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Blair, Vilray P., Jr.

  • Person
  • 1913-1988

Vilray P. Blair, Jr., the son of Vilray Papin Blair, earned his Bachelor's degree at the University of Virginia. M.D. as part of the Washington University School of Medicine class of 1939. He interned in surgery at Barnes Hospital in the academic year of 1939-1940. He stayed on as assistant in Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, in the academic years, 1940-1942. After serving in the U.S, Army in World War II, he practiced in St. Louis from 1948-1978. He was on staff at St, Luke's Missouri Baptist and Barnes hospitals, joining the Barnes Hospital medical staff in 1951. Upon retiring from practice in 1978 he became associate clinical emeritus professor of othopedic surgery at the Washington University, School of Medicine. Vilray P. Blair III is his son and Barbara B. Drey and Kathryn C. Blair and Mary G. Blair are his daughters. Vilray P. Blair III, his son, is also an orthopedic surgeon.

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Washington University School of Medicine

  • Corporate body
  • 1928-

The Washington University School of Medicine formally established the Department of Ophthalmology in 1928 with Harvey J. Howard, M.D. as the first full time chairman. That same year, the funds bequeathed by Mrs. Eliza McMillan (approximately $1.2 million) became available following her death in 1915. Alongside a donation from the Oscar Johnson family of about $500,000 for the establishment of a research and teaching institute for diseases of the eye, ear, nose, and throat, Mrs. McMillan’s donation provided the funding for the construction of the McMillan Hospital. The building opened in 1930, but was unfinished until 1943. A 1961 remodel of the Eye Clinic on the 7th floor of McMillan Hospital brought about greater resources for patients and faculty alike in the department of ophthalmology. The Hospital housed the ophthalmology department’s largest patient office for 58 years.

The department’s most notable faculty member is Dr. Bernard Becker, who became head of the department in 1953. In 1954, Dr. Bernard Becker developed the first orally-administered drugs for glaucoma, which was a research interest of his over the course of his tenure at WUSM. In 1967, the first Glaucoma Research center funded by the National Institute of Health was established with Dr. Becker. Bernard Becker’s achievements extended outside the realm of ophthalmology, as he also played a major role in the design and construction of the Medical Library on the Washington University Medical Campus, which was finished in 1989, and named after him in 1995. Dr. Becker was also a major contributor to the Becker Library’s Rare Books collections, having donated his own personal collection. Those materials, the Bernard Becker Collection in Ophthalmology and Optics, are now housed in Becker Library’s Archives and Rare Books Department.

The ophthalmology department received multiple grants throughout the 1980s, including annual grants from Research to Prevent Blindness, which in 1990 had accumulated to $601,900. Additionally, in 1983 the Storz Fellowships in Ophthalmology were established due to an endowment of $880,000.

In 1995, the retina service of Washington University merged with Retina Consultants to become the Barnes Retina Institute. The same year brought the publication of Dr. Benjamin Milder’s history of the ophthalmology department, "On the Shoulders of Giants". Dr. Milder was a St. Louis area ophthalmologist. The Center for Advanced Medicine was opened in 2001, and the ophthalmology clinical faculty moved to the new facility. In 2018, a donation of $10 million from a Washington University alumna, Jane Hardesty Poole, re-established the department of ophthalmology as the John F. Hardesty Department of Ophthalmology, after Poole’s father, the ophthalmologist Dr. John F. Hardesty. A list of department chairs from the beginning of the department in 1928 to the present is below.

1928-1933: Harvey J. Howard, M.D.
1933-1953: Dr. Lawrence T. Post
1953-1988: Dr. Bernard Becker
1988-1999: Dr. Henry Kaplan
1999-2014: Dr. Michael Kass
2014-Current: Todd P. Margolis, M.D., PhD

Wilkes, Mary Allen

  • 1913-

Mary Allen Wilkes was born in Chicago in 1937 to Rex B. and Bernice Wilkes. Her father was a minister. She earned degrees in philosophy and theology at Wellesley College in 1959 and in law at Harvard Law School in 1975. (Mary Allen Wilkes, 2020)

Her original goal was to be a lawyer but her mentors in college all told her the same thing: Don’t even bother applying to law school. In college, she learned that computers were the key to the future and she remembered the advice her geography teacher gave in 1950. “Mary Allen, when you grow up you should be a computer programmer. After graduation, she went over to the Lincoln Lab at MIT and got a job as a computer programmer. (Thompson, 2019).

As a computer programmer at MIT from 1959- 1961, she worked on mainframe computers such as the IBM and the DEC (Digital Equipment Corporations. But in 1961, MIT promoted her and assigned her to the LINC development group headed by engineers and designers. Wesley Clark and Charles Molnar. She was one of a large team of people who helped develop the LINC (Laboratory Instrument Computer) . Her role was to write software for the LINC including an operating system or Line Assembly Programs (LAP). Her LAP to LAP6 were the earliest interactive operating systems for a personal computer.

Most of the LINC development group moved to Washington University in St. Louis in April of 1963. Jerry Cox recruited them when Hallowell Davis wanted him to build a computer to measure evoked potentials in the laboratory to determine what Deaf children could hear. Jerry Cox, found out that the LINC could do this. When Cox talked to the LINC development team he learned that they didn't like working for MIT.

After working in computer field for 11 years, she began a new career as a lawyer. She and her husband Wesley Clark, moved to Boston where she entered Harvard Law School in the Fall of 1972. Wesley Clark started a consultant group. She practiced law in the Boston area for over 35 years, including practice as a trial lawyer, an Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County, an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association and an instructor in the Trial Advocacy Workshop at the Harvard Law School.

Olmsted, William H.

  • Person
  • 1887-1978

William H. Olmsted (1887-1978) received his M.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1913. He was an intern, 1913-1914 and resident and assistant resident, 1914-1917, at Barnes Hospital and afterwards served with Base Hospital 21, the medical unit sent by the hospital and WUSM to support American troops in World War 1. After the war, Olmsted re-joined the clinical faculty of the WUSM Department of Medicine, climbing the ladder from assistant in internal medicine to associate professor from 1915-1952.Olmsted became emeritus in 1952 .

In Barnes Hospital's first year of operation in 1914, Olmsted was the second medical resident to join the staff, along with acting as a clinical research pathologist, 1914. He was the first head of the hospital's chemical laboratory in 1920, and was the founding president of the Barnes Hospital Society in 1925. Olmsted became physician emeritus in 1952 .

From 1920 to 1963, Dr. Olmsted practiced as a private physician. He was certified in the practice of internal medicine in 1936, specializing in diabetes. In 1920, insulin was discovered to be effective in the treatment of diabetes, and Barnes Hospital was one of the first selected in the country to use the hormone to treat patients. Since Olmsted was the resident expert in diabetes, he became the first doctor to use insulin in St. Louis in the year 1922. Years later, in 1949, he founded the St. Louis Diabetes Association.

White, Park J.

  • Person
  • 1891-1987

Park Jerauld White was born in Green Ridge, Staten Island on December 31, 1891. He studied at Harvard College, receiving his bachelor's degree in 1913. He later received his medical degree from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1917. Shortly after matriculation, Dr. White entered the U.S. Army, where he served as a 1st Lieutenant and Medical Officer in a number of military installations across the United States.

After finishing his military service in 1920, Dr. White moved to St. Louis, Missouri where he established a private practice. He maintained his private practice until his retirement in 1965. Beginning in 1921, Dr. White also served as the Assistant Visiting Pediatrician at Children's Hospital. He held this position until 1962. Additionally, Dr. White served as the Lecturer in Medical Ethics and Professional Conduct at Washington University School of Medicine from 1921-1946. In 1925, he was awarded an Instructorship in Clinical Pediatrics at the Washington University Medical School, a post he would hold until 1958. From 1958 to 1962, Dr. White served as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics. He became a Professor Emeritus in the same department in 1962. Dr. White also served as the Director of Pediatrics at Homer G. Phillips Hospital from 1945 until his retirement in 1966.

Dr. White's first moment of national recognition came in 1925 when he published an article in The Nation's Health entitled 'The Health of Colored Babies in St. Louis.' In this article, he compared the death rates of African American and Caucasian babies in the city of St. Louis. He found that for every 1,000 African American babies born, 126 died. This rate was almost double that of Caucasian babies.

In addition to his work at the Washington University School of Medicine and various area hospitals, Dr. White was also a renowned poet and essayist, an active member of a number of area and professional organizations, and a strong voice for health and civil equality for all St. Louis citizens. His works of literature were published in numerous journals and magazines, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of Pediatrics, Today's Health, and the United Church Herald. In the community, Dr. White played an active role in a number of organizations such as the YMCA/YWCA, the St. Louis Civil Liberties Union, the Committee for Environmental Information, and many others.

Dr. White served as the President of the St. Louis Pediatric Society for two years and the State Chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics for eight years. Dr. White was also an active member of the St. Louis Conference on Race Relations, a position in which he worked to help African American physicians gain membership to the St. Louis Medical Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr. White remained an active member of St. Louis society and the university until his death on August 6, 1987.

White, Laurens P.

  • Person
  • 1925-2000

Laurens P. White, the son of Marie Bain and Park J. White, M.D., was born in 1925 He earned his M.D. at Washington University in the Class of 1949.. His early career was with the US Public Health Service and the National Instiute of Health.

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Burford, Thomas H. (Thomas Hanahan), 1907-1977

  • Person
  • 1909-1977

Thomas H. Burford received his M.D. degree from Yale University in 1936. After serving his internship at Barnes Hospital under Evarts A. Graham, Burford entered the U.S. Army Medical Corps. During World War II, he headed the 2nd Auxiliary Surgical Group in North Africa. After the war, he joined Washington University's Division of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, and succeeded Graham as division head in 1951. He was well known as an innovator in open-heart surgery. In the 1960s, Burford was widely quoted for his public statements on behalf of tobacco firms disputing findings that indicated connections between smoking and lung cancer.

Trotter, Mildred, 1899-1991

  • Person
  • 1899-1991

Mildred Trotter is regarded as one of the most eminent 20th century contributors to the field of physical anthropology, especially to knowledge about human bone and hair. A native of Pennsylvania, she received her bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. She joined the Washington University School of Medicine Department of Anatomy in 1920 as a researcher and her subsequent work here was applied towards a Ph.D., which she received in 1924. Her full time teaching career began that same year, collaborating with Robert J. Terry in the gross anatomy curriculum. In this capacity, Trotter guided medical students for over fifty years in the exacting art of dissection.

Trotter's research efforts have led to findings that have proven useful not only to clinical medicine, but also to fields such as forensic science, physical anthropology, and archaeology. She contributed much of what is known today about human skeletal structure and density, and particularly the characteristics of long limb bones. Trotter was named to a full professorship in 1946, thus making her the first woman to achieve this rank at Washington University School of Medicine. She was a visiting fellow, lecturer, and professor at several universities in this country and abroad and a consultant to the U.S. Armed Forces. She became a professor emerita in 1967.

Green, John, 1835-1913

  • Person
  • 1835-1913

Dr. John Green (1835-1913) was a prominent ophthalmologist in St. Louis. Born in Worcester, MA, Green attended Harvard College and completed his Medical Degree in 1858. Upon completing his medical studies, however, he refused to accept his M.D. degree from Harvard because he did not believe the requirements for graduation were up to his standards. He was privately examined by the Massachusetts Medical Society and was admitted and given privilege to practice medicine. By 1862, Green decided to accept his degree from Harvard after learning that there had been a reform movement at the Medical School.

In 1857, Dr. Green participated in a scientific expedition to Suriname as a curator of comparative anatomy for the Boston Society of Natural History, an experience which contributed to his participation in societies like the St. Louis Academy of Science and the Archaeological Society, for which he was a founding member. He also was appointed as a Trustee for the Missouri Botanical Gardens later in life. During the Civil War, Green served as acting assistant surgeon in the Army of the Tennessee for the Union. He studied twice in Europe, between 1859-1860 and again in 1865. During his 1865 trip to London, Paris, and Utrecht he specialized his studies in ophthalmology, and upon his return to the United States he established a practice in St. Louis. Green became a Lecturer in Ophthalmology at the St. Louis Medical College in 1871 and a full professor in 1886. In 1888, Dr. Green purchased the first dozen microscopes used at the institution with his own funds. When the St. Louis Medical College affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine in 1899, Green's title became Special Professor of Ophthalmology. He earned Emeritus status in 1911.

Green, John, Jr., 1873-1949

  • Person
  • 1873-1949

John Green, Jr., the son of Harriet L. (Jones) Green and Dr. John Green, Sr., 1835-1913, was born in Templeton, Mass in August 2, 1873. He earned his A. B. from Harvard College in 1894 and his M.D. from the Medical Department of Washington University in 1898, receiving the Gill Prize in Pediatrics. He interned from June to December 1898 at St. Louis City Hospital and was active in its alumni association. In November 1899, he began practice of ophthalmology in the City of St, Louis, Mo. He died in 1949 at DePaul Hospital in St. Louis.

Cordonnier, Justin J.

  • Person
  • 1905-1980

Justin J. Cordonnier (M.D., WUSM, 1928) was associated with the surgical staff of Barnes Hospital for over fifty years. He was professor and head of the Division of Urology, WUSM Department of Surgery, from 1953 until his retirement in 1970. In 1978, he received the Raymond Guiteras Award from the American Urological Association, the nation's highest award in the field.

Homan, George, 1846-1928

  • Person
  • 1846-1928

George Homan (1846-1928) graduated from Missouri Medical College in 1873. From 1886 to 1893, he was Professor of Hygiene and Forensic Medicine at St. Louis Medical College. Afterwards he became the Chief Sanitary Officer for St. Louis Health Department from 1893 to 1915. During his tenure, his position was upgraded to that of City Health Commissioner. He was a member of the St. Louis Medical Society, and its President in 1906.

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