A Doctor's Memories

An Autobiography by Victor Clarence Vaughan
1926, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis

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Victor Clarence Vaughan, M.D.
(1851 - 1929)

Warren Taylor Vaughan, M.D.
(Son, 1893 - 1944)

Warren Taylor Vaughan, Jr. M.D.
(Grandson, 1920 - 2002)

Warren Taylor Vaughan, III, Capt.
(Great-grandson, 1944 - )


"In human beings, as in bacteria, the thread of life is continuous."
Victor C. Vaughan


Colophon
To the Autobiography of Victor Clarence Vaughan
by his great-grandson, Warren Taylor Vaughan, III


In the fall of 1996, my father loaned me his ragged red cloth-bound copy of our famous grandfather's autobiography, published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1926 some four years before the author's death. I had known vaguely of this book through family lore, but had never held the thing itself in my hands, and so it was with great curiosity and interest that I opened the volume. There, immediately on page one, I met serious reading: learned polysylabic words enveloping a treatise regarding Galton's concept of eugenics with paragraphs that stretched across entire pages. It challenged like sight-reading Vivaldi or Mozart. The further I got into it, the better it got, as the life of this remarkable man unfolded before me like the serial adventures of Dr. Maturin and Captain Aubrey.

With delight, I also discovered a history of my family's lineage, offered up in anectodal form by this wonderfully sage great-grandfather who at times certainly had his tongue in cheek, yet at other times clearly wished to memorialize what he knew. More, I discovered he was a keen and disciplined intellect, a well-read and internationally-traveled scientist with a common-sense aptitude for engineering and a natural way with people, a hands-on solver of complex problems. He was an unpretentious man perfectly suited to shape a first-rate medical school and proactively influence many lives and careers and, at the highest levels, to profoundly contribute to the development of his profession.

In my mind's eye, it's springtime and the windows are open. He sits comfortably at a large mahoghany desk in a formal study lined with leather-bound books and a few unusual specimens from his days as an expert witness, perhaps even Mrs. Hall's arsenic-diffused stomach stands in a milky glass bottle on a corner shelf. His ink pen in one hand, a cigar in the other, he glances up from his manuscript to watch a sparrow on the lawn. What words to leave in his wake? What wisdoms? What meanings?

From this book at bedtime I read the first and second chapters to my 9-year-old daughter as the chilly California winter set in. Chapters about ancestry and growing up as a young boy. Sometimes, as my Elizabeth drifted towards sleep, she would pop up her head and ask, "Can we drive to Wales?" or "Am I really related to George Washington, the real George Washington?" The words themsleves, including such 9-year-old bafflers as heredity, potent, ascertain, and toddy I am sure contributed to slumber, but the cozy magic of this contact with Vaughan relatives, even to the 27th great-grandfathers who fought in the Crusades of a thousand years ago, was special. As Victor Vaughan himself said about family traditions, "I believe in these things and I wish to testify to their beneficial effects upon me all the way through life. I heard them on the lips of three generations and they became a part of my very being."

Wishing to have my own copy of this book, I found the web site of a bookseller in Seattle who claims "We rather successfully find out of print books in any field." I submitted the name of the book, the author, and my e-mail address. Six weeks later I received a note from the seller declaring that a copy of "A Doctor's Memories" was available for $100. Relaying this news to my father, who has for years prowled antiquarian stores in search of these rare volumes, I was a bit smug in describing this demonstrated success of the information revolution, an arena where I am at home and he is not. He insisted on purchasing and presenting it to me for Christmas, and the book arrived with a simple inscription: "To VCV's great-grandson Warren "Tay" III, from Warren T. Vaughan, Jr."

In the summer of 1997 my father, an unretired septagenarian physician, traveled to medical meetings at Ann Arbor, where he photographed the new Victor C. Vaughan and Henry F. Vaughan buildings on the campus of the University of Michigan (Henry Friese Vaughan was Victor Vaughan's son, who became dean of the School of Public Health). These modern constructions make meaningful the lives and works of both Deans Vaughan.

Above my father's inscription behind the front cover is neatly penned in blue ink a cursive "Florence B. Comard." Clearly the prior owner, likely the very same person who marked up the book with pencil, underlining meaningful passages and even altering some text, in one case with appropriate proofreader's marks my great-grandfather's "I am not a Chinaman and do not practise ancestor worship..." sentence. She substituted a more correct "Chinese" in the margin for the more descriptive "Chinaman." I am pleased that strangers have given this wonderful book such detailed attention. On the inside back cover is pencilled a price, likely inserted by a clerk at the used bookstore which was the source of the high-tech bookseller's transaction: $3.00.

A Doctor's Memories was published and copyrighted by the Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, in 1926. It was printed and bound by Braunworth & Co., Inc., Brooklyn, New York. In researching the status of the book's copyright, I discovered that the Bobbs-Merrill Company had been sold to McGraw-Hill. As McGraw-Hill is currently my own publisher (Multimedia: Making It Work), I contacted their New York offices only to learn that they had only acquired a portion of Bobbs-Merrill's intellectual property, and this book is not in their records. I examined the holdings of the Library of Congress, and discovered that the work is not listed either in the copyright database or as a current holding. Because "A Doctor's Memories" is now more than seventy years out of print and the author is more than 50 years deceased, I have copied its text from the original without discomfort, and, indeed, have added two unpublished chapters that were written by Dr. Vaughan but not included in the original, and I have copyrighted this work in its new electronic and printed forms.

The text of "A Doctor's Memories" was digitized using a Microtek ScanmakerIIsp scanner with Caere's OmniPage Pro version 7.0 OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software running on a Macintosh PowerPC 7500 with a souped up 604/150 processor. Images were manipulated in Adobe Photoshop version 4.0, and saved in grayscale JPEG format (256 shades of gray) at 72 dpi (dots per inch), suitable for viewing on computer monitors. Each is saved in a thumbnail of about 100 pixels in width and also as a larger image either 480 pixels in height or 640 pixels in width. In most cases, the aspect ratio is standard photographic 3:2. Reader's may click on any thumbnail to see its enlarged version.

I spent some time cleaning up blemishes in all photographs, attempting to make each as clear and crisp as possible. In some cases, the result is superior to that of the original lithograph. I find this approach places the many august professors, scientists, and politicians that are included in the original illustrations in the very best light, as real people, the way they would wish to be shown were they alive, not as scratchy images dug out from a shoebox to accent their age.

The text contained in the HTML version of "A Doctor's Memories" is not proofread. Occasionally readers may find curious spellings and misprints derived from the not-completely-error-free OCR process. While I have attempted to correct as many of these as I can find (some slip past the Microsoft spell-checker), it is with apologies that I have not proofed the new against the old word by word.

In undertaking this effort it has been my hope to preserve into the electronic age the works of a distinguished forebearer. For his chapters on ancestry and childhood, the Vaughan families of today remain indebted. This doctor's memories also provide clear insights and first-hand accounts about the development of the medical profession in America and the prosecution of three wars. The days in Victor Clarence Vaughan's life were not only interesting, but notable.

Tay Vaughan
Oakland, California
September, 1997


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