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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.

Thomas H. Burford Papers

  • FC028
  • Collection
  • 1936-1973

The Burford papers consist of six series. They contain information on chest and cancer surgery, other areas of surgical practice, the Washington University Department of Surgery, the university administration, the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and files gathered in tribute to Evarts A. Graham. The material includes correspondence, manuscripts, reports, reprints of articles, and films. The Library’s visual collections include photographs illustrating Burford’s career.

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

Jacob G. Probstein Papers

  • FC060
  • Collection
  • 1920-1979

The Jacob G. Probstein papers include short transcripts of at least two oral history interviews with Probstein on Jewish Hospital (1977), Probstein's short histories of the pancreatitis research group: "Sam Gray/ Michael Somogyi/ May Fund and Pancreatis"(1979), and two letters from Helen Graham about Evarts A. Graham(1965-1968). The Jacob G. Probstein reprints, 1924-1970 are the bulk of the material. The focus of the oral histories are Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, its chiefs of surgery, its patients (the Jewish community), its donors, the role of nurses and nurse administrators, Dr. Michael Somogyi and the pancreatitis and diabetes research group, the clinics, and early operative techniques in the old Delmar location of the hospital.

Probstein, J. G. (Jacob G.)

Gordon H. Scott Papers

  • FC099
  • Collection
  • 1927-1930

This small collection of correspondence has been arranged into one series that is organized alphabetically. All of the correspondence in this collection is from 1927-1930, when Dr. Scott was an assistant to Dr. Cowdry at the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research and Assistant Professor of Cytology at Washington University. Subjects include yellow fever studies with E.V. Cowdry, papers in publication, Dr. Dean, and the Rockefeller Institute.

Scott, Gordon H. (Gordon Hatler)

David Nafe Kerr Papers

  • FC100
  • Collection
  • 1942-1993

This small collection is primarily focused on Dr. Kerr's military service during WWII.

Kerr, David N.

Bernard Becker Reprints

  • FC101
  • Collection
  • 1948-1985

5 bound volumes of reprints. Articles on glaucoma and other ophthalmologic topics originally published in various scientific and medical journals.

Bernard Becker papers acquired by rare book librarian in Rare Book Accession 2008-001 and accessioned as Archives Accession 2010-004:
1) One bound volume of congratulatory letters given to Dr. Becker on the occasion of his 25th anniversary as chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, April 27th, 1979.

2) Two 5x7 inch silver gelatin photographs of the staff of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, the first dated circa 1954, the second dated circa 1979.
3) One pamphlet for the occasion of the 25th anniversary including a list of contributors toward an endowment fund in honor of Bernard Becker, April 27th, 1979.

Becker, Bernard

Washington University School of Medicine Library Construction Snapshots

  • VC334
  • Collection
  • 1987-1988

This collection consists of 405 color snapshots documenting the construction progress of Washington University School of Medicine Library, now named the Bernard Becker Medical Library, between 1987 and 1988.

Washington University School of Medicine Library

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