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

Table of Contents

Chapter 7

My Services as Dean

When Dean Palmer died in 1887, Doctor Ford nominally became dean but practically turned over that function to me. My relation to Doctor Ford and his family had been most intimate for many years. I was his family physician, the family consisting of himself, a very intelligent wife and two adopted daughters. I had all along urged advancement in the requirements for admission to the School and the lengthening of the course to four years. Good naturedly Doctor Ford had replied to my plan: “Have your way, but I will look forward to the time when I shall begin the opening lecture, which I will give as long as I live, with ‘My dear sir,’ since there will be only one student on the benches.” But he saw the annual session extended from six to nine months in 1877, one year added in 1880 and- a fourth year in 1890 with no prolonged decrease in the number of students. When the Medical School began operation in 1850, the requirements for admission included English grammar, rhetoric and literature, mental philosophy, mathematics through geometry and “enough Latin and Greek to enable the student to appreciate the technical language of medicine and to read and write prescriptions.”

In the earliest days each student had to write and defend before the Faculty a final thesis, which might be written in English, German, French or Latin. A few, very few, were actually written in Latin. These specifications for admission to the Medical School were lowered during and after the Civil War, but began to grow stronger again about 1880, reaching that of matriculation in the collegiate department about ten years later and being carried onward to two years in collegiate work providing for certain specific subjects.

The work which I did in the Medical School, of which I am inclined to be most boastful, is the assembling of a great medical Faculty. At times there was not a weak thread in it. Of course this can not be true of any Faculty continuously, for at least differences in the strength of the threads will appear. In order that I might select professors wisely I made it a point to attend many medical societies, both in this country and abroad, with the purpose of estimating the value of young men. I read original contributions not only in my own specialty but in all branches of medicine for a like purpose. I decided upon the qualifications of a possible new professor along the following lines:

(1) The chosen man must be broadly educated and highly cultured, one whom I could introduce to my colleagues in other departments of learning in the University without shame. I sought men who would win the regard and respect of professors of Greek, Latin, law, and so forth. I knew that the appreciation of the Medical School held by the Regents, the President of the University and the professors in the various departments would be influenced by my selections.

I saw about me the ill effects of unfortunate selections in other departments. Making a man a professor does not convert a bore into an agreeable companion. It does not endow his brain with intelligence or clothe him in the garments of refinement. One of my University colleagues-not in the Medical School-told questionable stories, and capped these with a frequently repeated expression: “I done it.” One morning I drove into the country and lanced “a bile” on the arm of a farmer. On returning to the village I saw a professor who had been vomiting “boil” all morning.

At one time in seeking a professor of anatomy I wrote Professor Waldeyer, who filled that chair at that time in the University of Berlin. He eulogized two of his countrymen greatly. I knew personally one of these men and was quite certain that he would not bear translation from Berlin to Ann Arbor but I came near yielding to the enticement of the other as pictured by the great Berlin authority on anatomy. I took Waldeyer’s letter to the Regents; they too were pleased with the picture; authorized the appointment and urged me to complete the contract by cable, but I had already been bitten, and I wanted to go to Europe anyhow. I had not been in the company of the man recommended ten minutes before I was devoutly thanking heaven that I had not cabled. Possibly he knew anatomy, but he was not a gentleman. I may say that this time my search for an anatomist ended in inviting Doctor James P. McMurrich to accept the position. Anyone who has met the present professor of anatomy at Toronto will readily admit that in this case my choice was ideal in every particular.

(2) My chosen man must be a productive scholar. In this particular I admit that I made one or two mistakes. There are young men who start in this direction but soon wither like a plucked flower. The causes of this catastrophe are many. Some marry a rich wife or otherwise unfortunately; some fall to the lure of a general practice; and some simply go to seed without obvious cause. When this happened there came the most unpleasant thing I ever had to do - get rid of an unfortunate selection. I would rather have the job of finding three professors than that of getting rid of one. In performing this function I have made a few bitter and lasting enemies, but in every case I have the consciousness of having best served the University.

When in 1890 we decided to have a real chair of pharmacology with laboratory instruction, I wrote to Professor Oscar Schmiedeberg, the dean of that science at that time at Strasbourg. He replied at length and advised me not to take a German, since he thought it a doubtful procedure to install a foreigner into a professorship. He said that he had in his laboratory two Americans but that one of them was more German than American and he recommended the other. Besides, he said that the man he was recommending was not only an American but a graduate of Michigan University. In this way John J. Abel became our first professor of pharmacology, as a real science. When the Johns Hopkins Medical School opened in 1893 Doctor Abel was called there and I had to find his successor. So I again wrote Schmiedeberg. He had in his laboratory no American whom he could endorse but he had a Scotchman. Thus through Schmiedeberg, Abel and Cushny, two of the great pharmacologists of the age, came to do their first teaching and to inaugurate their research work at Michigan.

Cushny remained with us long enough to train Doctor Edmunds, who is now his worthy successor. Cushny went from us to the University Medical School, London, and then became professor of materia medica at the University of Edinburgh. He died February 25, 1926.

Seeking a new professor I once wrote the distinguished head of a clinical department in Johns Hopkins Medical School. He recommended in high terms one of his assistants. I sent his letter to Professor Mall, a graduate of Michigan, and at that time professor of anatomy in the Johns Hopkins Medical School. Mall advised me not to take the man recommended. He said that Johns Hopkins professors are like fathers with marriageable daughters. They wish to get rid of the oldest and homeliest first He added that the man to whom I had written had another assistant who would be worthy of the place. I have watched the development of these two men, though neither of them came to Michigan, during the intervening thirty years or more, and I am satisfied that Mall’s estimate of the two assistants has been fully justified. This quest ended in the selection of Doctor Reuben Peterson whose students have testified by, their works to his excellence as a teacher and an investigator.

About the time I was made dean (1891) there were seven chairs in our school to fill. This was in a way, and in some particulars a most fortunate occurrence. It is seldom that a new dean has opportunity to select a Faculty to suit his own ideas, but it brought upon me my greatest strain as dean. 1: was determined to have men of general culture and of productive scholarship and none others.

I knew full well that if I could fill all the chairs with men possessed of these qualifications the success of the School would be assured and the task of the dean would be easy. There was a strong appeal made for the selection of Michigan men. Ministers, lawyers, doctors and business men wrote to President Angell and to me asserting that the University is supported by the state and Michigan men should fill its chairs. Truth compels me to admit that this appeal met with some response on the part of the President. At least he used it in two cases, one successfully and one unsuccessfully. One Regent nominated his family physician while another Regent was urged to support a classmate. Fortunately my ideas had the support of the committee appointed by the Board of Regents to select the men. Without this important help I could not have succeeded as well as I did and I can not pass over this matter without personal mention of these men who, at a crisis in the history of the Medical School, rendered it signal service, and in my opinion saved it from utter wreck.

The chairman of the committee appointed to fill the vacancies was the late Doctor Herman Kiefer of Detroit, one of that large group, in which Carl Schurz and Doctor Abraham Jacobi (both of national reputation) were conspicuous, which the tyranny of Germany in 18~8 drove to our country, much to our benefit. For years Doctor Kiefer had been not only the leading German physician in Detroit, but an outstanding man in his nationality in the Republican councils of the state and nation. Some time after the Civil War he had rendered important service to his adopted land in a mission to Germany.

He was thoroughly acquainted with German medical education and fully conversant with the ideals of Billroth on this matter. He was a philosopher and a poet as well as a learned medical man. His collected prose and poetical works in German have been published in a large and impressive volume. He was the spokesman for the needs of the Medical School before the Board of Regents and he knew the matters in hand in every detail. He was convincing in speech and unyielding in his demands; consequently his pleadings carried great weight with his colleagues. One of his sons, a distinguished French artist, made the striking portrait of him which now hangs n the medical Faculty room and wins the admiration of every visitor. I wish to put on record the fact, now known only to his family and myself, that this portrait represents Regent Kiefer presenting the needs of the Medical School to his Board. During his regency he was a man of leisure and devoted his entire time to this office.

The other members of the committee were Stuart Draper of Saginaw, and Charles R. Whitman of Ypsilanti, later of Chicago. With this committee I visited Philadelphia, New York and Boston, and consulted leading medical and scientific men. It was Regent Draper who was urged to vote for one of his classmates, a highly honored practitioner, but without special qualifications for a chair in medicine. Draper declined to support this proposition and the name was withdrawn.

On the recommendation of this committee, followed by exciting debates before the Board, the following appointments were made: Charles B. de Nancrede, surgery; George Dock, medicine; Paul C. Freer, general chemistry; William H. Howell, physiology; James P. McMurrich, anatomy; John J. Abel, followed after two years by Arthur R. Cushny, pharmacology; Fleming Carrow, ophthalmology. However, all these appointments were not made at one meeting of the Board and in some cases the contest continued for more than a year.

There was great objection to Doctor Freer. He had been a favorite pupil of Adolf Baeyer at Munich, had done some creditable research, but no teaching, or at least lecturing, to large classes. During his first year at Ann Arbor he failed utterly in the management of his lecture room. He was at first wholly devoid of tact and his attempts to secure discipline only made matters worse. His students were rude to him not only in the class room, but they smeared red paint on his residence. They brought their complaints to me as dean, but I extolled Freer’s scientific qualifications, begged them to be patient and predicted that the time would come when they would point with pride to his name on their diplomas. In the meantime, I labored with Freer and tried to lead him into more conciliatory paths. Matters slowly improved with years. Freer put off the bearing of a Herr Professor. The students in his laboratory courses came to respect his knowledge and admire his skill, and when Doctor Freer left us to build up the greatest American institution in the Philippines, the Bureau of Science, he was not an unpopular teacher and the Medical School lost the services of a great scientist.

One Regent, no doubt prompted by an aspirant for the chair, organized and led an opposition to the appointment of Doctor McMurrich on the ground that he did not have a medical degree and consequently could not properly teach anatomy to medical students. I argued that we wanted the fundamental branches, anatomy, chemistry, physiology, and the like, taught as sciences and not exclusively in their applications to medicine and surgery. Doctor McMurrich had not been with us long before he won the approbation of every learned man on the campus. His encyclopedic knowledge, his modest manner, and his graceful courtesy toward all made him conspicuous even among peers. When his Alma Mater called him, we saw him leave with the full sense of our loss but with the consolation that our misfortune was Toronto’s fortune. Doctor George L. Streeter, now of the Carnegie Institute, worthily followed Doctor McMurrich in the chair of anatomy.

When Doctor Howell left us, first to go to Harvard and then to Hopkins, we were inconsolable, but a break in the great faculty assembled by Stanley Hall at Clark University gave us Warren P. Lombard, whose researches on fatigue and tactile sensations have kept the school’s reputation among scientific men, and whose general learning and genial bearing soon won the admiration of colleagues in all departments.

When Doctor Maclean resigned his position as professor of surgery in 1889, Doctor Charles B. de Nancrede was chosen to fill this chair and continued to render most devoted service to the University until his retirement in 1917, after which he was continued on the emeritus list until his death, April 12, 1921. I can not overestimate the service rendered to the University by this man.

His presence was an inspiration; his diagnostic skill in both surgical and other conditions was unsurpassed; his devotion to his patients has been seldom equalled; many a midnight hour, without regard to weather, found him in the hospital, skilfully, unremittingly, without thought of self, devoting all his energy to the care of his patients. He and I were colleagues and co-workers in the Cuban campaign of 1898. Twenty-six years later, and after his death, his family received recognition from the War Department for his “gallantry on the field of battle.” In the list of the names of those who have contributed to the honor and reputation of the Medical School of the University of Michigan, that of Charles B. de Nancrede has a most honorable place. In speaking of the great and devoted surgeons in this school I can not omit the name of Cyrenus G. Darling, who at first as Doctor de Nancrede’s assistant and later as his immediate successor, honored his chief and himself in a splendid way. I am sure that I am not making an over-statement when I say that the love and admiration for him awakened by Doctor Darling in his students and professional colleagues throughout the state did much to cement and strengthen the bond of mutual helpfulness between the school and the profession of the state established by Moses Gunn in 1850.

From 1891 to 1908 George Dock served as professor of the theory and practice of medicine, and I am sure that in this capacity he had but few equals and no superiors. He lived in the laboratory and in the wards of the hospital. His original contributions to scientific medicine won recognition throughout the world. As a teacher he initiated his students in scientific investigations and demonstrated the value of research work in the treatment of disease. When Doctor Dock left us the late Doctor A. W. Hewlett came and filled the chair most acceptably for eight years.

Doctor Charles B. de Nancrede

Doctor Udo J.Wile

Doctor William H. Howell

Doctor Walter R. Parker

When Doctor Carrow resigned in 1904, the chair of ophthalmology was divided into one of ophthalmology and one of otolaryngology, with Doctors Walter R. Parker and R. Bishop Canfield as their respective occupants. Both have demonstrated their fitness by their scientific contributions and their operative skill.

In 1890 Doctor William F. Breaky became lecturer and later professor of dermatology and syphilology and did excellent work with the limited material at his command. When he resigned in 1912, Doctor Udo Wile took up instruction in these branches and has built up a most satisfactory clinic besides making most valuable scientific contributions.

When Doctor William J. Herdman died (1906) his chair was split into psychiatry and neurology and these have since been occupied by Doctors Albert B. Barrett and Carl Camp, both of whom have fully justified their selection.

Doctor David M. Cowie has developed the department of pediatrics and has won recognition by his scientific contributions.

The medical Faculty of the nineties was in my opinion unsurpassed in any medical school in this country or abroad. When in 1893 the Johns Hopkins Medical School opened its doors and presented its Faculty par excellence of eight full professors, four of them, Hurd, Howell, Abel and Mall, held diplomas from the University of Michigan, and two of them, Abel and Howell, had been taken directly from the Michigan Faculty. In a recent Johns Hopkins publication, in which pretty nearly all advances in medicine during the past thirty years are attributed to its Faculty, I find no mention of the fact just stated.

The Michigan Faculty of this time was what might be called a full time Faculty on less than half time pay. No pecuniary inducement could tempt either the professor of surgery or the professor of medicine to neglect the instruction of his students or the care of his patients. In recent years much has been said about full time professors in medical schools. In fact the full time professor is a myth, and it is fortunate that this is true, because if he existed he would be worthless. A professor in medicine or in any other branch of science must have some diversity in his interests. He must see his subject from various angles, and especially is this true of one whose students are being trained to live and work under the diverse and complex conditions which attend the practice of medicine.

I might, had I the knowledge, inclination or time to do so, show quite convincingly, to myself at least, that many of the great discoveries in science have come from men who have had a wide range in intellectual activity. I must be permitted to cite a few examples taken from the history of medicine in our own country. It was William Beaumont, an army surgeon, stationed on the Island of Mackinaw in the territory of Michigan, who by his patient investigations on Alexis St. Martin, opened up the whole field of gastric digestion. It was Marion Sims, a practitioner in Montgomery, Alabama-then a village-who discovered the means of relieving women of that hitherto distressing and incurable condition, vesico-vaginal fistula. Long of Georgia and Morton of Massachusetts gave to suffering humanity the blessings of surgical anesthesia. Up to our Civil War, American medical literature contained no references to cerebrospinal meningitis save those that came from country doctors.

Lastly, but not least of all, Banting of Ontario, hitherto unknown and unheard of, discovered insulin and made practical its application. Other illustrations might be drawn from the history of medicine in this country, and were I to go abroad I might fill pages with examples. It is desirable that those who teach in our medical schools should not neglect their duties as instructors, but even these functions can not best be performed by those whose range of activity and opportunity for observation are confined to the halls in which they live.

In three cases which I had to deal with in the early nineties there were assistants of varying terms of service and degrees of intelligence, left by the retirement of their chiefs. Naturally each of these had looked forward with more or less pleasing anticipation to the time which had now arrived when he could fill a coveted chair. Each had a just claim to consideration. Each had the personal friendship of the new dean. Should their claims, just as they were, outweigh the good of the school? This question had to be answered without equivocation. There could be no compromise. To retain these men and appoint strangers over them would be to them a greater humiliation than their retirement. My heart has always been larger than my brain, but in answering these questions I was compelled to neglect the promptings of the former and follow the dictates of the latter.

In another instance a most distressing condition arose. An applicant for the chair, a man of broad and deserved repute, was closely related by marriage to a member of the Board of Regents. For reasons which I will state later, I was compelled to contest this appointment before the Board.

The matter became personal and to some extent vitriolic. Several times this man’s name was presented to the Board for appointment to the chair. The vote had stood four to four and not having a majority, his election failed On the eve of a Board meeting I learned that a member, who had hitherto opposed the appointment, had pledged his vote for the applicant, thus insuring his election. Before the rising hour the next morning I was in the bedroom of this Regent at his hotel. He admitted that he had pledged his vote and stated that he would deliver it. I then showed him letters from men whose standing and veracity he could not question stating that the applicant, though brilliant, was a drug habituè. The Regent was suddenly and seriously ill, too ill to attend the meeting that day and the applicant’s name never again came before the Board.

During the years of my deanship there grew up within the school such men as Frederick G. Novy, G. Carl Huber, Aldred S. Warthin, Charles W. Edmunds and Carl Weller, all of whom were advanced to professorships. No one acquainted with American contributions to medical science can be ignorant of these names. Each has widened the boundaries of his own specialty by original research of the highest merit. Even to list their most important works would require more space than I have at my command. In their careers I have taken a paternal pride, since the highest honor that comes to a teacher lies in the productive scholarship of his former students. When I resigned from the University, a newspaper reporter came to me and asked for a list of my discoveries. I told him that I had made many important discoveries. He prepared to note them down.

I mentioned the names listed above with many others. The reporter was greatly disappointed and my great discoveries were left for me to chronicle. These men, with the new appointments already mentioned, made up the medical Faculty of the nineties and the years immediately following.

Doctor Moses Gomberg

Doctor Frederick G. Novy

Doctor John J. Abel

Having secured this excellent Faculty, my next endeavor was to see that each member had the best possible facilities demanded by his work and then to let him alone. I am sure that every one of these men now living will testify to the thoroughness with which I performed the last mentioned function. Each man arranged his own work, within the limitation that it must not interfere with that of others, named his own staff and gave instruction in his own way. The Regents ruled that if a dispute arose between two professors the dean should be the arbiter, with a possible appeal to the Board in case one felt himself aggrieved. If such an appeal was ever made I never knew of it. Of course, no man ever got all he wanted nor even all the dean asked for him. All worked in cramped spaces and with meager equipment. We had only a small acreage but it was cultivated intensively. Truth compels me to say that when the administrative forces of the University grew in numbers and in domination, the educational opportunities became more restricted, and the conditions under which professors labored sometimes became irksome. However at the time of which I am writing American university administrative policies were but slightly developed. This is a big subject and one upon which I would like to say much but will refrain so far as possible since I prefer to speak of more pleasing things.

I must say, however, that it is now a question whether a university is a big business corporation or a seat of learning. It is galling to a research worker to have the conditions under which he labors dictated by an administrative officer who could not pass a matriculation examination.

Up to 1903, when we moved into the new medical building, Faculty meetings were generally held in my dining room. Here general policies were discussed in a spirit of perfect freedom, and I am sure that I never attempted to dominate. The majority decided and the dean was not always with the majority. After the reorganization and completion of the Faculty in the nineties I ceased to be responsible for appointments and for policies. These burdens were transferred from my shoulders to those of the Faculty as a whole. It is true that I remained the spokesman for the Faculty before the President, the Board of Regents and in some instances before the Governor and the Legislature, but I spoke as a representative and not as an individual.

There were two points about which I never agreed with the Faculty but as I did not have one supporter in that body, the Faculty had its way. In my old age, and looking backward rather than forward, I am not absolutely convinced which was right, the Faculty or I, on these points, but even an old man is slow to admit that he was ever in the wrong. The first of these concerned the utilization of the clinical facilities of Detroit. I never believed in the removal of the Medical School, or even its clinical teaching, to Detroit. It was this rock that I broke with two of the best friends I ever had, Frothinham and Maclean.

But I did believe that the Medical School could utilize the clinical facilities of the large city to the benefit of its students, and to that of the profession and the people. I can not enumerate all the propositions made on the part of Detroit physicians in this controversy which continued through two decades. For many years Detroit had no city hospital, but farmed out its sick poor to private and endowed institutions. The reason for this, as stated by the President of the Board of Aldermen, a graduate of the University, was that a city hospital was likely to become a bone of contention between the most corrupt politicians. This certainly has occurred in many city hospitals. The proposition was that the city build a hospital and absolutely and without reservation turn it over to the Board of Regents to be run for the city as the hospital at Ann Arbor was managed for the state. The Board should have the appointment of the staff, and the material was to be used for clinical instruction as a graduate school, or for sections of the senior class. This proposition had but one supporter on the Faculty and that was the dean. After Detroit had built and equipped one of the best infectious disease hospitals in the country-the Herman Kiefer Hospital-the city invited the Medical School to send sections of Seniors to it on Saturdays to avail themselves of the opportunity at least to see the infectious diseases in all their manifestations. This invitation was declined, but it led the University to build a small, model hospital for infectious diseases.

In the nineties Mr. Buhl, who lived in Pennsylvania, but who was born in Detroit and still had large interests in that city, sent his agent with the statement that he was ready to build and endow medical buildings in Detroit for such use as the Regents might choose. The only condition was that these buildings should be located in Detroit and accepted as a memorial to his father.

This proposition was declined. Mr. Buhl, having his proposed donation rejected, put his money into irrigation projects on the Snake River in Idaho. Whether he made money in this venture or not I do not know, but recently as I motored through the abounding acres thus reclaimed from the desert and saw about me scores of smiling farms, and lunched in a clean prosperous village bearing his name, I concluded that Mr. Buhl’s money was fortunately deflected from his proposed gift to the University.

The declination of this and many other proposals for the utilization of the clinical facilities of Detroit has led to the establishment of a small and inadequate medical school in that city, supported by the city, as a part of its public school system.

I have always insisted that the connection between a medical school and its university should be real and vital, and not simply a paper one. In this particular the school of which I was so long dean enjoyed an unique advantage. In addition to instructing its own students, to extending knowledge by research, to the preventing and curing of disease, it is a function of a university medical school to deserve and win the respect of learned men in other lines. Medicine is not a trade; it is one of the great factors in civilization, and should stand abreast of the foremost agencies in this great work. I am sure that the Medical School at Ann Arbor during my regime had the respect of the most learned professors in other departments. It had a good reputation among the more intellectual students in the college, and many a young man coming to Ann Arbor without definite decision as to his professional life has been turned to medicine in his college course.

In some of the lecture courses medical students constituted a minority of those in attendance. The same was true in some of the laboratory courses. Then the medical student profited by his opportunities along other lines. The general library was for him as much as for any other students, while lectures, demonstrations, musical opportunities, and so forth, were within his reach.

I have received some credit, quite as much as I deserve, for building up a scientific medical school in a small city, but I have always regarded the location of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor as a handicap not only to the Medical School but to other departments as well, but with that I had nothing to do. What an ideal campus Belle Island or Palmer Park would have made!

In making the above statements concerning the location of the University, I am fully convinced that my life could never have been so rich in intellectual associations and opportunities in a large city as it has been in the village of Ann Arbor. In a small community there is an intimacy of association between congenial people that is wanting in large aggregations of commercial enterprises, and all American villages are not Gopher Prairies.

The other point on which I had no support from the Faculty was the development of hospitals in all the larger cities of the state and their affiliation with the University Medical School. To claim that the profession of the state, many of whom are graduates of the University, is not competent to care for the sick is, in my opinion, to admit that the teaching at the University is not what it should be. However, this problem, like many others, will solve itself.

Hospitals will be built in various sections of the state-indeed this is being done at the present time-and their affiliation with the Medical School is a matter in which I fortunately will have no responsibility. I am not inclined to waste my time or to trouble myself by vain regrets as to what might have been; nor do I claim to be a prophet as to what may be done in the future. I am an optimist, although I do growl, sometimes quite audibly, about existing conditions. The state of Michigan has done well in providing educational facilities through all grades, from the primary school to the University, for all its sons and daughters who have the energy and intellect to utilize it. It should go further and so provide that no citizen a relievable infirmity need go without relief. I have faith enough in the intelligence of the people to believe that such provision will be made. I believe that every community should have a hospital and that every legally qualified physician should have at his command the facilities essential to the practice of both preventive and curative medicine. To do less is equivalent to sending an unarmed rabble to meet a thoroughly equipped army of invaders. However, many roads lead to Rome, and I do not claim to be wise enough to point out the one which the traveller should take. He should secure all possible information and then decide for himself.

One of my experiences while serving on the medical Faculty and on the State Board of Health was my biennial contact with the legislature. I look back upon this experience with great pleasure. I believe that there was not a legislature from 1883 to 1919 before some Committee of which I did not go, and I may say that in every case I met with sympathetic and intelligent response.

During the period mentioned there may have been petty and even corrupt politicians among the legislators of Michigan, but if so I never met them. As a whole the men who were responsible for the affairs of State during the period mentioned were of the highest integrity and devoted to the welfare of the Commonwealth. It is true that some of the men I had to deal with were denominated “politicians” as a term of reproach, especially by the opposing party, but when a man awakens a somnolent community and quickens it into doing something for its own good, he deserves high credit, whatever appellation may be attached to his name. When the legislature of 1887 granted an appropriation of forty thousand dollars for the hygienic laboratory, and that of 1889 one hundred thousand dollars for a new hospital, I regarded these sums as colossal. In fact my conscience was somewhat troubled because I had been a party to asking for so much, but recent legislatures have appropriated for the University in millions, and private endowments and gifts have come in like denominations. These are the fruits of the trees of wisdom planted many years ago by President Angell and nourished by President Hutchins. While the present generation enjoys the harvest, it should not be wholly unmindful of those to whose wisdom they owe these blessings.

Although I had had previous experiences with the legislature, especially as a representative of the Michigan State Board of Health, my first appearance as chief spokesman for the Medical School was in 1889, when the medical Faculty asked for one hundred thousand dollars for a new hospital. This was at a time when Doctors Frothingham and Maclean were strongly urging the removal of the Medical School to Detroit.

With other members of the Faculty I insisted that the school at Ann Arbor should not be broken, although as I have already stated several times, I was in favor of graduate clinical teaching in Detroit. There were many warm discussions on this subject in the Faculty. At last there was an agreement that we should ask for an appropriation for a new hospital in Ann Arbor and I was authorized to present the matter to the Board of Regents for their sanction and then to go to the legislature for an appropriation. The first was easily secured, and Doctors Maclean, Herdman and I appeared before the Legislative Committee, the Chairman of which at that time was the Honorable Byron Waite, of Menominee, who was later a resident of New York City. Doctor Maclean violently attacked the Medical School, urged its removal to Detroit, and opposed the appropriation asked for by the Faculty of which he was a member, and sanctioned by the Regents. He was intemperate in his remarks which Herdman and I met with ridicule. Next morning the walls of Herdman’s house and my own were covered with posters denouncing us as mountebanks, and one of these was found on the desk of each member of the legislature. Resort to this undignified and unwise procedure had just the opposite effect to that intended by those who resorted to it. The bill making the appropriation was immediately introduced, passed by a large majority and signed by the Governor.

Doctor G. C. Huber

Doctor Moses Gunn

Doctor Donald Maclean

Doctor George E. Frothingham

Thus the first appropriation for the hospital on Catherine Street was secured by the unreasonable and undignified opposition to it. From time to time additional buildings were secured and the School which had started in 1850 without a hospital bed had accommodations some fifty years later for three to four hundred patients.

From that time to the present no request for money, for the University has been more popular than those asked for the hospital. The people of the state have come to regard the University hospital as their most profitable investment. There is scarcely a community in the state from which deserving poor have not gone to this institution and returned relieved in part or altogether of their infirmities. Indeed, I had occasion more than once to check the generosity of the state to the University hospital. A few years ago when the Regents asked for a large sum of money for a new library a proposition was made to me by influential members of the legislature to transfer that appropriation to the hospital. I admitted that the hospital was in sore need of better accommodations, but the University also needed a new library.

In the nineties one of my colleagues, the late Doctor William J. Herdman, began a movement to secure for the University a psychopathic hospital for the care and study of border-line mental cases. In 1901 the legislature made an appropriation for this purpose, but the building was not ready for occupancy until 1906, when Doctor Albert M. Barrett was made its director, and has amply demonstrated his fitness and ability. Unfortunately Doctor Herdman died in the same year and did not see the full fruitage of the tree he so wisely planted. The hospitals for the insane in the state are closely linked with this institution to their mutual benefit. This was pioneer work in this direction, which some other medical schools have followed. I think that I should add that this appropriation did not receive the warm support of all the individual members of the Board of Regents.

In 1903 rabies appeared in Michigan, and I was called in consultation to see the first case in man. This so deeply impressed me that I requested the Board of Regents to provide immediately a Pasteur Institute for the treatment of this disease, and this was promptly done. For many years this was the only institution of the kind west of New York, and those bitten by supposedly rabid dogs and other animals came to it in large numbers, and no one there treated succumbed to the disease. Now the material for treatment can be obtained and used by the family physician. It is with some pride that I record the fact that two of the improved methods in the Pasteur treatment have come from the researches of my former students, Doctor Downey Harris of St. Louis, Missouri, and Doctor James Cumming, now associated with the Health Department, Washington, D. C. I should add that my somewhat high-handed action in the prompt provision for this institute did not receive the approval of some of my own Faculty, but when I go over the list of more than two thousand patients treated in this institution without a death I am content.

President Hutchins and I appeared before a committee of the legislature of 1915 and asked for an appropriation of one million dollars for a new University hospital. In response to this request the legislature granted three annual appropriations of three hundred and fifty thousand dollars each, thus showing its liberality. However the War came on before this money was available and the erection of the building was delayed. As soon as I received my discharge from the army in 1919 I appeared before the Ways and Means Committee to discuss this matter.

No discussion was necessary. Mr. Welch, the Chairman of the Committee, said, “We have given you one million dollars; the cost of building has doubled; we will make it two million.” This was my last appearance before a legislative committee in behalf of the University. The new hospital has now been completed at a cost of about four millions of dollars, and although only a few weeks have elapsed since its opening, it now has a large waiting list. Those in charge claim that it is one of the largest and most complete teaching hospitals in the United States.

At the risk of repetition I must say that Michigan has not only been liberal in making appropriations for the University Hospital, but the state and the counties have made provision for sending the sick poor to this institution and providing for their maintenance while there. I do not think, therefore, that I am too optimistic when I believe that the people of Michigan will so provide that every remediable infirmity among its citizens will have the opportunity to find relief. Moreover the good examples set by Michigan in this direction have been followed by other states, like Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, all of which have made similar provisions for the treatment of its poor in University hospitals. It can not be denied that sickness often pushes deserving people over the line from independence to dependency. It is therefore an act of wisdom on the part of the state to save its deserving poor from pauperism. When a family is placed under the necessity of receiving alms its members are likely to lose their self-respect and cease to be desirable citizens. The acquisition of property-food, clothing and shelter-is the first step in civilization.

I desire to say something about my experiences as a teacher. As I have stated elsewhere, I have documentary evidence that I declaimed before an audience in my eighth year. I was teaching Latin in Mount Pleasant College in my eighteenth year. I gave my first lecture as a member of the Faculty of the University of Michigan in January, 1876, and my last in June, 1921. I have indulged in many and varied avocations, but I have had only one vocation-that of teaching. I delight in unfolding a subject day by day to a bright, attentive and intelligent audience of young people. To watch their responsive faces as comprehension widens is to me a joy. I prefer giving many talks to one audience to repeating the same talk to many audiences. The task of a peripatetic lecturer has no fascination for me. I have tried it and find it irksome. My lecture soon becomes frayed out at the ends and threadbare in the middle. I lose interest in it myself and consequently fail to interest my hearers. It takes me hours to put myself in rapport with my audience, to establish an entente cordiale.

In lecturing to students I have developed my foibles, my likes and dislikes. I have never been satisfied with a one hour a week course. The breaks are too long for both teacher and student. The continuity in contact is interrupted. Other themes and interests intervene. I have never been satisfied with less than three hours a week and I prefer daily contact with my students. I do not like to stand on a rostrum and look down on the faces before me. I prefer to stand in the pit and look up. I want to be near those to whom I am talking. I look with suspicion on students who select the upper rows in the amphitheater when seats lower down are available. Although I am not a Baptist in creed, I believe in close communion in teaching. Indeed I enjoy walking up and down the aisles as I talk. It gives me opportunity to study faces from different directions and to estimate the interest and comprehension of each.

When I am not satisfied on this point I like to stop and ask the one about whom I am doubtful some questions. I insist that each student occupy the same seat at each lecture. Then I have a mental picture of the class much as I hold my cards in a game of whist. Here is a club, there is a spade; here is a deuce, there an ace! I carry this mental picture not only when before the class but throughout the course and it occasionally happens when I meet a former student that I may not be able to call his name but can locate his face in my class picture, especially if he were a trump. I am always insistent that I can make my subject intelligible to students of average intellect giving average attention, but that I do not claim to supply brains or to instruct those who are not interested.

I never read a lecture and seldom used notes, because the employment of these procedures interfered with my study of the faces before me. Besides, my object was to make my instruction labile and not fixed; a living, breathing thing, and not a wax model. I counted a lecture hour wasted if I did not know more about the subject myself when I finished than when I began. As I proceeded in each lecture I saw my subject in a broader, or at least a modified form; or there flashed upon me some better way of presenting the facts and making them more comprehensible to my students. I have not been wholly averse to interjecting a joke or a bit of sarcasm, but this is a resort on the part of a teacher which may be easily overdone.

I was never conscious of doing this to gain applause but I used it to illustrate, emphasize or clinch a point, or to give momentary respite from continuous cerebration on the part of my students.

I suppose that the time will come when lectures and lecture halls in our universities will be supplanted by the radio. Each student will sit in his room and when admonished to “stand by” will listen to a radio talk on “the functions of the pancreas,” “encephalitis lethargica” or some other subject. I am glad that my teaching was done when teacher and student knew a closer and more direct contact.

I had opportunity to know and study Michigan students during the forty-seven years,-from 1874 to 1931- from the following points: (1) As a fellow student, (2) as an instructor, (3) as a practitioner of medicine among them, and (4) as an administrative officer. Moreover my viewpoint changed as I grew older. I knew them in my youth, during my mature life and as age grew upon me. I recognized the fact that my personal intimacies with students grew less with my advance in years. When I entered Michigan University the total number of students in all departments was less than twelve hundred; when I resigned in 1921 this number had increased to nearly as many thousand. In one of my early years as an instructor, on the occasion of the return of the dean of the Medical School from a prolonged stay in Europe, I introduced every individual student, calling each by name and giving his class. Although I have retained a fair memory of names and faces, when I resigned I would not have attempted to call by name those in my own classes. Quite naturally I am not inclined to account for this on the ground of advancing senility, but to attribute it to the large accumulation of names and faces and to the multiplicity of my own duties and interests, some of which lay quite outside of the University. From the early years my wife and I kept open house for medical students. To these functions students from other departments frequently came. Besides we made it a point to attend student functions so far as possible. We frequently dined at fraternity and sorority houses and returned the courtesy, not neglecting the independents. This social intercourse led to some of the most cherished and lasting friendships it has been our privilege to enjoy. With advancing years this pleasure became less and less bounteous. Other duties interfered with “at homes.” During the forty-five years I taught in the Medical School no graduate escaped an invitation to my home.

Doctor Paul C. Freer

Doctor Reuben Peterson

Doctor Warren P. Lombard

Doctor George L. Streeter

I must admit that these attempts to know the social side of student life were not altogether free from embarrassment. One of my own Faculty-only one so far as I know-said that I was seeking popularity with the students. This criticism did not worry me, but there was a more serious matter. Students who did not attend our “at homes” said that those who did were seeking to curry favor with the dean. This, I fear, had a tendency to cause me to be less lenient and possibly less just to my social friends. I can not regret, however, that I did cultivate the social side of my students. When some eminent scientist visited me it was a pleasure to have the students hear and meet him either at my own home or somewhere on the campus. The Michigan Union or club house now gives greater opportunities for functions of this kind.

When Ehrlich, for instance, spent some days as my guest, every medical student had the privilege of at least seeing and hearing him. He evidently enjoyed it and I am sure that the more intelligent students profited by it.

To what extent my students profited by my attempts to cultivate their social life I can not say, but that I learned some things is certain. For instance one student whom I will designate as “Harry” occasionally “dropped in” on Sunday afternoons. His class record indicated that he stood near the head. When calling he seldom volunteered a statement and when questioned he answered in monosyllables. My wife and I came to refer to him as “silent Harry” and our prediction was that notwithstanding his superior class record, he would not be a success in practice; consequently we have followed him into his professional life with interest. After a short career as a village doctor he went to a large city, filled with eminent medical men. Within a few years he was leading all the rest in both the extent and excellence of his surgical work and was calling for young men to help him. This observation confirmed by similar ones demonstrates that the public, in some instances at least, recognizes a man’s merit without waiting for him to announce it by word of mouth. Reticence in speech is not an insuperable bar to progress in practice.

On the other hand, I have had frequent proof that volubility in speech and being a “hail fellow well met” do not guarantee success. It is desirable that the medical man should listen sympathetically and be able to comment intelligently when conversation runs upon nonprofessional subjects. The educated layman can not highly regard the physician who is uncouth in dress and ungrammatical in speech.

Human behavior should be a subject of the deepest interest to the physician and he should exemplify in his own conduct its best precepts. The dirty story is never more out of place than on the lips of the doctor. I must admit that I still have to blush with professional shame on this account when I attend social gatherings of Faculty and students. There is nothing more distasteful to me than to hear members of the Faculty vying with one another for students’ applause in telling smutty stories. I have with difficulty been able to restrain myself from showing disapproval even at gatherings in which I have been the guest of honor.

The least of my worries has been the discipline of my students. I have never had much faith in the regulation of human conduct by rules and regulations. A wag once said that there were only two restrictions on the behavior of medical students at Ann Arbor: “One should not burn a college building nor shoot a professor.” My Faculty and I encouraged a sentiment for gentlemanly conduct and I may say truly that this permeated the student body. I found that I could always trust my students to condemn any other behavior. It is true, of course, that occasionally a dissolute and wicked boy found his way into the school, but he met with such a prompt and unmistakable disapproval from his fellow students that he either improved in behavior or found his position so unpopular that he withdrew. A committee from one class came to me and stated that in the opinion of the class one of its members was morally unfit to continue as a student and become a member of the profession, and asked me if I wanted the details of the evidence on which the class based its opinion. I did not want the evidence. The finding of the class was sufficient and I assured the committee that the condemned student would withdraw from the School. I wrote the student’s father, who proved to be a man of social and political importance in the state. The father came with fire in his eye and indignation in his heart. He threatened me in particular, and the University in general, with legal procedures. He would carry the matter first to the President, then to the Regents and if necessary, to the courts. He said that in condemning his son without a hearing I had violated all rules of equity. I let him relieve his anger, and when he had thoroughly exhausted his stored-up ferments of wrath I admitted that he had the right to appeal to any or all of the authorities which he mentioned. Furthermore, I admitted that any one or all of these authorities might disapprove of my action. But I pointed out that such procedures as he threatened would necessitate the making public of all the evidence which the students had collected, and if he succeeded in restoring his son, what would be the son’s position in a class which had pronounced him morally unfit? The son was withdrawn from the School and this was the last of the controversy.

The most interesting function of my life as a teacher has been the study of my students. They have come and gone by the thousands and no two of them alike. Each has had his own individuality. In the first place, for many years I personally conducted all the correspondence with prospective students. This alone gave me a valuable insight as to fitness in an educational way, as to motives in choosing a profession, and as to character. Not the least valuable of my services to the Medical School lies in the fact that I kept hundreds of young men and not a few young women from coming to the University.

I think that, in the majority of these instances, this was good for the applicant and I have no doubt that it was better for the School. When one wrote that he was wavering in his choice of a profession and asked me to advance reasons why he should prefer medicine, I invariably replied that in my opinion, he should not select medicine; certainly not until he came to the conclusion that it was the calling he preferred above all others. I wrote plainly that medicine demands of its devotees the hardest work in both preparation and practice, and its rewards in either wealth or fame are meager. No other profession demands more and returns so little. Most of my students came in the spirit I have indicated and those who, after coming, did not labor in this spirit, fell by the wayside.

In the second place, I always insisted on teaching the first or second year students, preferably those of the first. During my more than forty years as a teacher in the School, my full courses were limited to the first and second year students. My purpose in this was to distinguish early between the sheep and the goats, or the fit and the unfit. My colleagues, during these years, cooperated with me most heartily. The sheep we retained the goats we eliminated. The usual mortality in the first and second years, mostly in the first, ran between thirty and forty per cent. The eugenicist dwells upon the desirability of an increase in the fit, in race betterment. I agree with him thus far, but insist that the more important factor in race betterment is the elimination of the unfit. Kill out the weeds and the corn will grow.

An incident connected with my teaching the freshmen may be of interest. Before the “germ theory” of disease had become so well established as it now is, Professor Henneage Gibbes, a distinguished English pathologist, came to the school. He had not accepted the “germ theory” and his views were positively stated in his writings and lectures and were well-known to the Faculty. There was some joking among the Faculty members as to how Doctor Gibbes and I would get along together, inasmuch as I was a stanch germ protagonist. Doctor Gibbes had arrived and a Faculty meeting was called to arrange the schedule of lectures. The new man said he would teach only seniors, and I said that I would teach only freshmen. The other members were pleased to have matters so amicably settled and my new colleague thanked me for insisting that to him should be conceded the more honorable position on the lecture schedule. “Oh,” said I, “I will teach the freshmen, and the seniors will not believe anything you say about the relation between bacteria and disease.” The overwhelming confirmation of the work and theories of Pasteur soon left no ground for difference of opinion on this subject.

I freely admit that a satisfactory separation of the sheep from the goats in a class of one hundred or more is not an easy or a satisfactory task. The first few quizzes, especially when they have been both oral and written, enable the teacher to draw a general line of demarcation, but there are borderline individuals. This man is to-day plainly a goat and quite a scrubby one, but the teacher will give him another test to-morrow or next week. When the new test is applied, lo! your scrubby goat has become one of the most likely of your sheep. So the teacher applies test after test to this individual, until he recognizes the fact that he is devoting too much time to him. In these tests I hold that no individual student is entitled to more than his allotment of time.

Having decided that certain members of the class are certainly goats, I have given them no more attention until the end of the semester when my colleagues and I compare our records. If a given individual is classified as a goat in the majority of the records, the only thing to do is to treat him as such and cast him out of the herd. I dare say that, at the time at least, some of my former students have felt that I did them an injustice. However I have always endeavored to have my students understand that being a goat in medicine does not mean that one is a goat in everything. Some of my goats have remained my good friends and have been highly successful in other lines. A few of them have had good cause to thank me for turning them from the medical profession. I have always strenuously objected to grading medical students as A, A+, A-, and so forth. This may do in high schools, and if the Faculties wish it in colleges, but it is wholly out of place in a medical school.

As I have indicated, I have been interested in the backward student only for the purpose of eliminating him. My continuing interest has been in the good student, and having found him, I have striven both as teacher and dean to give him every encouragement. After more than fifty years as a teacher it is my conviction that too little attention is given to the good student. Our schools, from the primary to the university grade, are dominated by the mediocre student, whose mere presence in the class holds all to a level far below that which would be set, were the needs of the more intelligent and more industrious consulted. The superior student does not need the incentive of grades. He studies because he enjoys it, and he needs greater opportunity; and above all, he needs to be relieved of the necessity of keeping step with the inferior men who now set the pace. As dean I was able to help the superior student, hungry for more than the routine course offered him. I saw that he had special privileges in the library and could linger among the book shelves at his own sweet will. If the books he wanted were not in our library (though it is one of the best in the country) they could be obtained from the Surgeon General’s Library in a few days. If he wanted special experimental apparatus, he had it, were it possible. If he wanted to work over hours or during the holidays, he was entrusted with the keys. In all these helps I had the most hearty cooperation of the Faculty. I am fully convinced that the most potent factor in the development of young men while engaged in professional studies lies in the influence of one on the other. If a class is fortunate enough to have superior men, these set the pace and others are stimulated to follow.

If one should ask me if the Medical School of the University, during the time when I functioned in it as teacher or dean, was a success, I would paraphrase the motto of Michigan, and handing my interrogator a list of the students of those times, I would say: “If you seek the names of those who have honored the profession in various branches of science, you will find a goodly number on this list.”

Far be it from me even to think that my connection with the school was the controlling factor in securing a high average of excellence among its students and graduates. With such a Faculty as I had, and with such students, being a dean was an easy job.

I had only rare occasions to complain of inattention, and then on the part of only a few. I am sure that my students bore my lectures with a forbearance worthy of sainthood. Inasmuch as it is never too late to ask forgiveness for sins in the past, I take this opportunity of offering an apology to my former students for the many hours during which they listened to my dull talks with a stoicism worthy of a better cause. Especially would I emphasize this apology to those students, who, in annual relays of from two to three hundred, for quite forty years listened to my talks on hygiene.

I had two definitions of hygiene. In the first I said that medicine consists of those facts gathered from the various sciences which may be utilized in the prevention or alleviation of disease. Hygiene is that bigger and more important part of medicine which concerns itself with the prevention of disease. My second definition was that hygiene includes anything and everything that I should choose to talk about.

The second of the above definitions was not altogether original with me. In the summer of 1888 I had the great honor and privilege of being frequently in the home of Mr. Jonathan Hutchinson (afterward Sir Jonathan) in London, thanks to the kindness of his gifted nephew, Doctor Woods Hutchinson, formerly one of my students. Mr. Hutchinson was one of the most learned and versatile men I ever knew. Indeed his learning was wellnigh universal, and, strange to say, at the same time accurate. At that time three of his sons were young practitioners.

When we sat down to dinner Mr. Hutchinson invariably would ask: “What do you boys know about orchids, or some fossil, or some extinct animal, or something equally remote from our intelligence. Perceiving our ignorance from our silence Mr. Hutchinson would occupy the dinner hour, much to our profit, in answering his own questions. However, the “boys” sought some way of getting ahead of the master, since rashness is a prerogative of youth. During his office hours Mr. Hutchinson’s rooms were filled with a most diversified mixture of patients, especially were there all kinds of cutaneous disfigurements, and yet Mr. Hutchinson was a surgeon. It was arranged that I should be rude enough to attempt to forestall our senior by asking him a question. As we took our places at the table I asked: “Mr. Hutchinson, please define surgery for us.” The reply came without hesitation: “Anything that comes to Jonathan Hutchinson, whether it be whooping cough, syphilis or broken bones.” Then his question came and was followed by the usual lecture much to our edification, notwithstanding my chagrin.

Even more than the lectures I enjoyed the rapid fire quiz. With a class of not more than twenty before me this was the acme of pedagogical pleasure. I once asked first year students what is the normal temperature of the human body. Most of the class did not know. Finally one bright girl said that it is about 37 degrees C. I asked why she gave that answer. “Because that is the temperature at which we grow pathogenic bacteria.”

In these quizzes, when wisdom ran low, wit sometimes came in most tellingly. I was once pushing a bright boy into an intellectual tangle, when he said that he had read so and so in a book. Then I dropped into the tangle myself. I told him that he must not take for truth everything he read, that his good sense should have shown him that what he had read not only could not be true, but on the face of it was arrant nonsense. In my mad haste I said that I would like to know in what book he had found such nonsense. Reluctantly he said that the name of the author was Vaughan. Needless to say, I subsequently handled this student more carefully. However, my experience did not save me from falling into other snares. Our admission requirement included courses in organic chemistry. Every freshman was supposed to know the chemistry of the amino acids, and in my lectures on physiological chemistry I began with the formation of these bodies in intestinal digestion. Realizing that some of my hearers were in deep water, I went cautiously and slowly. All through the hour I was annoyed by the fact that at least one man in the class was making no effort to follow me. A few minutes before the end of the hour I stopped and said: “The facts that I am giving today are the foundation stones of physiological chemistry. If you fail to comprehend them, it is useless to continue the course. One man in this class has not comprehended a word I have said. Throughout the hour I have watched his face and I have not seen a ray of intelligence in it. In order to convince you that I am right I will ask this man to arise and permit me to ask him a few questions.” I pointed out the man. The poor fellow was so stricken with shame that for a while he could not move. Finally he managed to say: “Pardon me, Doctor Vaughan, I am not a member of the class. I am a clergyman with a letter of introduction to you. I am waiting to the end of the hour when I hope to present it.” I asked the class to disappear, which it did with many a shout. As I read the letter it would have been difficult for an observer, had there been one, to determine which wore the darker garment of humiliation, the clergyman or I. However, we both had sense enough to see the joke, and became and long remained good friends.

Neither in lecture nor in quiz was I able to decide as to the fitness of the individual student so certainly as I could by going from table to table in the laboratory, stopping at each for a few minutes and talking with the student about the significance of the reactions he was studying and the interpretation he gave them. Many men are by nature wholly unfit for scientific study. They are wanting in the scientific attitude of mind. They start with certain premises which they believe to be absolutely, invariably and unalterably true, and from these they draw their conclusions. Some of these found their way into my classes, and my purpose, with their own interests at heart, was to turn them into some other channel. The most difficult and unpleasant task I had as a teacher and dean was to convince a student that he had mistaken his calling. Many took a suggestion to this effect as a disgrace, as a stamp of inferiority, and resented it with personal bitterness. However I am glad to say that some of these very men now thank me most heartily for the advice I gave them. One of my goats in medicine has proved to be a bull on the stock market and now cruises in the Mediterranean and voyages to the Orient in his own yacht. I may say that he is one of the most grateful students I ever had, and delights in entertaining his old teacher who turned him from the stony paths of science into the more pleasing and lucrative fields of finance.

I pride myself that I know the psychology of young men. I have certainly had opportunities to study in this field, since I have had five boys of my own and many thousands besides. I believe that much harm is done even in our universities by methods of discipline in use. To call a student before the Faculty and discuss his behavior is a procedure of barbarism scarcely excelled by the instruments of torture used in the Inquisition. During my years as dean I endeavored to prevent this practice and generally succeeded. There is no need trying to frighten a boy. He thinks that a special Providence waits upon him, and that he can sail safely among rocks where thousands of others have been wrecked. To call a student up before the Faculty and give him a bad name and to threaten him is, as a rule, an injustice and a punishment which does more harm than good. The rules of the Board of Regents, during my time at least, placed the discipline of students in the hands of the Faculty. Fortunately for me my Faculty was willing to entrust this duty to me. It is true that class room discipline was left to the professor in charge and I never interfered in this. I always upheld the professor, whatever he did, and acknowledged his authority as absolute and his decision as final. In matters of general morals the decision and the verdict was left to me. Sometimes I presented the matter to the Faculty after the verdict had been rendered, and invariably I was sustained. In the majority of the instances, however, my Faculty never heard of the matter. I could fill a small volume with incidents bearing on this point. I will content myself with giving a few.

I once had a letter from an uneducated German farmer in Iowa. He asked how his son Fritz was doing in school. I replied that there was no one of that name in the School or in any department of the University and that there never had been. Some days later there came into my office an elderly man with a great, stalwart, fine looking youth of about twenty years. The older man introduced himself as Mr. Blank from Iowa, and then said that this was the second year of supposed attendance in the Medical School on the part of his son. On receipt of my letter he came to Ann Arbor and he had found that Fritz had never entered the School but was running a gambling joint. He asked me what he should do. Of course I flew into a passion and said that the young man should be kicked into the street, that he deserved no consideration and that in deceiving his father he had committed a serious crime. In his great sorrow the father fell into his native language and said: “Aber, Herr Doctor, er ist mein Sohn.” This went to my heart, and after some conversation, Fritz, with nothing against him on the books, entered the School on condition that he was to come to my home every Friday evening at seven o’clock, and that he should answer truthfully any question that I asked him. We have had more brilliant students but we never had one who worked harder. He graduated in the late nineties, went to the Philippines as an assistant surgeon, was honorably discharged some eight years later with the rank of major, and is now a prominent surgeon in a city of one hundred thousand inhabitants.

This is not the only instance in which a father has made inquiry about his son who has never entered the University of Michigan. In a similar case I found that the boy was living a riotous life in Detroit, coming to Ann Arbor twice a week, receiving and mailing his letters. I informed the father of these facts. I saw the boy and talked with him. The father disowned the son. Letters from him were burned unopened, and before the father died he did not know whether his son was dead or alive. Which was the better way of dealing with the boy?

At the 1915 meeting of the American Medical Association in San Francisco, I, as the retiring President, stood in the reception line. A handsome man, evidently a Spaniard, grasped my hand with fervor and said that I had greatly aided him in making a man of himself. I disclaimed any consciousness of having done so. He then told me that he entered our Medical School in the eighties, and that after a few weeks I figuratively had thrown him out, telling him that he was unfit to associate with decent men. After picking himself up he realized the truth of what I had said, went to the University of Pennsylvania, graduated and was now a representative from one of the Central American States to the meeting then in progress.

For some years, under a combination of circumstances, which I will not attempt to explain, I knew whenever a medical student came into contact with the police and also all the circumstances. I would drop Tom Jones a note asking him to call at the dean’s office. When he came, I would say: “Tom, do you know you are going to the devil.” The immediate reaction was one of indignation and denial; then I would tell him how many times he had been drunk, and where he had been drunk and who had taken him home, and all about his behavior for the past week or more.

Then I would say: “Nobody but you and me know this. If you go straight, nobody but you and me will know it. If you go wrong, I will know it, and you will go home in disgrace.” Some of these men, now grown gray, still drop me a note simply saying, “I am still straight.”

I would not have it understood that I was always lenient in my consideration of the behavior of my students. When a man entered under forged credentials, as some did, when he stole or mutilated books, as some did, when he disgraced his School and the profession, as some did, the dean never waited for Faculty action but promptly told the boy to get out.

Most boys who are not morons - and morons seldom find their way into medical schools - are reached by appeals to their honor and chivalry. When I lectured to the students on venereal disease, I said: “Risk getting it if you want to. As an individual you are of no importance anyhow. You are only a grain of sand on the unlimited shore, but before you take the risk, you should know that if you acquire syphilis you can not sit at your father’s table without danger of infecting your mother, your sister and other members of the family.” Few boys are deaf to reasoning of this kind.

The greatest reward which comes to an old teacher lies in the love and respect shown him by his former students. Of these I am now receiving my full share, and my enjoyment of them surpasses all other pleasures. Some of my old students are now enjoying the highest rewards that come to scientific men; some have not reaped so bountifully, but the great majority are doing conscientiously and intelligently their daily duties as they lie before them.

Wherever I go, in village or city, they greet me. I have often attempted to classify the degrees of success attained by my old students. It was long my habit, at the end of each college year, to take the general catalogue and go over the classes that graduated from twenty to thirty years ago and try to group these men according to their success in life. But the question arises, what shall be the standard of this classification? This question I can not answer, and I have given up attempts to solve it.

Doctor Charles W. Eliot

The combined collegiate- professional courses naturally evolved themselves in the University of Michigan; here the conditions were most favorable. The collegiate and the professional departments were on the same forty-acre campus and students from one school or one department frequently wandered into other lecture rooms. The elective system, fathered by President Eliot of Harvard, prepared the way for the combined courses, and in my opinion, this is the greatest good that has come out of it. Juniors and seniors in the college elected courses in chemistry, anatomy, biology and physiology and after taking their academic degrees entered the Medical School, often with more credit in one or more of these subjects than was required of freshmen medical students. Naturally there was nothing to do but give them credit in medicine for the work done in college. The medical Faculty could not require them to repeat the courses, which had been taken in the same laboratories and under the same instructors who directed the work of medical students.

The combined collegiate-medical course was in actual operation at Michigan University some years before it was recognized; then there were some warm debates over it in the collegiate and medical Faculties, the dean of the former, Professor Hudson, opposing, and I, as dean of the medical Faculty, favoring it. The vote authorizing it had to pass both Faculties. Dean Hudson argued that no study, which could be used in professional work, should be recognized for an academic degree, while I held that all real learning is useful; that I had found, mirabile dictum, even old Virgil’s teachings were useful in my professional life. Finally the combined collegiate-medical courses secured the approval of both Faculties and have been adopted in most universities in English speaking countries. The law Faculty followed and the six and seven year combined courses are generally recognized. President Eliot did not approve of the combined courses. At a session of the Association of American Universities at Ithaca, I was fortunate enough to engage in a discussion with him on this subject. I stated that through the elective system he was the founder of the combined courses. Good naturedly he denied “the bastard” but finally Harvard University recognized the combined course.

I served at Michigan under two presidents, Angell and Hutchins; quite unlike, but both worthy. Doctor Angell came frequently to the laboratory, and perched upon a stool he would say: “Go ahead with your work, tell me what you are doing and why you are doing it.” He also asked me about other researches being conducted in the Medical School. I can say that for many years no research was carried on in our laboratories without Doctor Angell’s knowing of it at the time. In his early life he prepared to teach chemistry and he never lost his interest in this and allied sciences. He was quick to comprehend and highly appreciative of productive scholarship.

His questions and comments were to the point. He was also interested in the scientific books which I kept in my laboratory for ready reference, and he read French so much more readily than I that he quite embarrassed me. One day I was telling him about my work then in hand and added that I found myself anticipated many years ago by a Russian who had published a short paper in a French journal. I showed him the article; he glanced through it and said: “Yes, the story you have told is all here.” I never knew a man who cerebrated so quickly and at the same time so accurately. His mental grasp was broad and firm. His keen intellect fastened instantaneously on essentials and brushed away non-essentials. Quite naturally his interest in research lessened with advancing years and his visits to my laboratory became less frequent. On administrative matters he and I often differed widely. He did not believe in forcing reforms. He was an evolutionist, while I, at times at least, was willing to resort to revolution. In most instances time demonstrated that he was right. He was a great college president, but during his administration much intellectually dead timber was permitted to stand in his Faculty. I believed in using the ax; he preferred to await the hand of time.

President Hutchins, handsome and dignified, with a strictly legal mind, was also appreciative of scientific work but with less ready comprehension of its scope and importance. He attended all medical Faculty meetings but declined to preside. He was ready to give advice as to methods and forms of requests to the Regents and to the legislature.

He had an intimate knowledge of the ideals of the Medical School and was ever ready to champion its claims. He rendered invaluable service in urging better facilities and in the retention of good men on the Faculty. As dean of the Medical School and as an earnest advocate of research work in all departments of the University, I was fortunate in having the approval and cooperation of these men.

If I am leaving any memorial of my life’s work, it lies in the Medical School, and my interest and pride in it have not been abated by my detachment from active duty. I served it faithfully if not always intelligently, and I left it without regret, being fully conscious of a desire to wander in other fields before reaching the shore of that river where old Charon awaits me in his boat. I may add that I am in no hurry to reach the trysting place, knowing full well that the faithful old boatman will be there on my arrival. However, I would not be human were I not solicitous for the welfare of what I am leaving behind. Every man who adds a worthy stone to the old structure will, so long as I am conscious, receive my blessing. If anyone should weaken its walls he will have my curses.

President Harry H. Hutchins

I owe much to the University of Michigan - more than I can repay. When I had exhausted the best educational resources my native state then afforded, Michigan held out a helping hand. I profited by its facilities and learned wisdom so far as I was capable from its great men of the seventies. When it took me into its service I was advanced in authority and emoluments quite as rapidly as my merit deserved. The University has conferred upon me all the honors it can bestow; in 1900 it gave me the LL.D. degree; in 1903 my colleagues, students and friends presented me with a memorial volume, filled with their own researches and commemorating my twenty-fifth anniversary in medicine; in 1915 my colleagues, students and friends presented the University with my portrait, painted by that skilful artist and prince of good fellows, Garry Melchers. When I was retired in 1921 the members of the Research Club, consisting of the scientific workers of all departments of the Universities, gave me a testimonial which I pride more highly than any diploma. Not being a prophet, I have not been without honor in my own country.

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

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