On Bigelow's table of ether operations there is a procedure entered for the "Removal of | Tumour on face" of a 34-yr-old male subject on April 3, 1847 – the same age as Jonathan Mason Warren's patient, the "powerful, full-blooded man," treated three weeks earlier.(87) Could this be Warren's patient returning to the hospital, because of complications from the surgery? A search of the literature turned up no published reports on the case, which is not surprising since the subject's culmination is entered as "uncertain" in the discharge column of the Bigelow table. This contrasts with Warren's patient, who was discharged "well" on March 19th, and promptly returned to his home in Maine. If it is indeed Warren's patient, traveling 100 miles from Maine for follow-up treatment that day, did the schedule include a photo session? And if so, did the session include photographing the young woman in EDD-No. 2, the so called "Seamstress daguerreotype?"(88)
April 3, 1847:
Voted. That the Professorship held by Dr. Hayward and now called the "Professorship of the Institutes of Surgery and Clinical Surgery," be called hereafter the "Professorship of Surgery."
Voted. That a new Professor be chosen to be called the "Parkman Professor of Anatomy and Physiology" to lecture at the Medical College.
Voted. That a new Professor be chosen to be called the "Professor of Pathological Anatomy" to lecture at the Medical College and to have charge of the Museum.
Voted. That a new Professor be chosen to be called the "Hersey Professor of Anatomy" to lecture at Cambridge, the said Professor not to be a member of the Faculty of the Medical School in Boston.
Voted. That the compensation of the "Parkman Professor of Anatomy and Physiology" shall be exclusively derived from fees paid by the Medical Students.
Voted. That the compensation of the "Professor of Pathological Anatomy and Curator" be exclusively derived from fees paid by the Medical Students.
Voted. That the "Hersey Professor of Anatomy" be paid the salary of the Hersey foundation hitherto received by the Hersey Professor of Anatomy and Surgery.
On April 3, 1847, a special meeting of the President and overseers of Harvard Medical School was called to address a budget shortfall for developing the North Grove Street property that Dr. George Parkman had bequeathed to the school.(89) A reorganization of the faculty was voted in, occasioned by the retirement of Dr. John Collins Warren who was venerated with the title of Professor Emeritus. Funds were allocated to purchase and transfer John Collins Warren's extensive collection of anatomical specimens for a "Warren Museum" at the school, to be curated by John Bernard Swett Jackson (1806-1879). The Hersey endowment eliminated instruction in surgery, but kept anatomy in the mission, with the anatomist Dr. Jeffries Wyman (1814-1874) succeeding Warren in the professorship. It was his brother, Morrill Wyman, whose anecdote about Parkman and recreational self-etherizing was quoted earlier.
Oliver Wendell Holmes was inaugurated as the first "Parkman Professor of Anatomy and Physiology," and would hold this appointment for thirty-five years. In September he succeeded Channing as Dean of students at the school. I struggled with the attribution of Parkman in EDD No. 2 and thought at first it might be Holmes in the frame. Holmes is credited with the nomenclature of anesthesia and identifying him in the April 3rd dags would have strengthened a celebratory intent in the Southworth & Hawes commissioning if it was scheduled that day. He invented the popular Holmes Stereoscope, wrote with uncanny vision on photography, and I am not the only scholar desirous for a sighting of Holmes in the dags.(90) His introductory lecture on November 3rd delivered the words that garland the muse of ether in the medical canon:
|"The knife is searching for disease, the pulleys are dragging back dislocated limbs, nature herself is working out the primal curse which doomed the tenderest of her creatures to the sharpest of her trials, but the fierce extremity of suffering has been steeped in the waters of forgetfulness, and the deepest furrow in the knotted brow of agony has been smoothed forever."|
I was unable to find any published documents to substantiate an April 3rd scenario for Ether Dome Daguerreotype No. 1, nor for any of the other Ether Dome daguerreotypes, including the Lowry & Lowry attributions of EDD No. 2. Furthermore, based on general appearances such as the length of Bigelow's hair, at least a month had passed between the taking of the reenactment daguerreotype and the other photographs. If there were delayed complications from Warren's surgery, he never indicated this in his reports, and a local doctor in Maine could have treated Warren's patient, unless it was to address the facial palsy.
87.) Bigelow, HJ (1848); Table C.-2. on pages 215-217. Warren's patient, the "full-blooded" man, who was treated on March 13, 1847, is entered as 32 years old on Bigelow's table, but this is an error made clear by Warren's reports.
88.) Lowry & Lowry (2005); p. 79. "The patient on April 3 was Athalana Golderman, described in the records as a slight, young seamstress."
89.) Harvard University (1848), "Twenty-second Annual Report of the President of the University at Cambridge to the Overseers, Exhibiting the State of the Institution for the Academical Year 1846-47." Cambridge: Metcalf and Company; p. 5-7. See also Thomas Francis Harrington's history of the medical college (1905); v. 2, p. 511-512.
90.) Carlebach ML (1992), "The Origins of Photojournalism in America." Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992; p. 38. Carlebach identified Holmes in the figure standing next to John Collins Warren in EDD No. 3, but failed to provide a source for his attribution.