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Through the Eye Piece of the Microscope … San Antonio Nature Observations

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 .

Picture from Menger book of scorpions

Picture of scorpions from Menger book

 

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.

Page from Menger Scrapbook

Page from Menger Scrapbook

Sources—

A Guide to the German-English School (San Anonio, TX) Records, 1858-1893.  Texas Archival Resources Online.  http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/drtsa/00017/00017-P.html

Guide to the Rudolph Menger Papers. Texas Archival Resources Online.  http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/uthscsa/00010/hscsa-00010.html

“Menger Hotel,” The Handbook of Texashttp://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/dgm02

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read my post.  If you have a story of the early days of the Health Science Center or medicine in San Antonio to share, please send it to dethorne@uthscsa.edu or call 210-567-2470.

 

Mellisa DeThorne, keeper of precious things

Today: Wonderdrugs vs. Superbugs: Dr. Jose Cadena will speak at noon

Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library Noon Lecture

Thursday, September 19

Howe Conference Room, Briscoe Library 5th Floor

At this event Jose A. Cadena Zuluaga, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, and Medical Director, Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology for the South Texas Veterans’ Health Care System, will talk about the struggle to preserve the utility of our antibiotic arsenal.

Dr. Cadena’s lecture is the first in a three part series organized by Gregory M. Anstead, M.D., Ph.D., who is currently serving as President of the Friends group.

The noon lecture series organized by the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library provides opportunities for informal learning and conversation in the Howe Conference Room on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library.

Everyone is invited.  Please feel free to bring your lunch.

Mark your calendar for lectures in October and November:

  • Anthony Hartzler, M.D. (October 10), Fighting fire with fire: our microbiome and the use of probiotics in the prevention and treatment of disease
  • Kirsten Gardner, Ph.D., (November 14), diabetes, presentation title to be announced

Twitter praise for P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

 

RodriguezA232: This is the coolest library ever.  @ UTHSCSA – School Of Medicine

  http://t.co/ialgjsHv

 

 

 

 

Using the Library

Through the Eye Piece of the Microscope … San Antonio Nature Observations

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 .

Picture from Menger book of scorpions

Picture of scorpions from Menger book

 

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.

Page from Menger Scrapbook

Page from Menger Scrapbook

Sources—

A Guide to the German-English School (San Anonio, TX) Records, 1858-1893.  Texas Archival Resources Online.  http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/drtsa/00017/00017-P.html

Guide to the Rudolph Menger Papers. Texas Archival Resources Online.  http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/uthscsa/00010/hscsa-00010.html

“Menger Hotel,” The Handbook of Texashttp://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/dgm02

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read my post.  If you have a story of the early days of the Health Science Center or medicine in San Antonio to share, please send it to dethorne@uthscsa.edu or call 210-567-2470.

 

Mellisa DeThorne, keeper of precious things

Today: Wonderdrugs vs. Superbugs: Dr. Jose Cadena will speak at noon

Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library Noon Lecture

Thursday, September 19

Howe Conference Room, Briscoe Library 5th Floor

At this event Jose A. Cadena Zuluaga, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, and Medical Director, Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology for the South Texas Veterans’ Health Care System, will talk about the struggle to preserve the utility of our antibiotic arsenal.

Dr. Cadena’s lecture is the first in a three part series organized by Gregory M. Anstead, M.D., Ph.D., who is currently serving as President of the Friends group.

The noon lecture series organized by the Friends of the P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library provides opportunities for informal learning and conversation in the Howe Conference Room on the 5th floor of the Briscoe Library.

Everyone is invited.  Please feel free to bring your lunch.

Mark your calendar for lectures in October and November:

  • Anthony Hartzler, M.D. (October 10), Fighting fire with fire: our microbiome and the use of probiotics in the prevention and treatment of disease
  • Kirsten Gardner, Ph.D., (November 14), diabetes, presentation title to be announced

Twitter praise for P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library

 

RodriguezA232: This is the coolest library ever.  @ UTHSCSA – School Of Medicine

  http://t.co/ialgjsHv

 

 

 

 

Using the Library

William Withering and the beginnings of modern therapeutics

Image of William Withering

Image of William Withering

 

Digoxin is a modern drug used to treat irregular heartbeat, atrial fibrillation, and congestive heart failure and to relieve symptoms of edema associated with congestive heart failure.  The Western world of medicine’s knowledge of Digoxin’s incredible ability to help treat certain heart diseases was due to the efforts of an English physician called William Withering.

Medical Training

William Withering was born on March 17, 1741, in Wellington, Shropshire and died Oct. 6, 1799, in the town of Sparkbrook in England.  He was influenced by his father, Edmund, who was an apothecary, the equivalent of a modern day pharmacist, and his uncle, Brook Hector, who was a physician. In the modern medical school, medical students participate in a residency program, which is akin to an apprenticeship, after 4 years of medical school. During Withering’s time in 1762, Withering enrolled in the University of Edinburg in Scotland after 4 years as an apprentice, the opposite of today’s system. The medical curriculum of this period was heavily focused on botany, probably playing a part in shaping Withering’s intellectual understanding of plants and human health.

After his schooling, Withering relocated to the town of Stafford, where he visited private patients and worked as a founding physician of the Stafford General Infirmary. During this time period, Withering participated in his hobby of botany and, through this, met his wife, Helena Cookes, who sketched the plants he collected. In 1779, Withering served as a founder of Birmingham General Hospital, where many poor people were treated free of charge

Experiments with Foxglove

William Withering started to conduct experiments to demonstrate the uses of the foxglove plant in 1776 after an experience with one of his patients. Withering had been treating a lady suffering from edema and had expected her to die, but he was surprised to discover that she had recovered after ingesting a folk cure prepared from digitalis, a plant commonly called foxglove. This lead him to write An Account of the Foxglove, and Some of Its Medical Uses, a book published in 1785 that gave him a lasting reputation.  The P.I. Nixon Medical Historical Library owns a copy of this book.

The book describes Withering’s clinical experience with the purple foxglove, a weed containing therapeutic substances called cardiac glycosides used in modern drugs such as digoxin.  The book basically details a 10 year clinical trial of digitalis (the modern name for the drug after the Latin name for the plant, Digitalis purpure) and was published to guard the medical community of the time period against misuse of this powerful drug.  In the book he discusses treating 158 patients with foxglove and how 101 of them experienced relief from heart failure.  He also wrote about the correct single dosage that should be used when administering foxglove, which is only slightly less than today’s modern digoxin tablet.  The method that Withering detailed for creating medicine from the foxglove plant is also the same method that modern drug manufactures use, albeit on a grander scale, to extract digitalis from the foxglove plant.

Image of William Withering's An Account of the Foxglove, and Some of Its Medical Uses. P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.

Image of William Withering’s An Account of the Foxglove, and Some of Its Medical Uses. P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.

Image of William Withering's An Account of the Foxglove, and Some of Its Medical Uses with the fold out insert showing a colored illustration of the Foxglove plant. P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.

Image of William Withering’s An Account of the Foxglove, and Some of Its Medical Uses with the fold out insert showing a colored illustration of the Foxglove plant. P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.

Appreciatively,

Manasseh “Manny” Ngigi,  Nursing School student

Sources:

“Foxglove.” WebMD. Viewed 1/23/ 2015. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-287-DIGITALIS.aspx?activeIngredientId=287&activeIngredientName=DIGITALIS .

Wilson, Philip. “William Withering.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Viewed 1/23/ 2015. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/646127/William-Withering .

“The lifesaving foxglove.” UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden. Viewed 1/23/ 2015. http://www.botgard.ucla.edu/html/botanytextbooks/economicbotany/Digitalis/index.html

“Digitalis.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digitalis Viewed 1/23/2015.

Norman, Jeremy. “William Withering and the Purple Foxglove: A Bicentennial Tribute.” Jeremy Norman’s History of Science. Viewed 1/23/2015. http://www.historyofscience.com/articles/jmnorman-william-withering.php

 

Images:

“William Withering” by After Carl Frederik von Breda – [1] [2]. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:William_Withering.jpg#mediaviewer/File:William_Withering.jpg

Book images are from the copy owned by the P. I. Nixon Medical Historical Library.

For questions about the Treasures of the P. I. Nixon library blog, email Special Collections.