History of Medicine

Oral history interview with Mr. Victor Oliveros

Victor Oliveros is a retired epidemiologist who served for many years with the City of Laredo Health Department. He is still active with committees and projects addressing border health issues. In this November 2009 interview, Special Collections Librarian Pennie Borchers interviews Mr. Oliveros about the public health issues he observed along the Texas-Mexico border during his career, and his work to try to improve public health in Laredo and beyond.

P. I. (Pat Ireland) Nixon Photographs & Biographical Materials

P. I. Nixon

Nixon_75th_Birthday

“Memories of Dr. Pat Ireland Nixon” – Nathalie Grum Oral History

 

Young P. I. Nixon in uniform at Bingham Prep School in Ashville, NC, 1909

Young P. I. Nixon in uniform at Bingham Prep School in Ashville, NC, 1909

Dr. P. I. Nixon as a young man. Courtesy of Leon Valley Public Library and Grace Nixon.

Dr. P. I. Nixon as a young man. Courtesy of Leon Valley Public Library and Grace Nixon.

P. I. Nixon standing in front of the New Convalescent Home in San Antonio, sometime in the 1930's

P. I. Nixon standing in front of the New Convalescent Home in San Antonio, sometime in the 1930′s

 

Olive Gray Read Nixon

Olive Read Nixon Memoriam

 

Olive Nixon, age 10, Ft. Worth, TX

Olive Nixon, age 10, Ft. Worth, TX

Olive Read met Pat I. Nixon while they were both attending the University of Texas at Austin. He graduated in 1905, but they waited until he finished his M.D. degree at John Hopkins University School of Medicine and established his practice in San Antonio before marrying in 1912.  They had four boys – Pat Ireland Nixon Jr., Robert Nixon, and the twins Benjamin Nixon and Thomas Nixon. Olive shared Nixon’s interest in history and was his partner in collecting historical materials.

Olive Nixon, wife of P. I. Nixon

Olive Nixon, wife of P. I. Nixon

 

Fannie Andrews Nixon

 

Fannie Andrews Nixon, mother of P. I. Nixon, ca. 1879

Fannie Andrews Nixon, mother of P. I. Nixon, ca. 1879, while serving as a school teacher

Frances Amanda Andrews was born in Randolph county, North Carolina, on Nov. 5, 1843. In 1866 she left North Carolina with her brother-in-law and sister and after a 3 months journal arrived in Texas, settling at Belmont. She taught school for a few years then in 1872 married Captain Robert Thomas Nixon, the owner of a 14,000 acre plantation 6 miles south of what is now Luling. Captain Nixon had 9 children from his previous marriage. Fannie added 7 children of her own. In 1895 they moved to Luling. When her husband died in 1897, she managed the estate for the next forty-two years.

Fannie Andrews Nixon, age 96, ca. 1939

Fannie Andrews Nixon, age 96, ca. 1939

 

Nixon family homestead in Old Nixon, Texas in Guadalupe County with Fannie Nixon standing outside.  B&W photo painted in watercolor.

Nixon family homestead in Old Nixon, Texas in Guadalupe County with Fannie Nixon standing outside. B&W photo painted in watercolor.

 

P. I. Nixon, Jr.

Pat Nixon, Jr_memorial

P. I. Nixon, Jr. oral history – transcript

 

P. I. Nixon, Jr. - oldest son of P. I. Nixon and Olive Read Nixon

P. I. Nixon, Jr. – oldest son of P. I. Nixon and Olive Read Nixon

Dr. Pat I. Nixon Jr. MD was born on May 28, 1913. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1935 and Duke Medical School in 1939. He joined the Army in 1949 and was stationed at West Point during World War II as a Hygiene Teacher and a member of the Medical Staff. He returned to San Antonio in 1946 and practiced medicine with his father. He married Ruby Baker while in the Army, and they had 4 children. Ruby died in 1982, and he married his second wife, Della. He loved old antique cars and driving and donatedmuch of his time to charity and doing work for the Boy Scouts. He died in October 2012 at the age of 99.

More pictures of P. I. Nixon, Jr.

More pictures of P. I. Nixon, Jr.

 

Ben Oliver Nixon

Ben Oliver Nixon – He Was Our Boy (Eulogy)

1932 Photograh of Dr. Pat. I. Nixon with sons Robert Nixon (standing) and twins Ben and Thomas Nixon.  Courtesy of Leon Valley Public Library and Grace Nixon

1932 Photograh of Dr. Pat. I. Nixon with sons Robert Nixon (standing) and twins Ben and Thomas Nixon. Courtesy of Leon Valley Public Library and Grace Nixon

Ben Oliver Nixon was born in 1921, the oldest of the “Tennis Playing Twins.” He was a Captain and aircraft pilot in the Air Force and died while flying a plane in 1961. He was married to Grace Nixon and had four children.

 

P. I. (Pat Ireland) Nixon, 1883-1965

Pat I. Nixon - picture taken for his 75th birthday.

Pat I. Nixon – picture taken for his 75th birthday.

Dr. P. I. Nixon was a prominent physician in San Antonio and a skillful writer and researcher and is recognized as the preeminent historian of Texas medicine. He was the sole author of three books devoted to Texas medicine and was co-author of a fourth. He was founder of the San Antonio Historical Association and served terms as president of the Bexar County Medical Library Association,  the Texas Surgical Society, the San Antonio Ex-Students Society of Texas, the San Antonio Historical Association, and the Philosophical Society of Texas. In 1957 Nixon received two literary honors, the Summerfield G. Roberts and Clement E. Trout awards. In 1963 Trinity University granted him an honorary doctorate.

Education and Career

Pat Ireland Nixon was born in Old Nixon, Texas on November 29, 1883, to Robert Thomas and Fannie (Andrews) Nixon.  He graduated from Luling High School in 1900 and the Bingham School in Ashville, North Carolina in 1902.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas in 1905 and his medical degree from John Hopkins University School of Medicine, graduating in 1909.

After completing postgraduate studies, Nixon opened an office in San Antonio on September 27, 1911, as a general practitioner and treated patients for over 50 years. On July 3, 1912, Nixon married Olive Gray Read of Mineola, Texas, whom he had met while attending the University of Texas. They had four sons — Pat Ireland Nixon Jr., Robert Nixon, and twins Benjamin Nixon and Thomas Nixon.  Nixon served on the medical staffs of Baptist Memorial, Nix Memorial, and Santa Rosa hospitals and was president of the Bexar County Medical Association in 1926 and the Texas Surgical Society in 1956.   He died on November 18, 1965 and was buried in Sunset Memorial Park, San Antonio, Texas.

 

Political cartoon with P. I. Nixon

Political cartoon with P. I. Nixon.  Source unknown.

Role in Public Health

Nixon was appointed to the San Antonio Board of Health in 1928 and served for the next twenty years on city or city-county health boards. He crusaded for improvements in public health and in the government of San Antonio, which he blamed for not doing anything about the deplorable health conditions. He was especially concerned about the spread of polio, tuberculosis, syphilis, infant diarrhea, and other infectious diseases and the living conditions in the barrios, where the poorest people in San Antonio resided. He spoke out at public rallies and on the radio and was a leader in efforts to improve the health of San Antonio’s people.

 Rare Books Collector

One of his most enduring contributions to the medical profession in San Antonio was his role in the founding of the Bexar County Medical Library Association in 1919 where he served as Chair. The library acquired over 15,000 volumes and long runs of more than two hundred journals.  Because of Dr. Nixon’s efforts, the Bexar County Medical Library was also able to accumulate a large collection of rare medical books, purchased with association funds, donations by patients and friends of Dr. Nixon, and money from the sales of several of his books. He searched for old and rare books over a period of 50 years. This collection of rare medical books was donated to the University of Texas Medical School in San Antonio in 1970 and is housed in the Briscoe Library as the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. Nixon served on the advisory council for the Handbook of Texas and contributed many articles on doctors and medicine for the handbook.  Nixon also had a personal library of Texana comprised of books on early Texas history, both rare books and more modern publications.  This collection was donated to Trinity University in San Antonio in 1964 and became the Pat Ireland Nixon Collection.

Biographical Materials

Pat Nixon of Texas: Autobiography of a Doctor

Personal photographs, tributes, family obituaries

 Books by P. I. Nixon  (Click to view full text)

 A Century of Medicine in San Antonio

The Medical Story of Early Texas

A History of the Texas Medical Association

The Early Nixons of Texas

Personal Papers

Guide to the Pat Ireland Nixon (1883-1965) Collection

Selected Papers from the Nixon Collection:

WOAI Broadcast – Political Speech, April 5, 1939

Politicians and Our Health, WOAI, Decmber 11, 1940

Poliomyelitis Epidemic, KABC, July 16, 1946

A Threat to San Antonio (political speech), KTSA, April 17, 1953

The Story of Medicine in San Antonio, WOAI TV, October 23, 1955

Ron Philo, PhD, on the Anatomical Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci

Dr. Philo, senior lecturer in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, describes his research on the anatomical drawings of Leonardo da Vinci and his collaboration with Martin Clayton, Deputy Curator of the Print Room at Windsor Castle, England, on the award-winning exhibition catalog, Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Man, published in 2010. Dr. Philo retired from the University in August, 2010.

Talks on History and Health

Oral History Interviews featuring images of Dr. Ramirez and others

The Project

Over the years, a number of important audio and video interviews, lectures and presentations on the history of medicine and healthcare have been collected in the University Archives of the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. This project aims to digitize these talks and make them available for download and online viewing or listening through the Internet Archive, or other channels, at the pages linked below.

The Talks

A Personal History of Bexar County Medicine (February, 1980)
Dr. Perry W. Nadig interviews Dr. Byron Wyatt, a pioneer San Antonio physician.

Historical remembrances of Dr. Mario E. Ramirez, M.D. (2007 and 2011)
Two interviews with the eminent South Texas physician: a video interview from 2011, and an audio interview by Special Collections Librarian Pennie Borchers from October 2007.

Oral History Interview with Mr. Victor Oliveros (November, 2009)
Special Collections Librarian Pennie Borchers interviews City of Laredo epidemiologist and public health advocate Victor Oliveros about public health issues on the Texas-Mexico border.

Ron Philo, PhD, on the Anatomical Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci (July, 2010)
Dr. Philo, senior lecturer in the Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, describes his research and publications on the anatomical drawings of Leonardo da Vinci.

Charleen Moore, PhD: “Anatomists and their Art” (October, 2011)
A presentation by Dr. Moore,  Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Health Science Center’s Department of Cellular and Structural Biology, featuring many important works from the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.

 

The History of Medicine in Poetry – HOM Society Meeting in April

In honor of Poetry Month, the History of Medicine Society of the Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library will be meeting in the Howe Conference Room on April 23, 2014, beginning at 6:00 pm to discuss the history of medicine in poetry.  UTHSCSA faculty and students will be doing readings of selected poems and members can discuss their own original poems.

In conjunction with the meeting, an exhibit on The History of Medicine in Poetry will be displayed in the 3rd floor exhibit area of the library starting April 1.

 

Popular 17th century poem describing the plague doctor's costume.

Popular 17th century poem describing the plague doctor’s costume.  See the exhibit for an English translation.

Copper engraving of Doctor Schnabel [i.e Dr. Beak], a plague doctor in seventeenth-century Rome, with a satirical macaronic poem (‘Vos Creditis, als eine Fabel, / quod scribitur vom Doctor Schnabel’) in octosyllabic rhyming couplets.  Date: 1656.  Courtesy of Internet Archive.

X-rays & Radiation – History of Medicine Society Meeting August 20th

X-ray of human hand, created in 1895 by Wilhelm Röntgen

First medical X-ray by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife Anna Bertha Ludwig’s hand – 1895

 The History of Medicine Society, sponsored by the Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library, will have its initial meeting for the 2014-2015 academic year on August 20, 2014, in the Howe Conference Room located on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library building. Eva Glvan, MS4, will present X-rays & Radiation: The Early Days. Everyone, including the general public, is welcome to attend. A companion exhibit entitled Discovery of X-Rays will be mounted in the 3rd floor glass exhibit cases from August 15 – September 14.

The HOM Society has scheduled many interesting activities for the 2014 – 2015 year as follows:

  • August 20 – Eva Galvan –Early Days of X-Rays and Radiation
  • September 8 – 10 – History of Medicine Scavenger Hunt with presentation by Charleen Moore on Sept. 10 on Treasures of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library at 6:00 pm in the Howe Conference Room.   All entries must be turned in by 6:30.
  • October 1 – Ruth Stewart, RN, Ph.D – Nurses in War: a Florence Nightingale Heritage.  6:00 pm. Howe Conference Room. Followed by viewing NLM exhibit and a small reception.
  • November – no meeting. Friends of the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library Annual Dinner Meeting on Nov. 6
  • December – no meeting
  • January 14 – Second Annual Trivia Contest – Ally Hertz, Medical Student. 6:00 pm Howe Conference Room
  • February 11 – History of the Mental Health Prosumer Movement. 6:00 pm Howe Conference Room
  • March 25 – Presentation by Danny Jones HOM Essay winner. 6:00 pm Howe Conference Room
  • April 22 – History of Medicine in Poetry. 6:00 pm Howe Conference Room

So, save the dates and join us for an evening of interesting discussion and fun!

For more information on the History of Medicine Society meetings contact Anne Comeaux, Assistant Director for Special Collections, 210-567-2428 or comeaux@uthscsa.edu .

Image by Wilhelm Röntgen. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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