American Veterinary Medical History Society – July 6, 2023
The American Veterinary Medical History Society (AVMHS) held its annual meeting virtually on July 6.
Dr. Marianne Y. Ash, immediate past president of the AVMHS, welcomed the virtual attendees. Dr. John H. de Jong, president of the society, introduced Dr. Susan D. Jones, a professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior at the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences, who spoke on "Global Aspects of the History of Veterinary Medicine."
J. Fred Smithcors Student Veterinary History Essay Contest, sponsored by the Donaldson Charitable Trust
First place—Emma Gildner (Oklahoma State '25), for "The Taming of the Screw(worm): A History of the Sterile Insect Technique"; second place—Reese Bailey (Kansas State '25), for "Nineteenth Century Urban Crisis: The Horse as a Public Health Hazard"; third place (tie)—Mahala Furman (Oklahoma State '24), for "Dr. Sophia Yin: Turning the Tides of Veterinary Medicine"; and Carlie J. Dill (Kansas State '25), for "Merrill's Marauders: The Brave Men and Mules Who Found Victory"; fourth place—Courtney Labé (University of Minnesota '25), for "Becoming Mr. Turkey: The Career of Dr. Benjamin Pomeroy"
Similar to previous years, members had been sent a postcard prior to the meeting. This year's postcard, in conjunction with Dr. Jones' presentation on various historical developments affecting veterinary medicine globally, featured a mid-18th century line drawing of "Proportions Geometrales du Cheval" from Claude Bourgelat's book "Elemens d'Hippiatrique," published in the mid-18th century.
Reports were presented on ongoing AVMHS activities, including the publication of two issues of the bulletin Veterinary Heritage in December 2022 and in July 2023; the distribution of five certificates to veterinary hospitals and clinics as part of the society's Registry of Heritage Veterinary Practices, which honors veterinary hospitals and clinics nationwide that are more than 50 years old; the addition of stories to AVMHS Time-Bites, a series of historical ministories, links to which are regularly published in the Veterinary Information Network's email newsletters; and the 2023 J. Fred Smithcors Student Veterinary History Essay Contest. Two books were distributed in appreciation to all students who participated in the 2022 essay contest. Four AVMHS Interim News & Comment newsletters were produced and sent to the membership in September and November 2022 and in February and June 2023.
Dr. Helen Wojcinski, chair of the Membership Committee, reminded members of the benefits of serving on committees and participating in group projects. Dr. Susan Aiello, editor of the Guideposts book project, indicated that a decision had been made to postpone reprinting copies of the book "Guideposts for Veterinary Professionals," a book that had been shipped to veterinary colleges in the United States and Canada for free distribution to students for the past two years. She also reported that manuscript preparation and fundraising efforts are continuing toward publication of the book "Five Brothers, Five Irishmen, Five Veterinary Surgeons" by Dr. John Going.
The Museum Committee, chaired by Dr. Zbigniew Wojcinski, held six virtual meetings during the year. Committee members fielded several inquiries regarding the identification and donation of antique veterinary instruments and other memorabilia. A procedure for facilitating those inquiries is being pursued along with updating the society's veterinary and related museums directory.
Dr. Fred Born noted that five sets of historical wooden ornaments depicting early veterinary college buildings, which include an accompanying booklet, were still available at a discounted price. Dr. Shannon Greeley provided information on the society's display at the Student AVMA (SAVMA) Symposium, held March 17-19 in Champaign, Illinois, where tasseled bookmarks were given to those who signed up for information about the society and how to become involved in understanding veterinary history. She recommended fostering further association with SAVMA in the future.
Dr. John H. de Jong, Newton, Massachusetts, president; Dr. Margaret M. Brosnahan, Scottsdale, Arizona, program chair and president-elect; Susanne K. Whitaker, Ithaca, New York, secretary-treasurer; Dr. Marianne Y. Ash, Lafayette, Indiana, immediate past president; and members at large—Diane A. Fagen, Rockford, Illinois; Dr. Shannon Greeley, Burbank, Illinois; Dr. Mary Beth Leininger, Lawrence, Kansas; and Dr. G. Sierra Schneider, Terrebonne, Oregon
A version of this story appears in the December 2023 print issue of JAVMA.