was the beginning of integration of St. Louis Chidlren's Hospital.

As to whether Hartmann sr. was prejudiced, Herweg didn't think so. He said Hartmann sr. had good relations with Helen and Homer Nash and later Alison Nash, Homer's daughter, at Homer G. Phillips Hospital. But he notes that Hartman wasn't an activist like Park White. He then recalls his impressions of Park White who he also admired.

Herweg, John C.

Samuel B. Guze Oral History (OH102)

  • OH102
  • Collection

An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 49 minutes. Interviewers, Bill Geideman and James Carter.

Guze discusses his experience with segregation and desegregation of Barnes Hospital, Renard Hospital, its psychiatric service and unit. He guessed the psychiatric service desegregated the Barnes Hospital psychiatric unit in October 1953.

He and the interviewers had a clearer timeline for desegregation of admission of medical students to the Washington University School of Medicine. He said the executive faculty gave the admissions committee discretion in flexible criteria for admission for those with disadvantaged educational background. Roy Vagelos of Biochemistry was a key player on the Executive Faculty along with John Herweg, who headed the admissions committee starting in the early 1960s. Guze recalled that the first African American medical student (1953?) had difficulty and the second had no difficulty, but the executive faculty wanted more African Americans admitted and numbers did not start to go up significantly until about 1968. This was due to the hiring of Bob Lee, Dean of Minority Affairs, whose sole responsibility at first was minority students.

Guze discusses the parallel but related desegregation of the St. Louis City Hospital and health care systems. He notes that the segregated city healthcare system included two large general hospitals, Homer G. Phillips (St. Louis City Hospital no. 2) built in 1937 on the north side for African-Americans and older St. Louis City Hospital (no. 1 or Max Starkloff) for whites on the south side. He said there was one psychiatric unit at the Malcolm Bliss Center for whites and a separate psychiatric unit for blacks run by black psychiatrists at Homer G. Phillips Hospital. And he recalled that there was a long-standing formal teaching arrangement with 'Max Starkloff or St. Louis City Hospital no. 1 in several services on the south side including psychiatry, medicine, surgery, infectious disease unit, laboratory and isolation unit. But he noted the teaching arrangement with Homer G. Phillips Hospital was less complete and depended on personal relationships in each Service. For example the teaching arrangement with the Surgery Service at Homer G. Phillips was more complete because of the efforts of Robert Elman of the Surgery Department at Washington University School of Medicine to have regular teaching rounds at Homer G. Phillips. Guze notes that desegregation of both facilities led the city to evaluate whether the city needed two large general hospital complexes. A group of black physicians approached Guze in the 1970s about an affiliation, but Guze insisted on conditions that Homer G. Phillips was not prepared to meet then including the right to appoint medical staff.

Guze, Samuel B.