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From the Rush Archives: Happy Halloween from Rush Medical College, 1895!

by Nathalie Wheaton on 2020-10-29T20:32:00-05:00 in Archives, History | 0 Comments

Halloween is fast-approaching. Usually at this time of year, we host several behind-the-scenes tours of the Rush Archives around Halloween to wrap-up American Archives Month and share some of the treasured ghosts from Rush's past.

Due to COVID-19 precautions, those in-person tours will have to hold off a little while longer.

Illustration from the Rush Medical College yearbook, The Pulse, 1895, page 158, by C. H. Bever, class of 1895In the meantime, here is a round-up of skeleton-themed art produced by Rush Medical College students for the 1895 yearbook, The Pulse. Medical students during this time were living in the Victorian era, which is often associated with an obsession with death, related rituals, and the macabre. You will find many grinning skulls throughout Rush's 1890s material. Rush students were also interested in the humanities outside of their usual clinical and scientific work, and their yearbook and student newsletters are full of student-produced poems, jokes, stories, and drawings.

CAPTION [top]: An illustration of skeletons submitted by Christian H. Beyer, class of 1895, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, won the award for Best Original Illustration. From the Rush Medical College 1895 yearbook, The Pulse, page 158[1]

Born in Milwaukee in 1872, Beyer attended Lake Forest University after the death of his parents and continued to earn his medical degree from Rush. Rush Medical College served as the medical school of Lake Forest University, 1887-1898. After earning his medical degree in 1895, Beyer returned to Milwaukee, where he practiced until his death in 1942. Beyer specialized in obstetrics and also served on the medical staff of the County Hospital for the Chronic Insane.

Beyer warranted his own entry in a history of the city published in 1909, Memoirs of Milwaukee County: From the Earliest Historical Times down to the Present. [2]

CAPTION [second]: This runner-up, "We are your guides to knowledge," was submitted by George L. McDermott, class of 1897. Behind the skeleton lie two key texts for medical students at the time: Kirkes' Physiology and Gray's Anatomy. From the Rush Medical College 1895 yearbook, The Pulse, page 160. [3]

George L. McDermott, class of 1897, also won third place in the Poems category for "Anatomy in Rhyme." [4] He was designated both Class Secretary and Class Poet. He also contributed a poem, "Along Life's Path" [5] to the Rush Medical College student newsletter, The Corpuscle, June 1897.

McDermott, born in Neenah, Wisc., in 1872, went on to practice there after graduation and became city physician. McDermott eventually moved on to Denver, Colo., where his poetic spirit led him to compile a book of poetry inspired by his new land, Mountain Breezes: Written in the shadow of the Mountains and breathing the spirit of the West1911. [6] McDermott passed away in 1919.

CAPTION [third]: A skeleton plays the mandolin, by Charles L. Hobbs, Rush Medical College, Class of 1896, designated the Artist of The Pulse yearbook, 1895, [7] and Class Corresponding Secretary.

Rush Medical College yearbook, The Pulse, 1895, page 240

After earning his medical degree, Charles L. Hobbs, MD, (1875-1921) went on to practice in Chicago and Texas. After experiencing a devastating hurricane, August 17, 1915, he relocated from Texas to North St. Paul, Minn., serving as the town's deputy coroner. He was buried in Galveston, Tex., in 1921.

And last but not least:

CAPTION [bottom]: "Death's Visit" poem and an eerie accompanying photo. From the Rush Medical College 1895 yearbook, The Pulse, page 176Unfortunately, many of the poets in the yearbook are unidentified, including this one. 

Want to learn more about the history of Rush or the Rush Archives collections? Explore the Rush Archives website, or contact the archivist, Nathalie Wheaton, MSLS. Follow us on Twitter! @RushArchives

All documents and photographs belong to the records collections of Rush University Medical Center Archives, Chicago, Ill. Contact the archivist for permissions and full citations.

Death's Visit, poem in Rush Medical College yearbook, The Pulse, 1895[1]








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