Arkansas Medical Monthly (1880)

Notes, Primary Sources, Thesis Research

“Eureka Springs.” Arkansas Medical Monthly 1, no. 1 (1880): 1-3.

“Notwithstanding, however, the ludicrous aspect placed upon the reputation of these springs in the eyes of the medical profession, induced by the enthusiastic exageration [sic] of the people, there is evidently something about them worthy of our attention and careful inquiry.” (34)

“We visited the place during the latter part of December last, but owing to the fact that no analysis has as yet been made of the water (or, at least, none has come under our observation), it is impossible to base a scientific opinion upon its proposed therapeutic value.” (34)

Transactions of 7th Meeting of AR State Medical Society (1882)

Notes, Primary Sources, Thesis Research

Transactions of the State Medical Society of Arkansas at its Seventh Annual Session (Little Rock: Kellogg Printing Company, 1882).

List of Members of the Arkansas State Medical Society – total = 197, 2 from ES

Doctors who were practicing in ES:
J. O. Ducker — physician in Eureka Springs, AR — graduate of Jefferson Medical College, PA
M. Harrison — physician in Eureka Springs, AR — graduate of Louisville Medical College, KY (where Daniel Drake lectured for awhile!)

Breakdown of training by state:
NE Coast –
Maryland (8); New York (8); Pennsylvania (29); Maine (2)

SE Coast –
South Carolina (4); Virginia (3); Florida (1)

South –
Louisiana (20); Georgia (6)

Upper Midwest –
Michigan (2); Ohio (10); Iowa (3); Kentucky (38)

Lower Midwest –
Missouri (24); Arkansas (3); Tennessee (29)

Canada (1)

2 from L. I. H. Medical College, can’t figure out where that was located


Address on the Practice of Medicine, E. R. Duvall, Chairman of the Committee 

…by reason, treatment is more concise, more methodical, more scientific, results more satisfactory. All organs are systematically interrogated — in this manner the reflex and other manifestations, so often puzzling alike to patient and and medical attendant, are accounted for, and their significations placed in their proper relationship.” (50)

“To dose, dose, and dose again, originally significant of the erudition of our calling, and viewed with admiration by confrere and the laity, is now, through the agencies and by the influence of a progressive advancement all along the line, the least of the test by which fitness for responsible trust is to be determined.” (51)

Uses statistics in pro-Smallpox vaccine argument; discussion of English and German critiques of American vaccination practices, which proves they were reading literature from across the Atlantic? (52)


Report by committee appointed to investigate reforming (making more uniform, more rigorous) medical education; report by committee appointed to investigate and attempt to change medical legislation

Both pieces stress a need to monopolize & standardize medicine for the benefit of the people, who are being cheated by charlatans, quacks, and improperly trained doctors.


Piece on using blood to diagnose illness — the “Salisbury method,” from Dr. J. H. Salisbury (OH)

Advocates skilled and knowledgable use of microscopy to observe blood “corpuscules.” Pretty detailed account of what blood does when you add various concentrations of different substances.


Report on Bilious Fever by G. M. D. Cantrell of Hope, AR

Discusses weather, elevation of areas particularly affected by the disease
“…Klebs and Tomasi Crudeli, by their investigations, have discovered in the atmosphere of the Potine marshes peculiar rod-like bodies, which they have called bacillus milariae, and which, by inoculation, they claim will produce paroxysms of intermittent fever.” (96)


“A Plea for Some Neglected Branches in Medicine” by George C. Hartt, Little Rock, AR

Argument for wider, broader training for doctors — “languages, mathematics, philosophy, and the sciences”

“All must acknowledge” that the acquirement of “some” languages — “especially French and German” — “cannot fail to afford both profit and pleasure, enabling him to understand the fresh utterances of foreign masters in their native tongue, and also many words and phrases which these languages are constantly contributing to medicine and to science.” (122)

Advocates knowledge of “geology,” so that physicians can be consulted in healthful locations for building stuff. Wonder why he doesn’t mention health resort therapeutics here? 😦

Argues that botany isn’t considered a real science because it is associated with mysticism (“astrology and alchymy,” “Thomsonian, or steam system, and botanic system…”) (127-128)

References Cuvier

 

The People’s Car

Summaries & Reviews

The People’s Car: A Global History of the Volkswagen Beetle, Bernhard Rieger

         As someone quite illiterate insofar as the history of technology is concerned, I thought this book did an excellent job of elucidating through example just how ingrained in a society’s beliefs, prejudices, and self-perceptions technologies are, and equally important, how easily the same technologies can adapt to new socio-cultural environments. Technologies can be overtly used — like the VW Beetle was by the Nazi regime — to further political, social, or economic goals or ideologies, but the purposeful instillation of technological ethos is not the only way that a technology can acquire social meaning. The beetle’s adaptation to cultural environments outside of Germany (and even inside of West Germany, a quite different landscape from the one of its conception) proves that technologies can acquire meanings far beyond those instilled in them by their developers. Author Bernhard Rieger cleverly displays the nuances and complicated patterns of societies’ relationships with technologies, demonstrating that neither technological determinism nor the social construction of technology paint a full picture of the way that a technology interacts with a population. Instead, as evidenced by the effects the bug had on society and the way that society in turn shaped the bug, a reciprocal relationship emerges in which society and technology converse and enact changes in one another.

The book showed how technologies can be an avenue through which political entities proliferate (radio) and reinforce their ideologies; the VW Beetle in its promotion by the Nazi party was meant to “demonstrate how the emerging ‘people’s community’ would raise the average German’s living standard.” (58-59) Things can be said, ideas made manifest, through the use of commodities. In Rieger’s words; “Material objects often acquire profound personal and collective significance because they make the ‘abstract… concrete, closer to lived experience.'” (6) Hitler was able to make his ideologies concrete by enacting technological policies that put his beliefs about the ideal society into action. In a way, the technologies spoke back — and said something about the realities of human nature — when his laissez-faire Highway Code backfired. Perhaps, if he had listened when the human-technology conglomerate (men driving cars) spoke, he would have found that is worldview (and what he wanted for Germany) was untenable.

After WWII, the bug was in a precarious situation in occupied West Germany. Rieger’s account of how it bounced back, in no small part due to its revamped and heavily revised cultural aura, offers the first example of how a technology can adapt to different socio-cultural environments. In order to remain culturally attractive, the bug had to shed its Nazi origin story; like the society that surrounded it, it was viewed as a victim of the Third Reich. Its paramount success in the otherwise dire post-war economy served as a beacon of hope for Germans. Where the Nazis had failed, the Federal Republic had finally provided a long forgotten promise of providing the average German a vehicle. This drastic reworking of VW’s actual history goes to show that technologies evolve and adapt with the populations they were created to serve and are not static historical factors. They can also play a role, as they had in the 1930s and 1940s, in establishing and reinforcing cultural identities. Battered Germans looked at the success of the beetle and saw an economically viable, competitive Germany in their future, if they would only work hard like those in Wolfsburg had.

The latter half of the book is what makes Rieger’s history “global”; in it, he outlines the bugs’ donning of a few other cultural robes. The Nazi origins of the car tended to be too much of an obstacle to the British constituency, displaying limits to the beetle’s techno-cultural adaptability. In America, by contrast, after initial hurdles the Volkswagen became very popular. As part of a new society, however, it took on a very different identity. Instead of the hearty “people’s car,” the standard-setter it had been in Germany, the bug adopted a distinctly unorthodox and counter-culture ethos in the American market, which was dominated by much larger, domineering vehicles. In Mexico, the beetle — or vochito — adopted yet another cultural ethos. Again, its simple yet reliable engineering proved advantageous; Mexicans identified the car as “tough” and “thick-skinned,” “capable of handing both actual and metaphorical bumps in the road,” like its hardy clientele. (283)

Rieger employs a somewhat elementary version of gender analysis, commenting occasionally on how the culture surrounding the car differed for men and women. A lot more could have been done here, but at 335 pages, the book was already quite hefty. Another mild complaint I had was that it seems a bit much to call a book that covers Germany, the United Kingdom, America, and Mexico, “global,” but again, including more would have made Rieger’s book a monolithic project and read. This begs the question, however, of what exactly “global” means to historians — because if it means only four countries, three of which are western European, that seems problematic.

I came away from the book with a far deeper understanding of the way that, to borrow from Dr. Heyck, technology and society reinvent one another over and over again. While the appearance of the bug — because it was such a large part of its draw — remained more or less the same, its cultural meaning was constantly being reworked, just as the societies in which it found itself developed unique and varied ideas of what it meant to them. The car’s reentrance into the automobile market in the 1990s speaks to how powerful and long lasting these associations can be. Additionally, Rieger’s explanations of why the VW caught on (or didn’t) displayed just how important international politics and economics are to technological adoption and adaptation. Far from being static entities only reflective of their designers’ technological goals, technologies can tell historians a lot about the worlds they were produced from and used within.