A Doctor's Memories
Victor C. Vaughan, M.D.

Table of Contents

Chapter 4


I received my first training in spelling, reading, writing and figures from my mother. I recall the colors of the paper bound books: Webster’ s spelling book in blue, McGuffy’s readers in yellow, and Ray’s arithmetic in brown. The first school I attended was at the home of the neighborhood physician, Doctor William Watts, about one mile down the plank road from my father’s house. Ordinarily I went alone and walked. The plank road was new then and no one had dreamed at that time of an automobile. In bad weather I rode behind Father or one of the servants on horseback. My remembrance of the Watts family is most pleasing. The doctor and his wife were educated and refined. They had a commodious house located in a locust grove, with a detached schoolroom in the yard. In the family there were seven or eight children, and Mrs. Watts instructed these with myself and two or three other children of the neighborhood. The environment was ideal. During the allotted hours we were strictly held to our lessons, but it was not all work. During the recesses we played “poor pussy wants a corner” or other games under the great trees in the yard, romped about the barn or went farther afield on the farm. Each season offered its special attractions and we were unconsciously appreciative. My continuance in this fascinating kindergarten was, after some two years, interrupted by the decision of the doctor that he would sell his farm and take his family to Fayette where his children could have the advantages offered by Central College. His eldest son became quite a linguist and finished his university training at Heidelberg, but died in early manhood. The second son studied medicine and came back for a time to practice in the old neighborhood. The third is now a successful and justly reputed lawyer in St. Louis.

After the departure of the Watts family, my parents with others of the community became solicitous about the schooling of their children. Finally they decided to build a schoolhouse. This was located in my father’s woodland pasture, not more than a quarter of a mile from the house, and was given the somewhat pretentious name of Hazel Hill Academy. I have before me as I write a printed program of an “Exhibition of the students of Hazel Hill at Sweet Springs Church, Thursday, June 14, 1860.”

On this program my name is down for a declamation under the title of “An appeal from our constitution.” It will be understood that this was nothing more than a recitation, but I would greatly like to know what it was that I, a boy in my eighth year, declaimed. I must in justice to the memory of my childhood friends add that the orator on the occasion announced by this program was A. F. Denny, the son of a local farmer, who had recently returned from a period of study and residence at Oxford and who in the Civil War became a colonel in the Union Army.

All my schooling until I went to college was received at Hazel Hill Academy. With one exception all the teachers at this institution were women and to one of them I owe a tribute not only for her breadth of learning and ability as a teacher but for her excellent judgment and the enthusiasm she awakened in her students. Besides, there is a glamour of romance connected with her history. As my teacher she was Miss Lucy Gamble; now she is the widow of Captain Coudrey. Practically all of her students were the children of southern sympathizers. Some had fathers and more had brothers in the Southern Army. Therefore when a handsome Federal officer showed unusual interest in Hazel Hill Academy and especially in its fair mistress, the students were all aghast. They had to admit that personally he was charming and a suitable suitor for the hand of their beloved teacher, but could she be in love with one of the enemy? This courtship proceeded under our eyes. Our teacher could not conceal the joy with which she greeted her visitor and probably he could not have been blind to the aversion with which her students regarded the progress of his suit. Suddenly she resigned her position and announced her engagement to the captain. Then the fathers and mothers took up the matter and it was wisely decided that Miss Gamble had the right to choose her own husband. One of my uncles, Robert Smith, the most outspoken rebel and the possessor of the largest house in the community, offered to open his home for the ceremony and even to act as her guardian and give her away. The older students were at the wedding and with mingled tears and smiles we saw the gallant captain lead away our beloved teacher.

The only male teacher at Hazel Hill in my day was Colonel Strong, a Scotchman, whom I always likened to Dominie Sampson. He was uncouth in person and dress, tall, angular, with a mass of unkempt red hair and beard. With his inimitable Scotch accent he talked to me in Latin and demanded immediate reply. He began his instruction simple sentences, such as “Puer coluban habet,” which I was to translate without hesitation. These sentences grew longer and more complicated and I had to give by number the rule in the grammar governing the ablative or dative or whatever the case might be. He claimed that he used the English pronunciation but I have never heard such jargon in any language. Whatever it was I had to forget it or drop it when I went to college and this was more difficult than acquiring it.

While nominally I had my schooling at Hazel Hill I received the better part of my education at home. My wise mother did not pretend to dictate my instruction. She simply placed the books she desired me to read within my reach and supplied no others. I sat many a night into the wee small hours and absorbed, by the light of a sycamore ball floating in a cup of grease, the wonderful stories of Walter Scott. I knew every one of his characters in detail and sought their prototypes among those about me. I clothed the farm and the neighboring hills and dales with romance. Rob Roy’s cave was a certainty. I discovered it in a high bluff on the creek. I read the works of Dickens and Thackeray with like avidity and recited the Prisoner of Chillon and the Corsair. These and books of like character filled my library shelves. There were also volumes of ancient history and I remember with what eagerness and enthusiasm I read the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. “Poor training,” a present day educator would say for one whose adult life was to be devoted to science. This may be true, but I am reciting facts. I can not deny that my scientific work might have been more productive had my early training been different. However I am not making a plea for a handicap, and I remain grateful to my mother for the books I read in childhood. They continue to be associated with her hallowed memory. I never open one of these now ancient volumes without seeing her face, as with lighted candle she came to my room and gently urged me to go to bed. For religious instruction I had the Bible, the family copy of which I still treasure. I have always been thankful to my mother for her lack of interest in insipid Sunday school books awarded to children for the recitation of so many biblical verses. My aversion to this kind of literature is inherited.

In my sixteenth year I entered Central College, Fayette, Missouri. This is a Methodist school. It had been closed during the Civil War and was recently opened when I went there. I did not do well at Central, recognized this fact myself and withdrew of my own volition at the end of the first semester. The fault was not with the college but in myself. I was immature, and my immediate associates having no strong inclination to work, I did nothing. Only one of the Faculty made an impression upon me. This was Professor F. X. Foster who taught Latin. Through the mists of nearly sixty years I see him huddled up in his big chair, with his great coat drawn over his shoulders, in the inadequately heated class room, discussing Virgil. “Take the two word sentence, /Troja fuit/; this means that Troy was, but is not; that Troy was once powerful, now is impotent; that Troy was once glorious, now is in ashes; that Hector is dead and Ilion is no more. Gentlemen: The Latin language not only denotes; it connotes.” I am sorry that I did not appreciate Professor Foster more fully at the time. I am sure that a longer pupilage under him would have been beneficial to me. Recently in riding along that wonderful scenic California-Oregon highway over the Siskiyou Mountains, I caught a glimpse over a precipice which recalled something which Professor Foster had once said and had lain dormant in my mind through the many intervening years. I leaned forward to ask the chauffeur to turn and drive back when I realized that the narrow rim admitted no turning back. Then I thought to say, Drive more slowly that I may catch another glimpse around the next corner, when I saw that the pressing line of cars behind denied even this prospective pleasure. The revolving cylinders of our memory cells play us inexplicable tricks.

The best thing I took away with me from Central College in the sixties was the friendship of a red-headed freckled-faced boy by the name of John Shafroth. Companionship formed at that time was renewed at Michigan University and later still in Washington where he was successively Congressman and Senator from Colorado. Until age had ripened both of us we never agreed about anything. Our visits, all too infrequent for me, were wholly devoted to argumentation. In early life, he was a Republican and I a Democrat; then he was a Silver Republican and I a Gold Democrat; for a few years he was a Democrat and I a Republican. But during the World War, he in the Senate, and I in the Army, were both Wilson Democrats. On most other points we differed quite as consistently. After one of his elections to Congress he became convinced that some of his supporters had employed questionable methods. He refused to make a contest and conceded the election to his opponent. This won for him the sobriquet of “honest John” and no man was ever more worthy of this honorable designation. Although neither of us ever acknowledged that the other had made an impression upon him, I will now admit that our arguments often broadened my view, making me less certain in some and more certain in other convictions.

My chum at Central College was a handsome, winning, big-hearted boy, but too fond of pouring libations to Bacchus. However, his potations never interfered with his Latin lessons. The deeper he drank the more sonorously the stately lines of Virgil fell from his lips. Some forty years or more later the corner stone of the Parker Memorial Hospital at the University of Missouri was laid. This had been done accompanied by the impressive ceremonies of the State Masonic Lodge, when a line of march was formed to proceed to the chapel where I was to deliver the dedication oration. The cadets were drawn up on each side of the walk and the procession, headed by the Governor and other state officials with President Jesse and me leading the faculties, was in motion. I felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice in my ear. “/Tempora mutantur; nos mutamur/” was the message. Recognizing my old chum I asked President Jesse to walk ahead and I escorted the dear old boy to a front seat in the chapel.

I did learn one thing at Central College which has been of value to me. As in most small colleges of that time, and I believe in some big ones, both then and now, there were innumerable rules bearing on the conduct of students both on the campus and elsewhere. I shall con- tent myself with giving only one as an illustration. “At roll call on Monday each student said “Church” or “Not church,” signifying his attendance or non attendance at divine worship on the previous day. Many boys would stand on the steps of the church for a few minutes, possibly enter the vestibule, or more rarely sit on a back seat for a short time and answer “Church” loudly the next morning. Multiplicity of rules of personal conduct is an incentive to lying, especially when boys are concerned.

In 1910 I gave the commencement address at Central College and was rewarded by the degree of LL.D. This shows that it required something like forty-three years for me to obtain a diploma from the college in which I first matriculated.

In my seventeenth year I enrolled at Mount Pleasant College, Huntsville, Missouri. This was only seven miles from my father’s home. It was a Baptist school which had been founded in the late fifties, flourished for a few years under the presidency of Dr. Rothwell, an able man, and had been closed during the Civil War. In 1868 the building, somewhat wrecked, was leased or otherwise put into the possession of the Reverend James W. Terrill, who, within the next five years, made it one of the best educational institutions in the state. He added commodious wings to the main structure, enlarged the campus by several acres and erected what would now be called a dormitory for girls; then it was designated as “the girls’ boarding house.” He brought to this institution some of the ablest teachers in the state, drawing for a time largely from the faculty of the newly established State Normal School at Kirksville. He made the college undenominational and filled it with earnest and intelligent boys and girls drawn from the families of every Protestant creed, not only in Missouri but from adjoining states. The time was propitious. The youth of the state, for years deprived of educational privileges, were athirst for knowledge and here it was offered. Political and religious ideas were submerged and the children of those who had worn the blue and those who had worn the gray, of Baptist and of Antibaptist, drank from the same spring and ate at the same table.

The college was a one-man institution and James W. Terrill was the greatest educator I have ever known; but like many others he was great only in the face of obstacles and became weak when these were removed. He was a successful builder but he did not keep his buildings in repair. He was a success in construction but a failure in maintenance. For some years the farmers of t he surrounding counties and the business men of the village, impoverished as they were by the war, contributed gladly small sums for the building up of the college. The president employed excellent teachers at the beginning of the year at decent living salaries and at the close of the first semester informed them that their pay must be reduced. Under these conditions the best instructors left immediately and others of like grade could not be secured. The President was sole owner and dictator. There was no appeal from his decision. The school lost its prestige. The whole thing went to wreck. President Terrill finally left, for a while conducted a private school in Tennessee and later built up a similar Institution in Texas. The deserted buildings burned in the-early eighties. Like Troy, Mount Pleasant College /was/ but /is/ not. It was never more than a small thing, but I am inclined to ask if there may not yet be college presidents, both small and big, who starve scholarship in their lust for material growth.

President Terrill had been a southern soldier, had suffered several serious wounds and on one occasion had been left as dead on the field of battle by his comrades. After Lee’s surrender, he, with others, fled to Mexico, where he soon mastered the Spanish language sufficiently to become a teacher in a boys’ school in the capital. - In 1868, as I have indicated, he returned to Missouri and became owner and president of Mount Pleasant College. At this school, although the students wore no uniform, all movements en masse were in military form. In the morning, the girls from one side and the boys from the other filed into chapel to the music of the organ. The president or some member of the faculty gave a short talk, a prayer was spoken and the students left the chapel for their several rooms, to music. Classes in all subjects used the blackboard. The class filed into the room, each student taking his position with a piece of chalk in his right and an eraser in his left hand. The teacher stood in the middle of the room. Except in small classes no teacher was permitted to sit. The students counted off into sections of three or five. At the call “attention” each in the section stood ready. At the call “one” he turned half way to the right; at “two” he faced the board and at “three” began to write. The theory of President Terrill was that no one knows anything until he can clearly state it in writing. His criticisms of the selection of words were scathing. So deeply did some of these burn into my being that I can not now hear certain words used without a jar on my nerves. This is true, notwithstanding the fact that many of his strictures would not have the approval of the highest authorities. He was wont to question even the most direct and correct statements. In doing this he felt at liberty to resort to the worst kind of sophistry. Nothing delighted him more than to make a good student acknowledge his error when in fact he was right. Then with great glee he would point out the fallacy in his own argument and chide the student for being so easily “brow-beaten.” He taught by disputation, a method of education beloved by the ancients but now fallen into desuetude. It has been of service to me, especially when on the witness stand.

The only direct instruction I had from President Terrill was in Latin and what was then called “mental and moral philosophy.” The disputations in the latter were most varied in scope and forceful in statement. Nothing within the wide range of human conduct escaped us. There were ten in the class, divided equally between the sexes. By the time we reached this subject, which - as in our senior year, each student had been well trained in disputation and we constituted a small debating society, frequently employing the sophistry in which our teacher had so long trained us. Often the hour closed after the statement of eleven different religious creeds. The one Good effect this course had on me is that I have never since combatted any one’s religious belief.

President Terrill made no pretension to a thorough knowledge of Latin and he plainly told me of his limitations the first day I met him. In fact his reading in this language had scarcely exceeded mine at that time. He bad read Caesar, Cicero, Sallust, Virgil and a few of the Odes of Horace. With this knowledge I accepted him as a teacher and I admit that for the first few months I received from him the most atrocious flagellations that were ever showered upon my shoulders by a teacher. Up to that time I had known only the so-called English, more correctly Scotch, pronunciation. At this he hurled all forms of ridicule. To him it was barbarous and abhorrent. If it should reach the ears of the dead Cicero he would forget the torture of Hades, but scream in terror at the sound. The unrivaled orator and great philosopher of classical Rome spoke with what is now known as the “continental” pronunciation and this I must learn. At every lapse into the dialect of Colonel Strong the verbal lash fell upon my naked soul and figuratively the blood trickled down until it bathed the nethermost parts of my being. At last after weeks of trial the devil was exorcised and I was congratulated on being fully prepared to converse with Cicero without giving him torture after old Charon had ferried me across the Styx.

I was the Alpha and Omega of the advanced class in Latin. The president and I read Ovid, Horace, including /Ars Poetica/ and parts of Livy. There were no assignments of lessons. “Read as far as you wish for the next hour” was his usual parting injunction. Sometimes on entering the room he would say: “I have been too busy to look at the book, read on.” I had the advantage because I had read the text which he had never seen. There were the usual disputations but most frequently he yielded to my interpretation. The instruction I received in this course was most satisfactory to me.

In my first or second year at Mount Pleasant I became instructor in Latin, and from that time I had charge of all the Latin classes except the one I have described. Before and after my graduation, as long as I remained in Mount Pleasant College, I was “in charge of Latin and Chemistry,” an incongruous professorship! However, President Terrill had the good taste not to employ the word “professor” in any of his catalogues, nor was this title used by teachers or students.

Lest I may give an exaggerated impression of my classical attainments I wish to state that I never knew more than the elements of Latin and still less of any other ancient language. In making this confession I am conscious that I am complimenting myself, since Ben Jonson said of Will Shakespeare: “He knew small Latin and less Greek.”

In 1917, Dean West of Princeton University had a day for the glorification of the classics. He wished to see these studies restored to their former position in the curricula of our colleges and universities, and I was in sympathy with him in this particular. He invited a number of learned men, some of whom, no doubt, could translate simple Latin phrases, to come to Princeton and read short papers. In mine I had a joke for the good dean. I said something like the following: “Although Army adult life has been given to the sciences, I wish to testify that the first author to stimulate the pyramidal cells of my cerebral cortex was old Virgil, and even now in my old age when I seek mental recreation there is only one book which I prefer to Virgil, and that is Dryden’s translation which I read with less effort.” Before I went to Mount Pleasant College I had only a vague idea of physics and chemistry. I did not hear of these at Central and they did not appear in the curriculum of Hazel Hill Academy. But at home there were some old books on natural history with crude illustration of Newton under the apple tree, Galileo and the leaning tower of Pisa, Franklin with his kite, the Magdeburg cups with horses trying to pull them apart, an oxy-hydrogen blow pipe, Leyden jars, frictional electric generators, and so forth. These figures and their accompanying texts I had studied and read with eagerness and wonderment.

In the main building at Mount Pleasant there was a room which had been found locked when President Terrill took possession and I believe it had not been opened until I had permission to investigate. It was not a closet but a room of at least twelve feet square. Great was my surprise when I entered and found the walls on three sides lined with glass cases and in these were most of the apparatus I had seen figured in the old book and many more. Besides the instruments there were bottles of chemicals wrapped in paper and plainly labeled. Everything was new; nothing had been used; even the outside papers on the bottles containing chemicals were not broken. Here were chemically pure mineral acids and many of the salts and alkalis. I never was able to learn who was responsible for this collection. Most certainly it had been secured by some teacher in the college shortly before the building was closed during the Civil War. The responsible person evidently had some understanding of chemistry. The room contained the nucleus of a chemical laboratory. All my spare hours were spent in this room, at first secretly, zealously guarding it against intrusion. With Barker’s /Chemistry/ and its clear statement on nomenclature, it was easy to ascertain the composition of the contents of the bottles and to perform simple reactions, such as the precipitation of soluble salts of silver and lead with sodium chlorid. The first time I made hydrogen sulphid the odor penetrated the whole building, and my embryonic chemical studies were threatened with complete annihilation. However I learned discretion and finally I had permission to offer a course in elementary chemistry, at first limited to two or three students. During my last years at Mount Pleasant I came into possession of a copy of the first edition of Douglas and Prescott’s /Qualitative Analysis/ and this decided the question long debated in my mind as to whether I should choose the classics or science for my life work, and where my education should be coninued when I left Mount Pleasant.

President Terrill was not the only great educator whose instruction I enjoyed at Mount Pleasant. Another man who could be justly called great in this direction was my instructor in higher mathematics, solid geometry and calculus, James M. Greenwood, who in later years, as superintendent, gave to the public schools of Kansas City an enviable reputation. He came from the State Normal School at Kirksville and, if my memory serves me right, remained at Mount Pleasant only one year. There were only two students in his classes, U. S. Hall and myself. We made a wager that we could skip a point in a demonstration without detection by the teacher, but the wager was never won. Greenwood was wont to stand with his right hand playing with his watch chain, his left deep in a trouser pocket and his eyes on the window, apparently totally absorbed in something outside and wholly oblivious of us and what we were saying. But the moment one of us attempted the break he would cry “Hold on, that will not do.” He was a man of affable manner, broad culture, and probably no one of his time was more thoroughly versed in educational methods.

I graduated at Mount Pleasant College in 1872. I had filled the requirements a year earlier, but as no one else had done so, and as the usual four years since the reopening of the school had not elapsed, the conferring of the degree was delayed with my consent. -My most intimate friend in the class was U. S. Hall, who served one term in Congress in the late eighties, stuck to President Cleveland on the gold standard and failed of renomination. Since that time he has given himself to teaching, for a while at Pritchett Institute at Glasgow, Missouri, and later in a private preparatory school for boys at Columbia, Missouri. His father, William A. Hall, represented our district in Congress for a part of the time at least during the Civil War. An uncle, Willard Hall, was once Lieutenant Governor of the state, and my classmate’s brother, General Willard Hall, won his stars in fighting the Apaches and in capturing Geronimo.

After my graduation I continued teaching Latin and chemistry until February, 1874. Then came the inevitable break with President Terrill. The school was in apparently a most flourishing condition but in the middle of the year the president announced his intention of adding to the buildings and cutting the salaries of his teachers into halves. The result was that four of the teachers resigned. I met my last classes in Mount Pleasant one Friday afternoon and began teaching the same subjects at Hardin College the following Monday morning.

I desire at this point to say a few words concerning one of my fellow teachers at Mount Pleasant. Among others who came from the State Normal at Kirksville with Professor Greenwood were a young man by the name of Fluhart and his wife. Mr. Fluhart developed tuberculosis and died within two years after coming to Mount Pleasant. His wife filled the function in the college which is now assigned to the dean of women, However, there were no deans at Mount Pleasant. At the present time in each pretentious institution there are a round dozen or more deans, engaged for the most part in some form of administrative work. Once the title indicated some degree of scholarship; now it suggests supervision of nonscholarly student activities, such as acting as a chaperon at dances, etc. Mrs. Fluhart filled the bill most admirably as it was then understood. A lifelong friendship has made me most appreciative of her learning and wisdom. She left Mount Pleasant at the same time that I did, and for the same reason, and the next Monday she began teaching in Stephens College, Columbia, Missouri. After a year or two she went to Athens to take charge of a school for native girls supported by an English society. When this school was closed by the Turkish authorities, she opened another under the same auspices on the Island of Cyprus, which at about that time came under English control. Her work here was continued with marked success for many years. She spent most of her vacations in England, France, or Germany but she passed some time, unaccompanied save by her Arab servants, in visiting the more remote districts of Asia Minor. Her Arab attendants were most loyal, treating her with respect and even with reverence. She now resides in Kansas City where for years she has been a kind of godmother to the Greeks and other immigrants from the eastern coasts of the Mediterranean.

Hardin College, to which I went on leaving Mount Pleasant, was founded and built by Governor Hardin as a school for girls. It had been open a little more than a year and was under the able management of Wood Terrill, a brother of President Terrill, and his wife, both of whom had been my classmates at Mount Pleasant. A few years later Mr. Terrill developed tuberculosis and died. The school continues as a junior college and I believe that the present head is a man of my name though I have never had the pleasure of meeting him. I went to this school for only one semester and the only impression that I carried away was that I enjoyed talking to girls. But my wife, to whom I was then engaged, says that I developed that defect before I went to Hardin.

Although my people were plain Missouri farmers, tilling the soil, wearing homespun, eating pork and hominy when they tired of chicken, turkey, goose, duck and squab, they were not altogether indifferent to the importance and value of an education. It was the usual thing, or at least not the unusual thing, for the neighborhood boys to go to college. There was at the time of which I write not less than six so-called colleges within a radius of fifty miles from my father’s farm, but most of these were of no better grade than tie high schools of to-day. This list includes the State University which had been greatly retarded in its development by the Civil War, while from the same cause most of the denominational schools had been temporarily closed. Besides there was, at the time of which I am writing, a ban on the State University, be- cause only those who would take an oath that they had never sympathized with the South could teach in the University or in any of the public schools of the state.

Under these conditions I found it necessary to look outside my native state for my university training. Before the war the University of Virginia had been a favorite with our people, but disaster, temporarily at least, had come to it. Dartmouth for Episcopalians and Princeton for Presbyterians were of good repute, but at that time neither of these had developed their scientific schools. Harvard and Yale were but little known among us since Unitarians were non-existent and Congregationalists rare in our latitude. Besides, the flavor of religious sectarianism clung to the names of most of our great eastern universities.

At that time, Michigan was the great state university. Simple people as we were, we knew of Watson and of the asteroids he had found in the sky. Winchell had shocked the elders in our church by his conservative interpretation of creation. Cooley was emerging as the great authority on constitutional law. Frieze had issued a most excellent edition of Virgil, which had a special fascination for me. Fasquelle’s /French Grammar/ had found its way into our colleges. Olney had flooded the schools with his mathematical texts replacing older authors. The St. Louis /Republican/, which came to our house daily, announced that President Angell had suspended the greater number of a class for insubordination, showing that discipline would be maintained at Michigan. Hillgard, one of the greatest scientists of the South, had been called from the University of Mississippi to a chair in Michigan. However my final decision was made when I learned that there was a large and well-equipped chemical laboratory at Michigan University. The book on qualitative analysis by Douglas and Prescott, already referred to, proved to be the most attractive force that guided a Missouri boy to Michigan in the early seventies. It is true that at that time there was no Professor Fielding Yost, and his football teams had not then won their laurels. In September, 1874, accompanied by another Mount Pleasant youth, Edward Samuel, who was intending to enter the pharmacy school, I travelled via the Wabash Railroad through Toledo and Detroit to Ann Arbor.

The Chemical Laboratory of the University of Michigan in the ‘Seventies

My companion and I spent a forenoon in youthful admiration of the beautiful homes on Fort Street, Lafayette, Woodward, Jefferson Avenues and other thoroughfares in Detroit. Our bucolic eyes had never realized that earth could be so fair. Certainly in the seventies and eighties Detroit in the early fall was one of the most fascinating of cities. A wider observation led me to the belief that there was only one other city and that was Cleveland which could favorably compare with it. It was an intoxication of the imagination to visit either. Now, I drive miles to avoid penetrating them. “The banners of industry,” in the form of great volumes of smoke, now shut out the sunlight which at that time kissed their pavements and played “hide and seek” on their beautifully wooded lawns. Fair vistas have been obliterated by the marts of trade, some colossal, some small, some gaudy in exterior, some plain, but all offensive to the esthetic sense. The inhabitants of Detroit, who as children played on the spacious lawns, are now living in blocks of cells, some plain, some gilded, but all cramped and prison like. In part, the inhabitants of today are moving “woodward” in attempting to renew for themselves and secure for their children the joys and comforts they once knew. Big business continues to expand apparently with irresistible force pressing hard upon the heels of retreating family life. However there are signs that this expansion will find relief, and both employer and employee will again know something of the joy of semirural life. But this is not an essay on rural versus city life, and I find myself digressing

After alighting from the train at Ann Arbor in the late afternoon and entering the disreputable station of that time, and especially after dining at the “Cook House,” we, boy-like, cursed the lack of wisdom which led the early authorities to select Ann Arbor instead of Detroit as the seat of the University. This opinion was strengthened by a night of attempts at sleeping and a scanty breakfast at the famous hostelry named above. One man, who has won great distinction in science, confided to me recently that one night at the “Cook House” ended his intention of matriculating at Michigan. I should hasten to say that the Cook House under the name of the Allenel has greatly improved, while other hotels have developed during the half century which has elapsed since the time of which I write. Besides, the weary traveler may now find rest and comfort at the Michigan Union.

After breakfast Samuel and I started out to make a survey of the village and to look for the campus. We walked east on Huron Street to State. With every step our spirits rose. The street was lined with great oaks and modest dwellings stood back a few paces from the walk. The lawns were not so spacious as those that had won our admiration in Detroit, but were neat, well grassed, partly wooded and well-kept. At the junction of Huron and State Streets we came upon a building, not so large as Mount Pleasant College, and with less extensive grounds, but somewhat imposing. Nervously we asked a passer-by if this was the University, and were relieved when told that it was the High School and that if we would walk two blocks south we would come to the campus. This gave us a few more moments of doubtful anticipation. Soon we were at the northwest corner of the campus. Its area of forty acres was at that time enclosed by a high picket fence. Whether this was to keep students in or others out I never learned. Certainly it accomplished neither of these purposes. The only useful function I ever observed was that in freshman-sophomore rushes the contest was determined by the number hoisted over it. Evidently the authorities finally became convinced that this function did not justify the waste of so much lumber and the fence was removed.

On the west side of the campus there were the law and literary buildings, the former small and ugly and the latter differing from it only in size, which at that time seemed to us colossal. On the north and south sides of the campus were two residences, said to have been built for professors’ homes and probably once used for this purpose. The west one on the south side was then, and is now, with additions and adornments, the President’s residence. The other one on the south side soon after our first visit housed an embryo dental school, and the space is now occupied by the beautiful and classical Clements Library. The two dwellings on the north side for a time became hospitals. The space then covered by them is now occupied by the science building and the new chemical laboratory. On the east side was the old medical building, which, with its fluted classical columns, displayed the only architectural merit on the campus.

Hidden away behind the medical building was the chemical laboratory, then the largest and best equipped chemical laboratory in the United States, and with but one in the world to compare with it-the laboratory of Fresenius at Wiesbaden. Harvard and Yale, and possibly the other eastern universities, had had for years small, special chemical laboratories for the professors in this branch and some epoch-making researches had been done in them, but Michigan was the first university in this country to offer the facilities and require laboratory courses of students. The laboratory was a bud from the Medical School and was primarily for medical students. Up to the opening of this institution the only laboratory instruction required of medical students of any school in this country was that in anatomy. The chemical laboratory had a small beginning but demand for tables forced almost annual additions until further extension was impossible and the new chemical building was erected. The old building, with its grotesque additions, still (1926) stands and houses physiology and pharmacology, besides supplying some class rooms for other courses. But I am writing of the old laboratory as I saw it in 1874 and through the immediately following decades. During these years many embryonic great men handled their first test tubes and received their elementary instruction in this building. During these same years Albert B. Prescott, with a benignant smile and a genial voice, answered the students’ queries, both the wise and the unwise. Often he would raise his eyebrows as if astounded at the profundity of the students’ knowledge. His most frequent advice was: “Go to your table and do this and your question be answered.” Prescott made no startling discoveries in chemistry but all his work stands. Besides, he nourished many who have made great contributions. The University of Michigan chemical laboratory had its inception in the brain of Silas H. Douglas, who was for many years professor of general chemistry in the Medical School. He was not a great teacher, either in the lecture room or in the laboratory, but he built the laboratory and saw that it functioned. In my opinion, he justly deserves the credit of introducing required laboratory instruction in chemistry into the curricula of medical schools.

The present day (1926) visitor to the University of Michigan will have difficulty in conceiving of the campus as I saw it in the seventies. The old fence has disappeared. The law building has been enlarged and this department is soon to move into the unrivaled dormitories, libraries and lecture rooms erected and donated by one of its most intelligent and successful alumni. The unique Michigan Union, designed by Pond and Pond, also alumni and distinguished architects, and built by subscriptions from the alumni and friends, affords social opportunities for all students and delightful housing for visitors. The Memorial Building across the way commemorates the deeds of those alumni who have fallen in wars in defense of home and country. The colossal main building now presents a new and more dignified front and at the same time supplies ample offices for the administrative force and lecture and class rooms. The President’s home has been enlarged and improved beyond recognition. The Martha Cook dormitory as well as similar buildings for the housing of women students give to these opportunities for living in the midst of esthetic surroundings. The classical Clements Library contains the most complete and valuable collection of Americana in the country. The new School of Education permits the application of laboratory methods in pedagogy. The Engineering College, which unfortunately, in my opinion, remains a college and has not advanced to the position of a school, has spread its class rooms and shops on both sides of the street and now accommodates more students than were enrolled in the whole university when I began my studies there. The Medical School, somewhat more modest, has also passed beyond the bounds of the original campus. The great gymnasium with its detached Ferry Field, both under the supreme direction of Professor Yost, provides for athletics, which in the opinion of some have taken on the aspects of the highest form of university training and culture. The new chemical laboratory, had it a conscious being, would deny its descent from the humble building provided by Silas Douglas and furnished with scientific pabulum by Albert Prescott. The Hill Auditorium, donated by an alumnus, renders it possible for every student to become acquainted with the best music. Then there is the new hospital built by the state at a cost of four millions. These are only some of the material improvements in the University. I sometimes wonder if mental growth on the campus keeps pace with expansion in brick and stone. If this be the case, the professors and students of my days at the University were pigmies.

While the original chemical laboratory at Michigan was built and equipped primarily for medical students, it soon attracted those from other departments. Shortly before I went to Ann Arbor a School of Pharmacy was established and Prescott made dean of the school and director of the chemical laboratory. Later I shall attempt to show that Michigan did not prove a laggard in the development of laboratory instruction in other directions.

I had gone to Ann Arbor in 1874 some days before the session was to open. I was to work in the chemical laboratory, that was certain, but I wished to enter the graduate school and, if possible, secure a higher degree. According to the specifications at Mount Pleasant I was entitled to an A. B., but as no one else in my class had done enough work in the classics to secure this degree, I did not seek differentiation and accepted a B. S. This was a mistake. If a college degree has a definite value the student should take the best to which he is entitled and not be content with any other. I admit that there was enough reverence in me for the classics to feel somewhat ashamed of my B. S. and later when I became a member of the Academy of Medicine I was compelled to show that I had done collegiate work equivalent to the A. B. requirements, but this was done on my own statement of the facts.

Northwest Corner of the Campus, University of Michigan, in the ‘Seventies

The burning question with me during those days of waiting in September, 1874, for the return of President Angell from his vacation was, would he admit me to graduate work on a diploma from an unknown college? At last I learned that the President would receive me. I knocked timidly at his door and having been so invited by a voice from within, I entered. I stood in the presence of two men who evidently were finishing an agreeable conversation. One was a striking figure, with a mass of snowy white hair and full beard. Only his heavy eyebrows were dark. Beneath these, cold, sharp gray eyes seemed to penetrate me. He was tall and angular but evidently with powerful muscles, strong and quick in action. I scarcely observed the other man, but timidly addressed this aged Hercules as Mr. President. With a gracious smile and a courtly wave of his hand he referred me to the other man and withdrew. He proved to be the Reverend Benjamin Cocker, then professor of mental and moral philosophy.

Evidently I was now alone with President Angell. In figure he did not compare favorably with his recent guest. His head was bald with a scanty fringe of reddish brown hair and a Horace Greeley beard of like color and texture under his chin. His smoothly shaven face was youthful, and his eyes and smiles showed amusement at my mistake. He asked me to be seated and soon had me at ease, asking me all kinds of irrelevant questions about men and affairs in Missouri. When he saw that my nervousness had left me he listened gravely to my statement, and, scanning my diploma, he said that the University could not recognize it, but that he would ask me to talk with three men and if they so advised, I would be permitted to do graduate work and, if I did well the first semester, I might consider myself a candidate for a master’s degree the following June. I informed him that his proposition was eminently fair and wholly satisfactory to me.

I wished to major in chemistry with geology and biology as minors; consequently the three professors named by the president were Prescott, Hilgard and Harrington. After five minutes’ talk with Prescott I had his approval. Harrington was brusk and would not listen to me or question me but dismissed me with the statement: “I suppose you know about as much biology as our freshmen do.” Evidently I must win the support of Hilgard, but I was told that he was in California and would not meet his classes for some weeks. This gave me ample opportunity for preparation. I knew that my weak points would be in mineralogy, especially as to the forms of crystals. I secured a half bushel of potatoes, and with Dana’s Mineralogy I cut out the shapes of all crystals therein described. I never studied a subject more intensely. In my waking hours crystals hung in mid air about me. They bedecked my dreams. When Hilgard returned he posted an hour for examination of those who wished to do advanced work with him. When the hour came I found three or four waiting young men. Hilgard began quizzing the boy next to me. This poor fellow did not know much, and in his despair he whispered to me for help and I attempted to render it. Hilgard’s keen eyes through his green goggles saw my lips move. “Sit down!” he shouted. “The young man next to you thinks he knows so much about this subject that I will give him a chance.” He quizzed me without mercy and apparently to me throughout eternity, but he might have handed me the crystals one at a time and asked me to describe them. The next day I became Hilgard’s student assistant and so continued throughout the year. When he went to the University of California permanently he offered to take me with him, but Prescott and the chemical laboratory held me at Michigan. The task Hilgard gave me, with two other student assistants for the year, was the identification and relabeling of all the minerals in the Museum. This was of course done under supervision. When we found a specimen which we believed to be incorrectly named, we laid it aside with the name we believed it should have and a written statement of our reasons. Hilgard came daily and passed on these.

I had a thorough course in mineralogy and temporarialy learned much, all of which I have forgotten. ‘ However, much as I advanced in knowledge of minerals I learned more from my associates in the work and though both have been long dead I have forgotten neither them nor the lessons they taught me. One was George G. Groff, who having served Bucknell University as a teacher for many years, became its president. The other was the first and most intellectual Japanese student who came to Michigan. In later years he became Dean of the Scientific School of the Royal University at Tokyo and later still Minister of Education. Coming from a slave state as I did, I was slow to believe that any man of color could possess a high degree of intelligence, Toyama soon convinced me of my error. Daily he exhibited unconsciously his possession of powers of accurate observation and logical reasoning. While we were at this work there came to the Museum many con tributions from Japan. No one could be more competent to arrange these than Toyama, and Groff and I became his menial assistants. Good naturedly we would twit him about his gods. With equal good humor he would deny that he or any intelligent Japanese had ever wor- shiped these or any other images. They were only symbols. Then he would turn on us and ask: “What is the religion of this land? Your people believe literally the story of creation as told in Genesis, the story of the crossing of the Red Sea, the miraculous conception, and so forth. If we are idolaters, so are you.” One day he said, “I will tell you a little story: Once in the lowlands near a river was a small pool in which there were a few fish. One, the largest, thought that the pool constituted the world, and that he was the biggest fish in the world. There came a great flood and the river overflowed the pool, sweeping its fish into the ocean. The big fish learned that the world was larger than he had supposed and that there were other big fish. So it is with you Christians. You think that you have the only great religion. But go out into the world and you will learn the same lesson the big fish of the pool learned.” Toyama never accepted Christianity and was anathema to Christian missionaries in Japan. Thus I had from Toyama another lesson in religious toleration.

In June, 1875, I was granted the degree of Master of Science. I wrote a thesis on “The Separation of Arsenic and Antimony.” This was published in the /American Chemical Journal/ and was abstracted, as all such papers are, in certain European chemical journals, but I observed no evidence that it startled the great men in science who continued in the even tenor of their ways.

In the fall of 1875 I continued in the same graduate work as a candidate for the degree of Ph. D. This was the first time that this degree was offered “in course” at Michigan. Hitherto it had been given, if at all, as an honorary degree, but about this time, it appears that the leading universities in this country decided to drop it as an honorary and offer it as a working degree. In this they followed the German universities. It had become quite the proper thing for American professors to go to Leipzig and return after two years’ residence with a Ph. D. There were two of us, the other being William H. Smith, who had graduated at Michigan and had taught one year at Vassar. Both of us received the coveted honor and entered the Medical School in the fall of 1876.

My most pretentious thesis for the Ph. D. degree was entitled: “The Osteology and Myology of the Domestic Fowl.” An Ann Arbor bookseller, S. C. Adrews, somehow acquired an insane idea that he could publish this thesis in book form and make money. I, having no such illusion, gave him a copy of the manuscript. Andrews never confessed to me how much he lost on this enterprise. It made a neat little volume, some copies bound in green and some in red. Andrews for a while carried these in his pockets exhibiting them to one whom he could detain. He sold at least two copies. I know this because I bought them, one green and one red, but I never showed them to anyone. However this little book did have one merit. The illustrations of the bones and muscles of the barnyard bird are excellent. They were done by a student friend, O. C. Simonds, for many years and now the great Chicago authority on landscape gardening. He has had much to do with the creation of the unrivaled park system of the metropolis of the Great Lakes, his special pet being Garfield Park. I never take the park drive in Chicago (and I do so at every opportunity I have; no one who loves the beautiful can afford to miss it) that I do not linger at Garfield Park whose beauty I interpret as an expression of Simonds’ life and character. I advise any friends of mine who should find a copy of this supposedly extinct book in a junkshop, to buy it-the cost will not be more than ten cents-because it contains Simonds’ illustrations. Its value will be enhanced if the text has been lost.

The second thesis that I presented for a doctor’s degree in 1876 was another paper on the separation of arsenic and antimony. This went the way of its predecessor. The third was a learned thesis on certain fossils found in the vicinity of Ann Arbor. It fortunately has eluded the printer and lies buried with hundreds of other theses, of equal value, in the basement of the University library. Possibly it may be discovered sometime in the distant future by some prowling antiquarian who will make known its contents to a waiting world.

President Angell and Mrs. Angell

In December, 1875, a storm broke loose in the chemical laboratory, spread a threatening cloud over the campus and quickly encompassed the whole state. The Regents were evenly divided and therefore could do neither right nor wrong. The legislature investigated and enacted. Religious prejudice was aroused and political sympathies were evoked. The only official apparently not disturbed was President Angell. He never became excited, expressed no opinion which either party could quote and smilingly said that the matter must be referred to the courts. They alone could solve the questions involved. Of course the matter came to this at last.

It is not my purpose to go into the details of the Douglas-Rose controversy. Douglas was director of the laboratory and responsible to the Regents for all receipts. Rose conducted the work in physiological chemistry and received in cash for material used a few dollars from each student. Occasionally Douglas came around and Rose turned the cash over to him. Douglas acknowledged the receipt only by writing a “D” on the stub. This had gone on for years and the aggregate now stood at some thousands of dollars. Each individual transaction had to be reviewed and the trouble began. Knowing both men as I did I have never thought that either stole a dollar. Both went through years of litigation and both lost their positions. I was the chief beneficiary of this regrettable affair, since Rose was dismissed and I was made instructor in physiological chemistry. I needed the salary, small as it was, but I needed the opportunity more. I suppose that one of my Huguenot ancestors would have attributed this matter to the hand of Providence working “in a mysterious way” for my good, but I never could so regard it. I have always looked upon my first appointment to the teaching force of the University of Michigan as due to a regrettable and sorrowful affair.

I was informed of Rose’s dismissal and my appointment by Doctor Prescott in the last week before the Christmas vacation, and was instructed by him to meet the medical students in the class room on the first day of the resumption of work. The students were divided in their allegiance to the Douglas-Rose factions. Rose held a medical degree and was deservedly popular in both class room and laboratory. I had not then even matriculated as a medical student, though I had occasionally acted as a voluntary and temporary demonstrator in the dissecting room, and had many friends among the medical students. I was kindly informed that at my first appearance there would be present not only the section assigned to physiological chemistry for that period but the entire body of medical students, and that there would be a Rose demonstration. My informant was particular to say that I must not regard whatever happened as against me but as for Rose.

One may imagine with what intensity I worked during that short vacation. I knew that it would not do to give my initial talk along chemical lines, since the students would grant that I was competent in that direction. I must convince them that I was able to approach the subject from other directions. I wrote enough to fill many lecture hours on: “The Structure and Functions of the Kidney.” I so familiarized myself with this material that it became a part of my being. On the appointed day I stood before the closed door of the lecture room and listened to the uproar within. Seniors were “passing up” underclassmen who had trespassed upon the front seats. The sound was a familiar one and bore no ominous foreboding. When I stepped upon the rostrum there was silence but neither applause nor hissing. Without prelude I began. The silence deepened and I was honored and encouraged by the closest attention. When I closed, the walls rang with approval and the crowd filed out singing “He is a jolly good fellow.” During the forty-five years that I continued to lecture to medical students not one has ever shown me the slightest disrespect in class room or elsewhere. Give to American student audiences what they have a right to demand, and no teacher will have cause to complain.

In 1878 I put in book form my lecture notes in physiological chemistry and this book passed through three editions in as many years. As I write I have before me a copy of the third and last edition published in 1880. Holding this date in mind I am not ashamed have anyone read it. I revised and rewrote this work So rapidly has this science progressed and so lamentably have I fallen behind in it that I hesitate to state that I once taught it. I was fortunate in some of my early students in this branch. They include such names as .John J. Abel, Frederick Novy, Donald Van Slyke, Frank Mall and Moses Gomberg. When I ceased giving laboratory instruction in this branch, this duty fell upon the stronger shoulders of Doctor Novy. Even the designation “physiological chemistry” has fallen into oblivion and is now found only in ancient tomes, such as my books. It is now /biochemistry/. The coining of new words is sometimes mistaken for progress in science.

When I went to Ann Arbor, and for some years thereafter, the Medical School was greatly agitated by the legislative attempts to engraft homeopathy on its teaching. At first the legislature demanded that chairs of practice and materia medica in this cult be established in the Medical School. The Regents denied the right of the legislature to dictate appointments in the University and in this contention they were sustained by the Supreme Court. Finally the legislature made all university appropriations contingent on the establishment of a full Homeopathic School, quite independent of the Medical School in the University and provided a special appropriation for that purpose. The medical professors hurled anathemas at the accursed heresy. The State Medical Society and the American Medical Association joined in and threatened non-recognition to all medical graduates of the Univetsity provided this unholy alliance was consummated. But the Legislature held the purse strings and the independent school opened its doors in 1875. The new school was not in fact wholly Independent of the old one. The students in the former always did their fundamental scientific work, especially their laboratory courses, with their enemies. So far as I know there was but little friction between the students in the two schools. The homeopaths were never numerals and for this reason were negligible in student affairs. They bore with resignation the good natured jibes tossed to them by the “old liners” as they lived often in the same rooms, ate at the same tables, and did their tasks side by side.

In later years, as dean of the Medical School, I had only three difficult problems in connection with homeopathy which, as most difficult problems have a way of doing, settled themselves. For a while, especially during the years in which the Medical School was frequently increasing its requirements, the Homeopathic School did not keep pace, and students who were not qualified to enter the Medical School matriculated in homeopathy and then came into our classes. This was galling but hurt homeopathy more than it did scientific medicine. The opprobrium fell upon the homeopathic students and finally by mutual agreement between the deans of the two schools, sanctioned by the Regents, the requirements were made identical and a student failing of admission to one school could not enter the other. The second difficulty was of the same nature but concerned the requirements for graduation. In the Medical School no student could graduate until he had passed every subject. A few men did graduate in the Homeopathic School who had not passed in some (one or more) subjects in the scientific branches. This difficulty was unchanged as was the first by agreement between the deans. The-third difficulty which, as I look back upon it, was : the most serious and the one which was never removed, at least under my regime, was never openly settled. I, and I am sure that some of my colleagues did the same, passed homeopathic students on a lower grade than I did my own students. I did not demand from them the same thoroughness and I knew that if they failed before state boards of licensure their failure would not be charged to my school. I am sure that Dean Hinsdale would never approve of this had he been aware of it. Hinsdale was dean during most of the time that I held the same office in the Medical School. He and I were always friends and I had great respect for his judgment in all things except in medicine.

Many good, conscientious men graduated in homeopathy during my time and some of them are now, or were during their lives, competent, conscientious physicians. Most of them soon dropped their allegiance to the sect. Since my resignation from the University the Homeopathic School, as such, has been discontinued and two chairs in this form of medical practice have been established in the Medical School. Thus it will be that the Regents, after more than forty years, have adopted the plan advised by the legislature in the seventies. In this way the world moves.

I never objected to the establishment of the Homeopathic School nor to its maintenance in the University In fact I looked upon it as I would regard a laboratory experiment, and held that if scientific medicine could not successfully compete with sectarianism it deserved to fail. I regarded the experiment as costly and useless, and I had no doubt as to the final outcome. Medicine is the application of those scientific discoveries which can be utilized in the prevention, alleviation or cure of disease. Medicine is not based on theory nor does it constitute a system of philosophy. It can grow only as the sciences which supply its pabulum develop. There can be but one medicine. Medical sects are all parasitic growths and must fail in the end.

I have not the bitterness toward medical cults that some of my colleagues show. I regret their acceptance by the people as evidence of unbalanced mentality. Naturally I am speaking of the honest believer in the so-called schools of medicine and not of the man who deliberately plans to dupe his fellows. Accept the dictum of Hahnemann, “Similia similibus curatur,” as an infallible and invariable law-true in the same way and to the same extent as the law of gravitation-then one can be honestly a homeopath. Indeed he could be nothing else. Accept the claim that all diseases, or even many, are due to dislocated vertebrae, and osteopathy is reasonable. Accept as literally and invariably true all the statements in the Bible and the followers of Mrs. Eddy have a valid claim to a respectful hearing. The minds of many people are so constituted that they must have some axiom of supposed truth and infallibility upon which they can found their beliefs. Some of the most popular systems of religion and philosophy are based on this common human defect. Grant that God created us knowing that some would obey and others violate his laws, then the Calvinistic doctrine of predestination is wholly logical. Accept the teachings of Freud and his apostles that dreams are always of import, that they are founded upon some sex experience or repression, that even the nursing infant has sexual orgasm, and that most horrid of all human concepts, the Oedipus complex, becomes a possibility.

During my graduate and medical years at Ann Arbor I am not sure that we had a name for it, but each gave from his own specialty what he thought might interest and instruct the others. At that time Richard Corwin, who had worked with Wilder at Cornell, was Curator of - Museum, housed at that time in the north wing of the main building. Our little group usually met in his room where we had our chats and exhibited our collections. For two years Corwin and I were roommates and were known to our intimates as “Dick and Vick.” He is now, and has been since his hospital year, the medical chief of the Colorado Coal and Fuel Company. He designed and built the unique hospital at Pueblo in which he has done excellent surgical work. Toyama and Groff were members of our club. Among others I recall Charles Beecher, who became professor of paleontology at Yale and died with his great work only begun; Paul Hanus, now professor of education at Harvard; J. B. Johnson, who became dean of the engineering school at Wisconsin and was killed in accident; O. C. Simonds, the Chicago authority on landscape gardening to whom I have already referred, and William Greeson, now over seventy and still teaching Latin in the Grand Rapids High School.

When I began teaching physiological chemistry in January, 1876, there were only two microscopes for students’ work and these were well nigh worthless. The students in sections of thirty or more did their chemical work at the tables and each with his slide prepared came to my room for microscopical examination. This caused great delay and students were compelled to stand in long waiting lines. So far as I know, these were the only microscopes at the service of the students in the University. Some of the professors in scientific subjects had their individual instruments, mostly quite antiquated, seldom used even by their possessors and most of the time stood under glass cases. Professor Ford did show us sections of bone and awakened our wonderment at the Haversian canals.

In September, 1876, I went to the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia and was authorized by President Angell to spend a few hundred dollars for microscopes for students in physiological chemistry. The make and the number were left to me, my only limitation being the amount of money authorized. I bought six. These were of English make and if my memory serves me right, they were known by the name of Crouch. At any rate they proved satisfactory. When they came I placed them on a table in my room and set out to teach each medical student how to use the instrument beginning with diatoms, vegetable fibers, yeast, blood, and so forth. I had had but little experience and felt the need of instruction for myself. This came from an unexpected quarter. I learned that the engineer who drove the accommodation train from Jackson to Detroit and back each day was amateur microscopist and a student of diatoms. I made his acquaintance and asked him to help me. This he gladly did, and greatly enjoyed the nice new instruments which magnified quite beyond his belief. From this man I had my elementary lessons in microscopy. I owe his memory much, and admit with shame that I have forgotten his name. For this work, which was given on Saturdays and Sundays since our artificial lights at that time were but poorly adapted to microscopical study, I accepted no pay. So the students invited me to a lunch one night and the girl who passed the rolls was particular to see that I took a certain one. When I opened it I found that it contained a pair of gold cuff buttons and shirt studs. This girl became the wife of Harry Gradle, the late distinguished professor of ophthalmology in Northwestern University and the mother of the younger Harry who fills his father’s chair with honor.

One year later I was authorized to purchase six more microscopes. This time they were Zentmayers. As early as that time medical students began to purchase their own microscopes. Now (1926) Professor Huber estimates that the university has in its various laboratories fourteen hundred and nineteen microscopes, invoiced at $70,000.00; while practically all the medical students and many others own their individual instruments.

In June, 1877, I was unanimously recommended by the medical faculty for promotion, with the understanding that I was to teach histology in addition to physiological chemistry. At that time this was not an unusual combination. While the Board of Regents was in session Dean Palmer came to me quite agitated, saying: “The charge of atheism has been brought against you. If I can return to the board and say that you deny this charge the promotion will be granted. Otherwise I fear that it will not.” I reacted as if I had been struck in the face. Reason was not in my answer. It came as a reflex. It was not I who answered, but my Huguenot ancestry. “Tell the board that I decline to make a confession of faith to them. The position concerns the teaching of science and has no relation to religious belief.” The dear old dean did not argue; did not advise me to modify my statement, but, with his hand on my shoulder said: “You are right, and I will stand by you.” The medical Faculty did stand by me. The Regents discussed the matter at odd intervals through two days and several times sent a request to the faculty to name someone else to teach histology but the faculty returned my name each time. Finally the board postponed action and adjourned. I may say that in the fall another man was appointed to teach histology. After a service of some years he was asked to resign, after letters which he had indiscreetly written to a fair companion in a church choir were revealed.

The Three Deans Who Preceded Doctor Vaughan

Doctor Corydon L. Ford (1887-91)

Doctor Abram Sager (1850-75)

Doctor Alonzo B. Palmer (1875-87)

That night I cursed myself bitterly for being a fool. I could have truthfully denied the charge of atheism because I did not then and have never since held that belief. However, the next day two letters came which amply repaid me for my distress. There were then at the University two men whom I had admired from a distance. It had never occurred to me that I might sometime know them. These men were Thomas M. Cooley, then dean of the Law School, and James C. Watson, then professor of astronomy. The letters were from these men and both were to the same effect: “Call to see me when convenient.” From that time so long as they lived I enjoyed their friendship and profited by their wise council. The loss I had suffered by my rash statement was a mere bagatelle; the gain I had won was above all price. Professor Watson who, in his periods of rest from bagging asteroids and computing the orbit of the still uncertain planet, Vulcan, owned and edited a local paper. In this he flayed the Regents for their action. One of the board, the chief instigator of the charge against me and a physician, wrote me threatening letters if Watson did not desist. Of course Watson saw these letters and spoke in his paper more emphatically. Cooley with his great authority as a constitutional lawyer, was ready for my defense but it was never needed. To finish up this story I may say that later, and while I was dean, the ax-regent, the man who had made the charge against me, wrote me suggesting his own name as proper for a chair then vacant in the Medical School. It is needless to say that he never occupied the chair. Another member of the board, active in the charge against me, died from a disease which the Volstead law is said to prevent, and I as his physician aided him in his frequent combats with snakes.

In the early summer of 1877 Groff and I, with others, lectured in the summer session at the Normal School at Westchester, Pennsylvania. The president of this institution at that time was George Maris, a graduate of Michigan. My lecture hour was from seven to eight P. M., immediately after supper. Most of the students and teachers lived and ate in the building. Among the lecturers was Professor Bailey of Yale with whom, together with his wife, I formed a pleasant acquaintance. Professor Cope, the eminent paleontologist of Philadelphia, gave one or two lectures. My acquaintance with him was afterward renewed, much to my pleasure and profit, when he, with his rivals, Professor Marsh of Yale and Doctor T. Sterry Hunt, were co-guests at my house in Ann Arbor.

My first talk at the Normal School was on the chemistry of the alcohols. In closing this lecture I stated that I had not discussed the use of alcohol as a beverage, but that I approved of letters on that subject then appearing in the Philadelphia /Ledger/ under the pseudonym of John Ploughshare. The audience broke into tremendous applause and I left the rostrum much embarrassed. President Maris came forward and introduced me to a handsome elderly gentleman whom I had seen on a front seat, as Alfred Sharpless, alias John Ploughshare. This was the beginning of a long friendship, and Sharpless sent his two sons to Michigan University. He and I spent many days riding about that beautiful region watered by the historic Brandywine, collecting minerals. When the noon hour approached we would turn in at some Quaker farmhouse where my companion was sure of a hearty welcome and a savory repast. I was charmed with the intelligence, simplicity and hospitality of these gentlemen farmers. Many of them had cabinets of minerals and we soon learned that we must not too enthusiastically admire a specimen. If we did so it was pressed upon us as a gift. One fine old lady, who was feasting us, quizzed me about Watson, his asteroids and his observatory, revealing a depth of interest and intelligence in astronomical matters that embarrassed me, lest my paucity of knowledge convince her that I was a sham. I have since had occasion to observe how deeply real knowledge has penetrated some of our rural districts. All learning is not confined to our great cities. Sharpless and I visited Valley Forge, Washington’s headquarters and the home of Mad Anthony Wayne. We made a pilgrimage to Kennet Square, although we knew that the distinguished citizen who gave reputation to that hamlet, Bayard Taylor, was then in Germany as American minister. Taylor died in Berlin in 1878. In 1877 Mr. Jeffries, a banker in Westchester, owned a most valuable mineralogical collection, which I am told, has since gone to Philadelphia. In an old quarry near the village of Westchester the best samples of Chesterite were found, and we were fortunate in our search. On Sundays we went to “meeting” and listened to Lydia Childs and others moved by the spirit. My subsequent visits to Westchester have been short and infrequent.

Notwithstanding the pleasant and profitable time I had in Westchester I hailed with delight the last day of the session. I am sure that my last lecture was not so good nor so interesting as the first, and I have no recollection of what it was about. I only know that I was aglow with joyous anticipation when I left the rostrum. I perfunctorily bade my good Quaker friends good-by and temporarily forgot the beautiful drives, the savory viands and even the faultless minerals. All thoughts of George Washington, Anthony Wayne and Bayard Taylor were gone. I took the fastest train for old Missouri because there “the sweetest girl on earth” awaited me. The day after my arrival I did the best and wisest thing I have ever done in my somewhat long life. I married Dora Catherine Taylor. We had grown up together, I being about five years her senior. We had made mud pies, built dams across spring rivulets and hunted the whip-poor-wills’ eggs in the great forest. She had been my star student in Latin at Mount Pleasant from which she graduated a year after I did. In her sixteenth year I had placed a plain gold ring with a boyish inscription “Amo Doram” on her finger. She still wears the ring and I still subscribe to the sentiment. Soon our golden anniversary will be here. She has been my wise counselor in all the affairs of our joint lives. She has a mind of her own, as I have known since mud pie days, and I have honored and respected it. She has borne and reared to manhood five worthy sons, the eldest of whom sleeps in the soil of France. I will not embarrass the others with either praise or blame. Their journeys through life are recently begun while we are on the last lap.

We took up our residence in Ann Arbor in September, 1877, and there we had our home until June, 1921. We have lived modestly, suffering no financial privation and desiring no luxury. We have been able to entertain our friends and to take an occasional excursion out into the wide world. We have ridden in a Ford (our own) without shame and in a Pierce Arrow (our friends’) without pride.

A Doctor's Memories
Victor C. Vaughan, M.D.

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