History of Medicine

Hurricane Beulah Collection

Photograph of a woman and a car on a flooded street during Hurricane Beulah

About the Hurricane Beulah Collection

View the Beulah Photograph 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.

Photograph of Dr Ramirez aith a nurse

Learn more about the life and work of Dr. Mario E. Ramirez

Korean Nursing Students Visit the Nixon Historical Library

On Monday April 15, 2019, visiting nursing students and faculty from Korea toured the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. Their visit was part of an exchange program through the School of Nursing. Several works from the rare book collection were on display, including Florence Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing (1859), Micrographia (1667) by Robert Hooke, Darwin’s Origins of Species (1859), and Our Army Nurses (1895) by Mary A. Gardner Holland. Also on display were several historical medical instruments, including an amputation and bloodletting kit.

For more information about the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library or to schedule a visit, contact Andrea N. Schorr at schorr@uthscsa.edu or (210) 567-2403.

Library’s Historical Collection Featured in Campus Magazine

Check out the latest issue of the Mission magazine, to see a featured article about the treasures of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. The P.I. Nixon Library is located on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library and is home to several famous historical works including: De Humani Corporis Fabrica, known as the first scientifically accurate textbook of anatomy, by Andreas Vesalius; Natural History of Teeth by John Hunter; and Illustrations of the Great Operations of Surgery, by Charles Bell to name a few.

To view the article click here.

The Nixon Library is used by students, faculty, and staff, but has also been a resource to local and global communities. Most recently we have had visitors from Japan and Mexico.

Visitors are welcome and tours are available. For more information contact Andrea N. Schorr, Head of Resource Management at (210) 567-2403 or schorr@uthscsa.edu.

P.I. Nixon Library website: http://library.uthscsa.edu/2011/11/nixon-library/

Medical Instruments Exhibit

HOMexhibit

Ever wonder what types of instruments were used to treat ailments during the early ages of medicine? Check out the new library exhibit Tools of the Trade and find out. The exhibit features antique medical instruments from the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. In this collection you will find items such as a scarificator and cupping device. Both were used during the 19th century in a process called bloodletting, which treated conditions such as fever, anemia, and mental illness. Also included in this exhibit is a Spencer Monocular microscope, produced by the first American microscope manufacturer Charles A. Spencer. Other items in this collection include a urine testing kit, a blood transfusion kit, and an ophthalmological lens set used for eye exams.

The Tools of the Trade exhibit is located on the main floor of the Briscoe Library. This exhibit will be ongoing, but may be removed temporarily for special events. Special Collections staff will rotate the selection of instruments periodically, so check back for new items.

Questions about this exhibit? Contact Special Collections staff at SpecialCollections@uthscsa.edu

Membership Records for the Bexar County Medical Society

The Collection

Portrait of Dr. George Graham Watts, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, with a thick, bushy mustache and beard, wearing a suit, tie, and monocle and holding a top hat.

Picture of George Graham Watts MD, specialist in obstetrics/gynecology. Born Feb. 4, 1851 in London. Graduated from Bonn University in Germany and moved to San Antonio in 1882.

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.

The Members

View Members A-L

 

View Members M-Z

 

Nursing Faculty from Mexico Visit the Nixon Historical Library

On Friday, May 17, 2019 nursing faculty from Mexico toured the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library. Several works from the rare book collection were on display, including Florence Nightingale’s Notes on Nursing (1859), Ophthalmodouleia (1583) by Georg Bartisch, Anatomical Tables of the Practice of Midwifery (1754) by William Smellie , and De Medicina (1481) by Aulus Cornelius Celsus. Also on display were photographs from the Physicians and Surgeons Hospital Training School for Nurses in San Antonio, which opened its doors in the early 1900’s but was closed in the 1960’s.  Photographs from the early years of the School of Nursing were also on display.

For more information about the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library or to schedule a visit, contact Andrea N. Schorr at schorr@uthscsa.edu or (210) 567-2403.

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

Register Now for the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library Dinner

 

Speaker: Gary Taubes

Based on his April 2011 New York Times Magazine cover article and his latest book (The Case Against Sugar), Gary Taubes will discuss the history, politics, and science of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, arguing that these sweeteners may indeed be far more harmful to our health than public health authorities have been willing to accept.

For more information about Gary Taubes visit: https://www.prhspeakers.com/speaker/gary-taubes

 

Dinner Details:

Date: Friday, October 26, 2018

Time: Meet & Greet: 6:30 PM | Dinner: 7:00 PM

Dinner, dessert, wine, coffee, or tea

Speaker: 8:00 p.m.

Location: Valero Community Engagement Center located at the San Antonio Food Bank,

5200 Enrique Pkwy, San Antonio, TX 78227.

Cost: $55 per person, $35 for students.

Paid sponsorships for students available upon request. Advanced registration is required

Registration deadline is Monday, October 15, 2018.

Register online at: https://uthscsa.libwizard.com/nixondinner

For more information about the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library contact Andrea N. Schorr, Head of Resource Management, at (210) 567-2403 or schorr@uthscsa.edu.

P.I. Nixon Library website: http://library.uthscsa.edu/2011/11/nixon-library/