When "Giants Walked the Earth"
I thoroughly enjoyed your series of articles on the history
of the Medical School. I, too, am a third generation graduate
of this school, and was thoroughly imbued with its rich heritage.
My grandfather was a member of the Class of 1899, and my father
graduated in 1925. My first year there was one of much free-floating
anxiety. I was one of three "legacies" in my class.
Unfortunately the other two did not survive the first year.
I still recall the squeaking wooden floors of the West Medical
Building. Changing classes in mid-morning I would descend the
stairs under the disapproving gaze of both father and grandfather.
Their unspoken question: "Why arent you doing better?"
In any event, with the combined efforts of Patton, Woodburn,
Crosby, Nungester, Weller and countless others, I was sufficiently
burnished that I was permitted to enter the clinical years.
Francis Jr. announces from the stage of
Rackham Auditorium on April 12,
1955 that the Salk polio vaccine is safe, effective
This was the period of Michigan medicine when "giants
walked the earth." Dr. Alexander had just died, but Miller,
Sturgis, Conn, Kahn (Reuben) and Kahn (Edgar), Coller, Badgley
and Nesbitt were all in their heydays. Dean Furstenberg must
have had some blackmail material on each of the department heads,
because the junior clinical lectures were given almost exclusively
by the chiefs and full professors. One of my most memorable
days in the Medical School was the day of the announcement by
Dr. Tommy Francis of the positive results of the polio vaccine
It took an additional five years of the Ann Arbor experience
to qualify me as a relatively complete orthopedic surgeon. Although
my son is a physician, he was not permitted the Michigan experience.
I have enjoyed every day of practice during the past 40-odd
years and owe a debt of gratitude to the firm foundation provided
to me, my father and my grandfather by your great institution.
Thomas F. Scott (M.D. 1958, Residency 1963)
Huntington, West Virginia
"He, George W. Hicks, Was the Senior Shown"
One day last week, when my husbands copy of Medicine
at Michigan arrived, he was amazed to see, on the inside of
the back page, scenes from LIFE Magazine of 50 years ago. He,
George W. Hicks (M.D. 1950), was the senior shown. At that time
we had three small children, George was working nights, and
his GI bill was either a thing of the past or woefully inadequate.
A $300 scholarship from a medical society and a modest and unexpected
legacy from my step-grandfather in England enabled George to
be graduated. He was the first U-M Medical School student with
a child to be accepted. When he entered medical school he had
a chemical engineering degree from Michigan and had served four
years in the Army, honorably discharged with the rank of major.
George W. Hicks, photographed
by Alfred Eisenstadt for LIFE Magazine in 1950
As a family doctor, George practiced 22-and-a-half years in
Pascagoula, Mississippi, six years in Grand Bay, Alabama, and
seven-and-a-half years on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. At
Pascagoula he delivered about 3,000 babies, had a large office
practice, made house calls, had adventures in the Gulf of Mexico
with the Coast Guard, and went up a gantry crane once at Ingalls
Shipyard to pronounce a man dead. He also made hospital rounds
twice a day. He practiced solo except at St. Croix, when he
was an emergency room doctor for the U.S. Virgin Islands Department
of Health. For some years he raised Santa Gertrudis cattle on
our farm in Grand Bay. While on St. Croix George was ordained
a permanent deacon in the Catholic Church after studies at night
for four years. We are the parents of six children. There has
seldom been a boring time for we have had 17 homes since we
married in 1940.
We wanted to let you know that it was good to be reminded of
a time when we felt we were reaching a goal in spite of difficulties,
confident of the future, and trusting in the next day.
Alice Brown Hicks
"One Might Wonder Why You Would Publish These Experiences"
Dr. Harry J. Schmidt, in "Alumni Reminiscences" (Fall
2000), reminded us of the admonition he heard as a medical student
at Michigan, "Look to your right and to your left, one
of you three will not be here to graduate." He went on
to tell of receiving a D because of an addition error by the
person who graded his final exam in anatomy. The professor agreed
that an error had been made, but refused to correct it, and
the dean refused to intervene.
One might wonder why you would publish these experiences. Did
you find them amusing? Do they enhance the reputation of the
Medical School? I think you should be ashamed of such events.
Or is your arrogance so vast that any kind of deviant behavior
that unfairly punishes or intimidates students can be laughed
off under the rubric of, "Oh, well, thats the way
As the recipient of similar behavior I can assure you I didnt
find it funny then (1950), and I certainly dont think
its funny now, 50 years later.
Joel I. Hamburger (M.D. 1954)
West Bloomfield, Michigan
"Isadore Lampe Did Not Found the Department of Radiology"
In the article "The Deans on Canvas" (Fall 2000),
Isadore Lampe is listed as the founder of the Department of
Radiology. Dr. Lampe was a superb physician, radiotherapist,
and true gentleman. It was an honor for me to be one of his
residents. However, he did not found the Department of Radiology.
James G. Van Zwaluwenburg
Dr. William Martels The Distinguished History of Radiology
at the University of Michigan correctly states that in 1917
Dr. James G. Van Zwaluwenburg became the first chairman of what
was then the Department of Roentgenology.
Dr. Willis S. Peck was the first director of radiotherapy,
serving from 1933 to 1939, when he came to Toledo, Ohio. It
was my privilege to be associated in practice with Dr. Peck
from 1964 until his retirement in 1972. Dr. Lampe succeeded
Dr. Peck in 1939, and served as director of radiotherapy for
Charles M. Klein (Residency 1962)
"Long Ago and Before Many Others, He Embraced Diversity
I want to thank Howard Markel for his work ("An Example
Worthy of Imitation," Fall 2000). If we forget where we
have been, we cannot find our future. I also want to express
my joy at knowing that Horace C. Davenport is still contributing,
and to have "Dr. ABC" know how important his quote
"you live your life on the intellectual reserve accumulated
during the first twenty-five years" has been to me. Another,
"Michigan produces a high level of mediocrity," has
kept me humble and cautious to this day. Dr. Davenport is one
of a very few who remain powerful long after their lectures
Another of Dr. Davenports great contributions to the
Medical School was his distaste for provincialism and his awareness
that greatness could come from many sources. Long ago and before
many others, he embraced diversity not only because it was right
and noble, but because, as he so clearly recognized, it was
healthy and productive as well.
On the same day that I read Dr. Markels wonderful piece
I had just mailed my friends grandfathers Homeopathy
College sheepskin signed by President Angell to my first cousin,
Eric Bates, M.D., of your cardiology faculty to forward to the
Historical Center for the Health Sciences!
Grateful for your effort in recording and publishing our history,
Randall R. Smith (M.D. 1971)