An oral history interview recorded in February 1980 at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Perry W. Nadig talks with Dr. Byron W. Wyatt, a pioneer San Antonio physician. Dr. Wyatt’s reminiscences include his early days at the Santa Rosa and Robert B. Green Hospitals, and his interaction with the Herff medical family and Dr. P.I. Nixon of San Antonio.
History of Medicine
A Personal History of Bexar County Medicine
Anatomists and their art
In October 2011, Dr. Charleen Moore, Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Health Science Center’s Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, gave a fascinating presentation on “Anatomists and Their Art” which featured many of the most important works in the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. Dr. Moore explained the interrelationship between anatomical study and art by looking at:
- Artists who dissected (such as Leonardo da Vinci and Albrecht Dürer),
- Anatomists who drew (such as Robert Hooke and the Bell brothers), and
- Anatomists who teamed up with artists (as Vesalius did with van Calcar, or Albinus did with Wandelaar).
You can see and hear Dr. Moore’s presentation (28 minutes long) by clicking the “play” button below.
Dr. John Harvey Kellogg – Inventor of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes
When eating your breakfast cereal of corn flakes or granola, have you ever wondered who came up with the idea of manufacturing these foods? It might surprise you to know that they were invented by a 19th century physician and surgeon who was devoted to healthy living and the use of natural remedies.
John Harvey Kellogg grew up in Battle Creek, Michigan, the son of a family of small shopkeepers and devoted Seventh-Day Adventists. As a youth, he worked with James White, the principle founder of the church, to publish the Health Reformer, a monthly publication for Adventists. Many of the articles in the publication were on health and hygiene and advocated temperance, vegetarianism, and the use of natural remedies. In 1872 the Church sent him to study at the Hygieo-Therapeutic College in New Jersey. After 5 months, Kellogg enrolled at the University of Michigan Medical School and then at Bellevue Hospital Medical College in New York City. He received an MD in 1875 and later studied surgery in London and Vienna, qualified as a surgeon, and performed 22,000 operations during his career, which lasted until he was 88.
Kellogg became editor of Health Reformer in 1874, changing its name to Good Health in 1879, and serving as editor of the journal until his death in 1943. He also published 50 books on various aspects of healthy living and advocating vegetarianism; regular exercise; plenty of fresh air and sunshine; drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water a day; and abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee.
Battle Creek Sanitarium
In 1876 Dr. Kellogg became the superintendent of Western Health Reform Institute, a small medical institution of 20 patients run by the Adventists. By 1900, it had been renamed the Battle Creek Sanitarium, and was a health spa that promoted a vegetarian diet and forbid its guests from drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes. By 1920 it had expanded to 1200 patients, some of them prominent industrialists and politicians. Kellogg invented a range of exercise equipment for his patients and sought to improve the patients’ diet. He developed and patented a variety of new foods including Granola and Corn Flakes, peanut butter, soy milk, and imitation meats.
While a medical student in New York City in 1874-75, Kellogg became convinced there existed a widespread need for ready-cooked foods, at least ready-to-eat cereals. At the Sanitarium, he applied this idea in the production of Granola, which consisted of a mixture of oatmeal, corn meal and wheat meal made into cakes with water and exposed to a temperature sufficient to dextrinize the starch to make it more readily digestible. The product was ground to give it a granular form convenient to eat with milk, cream, or fruit juices. This product became the forerunner of several other similar products similarly dextrinizining the starch content of cereals. This was considered important as certain forms of indigestion were relieved by the use of dextrinized foods, although the reason then was not wholly clear. After trying granola at the sanitarium, many guests wanted to eat the cereal at home, so Kellogg established the Sanitas Food Company to make and sell the product. Dr. Kellogg had help running Sanitas from his younger brother Will Keith (W. K.) Kellogg.
Dr. Kellogg also became convinced that indigestion and decay of the teeth were encouraged to a marked degree by failure to use the teeth sufficiently in the thorough mastication of food. Accordingly, he made it a practice to require his patients to begin each meal by chewing slowly a small slice of dry zwieback. One day a patient came into the office complaining the zwieback had broken her teeth, making it apparent that zwieback as a dry food was impractical in several classes of patients – those with artificial teeth, with sore teeth or diseased gums, or without teeth. They needed something they could chew without running the risk of injury to their teeth or other inconvenience. Kellogg experimented with producing toasted or dextrinized cereals in a form which, while dry and crisp, could be properly offered to such persons without the addition of milk or cream, which would destroy the value of the dry food’s capability to stimulate an abundant flow of saliva. After some months, he developed the process for making toasted cereal flakes, which became widely used in the manufacture of toasted corn flakes, toasted rice flakes, wheat flakes, etc. Wheat flakes were produced first, quickly followed by toasted rice flakes and other cereal flakes.
Creation of W. K. Kellogg Company
By 1905, the Sanitas company was also selling corn flakes, producing 150 cases a day. Sanitas had more than forty competitors by then, as other cereal companies sprang up in Battle Creek. One of Dr. Kellogg’s patients at the Sanitarium was C. W. Post, who later started his own cereal company. Kellogg claimed that Post stole his formula for the corn flakes. Kellogg’s brother wanted to expand the business even more, but Dr. Kellogg disagreed and also disagreed about adding sugar to the cereals. They ended up starting two different companies when Will left the Sanitarium and started the W. K. Kellogg Company in 1906. With a commitment to advertise heavily, Kellogg first sold his flakes under the Sanitas name. On the box was the slogan “The original bears this signature,” followed by “W. K. Kellogg” in Kellogg’s handwriting. Within a year, Kellogg’s name replaced Sanitas on the box, and sales were climbing. Kellogg’s success caught his brother’s attention. In 1908, Dr. Kellogg changed the name of his own food company to the Kellogg Food Company and began selling corn flakes overseas in packages similar to those his brother used. Business dealing between the two brothers, based on W. K. Kellogg’s ties to Sanitas, also strained their relationship. In 1910, Kellogg sued his older brother; the court case dragged on for years. In the end, Kellogg won his suit, although he and Dr. Kellogg rarely spoke again for the rest of their lives. Some of the profits of the W. K. Kellogg company flowed into the Race Betterment Foundation, created in 1914 to publicize and promote eugenics, then later into the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.
Books in the Nixon Library
The P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library owns several books by John Harvey Kellogg. Plain Facts for Old and Young, published in 1879, called attention to the great prevalence of sexual excesses of all kinds, the heinous crimes resulting from some forms of sexual transgression, and the terrible results following the violation of sexual law and had chapters specifically for boys and for girls. It reflected his advocation of sexual abstinence and his severe views on masturbation. Rational Hydrotherapy, published in 1900, described the history of the use of hydrotherapy and a resume of the physical, anatomical, and physiological facts related to its use. It also illustrated and described 200 different hydrothermic procedures and provided a summary of diseases benefited by their application. Light Therapeutics provided a practical manual in the use of the electric light bath in the treatment of disease. The New Dietetics: What to Eat and How, published in 1921, was written to present the known facts at the time relating to human nutrition for the service of “the physician, the trained nurse, the intelligent housewife, and to every student of nutrition, as well as to the professional dietitian.”
Come to the Nixon Library to read Dr. Kellogg’s books to find out more about his theories on nutrition and natural remedies.
“Harvey Kellogg, MD – Health Reformer and Antismoking Crusader,” Am. J. Public Health: 92(6): 935, June 2002.
“Kellogg Company,” Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd ed., Reference for Business. http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/businesses/G-L/Kellogg-Company.html. Accessed 5/19/2014.
“W. K. Kellogg,” Reference for Business – Encyclopedia of Business, 2nd ed. http://www.referenceforbusiness.com/businesses/G-L/Kellogg-W-K.html. Accessed 5/19/2014.
“Breakfast Cereals,” in Cereals section. John Harvey Kellogg. The New Dietetics: What to Eat and How. Battle Creek, Michigan, The Modern Medicine Publishing Co., 1921, pp. 256-258
“John Harvey Kellogg,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Harvey_Kellogg , accessed 5/19/2014.
All the photographs in this post are in the public domain and were retrieved from Wikipedia Commons.
Dr. Mario E. Ramirez – Biography of a Doctor
As a young physician who returned to his home community to practice medicine, Dr. Mario E. Ramirez played a pivotal role in bringing formal health care to Starr County. Located in the western edge of the Rio Grande Valley, Starr County is bordered by Hidalgo County (McAllen) Jim Hogg County (Hebbronville) to the north, and Zapata County (Zapata) to the west. The Rio Grande River serves as its boundary with Mexico to the south.
In 1950, following his residency, Dr. Ramirez established the first family practice clinic in Roma, Texas. Soon after in 1958, he established the first hospital in Roma to better serve the needs of the patients in his family practice clinic. Named after his grandfather, The Manuel Ramirez Memorial Clinic and Hospital operated until 1975. Physicians, surgeons and other specialists traveled to Roma on a regular basis to meet the needs of patients who could not travel to a larger city for health care. Previously, the only hospitals had been 55 miles to the east in McAllen or 90 miles to the west in Laredo. On February 15, 1975, the day the Ramirez Hospital closed its doors in Roma, the Starr County Memorial Hospital opened in Rio Grande City. As Starr County Judge, Dr. Ramirez was instrumental in managing the construction of a new, modern hospital, and helped to create a hospital taxation district to support its operation.
During his career, Dr. Ramirez made it his goal to bring the needs of medically underserved Texans to the attention of several United States presidents, and numerous state and federal medical organizations. To accomplish this, Dr. Ramirez held numerous key positions in his profession, and was honored for his work by Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush. In 1989, Governor Bill Clements appointed Dr. Ramirez to a term on the University of Texas System Board of Regents where he served until 1995.
Motivated by the professional isolation he experienced as a country doctor and the severe shortage of health professionals in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Ramirez proposed the creation of the Med-Ed Program during his tenure as UT Health Science Center Vice President for South Texas Programs. In the latter part of his career, Dr. Ramirez established and nurtured the Med-Ed Program. This program has inspired more than 2,200 students in the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo with the message that college and health science careers are attainable. In 2007 Dr. Ramirez celebrated his retirement from the UT Health Science Center, where Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, former President of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, spoke of the significance of Dr. Ramirez’s contributions to the advancement of medical education in South Texas, calling him “one of the greatest heroes that Texas has produced.”
Founding Faculty Interviews
In 2010-2011, the University Development Office produced a series of video interviews with members of the Health Science Center’s Founding Faculty.
These important historical interviews have been deposited in the University Archives and are now available for download and online viewing through the Internet Archive at the pages linked below.
Dale Bennett, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Dale Bennett, MD, pathologist and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
William S. Blumenthal, MD – A video history interview with Dr. William S. Blumenthal, professor of physiology and internal medicine, and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Ivan L. Cameron, PhD – A video history interview with Dr. Ivan Cameron, researcher and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Anatolio B. Cruz, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Anatolio B. Cruz Jr., surgeon and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Marvin Forland, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Marvin Forland, a founding faculty member in at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Initially chief of the division of renal diseases in the department of medicine, Dr. Forland went on to serve as Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs for the School of Medicine until his retirement in 1999.
Samuel J. Friedberg, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Samuel J. Friedberg, surgeon and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
David S. Fuller, MD – A video history interview with Dr. David S. Fuller, psychiatrist and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Colette M. Kohler, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Colette M. Kohler, pediatric cardiologist and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Robert L. Leon, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Robert L. Leon, psychiatrist and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Arthur S. McFee, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Arthur McFee, professor of surgery and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Mrs. Iris McFee – A video history interview with Mrs. Iris McFee, a founding administrator of the Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Henry C. McGill Jr., MD – A video history interview with Dr. Henry C. McGill Jr., pathologist and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
F. Carter Pannill, MD – A video history interview with Dr. F. Carter Pannill, a founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Dean of the Medical School from 1964-1972.
Mrs. Marie Pauerstein (wife of the late Dr. Carl J. Pauerstein) – A video history interview with Mrs. Marie Pauerstein about her late husband Dr. Carl J. Pauerstein, who was a founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Carlos Pestana, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Carlos Pestana, surgeon and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
James E. Pridgen, MD – A video history interview with Dr. James E. Pridgen, a surgeon who made valuable contributions to the early development of the School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Charles A. Rockwood Jr., MD – A video history interview with Dr. Charles Rockwood Jr., orthopaedic surgeon and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Harlan Root, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Harlan Root, surgeon and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Saul Rosenthal, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Saul Rosenthal, founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Albert E. Sanders, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Albert E. Sanders, orthopaedic surgeon and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Jim L. Story, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Jim L. Story, founding head of neurosurgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Elliot Weser, MD – A video history interview with Dr. Elliot Weser, gastroenterologist and founding faculty member of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Historical remembrances of Dr. Mario E. Ramirez, M.D.
Two interviews with Dr. Mario E. Ramirez, eminent South Texas physician. Dr. Ramirez established the first hospital in Starr County and later helped establish Starr County Memorial Hospital in 1975. Dr. Ramirez held many positions of leadership during his long and varied career, including Starr County Judge, U.T. System Board of Regents, and Vice President of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. The Library at the Regional Academic Health Center at Harlingen has been named for Dr. Ramirez.
The following video interview (approximately 60 minutes) was recorded in 2011:
- View and download this interview at the Internet Archive
- Return to full list of Interviews on History and Health
The following audio interview (approximately 95 minutes) was recorded in 2007:
History of Medicine
The Health Science Center Libraries have begun to digitize selected works of unique historical importance from the P.I. Nixon Historical Library. The Digital Archive’s History of Medicine Collection consists of rare books, photographs, and a variety of manuscripts. These works have been digitized to preserve, promote, and share historically significant resources for scholarly research.
Select books from the P.I. Nixon Historical Library have been digitized and added to the library’s Digital Archives. Many of these rare books are historically significant and unique in nature.
A collection of photographs documenting the aftermath of Hurricane Beulah, which made landfall near the mouth of the Rio Grande River as a Category 3 hurricane on September 20, 1967. Hurricane Beulah caused extensive damage across South Texas, and left 10,000 refugees stranded for several weeks. Dr. Mario E. Ramirez was the only physician in the area, and was instrumental in the initial recovery process. The Hurricane Beulah project documents the people, and places that were damaged.
A collection of professional papers, research notebooks, and personal manuscripts of renowned, early 20th-century French physiologist Louis Lapicque. Louis Lapicque was a pioneer in the field of neural excitability. One of his main contributions was to propose the integrate-and-fire model of the neuron in an article published in 1907. This model is still one of the most popular models in computational and mathematical neuroscience. The Lapicque concepts of excitability and nerve transmission form a part of the basic framework of modern neurophysiology.
Banner Image: “Anatomy Studies”Anatomia chirurgica, cile istoria anatomica dell’ossa, emuscoli del corpo umano, Bernardino Genga, 1687.
Hurricane Beulah Collection
About the Hurricane Beulah Collection
A large portion of the Ramirez collection documents the aftermath of Hurricane Beulah which made landfall near the mouth of the Rio Grande River as a Category 3 hurricane on September 20, 1967. Beulah caused extensive damage across South Texas and neighboring communities across the U.S. — Mexico border. On the evening of September 21, approximately 14,000 refugees from Camargo, Tamaulipas crossed the border and entered Roma and Rio Grande City seeking food, shelter, and medical care. It is documented that in under nine hours, the population of these communities more than doubled.
For several weeks, Dr. Ramirez worked with volunteers from the local community, UT Medical Branch in Galveston, Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio and the U.S. Army in the medical response to this crisis. It was during this time that Dr. Ramirez had the opportunity to lead President Lyndon Baines Johnson, and Governor John Connally on a tour of the area striken by the hurricane, bringing national attention to this natural disaster. For his leadership and rise to action, Dr. Ramirez was cited by the Surgeon General William H. Stewart in 1967.
Dr. Ramirez kept an extensive journal of his experiences leading the health care response to Hurricane Beulah in Starr County. Over 135 photographs and 185 pages of letters, newspaper clippings, and journal entries document the efforts of the medical team, the state and federal response, and the overall aftermath of this natural disaster.
Photographs document how emergency clinics were organized and managed and portray the use of make-shift equipment in the absence of standard medical supplies. In addition, text-based portions of this collection document how disaster planning and recovery procedures in Texas changed after Hurricane Beulah due to information provided by Dr. Ramirez and the medical response team in Starr County to agencies such as the Texas State Department of Health and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Due to growing national attention toward emergency preparedness and disaster response, the portion of the collection devoted to the Hurricane Beulah disaster response is of significant historical and informational value.
Membership Records for the Bexar County Medical Society
The University Archives houses historical records from the Bexar County Medical Society, including old membership records and photographs of physicians. This online collection consists of selected membership applications for 157 physicians born 1910 or earlier whose photographs were available. The records provide valuable information for genealogists and medical historians as they list education and training, family members, birth place, etc. The records were digitized through a grant from the University of North Texas and may also be browsed through the Portal to Texas History.