Centennial History Committee of the College of Medicine
The history of an institution like the University of Nebraska College of Medicine can be viewed from a number of perspectives. In the history of medicine, the University of Nebraska College of Medicine mirrors, with its own singular shape, the growth of medical science and the medical profession during a century of great change and discovery. In the perspective of the history of education in Nebraska, the college stands as one more expression of society's efforts to train individuals for one of its most vital and necessary professions, and to offer opportunities for education and training to its citizens. In the development of Omaha, of Douglas County, and of Nebraska, the college has evolved as an institution fostered by the society growing up on the American frontier, to meet increasing demands for medical expertise and training. What the University of Nebraska College of Medicine has become is the result of these and other powerful forces creating, by interaction and synthesis, a modern institution capable of meeting today's need for quality medical care.
Our purpose here is to trace the College of Medicine's first century of growth and change, to describe the alchemy that has transformed the original Omaha Medical College, a two-story building at 11th and Mason Streets, into the College of Medicine of today, an integral part of the multi-disciplinary University of Nebraska Medical Center in mid-town Omaha. We wish to celebrate those one hundred years of achievement and credit some of the many individuals who have contributed. Beyond these intentions, we have one more. By examining the last hundred years of the medical college, we may learn better how to guide its next hundred years of progress.
Frank J. Menolascino, M.D.
Chairman, Centennial History Committee
Edward A. Holyoke
Medical schools, perhaps more than other institutions, seem to attract a succession of individuals of strong personality to their faculties. Some of these "characters" are remembered because of their warmth, generosity, and wisdom. Others are remembered for less endearing traits. Both types are commemorated in this book of the memoirs of Dr. Ed Holyoke. The author faithfully and very effectively served the Anatomy Department and the College through 50 years of dramatic changes and draws mainly from his own rich store of personal reminiscences to fashion this delightful book. At times only a thin disguise protects him from identification as the perpetrator of some of the more mischievous pranks.
Here is an account of student high spirits, practical jokes, and the antics of members of faculty, sometimes quaint, often amusing, occasionally outrageous. These memoirs paint vivid pictures of colorful individuals who walked the halls of a College of Medicine and University Hospital in days gone by, and whose ghosts, so it is reported, still haunt these same corridors.
The non-medical reader may ask, "Was medical school really like this?", or perhaps somewhat more ruefully, "Was the distinguished gentleman, who is now my trusted physician, once a student like those spotlighted in this text?" Alas, it may be so. However, in spite of the high spirits of student days, it remains true that the College of Medicine at the University of Nebraska has over the years more than adequately fulfilled its responsibility to train high-quality physicians for service to the community. Indeed, the boisterous good humor of college days almost certainly contributed to those qualities of character required in the physician. A physician's robust common sense, his sense of humor, his equanimity in facing stress, are amongst the ingredients necessary for his role as a comfortor of the sick and distressed, and as an adviser and supporter of those who face fear, loss or tragedy.
Books describing medical faculty and student life have always held a fascination, but to none more than the individuals who lived these times and experiences themselves. Undoubtedly, therefore, this book will create special interest and nostalgia in alumni of the College.
Richard Gordon pulled back the curtain on medical student education elsewhere, some years ago, with his "Doctor in the House" series of publications. Dr. Ed Holyoke has done a similar superb job in drawing back the curtain in Nebraska to reveal the effervescent sub-culture which makes up the life of medical students and faculty.
Alastair M. Connell, M.D.
University of Nebraska College of Medicine
A Prairie Doctor of the Eighties: Some Personal Recollections and Some Early Medical and Social History of a Prairie State
Francis A. Long and Maggie E. Long
On the occasion of the Centennial of the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, it is most fitting that the Centennial Committee of the Medical Center reissue this quite marvelous autobiography by Dr. Francis A. Long. A Prairie Doctor of the Eighties is a valuable book, both in the literary and the historical sense. It is thus my pleasure to provide a Preface to a book about a man I knew and admired.
Francis Long was born on February 16, 1859 and grew up near Kreidersville, Pennsylvania. He worked as a common laborer about the coal mines, in car shops and as an accountant in a lumber yard in Carbon County, Pennsylvania. He came west with his family in December 1976 to Moulton, lowa. Following graduation from Normal School, he taught school for two years near Moulton. He studied medicine in an apprenticeship under a physician with whom he boarded while teaching school. ln 1880 he entered the Medical School of the University of Iowa. Following graduation in 1882 he located in Madison, Nebraska, where he began the medical practice he describes so vividly in this book.
A pioneer in early medicine in Nebraska, he was active in local, district, and state medical organizations such as the Madison-Five Counties, the Elkhorn Valley, and the Missouri Valley. In fact, every association with medicine as its dominating interest received his cooperation and active support. He was president of the Nebraska Medical Association in 1906-07. He was the Nebraska delegate to the American Medical Association in Atlantic City in 1907, in Chicago in 1908, and in Los Angeles in 1911. He was the Nebraska delegate to the A. M.A. Council on Medical Education in 1909-10. He became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1915.
His great role, in his latter professional years, was that of medical editor and publisher. A state medical association publication was first proposed by Francis A. Long in his presidential address before the State Association in 1907. He made a study of sixteen medical publications then in circulation. Nothing further was done until 1913 when Dr. Long was made chairman of a committee to investigate the contract with the then-existing journal. He was empowered to establish a state medical association journal in 1916.
Under Dr. Long's editorial direction, from 1920 to his death in 1937, the Nebraska State Medical Journal flourished both as a medium for excellent scientific papers and as a common visible bond that united the urban physician of Nebraska with his counterpart practicing in the far-flung towns of western Nebraska. For those of us who knew Dr. Long personally, we found that he was always fair and supportive in his editorial comments and judgments. He was soft spoken and a perfectionist in his craft.
Dr. Long carried on a large practice even while his editorial labors took a great deal of his time. Eventually, his health made it necessary for him to retire from medical practice to devote full-time to the editorship of the Journal and to the duties required for the supervision of organized medicine on both state and national fronts. He felt that the Nebraska State Medical Journal was perhaps the most cohesive thing in the state's medical organization, and its influence should be widened by catering to the human side of all physicians of the state. He felt that the physician is, first of all, a scientific personage; but he is also a human being with tastes for the lighter things pertaining to his professional life. He felt the esprit de corps of the profession must be nurtured. To him this implied that sympathy, devotion, enthusiasm and a zealous honor of the body as a whole should be preserved at all times. He also believed that frank discussion in open forum of the problems of the profession was vital to its progress.
For those of us that were privileged to know this unusual man during our formative years, he was a figure of great stature. He was indeed a physician of multifaceted disciplines. First and foremost, he was industrious, imaginative, honest, and forthright in his thinking and the execution of his many offices. As physicians or as citizens, we should be proud of this pioneer of the medical profession in Nebraska, and pleased that this excellent book is here available to us again.
Harley Anderson, M.D.
University of Nebraska
College of Medicine, Class of 1925
Omaha, Nebraska, June, 1980