Dr. Rudolph Menger was an early San Antonio doctor who loved nature and is best remembered for his nature observations and pictures. He was born in San Antonio, Texas on April 21, 1851, to Johann and Augusta Menger. His parents, native Germans, arrived in Texas in 1846. Menger attended the German-English school, a school established in 1858 by German immigrants, which endeavored to educate the children of recent immigrants. After graduation, he studied medicine in Germany at the University of Leipsic, in Saxony, graduating in November, 1874.
After graduating from medical school, Menger returned to San Antonio and served as Assistant Surgeon in the United States Army for one year then was appointed City Physician of San Antonio from 1875 until 1881, and was appointed once more in 1892. He was an active member of the West Texas Medical Society, wrote numerous articles for various medical journals, and worked in private practice.
He married Barbara C. Menger in 1879, a native of San Antonio and daughter of William L. Menger, owner of the Menger Hotel but unrelated to Ruldolph. They had eight children: Minnie, Edward, August, Louis, Gustave, Rudolph, Theodore, and Margaret.
Dr. Menger’s book Texas Nature Observations and Reminiscenses, published in 1913, includes many of his photo-micrographs and observations. It is available in the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, and the university’s copy may be viewed online in full text through the University of North Texas’ Portal to Texas History at http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143558/m1/1/?q=menger .
The P. I. Nixon Library owns the original scrapbook with Menger’s microphotographs. It has been digitized for preservation, and the library hopes to make it viewable soon through the UTHSC Digital Archive.
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Mellisa DeThorne, keeper of precious things