Dr. Christian R. Holmes, The Cincinnati General Hospital, and the Surgical Amphitheater

By: Nathan Hood

CR HolmesPainting

Portrait of Dr. Christian R. Holmes that hung in the General Hospital’s Administration building for many years. This photo serves as a link to the blog, “Major Christian R. Holmes’ Involvement at Camp Sherman.”

 Dr. Christian R. Holmes is credited with numerous contributions not only to science and medicine in general, but also to medical education. Indeed, he is remembered not only for his expertise in Otolaryngology and Ophthalmology, but also for his profound influence on the history of the University of Cincinnati’s Medical College and it’s collaboration with the surrounding municipal hospitals – Cincinnati’s General Hospital in particular. For this reason, some unhesitatingly compare him to the famed Dr. Daniel Drake who first established the Medical College and soon after more-or-less effectuated the creation of the Cincinnati General Hospital’s institutional with the intention of their collaboration.

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Major Christian R. Holmes’ Involvement at Camp Sherman

By Nathan Hood

Dr. Christian R Holmes

Major Christian R. Holmes (1917). This photograph serves as a link to the finding aid for the Winkler Center’s
Christian R. Holmes Collection.

On June 8, 1917 – practically two months after the United States’ declaration of war on April 7, 1917 – Chillicothe, Ohio, was selected as the one of sixteen sites for the construction of military training camps. Workers began building Camp Sherman there in late June on a large expanse of farmland in the Scioto Valley. This land was purchased by the United States government with the help of local business owners. The size and scope of Camp Sherman expanded exponentially and the massive convergence of laborers and soldiers at Camp Sherman brought economic prosperity to the surrounding community, arguably transforming the Ross County area. Chillicothe’s population grew from a 16,000 to over 55,000 – numerous new homes and businesses were built and established.

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Magnifying the Past: The “Alsfelder” Faculty Caricatures

By Nathan Hood

Dr. Cecil Striker

Cecil Striker, M.D. This photograph serves as a link to the finding aid for the Winkler Center’s collection on Dr. Cecil Striker.

Dr. Cecil Striker earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1919 and then his Doctor of Medicine in 1921 – both from the University of Cincinnati. He began an internship at the Cincinnati General Hospital in 1921, eventually becoming a resident in 1922. He also completed a residency at the Jewish Hospital and was Chief Resident there from 1923 to 1924. He joined the Jewish Hospital medical staff in 1925 and served as President of Staff from 1955 to 1956.

Dr. Striker’s extensive involvement with research on diabetes and insulin perhaps dominates the general perception of his career as a medical professional. However, Dr. Striker was also awfully enthusiastic about the history of medicine.

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Weight Not Measured in Pounds: “Fischerisms.”

By Nathan Hood

Fischer 1912 Faculty Photo

Dr. Martin H. Fischer, faculty photo from 1912.

Scientist, professor, author, artist – at the time of his death in 1962, the wealth of Dr. Martin H. Fischer’s experiences had him regarded by some to be a kind of ‘universal man.’ Who was Dr. Martin H. Fischer? The overwhelming prevalence of dates, research, and other such facts are often too impersonal and superficial to reveal much about the deeper character of this impressive person. Fortunately, there still exist copies of a booklet too ironically and deceptively inconspicuous for the enormous significance of the information it contains: Fischerisms.

Fischerisms is a compilation of Dr. Fischer’s various aphorisms first brought together by Howard Fabing with the aid of Albert Flagge and first published by the Medical College Bookstore, University of Cincinnati, in 1930. Continue reading

Vaccination Efforts from Around the Globe: The Story of Dr. Sabin and Dr. Harshavardhan


Dr. Harshavardhan (1969)

By: Dr. G. V. J. A. Harshavardhan and Nathan Hood

Dr. Albert Bruce Sabin’s extremely influential role in the development and production of an Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) simply cannot be disputed; however, information on the precise details of his contributions are not always as well-known or as accessible as one would hope. Fortunately, The Winkler Center for the History of Health Professions’ NEH-funded project to digitize many of Dr. Sabin’s papers has now reached researchers around the globe. Several months ago, the project attracted the delighted attention of Dr. Harshavardhan, a vaccinologist in India, and the exchange of information since has been enlightening for both sides.

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Wisdom on The Walls of The Old College of Medicine

By: Nathan Hood

fischer edited

Portrait of Dr. Martin H. Fischer,

Dr. Martin H. Fischer designed many of the interior, decorative elements in and around his lecture hall located within the University of Cincinnati’s old College of Medicine. The majority of these ornaments were engravings expertly crafted by Dr. Fischer’s technical assistant and friend, Josef Kupka. Mr. Kupka was Dr. Fischer’s assistant for thirty years, from 1912 to 1942. He served Dr. Fischer for the greater part of the former’s active career as a professor of physiology at the University of Cincinnati.

It has been suggested that Dr. Fischer conceived the idea for the engravings after recognizing how the daily quotations he shared with his classes interested and inspired his students. However, the idea was only realized after his place of instruction was moved from the University’s Cunningham Hall to the newly constructed College of Medicine building in 1917. Continue reading

The Stained Glass Windows of Dr. Martin H. Fischer’s Lecture Hall

By: Nathan Hood

A variation of the University’s
coat of arms remains in the
Health Professions building.

In the University of Cincinnati’s modern- looking Health Professions building, the students in Room 231 have the odd privilege of enjoying several beautifully old, stained glass windows. The windows are reminiscent of a time before the renovations, when the building was the University’s College of Medicine. In the past, one of these rooms served as the physiology lecture hall, initially overseen by Dr. Martin H. Fischer. That intriguing space once featured the entire Cantagalli Pharmacy installation, numerous symbolic engravings, and leather orchestra chairs; but the stained glass windows of that old classroom and the neighboring library are an interesting story by themselves.
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Dr. Martin H. Fischer and The Cantagalli Pharmacy

By: Nathan Hood

Major renovations of the University of Cincinnati’s previous College of Medicine building, now the Health Professions building, led to The Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions’ acquisition of numerous, intricately decorated artifacts altogether known as The Cantagalli Pharmacy. The entire collection represents a precise imitation of a 15th-16th Century Italian Apothecary and originally functioned as an exhibit for the 1900 Paris Exposition.

15th-century pharmacy Cantagalli II

The Cantagalli Pharmacy in its Exposition configuration.
This photo also serves as a link to film footage from the 1900 Paris Exposition.

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Treasures of the Winkler Center: 1843 Botanico-Medical College Diploma of Dr. Henry Randolph Higgins

Through the generosity of Jerry L. Higgins, the Henry R. Winkler Center received an interesting artifact depicting Cincinnati’s rich history of institutions of medical education. This framed diploma from the Botanico-Medical College of Ohio was awarded to Jerry L. Higgins’ ancestor, Dr. Henry Randolph Higgins, and serves as the only artifact in the Winkler collection from the institution.

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From left to right:
Allison Higgins, Jerry L. Higgins, and Becky Higgins
(Photo courtesy of Dan Davenport, UC AHC Public Relations)

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