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Curriculum Changes

During 1921-22 the medical curriculum was revised so as to consolidate some of the classes and make the course more uniform. Prior to this time there had been two transfers a year of students from Palo Alto to San Francisco. . Now, this was limited to one transfer in April. The work taken in San Francisco was prescribed along the lines specified by the Association of American Medical Colleges, with a total of 4, 000 hours in the curriculum. As a result of this revision, comparatively little regular undergraduate work was offered during the summer quarter, and opportunity was given, at that time, to offer special and advanced courses, particularly for research students and for graduates in Medicine. [37]

Two years later, in 1923-24, the Medical Faculty appointed a committee to revise the medical curriculum. On the recommendation of this committee it was decided that all required work in the Medical School be reduced by eight per cent. This reduced the total number of hours of required work to something less than the 4, 000 hours which were required by state law. The students were, therefore, required to make up the difference by doing elective work. In this work they had the choice of any department in the Medical School, and the time could be used in research in preparation of their required thesis. The new schedule was a great improvement over the old one in that it did away with a good part of the overcrowding, and made it possible for the students to have an additional free afternoon a week. [38]

Class size was increased from 25 to 50 in the autumn of 1920. In order to accommodate the larger classes and to make the teaching at the Medical School in San Francisco more effective, the schedule of work for the medical students during the third and fourth medical years was completely revised in 1925-26. One of the objects of this revision was to give the students as much practical experience as possible. To accomplish this, the third-year medical students were assigned to practical ward work at the Lane and San Francisco Hospitals during the forenoons of the third year. During the fourth year the students would work in the mornings in the outpatient department where they would, in so far as possible, have full charge of the patients under the supervision of the attending physicians. During the fifth year they would return to the hospital as student interns. Under this arrangement, it was expected that the students, through their practical experience, would develop sufficient initiative to cover the theoretical work to a great extent by personal effort and intensive selective reading. [39] [40]

In 1926-27 it was decided to create a permanent Committee on Curriculum at San Francisco on which all departments located there were to be represented. An important step forward was then taken by the introduction of departmental examinations instead of course examinations. [41]

In summary, the number of graduates from the Medical School in 1916 was twenty-four, and the number of students per class was limited to twenty-five. By 1933, the annual graduates numbered forty-seven, and the student limit per class had been increased to fifty. In 1933-34 the size of the first year entering class was increased to 60 according to the Annual Announcement. As an indication of the growing reputation of the School, there were often as many as two to three-hundred applicants for the beginning class. [42]


Research in the Ophüls' Years

We have amply documented the commitment to research that characterized the Medical School from its inception. The momentum generated during Dr. Wilbur's tenure as Dean led to ever-increasing productivity by the faculty under the administration of his successors who modified the curriculum to encourage research efforts by the students.

In 1929, at the request of a government agency, a Survey of Research at Stanford University was conducted by a Research Survey Committee of the University. The Survey, published in the Annual Report of the President to the Trustees for the year ending August 31, 1929, included an impressive summary of the facilities available to and the research in progress by 24 members of the Medical Faculty. [43]

Also In 1929, the number of research publications of the Medical Faculty over the previous ten years was determined and proved to be 1300; that is an average of 130 per year. These data are indicative of the extent of research in the Medical School. The quality of the research is attested to by the sources of funding which included such sources as the Rockefeller Institute, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the United States interdepartmental Social Hygiene Board, and others.

A large share of this research work was concerned with basic problems in anatomy, physiology, and allied sciences with the aim of laying the foundations on which practical advances in the prevention and alleviation of suffering might rest. For example, an extensive study of the anatomy and physiology of the kidney was undertaken for information of value in treating Bright's Disease. Stanford's Department of Bacteriology succeeded in measuring the infantile paralysis virus and sought more information about it. More knowledge was also being sought about the endocrine glands, particularly the pituitary.

The Department of Pharmacology rendered a wide service in developing methods of standardization. The United States Department of Agriculture stationed investigators in Pharmacology to make extended studies on the toxicity of metals, insecticides, preservatives, and other adulterants found in foods. The research experts of the Stanford School of Medicine working with those from the University of California helped the canning industry to control botulism, a virulent form of food poisoning. [44]


Library of the History of Medicine Established

In 1913 Miss Louise Ophüls, sister of Dr. William Ophüls, was appointed Librarian of the Lane Medical Library, a position which she held for the next thirty years. It was during these three decades, and through the generosity and foresight of Dr. Adolph Barkan, Emeritus Professor of Structure and Diseases of Eye, Ear, and Larynx, that a Library of the History of Medicine in Lane Medical Library was conceived and established.

During the year 1919-20 Dr. Barkan, advised by Dr. Karl Sudhoff, Director of the Institute for the History of Medicine at the University of Leipzig, decided to create a Library of the History of Medicine for Lane Library (instead of one limited to the history of ophthalmology and otolaryngology as he previously envisioned). Dr. Sudhoff recommended purchase of the valuable private library of Dr. Ernst Seidel, a collection strong in ancient medical authors. Dr. Barkan requested assistance from the Board of Trustees and the University Librarian in purchasing the Seidel collection with the following result as recorded by Miss Ophüls in the Annual Report of the President for the year ending August 31 1921. [45]

Of noteworthy importance is the start which has been made on a collection of material on the history of medicine through the generous interest and efforts of Dr. Adolph Barkan. The sum of $4,500 has been set aside by the Trustees from the L. C. Lane funds and to this Dr. Barkan has added $3, 000 to establish a fund for the purchase of books in this field. During his recent travels in Italy and Germany Dr. Barkan made a number of small purchases and then finally secured the personal library of Dr. Ernst Seidel comprising about 4,500 volumes and representing the work of a lifetime in bringing together the fundamental material necessary to the study of the history of medicine.

The Seidel collection is rich in material on Oriental medicine (in the Arabic, Turkish and Persian languages). Equal in value is that portion of the collection containing the ancient medical authors of the Occident. The works of the famous physicians of the 15th and 16th centuries are represented, partly in very rare original editions; the Greek and Roman classics of medicine are to be found without exception; and the whole library is rounded out by those publications of earlier and more recent date which are necessary for the study of the history of medicine. (The historical collection in Lane Library also now includes, among many others, such valuable acquisitions as the first edition of Vesalius' works on anatomy and a lengthy treatise of Ambroise Paré.)

During 1923-24 the third floor of the Lane Medical Library building was remodeled to accommodate the Barkan Library on the History of Medicine. New stacks were installed on the various floors, and exhibit cases and a beautiful reading room were provided on the second floor. The history collection increased rapidly in extent and significance as a result of purchases made possible by Dr. Barkan's annual contribution of $ 500, so that the Lane collection soon attained a respected position among history of medicine libraries nationally. [46]

The new reading room for the medical history collection on the second floor provided admirable quarters for this special library and also afforded working space amidst quiet and comfortable surroundings for those engaged in research. Soon after its completion Dr. Barkan held a meeting in the new room to which he invited all the physicians in the vicinity interested in the history of medicine. Tentative plans for the organization of a society of medical history were made but never carried out. [47]

During the next ten years, Dr. Sudhoff at the Institute for the History of Medicine in Leipzig continued to advise Dr. Barkan on the systematic purchase of books to augment Lane Library's History of Medicine collection. For example, in 1925-26 Dr. Barkan made a further contribution of $2032 to be expended by Dr. Sudhoff in the acquisition of books for the medical history collection, which was enriched on this occasion by some very rare items. It was to facilitate such transactions that a complete file of Lane's History of Medicine Collection was maintained at the Institute in Leipzig. [48] [49]

Dr. Barkan Endows History of Medicine Library

Beginning January 1 1928, Dr. Adolph Barkan, made the University a gift of $1,000 a month for ten months, this sum of $10,000 to serve as a permanent endowment for the History of Medicine and Natural Sciences in the Lane Medical Library. [50]

Dr. Barkan requested that the first special library which he previously endowed in the Lane Medical Library be named "The Helmholtz Library of Ophthalmology and Oto-rhino-laryngology," founded by Dr. and Mrs. A. Barkan;" and that the second special library, which he was endowing with a gift of $10,000, be named "The Harvey Library of the History of Medicine and Natural Sciences, founded by Dr. and Mrs. A. Barkan." [51]

In her annual report to the Director of University Libraries for the academic year ending August 31, 1928 Miss Ophüls reported that Dr. Barkan, at Christmas, surprised her with a splendid gift of $500 for the purchase of old, rare books. [52]

Dr. Barkan also clarified the manner in which the interest from the $10,000 endowment was to be used. He specified that it was to be expended only for the purchase of old and rare books and that all modern publications on historical subjects were to be bought from other funds. [53]

To further his plan to stimulate the interest of the medical profession in the study of the history of medicine, Dr. Barkan conceived the idea of publishing in each month's issue of California and Western Medicine a short article on some historical topic. The editor of the journal kindly consented to do this. Under the title "The Lure of Medical History" several very interesting articles were written by members of the medical staff and many of the younger physicians began to be quite interested in the subject.

The greatest step forward in arousing the interest of students in historical subjects was taken by Dr. R. L. Reichert, Associate Professor of Surgery. During the academic year 1927-28 he gave an informal seminar once a weak in which he spoke about the famous men of medicine, and each week the books pertaining to their historical period were placed on exhibition. The seminar, which was elective and separate from the regular course in the history of medicine, was well attended. [54]


The Medical History Collection was formally dedicated at a meeting held in the Medical History Room on the evening of January 11, 1932. The principal speaker upon this occasion was Professor Henry E. Sigerist, of the Institute of Medical History at Leipzig (now at the Johns Hopkins University). Dean Ophüls outlined the development of the collection, and Dr. Rixford spoke feelingly of the life and work of Dr. Barkan its founder. [55]


The Herzstein Bequests

Dr. Morris Herzstein was a humanitarian and philanthropist who died in San Francisco on October 25, 1927. In his will he left two generous bequests to Stanford University. One was the sum of $100,000 for the establishment of a Chair of Biology in the University to be named in his honor.

The second was the sum of $20,000, the income of which was to be used jointly by the University of California and Stanford University for medical lectures, these lectures to be known as

The Morris Herzstein Course of Medical Lectures

The respective Presidents of the two Universities jointly make all arrangements as to time, place and subject of the lectures which shall be open to the public, and no fee shall be charged for the privilege of attending the same. [56]


Buildings Completed during Dr. Ophüls' Administration

We have already reported on the following two construction projects conceived during Dr. Wilbur's tenure as Dean , but not completed until Dr. Ophüls' deanship:

  • 1.) Stanford University Hospital (work begun on excavation of the foundation on 24 June 1916 and opened for patients on 26 December 1917);
  • 2.) Stanford School of Nursing (work begun in 1920 and formally opened on 31 March 1922).
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