Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Office of the Historian - 2004 annual report excerpt from Command History (repost)

[I just ran across this data sheet from 2004 and it still had useful information describing the office and collections.]

Office of Medical History and Navy Medicine Magazine (M00H)


The Navy Medical Department's Office of the History can trace its roots back to April 1907 with the founding of the Naval Medical Bulletin, a quarterly publication serving the "informative needs of the Medical and Hospital Corps." Early articles varied from professional studies of abdominal wounds to the progress of zoology. The Bulletin was unique in that two of its contributors, and editors, were historians. CAPT Frank L. Pleadwell, MC, USN, and CAPT Louis B. Roddis, MC, USN, wrote abridged biographies of Navy medical, greats and people who had an impact on the Navy Medical Department and histories of medical facilities.

During World War II, the Navy Medical Department re-established the Hospital Corps Quarterly (originally begun in 1918) a publication directed toward the growing Navy Hospital Corps community. The Quarterly's editorial staff included former Navy Cross recipient LT George Strott, HC, and ENS W. Kenneth Patton, HC. When not publishing the Quarterly, Strott and Patton continued the work of Roddis and Pleadwell, both now retired, in producing historical monographs. Most notably was The Medical Department of the United States Navy with the Army and Marine Corps in France in World War (1947).

World War II spurred the expansion of the Navy Medical Department (total military personnel grew from 5,802 in 1941 to a 169,225 by the end of the War). A staff of civilian historians were commissioned as reserve officers to collect, record, and write the history of the Navy Medical Department. Artist Samuel Bookatz (Lieutenant Commander in the Hospital Corps) was recruited and headquartered in Building 4 at the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery to record the history of the Medical Department's activities through his paintings. He also operated a studio in the White House's Lincoln Bedroom where he painted and sketched portraits of naval officers. He concurrently completed portraits of the President and First Lady, which presently hang on the walls outside the Roosevelt Museum at the National Naval Medical Center Bethesda, MD.

The U.S. Navy had always been a favored service of former Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was President Roosevelt who supported RADM Samuel Elliott Morison's concept of recording the Navy's participation in World War II. This effort resulted in Morison's fifteen-volume history of the Navy in World War II written while the history was still "hot off the griddle."

The Surgeon General during the war, VADM Ross McIntire, who also served as President Roosevelt's physician, may have been inspired by Morison's efforts in having the daily happenings of the Medical Department recorded. As a result, the historians recruited from the academic community produced a series of volumes on the History of the Medical Department, although these were never published.

At the end of the 1940s the Bureau disestablished the Medical Bulletin, Hospital Corps Quarterly, and the historians returned to academe. The historical program's torch was carried into the 1970s by W. Kenneth Patton and Quentin Sanger, whose official capacity was speech writer in the BUMED Office of Information (now known as the Public Affairs Office). Sanger spearheaded the publication of the History of the Medical Department 1945-1955 and, with Patton, wrote an unpublished History of Navy Hospitals. Patton served as the Surgeon General's historical source and was tasked with responding to all Navy medical historical queries.

Although, BUMED's historical program operated originally from the BUMED Publications Office, and later the Office of Information and Public Affairs, its place in the organization continued to evolve into the 1980s. Jan Kenneth Herman, the Editor of U.S. Medicine magazine (and later the bi-monthly Navy Medicine) re-established the historical program which had been neglected since W. Kenneth Patton's retirement. Photographs, articles, artifacts, and books pertaining to Navy Medical Department's heritage, which had been collected at the Bureau for nearly 70 years, was consolidated into a BUMED Library and Archives located in the confines of the old Naval Observatory (now known as BUMED Building 2). Herman instituted an oral history program and sought interviews with Navy medical veterans. Navy Medicine magazine now periodically published articles about Navy medicine's illustrious past. In 1989, the Office of Historian and Navy Medicine Magazine was officially established as a distinct code in the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery.

Now known as BUMED Code M00H, this office serves the needs of the Navy Medical Department, Department of Defense, and interested parties in preserving the history and heritage for future generations.

Survey of items in BUMED Library and Archives

Annual Reports of the Navy Surgeons General (1871-1958)

Navy Medical Corps Bulletin (1907-1949)

Hospital Corps Quarterly (1919-1930; 1943-1949)

Navy Medicine Magazine (1943-Present)

History of the Navy Medical Department in World War I

History of the Navy Medical Department in World War II (Vols 1-4)

Navy Medicine Department in World War II, Unpublished (Vols1-2)

Biographies/Autobiographies of famous Navy Medical figures.

Books written by former Chiefs of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and Surgeons General of the Navy Medical Department.

All books relating to Navy Medical Department

Topics of material in BUMED Library and Archives:

  • History of the Navy Medical Department

  • History of the Navy Medical Corps

  • History of the Dental Corps

  • History of the Medical Service Corps

  • History of the Navy Nurse Corps

  • History of the Navy Hospital Corps

  • History of Navy Hospitals

  • History of Navy Hospital Ships

  • History of Navy Medical School/Museum of Hygiene

  • History of Hospital Corps Schools

  • Navy Medicine in War:

  1. War of Independence

  2. Quasi-War with France (1797-1801)

  3. War with the Barbary Pirates

  4. War of 1812

  5. Winning the West and Southwest

  6. Civil War

  7. First War in Korea

  8. Spanish-American War

  9. World War I

  10. South American interventions

  11. World War II

  12. Korean War (1950-1953)

  13. The War in Vietnam (1954-1975)

  14. Beirut Bombing

  15. Persian Gulf War

  16. Operation Enduring Freedom

  17. Operation Iraqi Freedom/War in Iraq

  • POW experience in World War II (including POW journals and pictures)

  • History of Aviation Medicine (Navy)

  • History of Submarine Medicine

  • Medical Aspects of the Wilkes Expedition, 1838-1842

  • Medical Aspects of the Opium War

  • Navy Medical Department In Peace

  • Care and Treatment of Dependents of Navy Medical Personnel

  • Navy Hygiene and Sanitation

  • Distinguished Medical Department Personnel.
    Lives of the Surgeons General and Chiefs of the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery

  • Navy Medical Supply System

  • Transcripts of Oral Histories (conducted with veterans from World War I to the Present)

  • History of BUMED Campus (In the time of Jacob Fuenck's Hamburgh to present-day Foggy Bottom)


To oversee, direct and execute the Navy Medical Department's history program and produce the bi-monthly medical journal, Navy Medicine.*

Staff Members

  • Mr. Jan K. Herman, Historian/Editor

  • Mrs. Janice M. Hores, Assistant Editor

  • Mr. AndrĂ© B. Sobocinski, Assistant Historian/Staff Writer

*Navy Medicine Magazine was produced by The Office of Medical History through 2009.

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