Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Navy otolaryngologist Lajos Balla



On Wednesday, February 22, 2012 Ash Wednesday LOUIS. B. BALLA, M.D. of Washington, D.C. died after a long and courageous battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis. He was born in a small town in Hungary on October 17, 1928 and escaped on foot from his communist-occupied country in 1949 at the young age of 20. He travelled almost 1,000 miles to his planned destination, Brussels, Belgium where he successfully concluded his medical studies. While studying there he met his future wife of 55 years Josephine. After receiving his medical degree he immigrated to the U.S. in 1954 and did his residency training at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. He and Josephine were married on January, 25, 1957 in New York City. In 1958 he was drafted in the Navy and was a practicing Otolaryngologist at the Naval Aviation Base in Pensacola, FL. He retired two years later as Lt. Cmdr. and returned to Bellevue to complete his residency training. In 1961 he settled in Washington, DC and was a successful practicing Otolaryngologist and Plastic Surgeon for almost fifty years. He was also an Associate Clinical Professor Emeritus of Otolaryngology at Georgetown University School of Medicine. In addition to his work in his private practice he was proud of his active membership in two Catholic organizations; The John Carroll Society and the Hungarian Knights of Malta. As a member of both these groups he was able to combine his love of medicine with charitable works. Beloved husband of Josephine Balla and loving father of Brigitte Engleman, Louis Balla and Stephane Balla. He is also survived by his son-in-law, Tom and daughters-in-law, Rosemarie and Pam; and six grandchildren, Philippe, Louis, Lauren, Pierre, Christopher and Claudia. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, March 3 at 12 noon at Little Flower Parish at 5607 Massachusetts Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20816. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Hungarian Knights of Malta, P.O. Box 241, Mt. Vernon, VA 22121.

Archives: Bulshefski Collection

Bulshefski Collection
Personal papers
1 box, unarranged, unrestricted

Records, especially diplomas and certificates of ADM Veronica
Belshefski, USN Nurse Corps. Includes artifacts including Lyndon
Johnson's signing pen for Nurse Corp legislation. 1 oversize piece in
mapcase. Other objects donated to NNCA and WIMSA.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Archives: Pray Journal

Pray Journal
Personal papers
No finding aid, unrestricted, scanned, transcribed.

Surgeon Ezra Pray's Journal aboard US Bark Fernandina, 1861-1862. Donor
provided historical background about Dr. Pray, and a transcription of
the journal, as well as a CD with these documents and the scans of the
journal's pages.

The Naval Historical Foundation's background notes, ""With his
appointment effective 21 October 1861, Pray was designated an "acting
assistant surgeon" and ordered to report to the U.S. Bark Fernandina in
New York City, where he arrived a week before that ship was commissioned
on 16 November 1861. This wooden sailing vessel had started commercial
life as the Florida, built in New Jersey in 1858, with an overall length
115 feet, beam 29 feet, draft 10 feet, and displacement of 297 tons.
Purchased by the Navy on 29 July 1861 for $14,000 and renamed Fernandina
(a town in Florida), she was refitted for naval service, sailed with a
complement of 86 men, and was armed with six 32-pounder muzzle loading
cannon. She was commanded by Acting Volunteer Lieutenant George W.
Browne, who was coming to this assignment with limited previous naval
experience in the young Civil War.

Pray's 154-page journal begins with his application for appointment in
September and his service in Fernandina from November through 18 April
1862; however, he actually began to write his account in late January
through early February 1862, using the ship's official logbook to remind
himself of the key events of his first few months on board. Thus the
journal begins retrospectively until going "live" in February.

Sailing from New York City on 27 November 1861 for duty with the North
Atlantic Blockading Squadron, Pray and his ship arrived on station off
Wilmington, NC on 14 December (after stopping off in Hampton Roads,
Virginia briefly to receive orders from the squadron commodore). Pray
described the experience of going to sea for the first time from his
landlubber's perspective, including observations about the sea, the
ship, and his sea-sickness.

The first few months revealed the monotony of blockade duty, punctuated
with occasional threats not so much from rebel forces but more from the
rough winter weather at sea and the ever-present danger of running
aground on the lee-shore and shoals of the "Graveyard of the Atlantic"
coast. While Pray was a conscientious doctor who looked after his
shipmates with compassion and professionalism, he was clearly hoping for
the excitement of combat and the opportunity to share in prize money for
capturing blockade runners. Christmas day, 1861, brought Fernandina's
first success in this area, as she took blockade runner William H.
Northrop as a prize with a cargo of drugs and coffee.

Within the first few weeks of his five month service in the bark, Pray
began to clash with his commanding officer, Lieutenant Browne. As he
became more familiar with Navy life, Pray came to the conclusion that
Browne was a martinet, incompetent to command, and incapable of keeping
his crew safe and motivated to accomplish their wartime mission."

When Browne shot a sailor in April 1862, the ship was recalled for a
court of inquiry which disrated Browne in May.

"Having filled up all available pages, Pray concluded his journal by
announcing his intention of sending it home for the benefit of friends
and family. Reassigned in June 1862 to the US steamer Cambridge, Dr.
Pray continued his medical service in that and several other Union
warships until his honorable discharge on 1 March 1866.

Pray married Martha J. Hanson of Somersworth, NH on 16 Aug 1865 and
they had two sons. Pray, having returned at some point to farming,
received a pension for his military service, as did his widow some years
later. Fracturing his femur in a fall on ice, Pray died 4 Apr 1918, age
86, at Rochester, NH."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

U.S. Navy Ships Named after Navy Medical Personnel

To date, there have been 43 U.S. Navy ships named after Navy medical personnel--i.e., dentists, hospital corpsmen, nurses, and physicians. Of these ships, 20 are named after hospital corpsmen, 18 after physicians (including three World War II ambulance ships), 4 dentists, and 1 destroyer is named after a Navy nurse, Superintendent Lenah Higbee. For your interest, we have listed these ships below and included a very brief overview of the respective namesake.

Ships named after Navy medical personnel.

USS Benfold (DDG-65)
Commissioned 30 March 1996. Named after Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Edward C. Benfold, USN, KIA Korea, 5 September 1952. (Medal of Honor recipient)

USS Blackwood (DE-219)
Commissioned in December 1943. Named after CDR James D. Blackwood, MC who was KIA while serving in USS Vincennes during the battle of Savo Island, 9 August 1942.

USS Boone (FFG-28)
Commissioned 15 May 1982. Named after Vice Admiral Joel T. Boone, White House physician and pioneer in Navy medicine. (Medal of Honor recipient)

USS Bronstein (DE-189)
Commissioned 13 September 1943. Named after LTJG Ben R. Bronstein, MC, who was KIA while serving aboard the USS Jacob Jones which was sunk by German submarine U-578 off the New Jersey coast, 28 February 1942. There were less than 30 survivors. In 1952, USS Bronstein was transferred to the Republic of Uruguay and renamed the Artigas (DE-2)

USS Caron (DD-970)
Commissioned 1 October 1977. Named after Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Wayne M. Caron, USN, KIA Quang Nam, South Vietnam, 28 July 1968. (Medal of Honor recipient)

USS Crowley (DE-303)
Commissioned 25 March 1944. Named after LCDR Thomas Crowley, DC, who was KIA while serving aboard USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.

USS Dewert (FFG-45)
Commissioned 19 November 1983. Named after Hospitalman Richard Dewert, USNR, KIA Woju, Korea, 5 April 1951. (Medal of Honor recipient)

USS Durant (DE-389)
Commissioned 16 November 1943. Named for Pharmacist’s Mate 3rd Class Kenneth Durant.

USS Frament (DE-677/APD-77)
Commissioned 15 August 1943. Name after Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class Paul Stanley Frament, USNR, KIA Guadalcanal, 19 November 1942.

USS Grayson (DD-435)
Commissioned 7 August 1940. Named after RADM Cary Travers Grayson physician to President Woodrow Wilson.

USS Gendreau (DE-639)
Commissioned 17 March 1944. Named after CAPT Elphege A. M. Genreau, MC, who was KIA while aboard the LST-343 when it was hit by a Japanese dive-bomber, 21 July 1943.

USS Hammond (DE-1067)
Commissioned 25 July 1970. Named after Hospitalman Francis C. Hammond, USN, KIA Sanee-Dong, Korea, 26 March 1953. (Medal of Honor recipient)

USS Halyburton (FFG-40)
Commissioned 7 January 1984. Named after Pharmacist’s Mate William D. Halyburton, Jr, USNR, KIA Okinawa, 10 May 1945. (Medal of Honor recipient)

USS Heerman (DD-532)
Commissioned 6 July 1943. Named after Surgeon’s Mate Lewis Heermann who was put in command of the ketch Intrepid during the hospitalities with the Barbary States in 1804. Help to authorize the establishment of Navy hospitals.

USS Higbee (DD-806)
Commissioned 13 November 1944. Named after the second Navy nurse superintendent and first woman to receive the Navy Cross while still living.

USS Jobb (DE-707)
Commissioned 4 July 1944. Named after Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class Richard P. Jobb who was KIA on Guadalcanal, 26 January 1943.

USS Joy (DE-585)
Commissioned 28 April 1944. Named after Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class Daniel Joy, USNR, KIA Guadalcanal, 5 October 1942.

USS Kane (DD-235)
Commissioned 11 June 1920. Named after Elisha Kent Kane, the naval officer, physician and explorer who pioneered the American route to the North Pole.
Recommissioned 25 September 1939.

USNS Kane (AGS-27. Redesignated APD-18)
Commissioned 20 November 1965. Named after Elisha Kent Kane, the naval officer, physician and explorer who pioneered the American route to the North Pole.

USS Lester (DE-1022)
Commissioned 14 June 1957. Named after Hospital Apprentice Fred F. Lester, USN, KIA Okinawa 8 June 1945. (Medal of Honor Recipient)

USS Litchfield (DD-336)
Commissioned 12 May 1920. Named after Pharmacist’s Mate 3rd Class John R. Litchfield, USN, KIA France, 15 September 1918.

USS Liddle (DE-206)
Ship was laid down and named Liddle, but never commissioned in the U.S. Navy. She was launched 31 May 1943 and transferred to the United Kingdom as HMS Bligh (K-467). Ship was to be named after Hospital Apprentice First Class W.A. Liddle, Jr., KIA in Guadalcanal, 19 August 1942.

USS Longshaw (DD-559)
Commissioned 4 December 1943. Named after William Longshaw, Jr., a 25-year-old Assistant Surgeon who was killed in action during the Civil War while administering to the wounded in an attack on Fort Fisher, NC, 15 January 1865.

USS Miles (DE-183)
Commissioned 4 November 1943. Named after LTJG Samuel S. Miles, MC, KIA on Tulagi, Soloman Islands, 7 August 1942.

USS O’Reilly (DE-330)
Commissioned 28 December 1943. Named after Edward J. O’Reilly, DC, who was KIA while serving aboard USS Astoria, off Guadalcanal, 26 August 1942.

USS Osborne (DD-295)
Commissioned 17 May 1920. Named after LTJG Weedon Osborne DC, who was KIA in the Chateau Thierry area, France while attending to the wounded, 8 May 1917. (Medal of Honor recipient)

USS Parker (DE-369)
Commissioned 25 October 1944. Named after Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class Thaddeus Parker, USN, KIA New Georgia, 20 July 1943.

USS Pinkney (APH-2)
Commissioned November 1942. Named after Medical Director Ninian Pinkney, who is best known for his service as Fleet Surgeon in the Mississippi River Squadron, during the Civil War (1861-1865). In September 1946, Pinkney was transferred to U.S. Army Transportation Service and renamed Private Elden H. Johnson.

USS Rall (DE-304)
Commissioned 8 April 1944. Named after LTJG Richard R. Rall, MC, who was KIA while serving aboard the USS Pennsylvania at Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941.

USS Ray (DD-971)
Commissioned 19 November 1977. Named after Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class David R. Ray, USN, KIA An Hoa, Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam, 28 July 1968. (Medal of Honor recipient)

USS Ringness (DE-590. Redesignated APD-100)
Commissioned 25 October 1944. Named after LT Henry R. Ringness, MC, KIA Guadalcanal, 17 October 1942.

USS Rixey (APH-3)
Commissioned February 1943. Named after former Navy Surgeon General, and medical inspector, RADM Presley M. Rixey. In March 1946, Rixey was transferred to U.S. Army Transportation Service and renamed Private William H. Thomas.

USS Tatum (APD-81)
Commissioned on 22 November 1943. Named after LCDR Laurice Aldridge Tatum, DC, USNR who died aboard the USS Wasp (CV-7) after the ship was hit by an enemy torpedo on 29 May 1942.

USS Tucker (DD-875)
Commissioned on 12 March 1945. Named for Pharmacist’s Mate Third Class Henry W. Tucker (1919–1942) who was killed in action during the battle of the Coral Sea on 7 May 1942 and posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.

USS Tryon (APH-1)
Commissioned 30 September 1942. Named after COMMO James R. Tryon, MC, who served as Navy Surgeon General 1893 to 1897. In 17 July 1947, Tryon was transferred to U.S. Army Transportation Service and renamed Charles E. Mower.

USS Valdez (DE-1096)
Commissioned 27 July 1974. Named after Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Phil I. Valdez, USN, KIA Danang, South Vietnam, 29 January 1967.

USS Walter Wann (DE-412)
Commissioned 2 May 1944. Named after Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class Walter C. Wann, USN, KIA, Guadalcanal, 7 August 1942.

USS Jack Williams (FFG-24)
Commissioned 19 September 1981. Named for Pharmacist’s Mate 2nd Class Jack Williams, USNR, KIA Iwo Jima, 3 March 1945. (Medal of Honor Recipient)

USS John Willis (DE-1027)
Commissioned 21 February 1957. Named for Pharmacist’s Mate 1st Class John Harlan Willis, USN, KIA Iwo Jima, 28 February 1945. (Medal of Honor Recipient)

USS Wood (DE-287)
Construction of this vessel was cancelled before completion. Ship was to be named after COMMO William M. Wood, the first Chief of the Medical Corps to hold the title of Surgeon General (1871).

USS Wood (DD-317)
Commissioned 28 January 1920. Named after COMMO William M. Wood, the first Chief of the Medical Corps to hold the title of Surgeon General (1871).

USS Wood (DD-715)
Commissioned 24 November 1945. Named after COMMO William M. Wood, the first Chief of the Medical Corps to hold the title of Surgeon General (1871).

USS Woods (DE-721. Redesignated APD-118)
Commissioned 28 May 1945. Named after Hospital Apprentice 1st Class Don O. Woods, KIA in Gavutu, Solomon Islands, 8 August 1942.

Archives: Pinckney Chemistry Manuscript

Pinckney Chemistry Manuscript
Personal papers
WO 7 PM 1861
1 volume, no finding aid, unrestricted.

1844 notebook on chemistry by Naval assistant surgeon Ninian Pinckney. Missing initial pages, and rebound at National Archives in 1946. Transferred from Stitt Library.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Film producer looking for Vietnam nuns in Guam in 1975

Kevin Stirling has written to our office for help with a film, but we
only have one photograph for him. He's asked that we publicize his
project a bit more widely. His film is Cloistered: God's Women of Steel
and he can be reached at

His question is:

"The film [Cloistered: God's Women of Steel] is about a group of Nuns
who live in a monastery and their life's journeys along the way toward
choosing a religious life, notably in a cloistered monastery.

One of the Sisters came the U.S. as part of the mass exodus from Viet
Nam in 1975. She and her family traveled by ship from Viet Nam to the
Philippines, then onto Guam before resettling in the U.S.

I am interested trying to locate any photos and or video clips about the
Guam tent cities that I might be allowed to use [Public Domain] that may
be available for my usage in the film as well as any interview

The Sister only remembers traveling on ship No. 16."

Office of Medical History Acquires the Civil War Journal of Acting Assistant Pray

NHF Executive Director Captain Charles T. Creekman, USN (Ret.), left, presents the journal to Jan Herman, Historian of the Navy Medical Department, on 15 Feb 2012

See story below.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cdr. DANIEL N. WILLIAMS death notice

Cdr. DANIEL N. WILLIAMS, USN (Ret.) Commander Daniel Nicholas Williams, of Norfolk, Virginia, died February 15, 2012 in Salisbury, Maryland at the home of his daughter, Kathleen Williams Mommé, surrounded by his loving family. Danny was born on September 10, 1920 in St. Louis, Missouri, son of the late Robert Paul and Mary Healy Williams. He was predeceased by his wife, Pat Williams, and his brother and sister, Vincent Williams and Philomena Ivy. Following graduation from St. John's College High School where he was both an honors student and outstanding athlete, Danny continued his studies over the years at American University, Columbia Law School and George Washington University. In 1942, he began his distinguished United States Naval career which took him around the world on many tours of duty including assignments at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, USS LST 45, USS Pittsburgh, USS Juneau, USS Missouri, USS Brownson and many Naval Hospitals throughout the United States. He served in World War II in both the Asiatic-Pacific Theatre and the American Theatre. Among numerous awards and medals, he received a Navy Commendation from Admiral R.A. Spruance, Com Fifth Fleet; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign; American Campaign; Navy Occupation Service; World War II Victory; Good Conduct; National Defense Service; the Association of Military Surgeons Honorary Medal; three citations for heroic action and four life saving commendations. Danny was one of the pioneers of the National Tissue Transplant Bank at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, which was the first of its kind in the world. He specialized in the medical and legal aspects of human tissue transplantation. His role in drafting the first comprehensive law governing transplantation was key to the official Congressional law passed in 1955. Memberships included The Association of Military Surgeons, The Retired Officers Association, The Fleet Reserve Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, The American Legion, The USS Missouri Association, The Disabled American Veterans and the Knights of Columbus. Following retirement in 1974, Danny spent thousands of hours annually volunteering with DePaul Hospital, Holy Trinity Church, the Veteran's Administration, Meals on Wheels and the Juvenile Court System. In addition to his volunteer efforts, Danny enjoyed reading, travelling, dancing with the Virginia Shag Club, fishing, spending summer vacations with all his children and grandchildren in Nagshead, NC, and making all around him smile by sharing his great Irish jokes and stories. He is survived by his one son, Daniel Nicholas Williams, II (Leesburg, VA); three daughters, Patricia Ann Koehler (Silver Spring, MD), Theresa Marie Ceglowski (Roanoke, VA) and Kathleen Denise Mommé (Salisbury, MD); devoted sons-in-law, Robert Koehler and Andrew Mommé; 17 grandchildren; David Riggin, Alicia Fisher, Robert Koehler, Jr., Jacqueline Shepherd, Lauren Williams, Alexandra Williams, Alyson Williams, Shannon Williams, Kevin Ceglowski, Liz Hutton, Eric Ceglowski, Mary Austin, Caitlin Ceglowski, Daniel Ceglowski, Drew Mommé, Julie Anne Mommé and Michael Patrick Mommé. He will also be dearly missed by nine great grandchildren, numerous loving nieces and nephews, many cousins in County Cork, Ireland, his devoted friend, Sharon Furlough...and many caring DePaul Hospital Volunteers and Staff. A funeral service will be held in the Post Chapel at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors at 8:45 a.m. on May 31, 2012. Memorial contributions may be made to The United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore, Suite 202, 801 North Salisbury Blvd., Salisbury, Maryland 21801. Arrangements are in the care of Holloway Funeral Home, 501 Snow Hill Rd. Salisbury, Maryland 21804.To send condolences to the family visit:Arrangements are in the care of Holloway Funeral Home, 501 Snow Hill Rd. Salisbury, Maryland 21804.To send condolences to the family visit:

Published in The Washington Post on February 19, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Archives: Vance Photograph Album

Vance Photograph Album
Personal papers
No finding aid, unrestricted

Photograph album of Dr. Deane Harold Vance, MC, USN, with aviation
medicine photographs and clippings from the 1920s, and family
photographs from the 1950s. CDR Vance was born on October 17, 1891,
enlisted on September 10, 1917, and retired on May 1, 1937. He returned
to duty in World War 2. He was a flight surgeon and a medical inspector.
The clippings cover Vance's service as a surgeon on an airplane

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Got Grog? The 2012 Winter Edition is now available

It is with great pleasure that we present to you the latest edition of THE GROG, A Journal of Navy Medical Culture and Heritage. In this issue, we offer you a look back at a very key year for the U.S. Navy Medical Department, 1942. Host to the Battles of Guadalcanal, Coral Sea, and Midway, this challenging and transformative year also marked the beginning of the U.S. Navy Mobile/Fleet Hospital Program and the integration of women into the Navy. We follow this article with "The Shadow Nurse," the stunningly true tale of two Navy nurses who succesfully switched lives and careers. Finally, Chief Nurse J. Beatrice Bowman returns to the present day to show the reader around the only Navy hospital ship that was specifically built from the keel up as a hospital ship. As always we hope you enjoy your humble tour of Navy medicine's past. And feel free to pass this link to anyone who enjoys history.

THE GROG is accessible through the link below. PDF copies are availaible too for all interested parties.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Captain STEPHANIE M. SIMON (MSC) funeral service tomorrow


Medical Service Corps, U.S. Navy  

Age 54, died Wednesday, January 4, 2012, at her home in San Antonio, Texas. She was born March 23, 1957, in Cincinnati, Ohio to Steven and Jeanne Feher. Mrs. Simon earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy at the University of Cincinnati in June 1984, received her commissioning in the U.S. Navy in June 1990, and a Master of Arts in Health Services Management from Webster University, Saint Louis, Missouri in July, 1993. She received a diploma in National Security and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College, College of Naval Command and Staff in June, 2004. CAPT Simon's military awards include: Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon, Navy Rifle Marksmanship Medal with silver E, and Navy Pistol Marksmanship Medal with silver E. Mrs. Simon is survived by her husband, Douglas V. Wade, Jr. and son, Nicholas Wade.
Interment Tuesday, Februsry 14, 2012, 11 a.m. at Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to the Women in Pharmacy Conference Room,
You are invited to sign the guestbook at Arrangements with
1101 McCullough Ave., San Antonio, TX 78212.
(210) 227-8221

Published in The Washington Post on February 12, 2012

Friday, February 10, 2012

Archives: Naval Medical Society Journal

Naval Medical Society Journal
Organizational records
VG 100 N 316
1 volume, no finding aid, unrestricted

"A rough, hand written journal containing the records, minutes, notes,
etc, of the Naval Medical Society from April 27, 1882 to December 25,
1886. By several authors. (Medical Officers of the Navy)" - from a label
on the front of the journal. Book was transferred in early 2011 from
NNMC Bethesda with Stitt Library collection. Binding repaired with tape.

Archives: Law Collection (UPDATED)

Law Case Book
Personal papers
VG 263 Lc 1870
3 volumes, no finding aid, unrestricted.

"Case Book of Assistant Surgeon H.L. Law. U.S. Navy. From Nov. 9th 1870,
to 15th Feby. 1875." Homer Law notes he served on the Congress "having been
attached to her, and on duty, 3 years, 2 mos, 15 days. During this time
I have treated cases of the following named diseases or injuries." and a
list follows. He then reported to the Sabine where he "had a daily
average of patients of much less than one." His case book is broken into
sections: Hygiene and description of the U.S.S. "Congress" (2nd Rate);
General Hygiene, Medical Topography and description of Stations and
places visited (including Key West, Dominica, Haiti, St. Thomas, Havana,
Cuba, Southampton, England, Cherbourg, Nice and Toulon, France, Naples,
Italy, Lisbon, Portugal, Jaffa, Syria); and A few of the cases treated,
since my entry into the Naval Service; with the history, course,
duration and treatment adopted in each case. The case book appears to
have been compiled from pre-existing notes into this notebook. Book was
transferred in early 2011 from NNMC Bethesda with Stitt Library
collection. Spine is broken and binding repaired with tape.

Also includes a volume labeled Medical Department Journal of the U.S.S. Ranger, 1876 – actually Law’s letterpress book containing copies of his correspondence, with an index to correspondents at the beginning. Finally, there is a folder of correspondence on his Naval career from 1880-1907.

Johnson Collection finding aid

Johnson Collection


U.S. Navy BUMED Office of Medical History


Date of Records: 1898 - 1959


Size: Approx. 3 linear feet (7 boxes)


Biographical Note:  TBD


Scope/Series Description:  Rear Admiral Lucius W. Johnson (MC) had a strong interest in medical history and was an authority on hospital ships during the 1940s. He also was interested in the law of the sea. The Johnson Collection consists of various documents, photographs and three-dimensional objects relating to U.S. Naval Hospitals, Hospital ships, Naval medicine and disease spanning World Wars 1 and 2. 




Box 1:


1.         Typescript, "History of U.S. Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, N.Y."

            Four photographs of the hospital including first ambulance.

2.         U.S. Navy From 1775 To 1853 book.

3.         Bound set of All Hands newsletters from 1944-1946 in leather album entitled "The Stethoscoop & All Hands." News Paper of U.S. Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, N.Y. Presented by Harry Gernler. 15 February 1958. The Fifteenth Anniversary of the Commissioning of the U.S. Naval Hospital, St. Albans, Long Island, New York.

4.         Reprints and typescripts on The Hague and Geneva Conventions including

Revision of the Hague Convention of 1907 concerning the adaptation to warfare at sea of the Principles of the Geneva Convention.

5.         Object: Civilian Employee Identification Badge, U.S. Naval Hospital,  

Brooklyn, NY in wooden box, circa 1918. 


Box 2:


1.         Three portfolios containing reprints, typescripts and correspondence relating to the history of U.S. Navy hospital ships.                                     

2.         Five portfolios containing reprints, typescripts and correspondence relating to the history of U.S. Navy hospital ships. 

3.         Bound book of reprints on various medical topics written by Lucius Johnson.

4.         USS Relief.  One reprint, typescript and design plan relating to a fleet hospital ship.


Box 3:


1.         World War 1 German attacks on hospital ships.  One reprint and typescript regarding the German misuse of British hospital ships.  Also contains a pilot chart map of the Atlantic Ocean.

2.         Hospital ship photographs.  Photographs, one reprint and notes regarding various hospital ships such as USS Red Rover, USS Mercy, USS Relief and USS Solace.  Also contains photographs of Japanese, Russian and British hospital ships.

3.         Hospital ships reprints and typescripts.  Includes information on hospital ships, USS Main, USS Solace and USS Relief.

4.         USS Relief photographs and negatives including indoor amenities.

5.         Fleet hospital ships - reprints, typescripts and correspondence.

6.         USS Relief photographs. 


Box 4:


1.         Yellow Fever.  Reprints and typescripts regarding the discovery,

            epidemiology and vaccination of Yellow Fever.   

2.         Yellow Fever.  Reprints and typescripts regarding the discovery,

            epidemiology and vaccination of Yellow Fever.   

3.         Collection of typescripts regarding Yellow Fever on ships of Union

            Navy Civil War period.



Box 5:


1.         Navy historical papers (1898 – 1903).  Contains correspondence and examination reports of John Milton Kerr (HS), U.S.R.S. Franklin; Louis Hildebrandt (HC), U.S.R.S. Vermont; William J. Williams (HC), U.S.S. Detroit.

2.         Portrait of Dr. Richmond C. Holcomb (Captain, Medical Corps).

3.         Portrait of Dr. Ralph McDowell (Captain, Medical Corps).  Includes obituary.

4.         Naval Hospital newsletters (1958 – 1959).

5.         Photographs of students of first graduating class, Hospital Corps School, Great Lakes and Newport.


Box 6:


1.         Reprints, typescripts and correspondence regarding scurvy and other

            vitamin deficiency diseases.

2.         Leprosy - contains Kalaupapa, a collection of articles on the leprosarium on Molokai, Hawaii, written by Ernie Pyle, 1937 - 1938.

3.         Object: Complete standard Navy package of "Human Serum Albumin," earliest version.



Box 7:


1.         Small box of photographs of U.S. Naval Mobile Base Hospital, No. 1, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  November 1940.

2.         Small box of photographs of U.S. Naval Base Hospital, No. 6, Base Ebon, Espiritu Santo, New Hebrides Island.  1942 – 1943.

3.         a. One map and two blueprints of Lion Naval Hospital at Espirito Santo Island, San Hebrides, 1943.

b. One map of Naval Reservation in San Diego, CA, 1944.

4.         Notebook which contains reprints, typescript and handwritten notes on medical care.



Johanna Medlin, 2/2012








Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Look Back: VADM George Weynes Calver, MC, USN (1884-1972)

VADM George W. Calver in his Congressional Office, 1966

BUMED Library and Archives

Navy physicians have served practically everywhere—on Polar explorations, in equatorial jungles, and even outer space. Perhaps no less mundane, and arguably as exiting, is the unique post of Attending Physician to Congress which was created in 1928, and first occupied by the U.S. Navy’s Dr. George Weynes Calver.

As birth and renewal always follows death and decay; Dr. George Weynes Calver’s post was conceived only after a succession of congressional deaths in April of 1928. Most alarming of these was that of Representative Martin Barnaby Madden, IN (R) who suffered a heart attack in his office on 27 April and was left unattended for two hours before finally succumbing to his neglect. News of Representative Madden’s untimely end chimed throughout Capitol Hill highlighting the need for an onsite capital physician who could attend to the health affairs of Senators and Representatives.

Representative Fred Britten, IL, Chairman of the House Naval Affairs, took special interest in recruiting this prospective caregiver. After conferring with Speaker of the House Nickolas Longworth, Britten submitted House Resolution 253 to the 70th Congress. This bill, which stated that the “Secretary of the Navy is hereby requested to assign a medical officer of the Navy to be in attendance at the Hall of the House of Representatives,” was agreed upon unanimously. And on 8 December 1928, LCDR George Calver, MC, USNR, then on assignment at the Naval Dispensary in Washington, DC, was chosen for this position.

The son of a District of Colombia doctor, Dr. Calver was born in the capital city on 24 November 1887. After obtaining his Medical Degree from The George Washington University Medical School, Calver chose a career in the U.S. Navy. Dr. Calver, would spend 45 years out of his 53- year service career and 76 years of his life in Washington, DC. This is not to say that some of his non-Washington duty stations were not without worth. While serving at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Canacao, Philippines, Calver met and married Ms. Jesse Willits, the daughter of Rear Admiral Albert B. Willits. Both of Dr. and Mrs. Calver’s offspring—two daughters—would eventually marry Navy physicians.

When Calver first reported to his new assignment in 1928, he was a man with little hope of serving more than then three years in this capacity. Much to his surprise, at the close of his tenure, in 1931, Congress prohibited Dr. Calver’s departure, marking his post as “permanent.” Although the official reason may not be on public record, one must wonder if Dr. Calver’s effectiveness in the role was somehow bolstered by a charming, yet professional, personality. In a sense, Dr. Calver was the perfect physician for House (of Representatives) calls; being ever-equipped with his medical bag of sage advice. “Give 5 per cent of your time to keeping well,” advised Calver. “You won’t have to give 100 per cent getting over being sick.” And if photographs offer any clues into the nature of a human being’s soul, then Dr. Calver was a kind and caring grand fatherly type—even as a young man he wore a cloak of maturity.

During his long tenure as Attending Physician, which stretched 38 years, Dr. Calver earned a reputation as a cardiologist. And his office located in the Capitol building was said to have contained the largest collection electro-cardiograph reports in the world.

As should be expected, Dr. George Calver’s profession came before his politics. As he often reminded his partisan pals, “There’s not a whit of difference between Democratic and Republican belly aches—they all hurt.”

By the time of his retirement in 1966, it was evident that Dr. Calver had made an impact on the health of his patients: all varieties of Senators and Representatives; congressional officials, and employees; reporters and even tourists. Dr. Calver once estimated that less than 6 members of Congress died compared to the average of 20 per year in 1928. One of his patients—then a freshman Senator from Missouri—adopted Dr. Calver’s prescribed practice of daily walks. Even after becoming President, Harry S. Truman continued this form of exercise.

Upon his retirement in September 1966, Dr. Calver was promoted to the rank of Vice Admiral. His retirement was short-lived, however, as VADM Calver passed away at his home in Washington, DC on 27 February 1972.

Perhaps Admiral Calver’s legacy is best encapsulated in one of his pithy sayings: “Make a man live correctly to be well and he will hate but respect you. But if you cure him of his ills resulting from his own folly he will think you a saint on earth.” Healthy advice for politicians and non-politicians, alike.


BUMED Library and Archives, Biography and Photograph Collection
Congressional Record – House of Representatives, 12 October 1966
Rouh, DM. “Physician to Congress.” The Washington Evening Star Pictorial Magazine. 14 June 1953