Page 67 - Apr2017

Basic HTML Version

avoid bacterial contamination (now called pasteurization). He
also created the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax.
Another aspect of the Blocker Collections is the UTMB
Archives, dating back to 1891. They include the original hand-
drawn sketch by Nicholas Clayton of Old Red, the original
teaching hospital building donated by John Sealy that would
eventually become UTMB, and an original clipping from the
Galveston Daily News
that tells of the building’s upcoming
opening. It is dated October 2, 1891, two days prior to the event.
In the 1920s, Galveston was vexed with an outbreak of the
Bubonic plague and subsequently declared a “war on rats.”
A fact unknown to many, the facilities of UTMB were used to
stage a “plague laboratory” that studied rat specimens and
infected patients in an effort to eradicate the disease. The
Collections contain several photos of the laboratory as well as
the original volumes of patient notes.
This portion of the archives also includes other fascinating
novelties such as experiment logs that chronicle the first x-ray
machine built by the university’s Dr. Felix P. Miller, which was
the first successful reproduction of Röntgen’s discovery, and
an early 1800s medicine chest that belonged to an alumni’s
grandfather.
Finally, the Blocker Collections’ History of Space Medicine
brings to light a subset of medical technology not normally
considered amid everyday life. The majority of the material
was donated by Dr. Charles Berry who helped launch the
Aerospace Medicine Residency Program at UTMB and was
a member of the commission who collected the first seven
astronauts of the U.S. Space Program.
It also contains the work of Dr. William Thornton, a professor
of cardiovascular studies at the university who was involved in
the SMEAT tests. Prior to the first astronaut living on a space
station for an extended amount of time, the Skylab Medical
Experiment Altitude Test was a fifty-six day simulation that
aimed to uncover the intricacies of such a stay. Among the
many fascinating pieces of the Space Medicine Collection are
the original logbooks from SMEAT, audio-taped negotiations
conducted at NASA which were led by Dr. Berry of the US/USSR
Joint Working Group on Space Biology and Medicine, and a
framed photograph of the cosmos that features the signatures
of the first four astronauts on the moon.
Although nothing can truly replace a firsthand viewing of the
Blocker Collections, Marlin and his knowledgeable staff that
includes Kelly Caldwell, Library Services Manager, and Louise
Kidder, Discovery Services Librarian, are diligently working
to make much of the collection available to an international
audience by way of digitizing it. An extensive project that
includes written, audio, and visual resources and utilizes file
sharing from several different online platforms, the digital
archives currently contain a vast array of examples from the
Blocker Collections with a promise for much more to come.
The Blocker Collections are located on the 3
rd
Floor of the
Moody Medical Library, 914 Market Street, Room 308. For more
information call 409.772.2397. To access the Digital Collection
visit library.utmb.edu.
German Anatomical Manikin carved
from ivory, early 17th Century
The Blocker Collections are
housed on the 3rd Floor
of the Moody Medical
Library. The far wall features
a revolving exhibit that
changes twice a year.
The original architectural rendition of Old Red, by premiere Galveston
architect Nicholas Clayton.
gm
Out & About
APRIL 2017 |
GALVESTON MONTHLY |
67