Chapter 28: Music and Medicine in the 1930's

If the business organization term "conglomerate" could be reasonably applied to the U. of R. structure of the 1930's and later, as someone has proposed, the Eastman School was unmistakably the odd component out. Not only was the sense of community with the rest of the University extremely feeble, however much the School did to make Rochester nationally known, but corporate feeling inside the School left much to be desired. Director Hanson endeavored, with modest success, to instill in his teaching colleagues a consciousness that the School was part of a university, not "a melange of individual studios." Seldom did the faculty meet to consider general School matters; in 1938 an Advisory Council of twelve teachers was empowered to deliberate on School affairs and present the results to the faculty for decision. The custom that chairmen of College departments should appoint teachers in their subjects at Eastman, after consultation with the Director, was explicitly spelled out (1937), and he had to be consulted, too, on course offerings.

The Ten-Year Plan for the Eastman School, requested by the trustees in 1934, grew into an elaborate document whose central theme was heightened emphasis on developing an institution of university grade as distinguished from the historic conservatory type. It was recommended, once more, that the student body, candidates for advanced degrees included, should not exceed 400. 1

Revisions in curriculum came forth in an irregular stream, so that in the end no fewer than eleven programs led up to a Bachelor of Music degree, two to a B.A. with concentration in music, and half a dozen offerings for youths who wished only a certificate of attainment. The program of public school music underwent drastic reorganization and was linked more closely to the Rochester school system. In harmony with the University-wide trend, much greater attention was devoted to graduate study--Master of Arts in Music and Master of Music, and the Ph.D. in selected areas--which attracted talents of a high order of ability to the School. To attest singular talent, in applied music, the Artist's Diploma was awarded from 1936 on to post-graduate students who performed with distinction in at least two public recitals. Millard Taylor, 1935, violinist, one of the first recipients of this honor, later distinguished himself as a concertmaster and as an instructor at the School.

To the faculty in the 1930's were named several of the most outstanding teachers in the history of the School. Consider, for example, Bernard Rogers, actually appointed in 1929, who taught composition for thirty-eight years. Many of the most successful Eastman graduates gladly pointed to him as their finest mentor; of twenty-one composers to receive the Pulitzer Prize in music, three had studied under him. Versatile as a writer of music, Rogers, whose training had been mostly in Europe, produced a famous cantata, "The Passion, " orchestral works ("Once upon a Time"), operas ("The Warrior"), as well as symphonies, chamber music, and a violin sonata; His book The Art of Orchestration (1950) was favorably received by critics; he was the recipient of numerous honors, a Pulitzer Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship among them, and was elected to the prestigious National Institute of Arts and Letters.

Joining the faculty in the same year as Rogers, Allen I. McHose retired in 1967. An alumnus (1927) of the Eastman School, he taught counterpoint, musical styles, and church music. Among his writings were piano and choral works, an oboe concerto, satirical pieces for organ, and extensively used books on technical aspects of music (e.g. Contrapuntal Harmonic Technique of the 18th Century). In addition to his duties as director of music and organist at the large Brick Presbyterian Church, McHose excelled as an administrator, taking charge of the Summer Session in 1954 and being named (1962) associate director of the School.

The discipline of musicology was the province of Charles W. Fox, the author of a large number of articles and reviews on musical topics and for years responsible for excellent program notes for Philharmonic Orchestra concerts. Graduates who were drawn onto the faculty and who offered instruction for many years included Eileen Malone (harp), 1928, Catharine Crozier Gleason (organ and harpsichord), 1936, internationally esteemed as an organ recitalist, and Wayne Barlow, 1934, one of the earliest winners of a Ph.D. at the School. A church organist and a School administrator as well as a teacher of composition, Barlow wrote religious music ("Twenty-third Psalm"), along with "The Winter's Past" for chamber orchestra, "The Black Madonna," a ballet, "Nocturne," and other orchestral pieces. Much interested in experimental music, Barlow directed an electronic music studio for research.

Brought to the School from outside were Paul White (in 1928), who taught ensemble and conducted student orchestras and, after 1951, the Rochester Civic Orchestra, Arkadia Yegudkin, teacher of French horn for over two decades and beloved by his students who nicknamed him "the General;" Arthur Kraft, instructor in voice for a quarter century and soloist in many recitals in cities of North America; and Charles Riker, who taught English and Fine Arts even longer than Yegudkin and Kraft and is also remembered as an administrator and the foremost historian of the Eastman Music Center. As a rule, teachers for the flourishing Summer Session came from other institutions. 2

Expansion of book collections and increase in the student body caused insufferable congestion in the temporary library quarters. Consequently, in 1937, a music library building, believed to be the first of its kind in America, was erected on the east side of Swan Street, and the former library facility was refitted as a relaxation lounge for students and teachers. On February 10, 1938, the new structure was formally dedicated. The book circulation department, card catalogues, and space for reading occupied the first level, while on the second floor seminar and listening rooms were provided. According to the original blueprints, book stacks would rise to ten levels with cubicles for study along the eastern wall; however, only four stacks were in fact built and plans for an elevator, alas, were not carried out.


A Festival of American Music was added in 1931 to the popular American Composers' Concerts and proved so successful that it was repeated each year. Presentations concentrated heavily on new compositions by native writers, in keeping with the Hanson doctrine that "a competent composer deserves at least one hearing before an audience." Five or more formal performances and sometimes ballets or scenes from operas were staged. As a variant, in 1935, instead of the Composers' Concerts two symposia were arranged, each running for four days of discussion on problems of composition.

Student ensembles, presenting varied and extensive offerings, continued to make their special contribution to musical education. For example, the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra of more than one hundred players broadcast by radio from coast to coast and presented as many as five public concerts a year. The Eastman School Chorus with some 250 voices in their public appearances preferred works of historical significance. The Eastman Symphonic Band not only played at football games, but offered concerts in one or another of the University auditoriums, and the opera department performed for the first time many operas composed by Americans as well as traditional favorites. To meet one requirement for the bachelor's diploma, Seniors gave recitals or in some cases sang solos with the Rochester Civic Orchestra. All Eastman School personnel profited from the Rochester Philharmonic and the Rochester Civic Orchestras; in 1936 Jose Iturbi, Spanish-born, internationally renowned concert pianist and conductor, became the musical director and regular conductor of the Philharmonic, ending five seasons under a succession of guest conductors; he remained at the post for eight years.


During the 'thirties the annual reports of Director Hanson dwelt upon the growth in School enrollment, despite stiffer standards of admission, the wider geographical distribution of the student body, the rising percentage of men, the decline in candidates for certificates, the increasing number of graduate students, and the generally more mature, more serious attitude toward study and performance than had prevailed in the pioneer decade. Mere statistics tell something of what happened. Allowing for minor discrepancies indifferent tabulations, total enrollment in the regular session of 1930-1931 reached 455, one third of them men. Degree or regular course registration then stood at 372, and there were twenty-seven candidates for the master's distinction and a further thirty-five post-graduate students who, seemingly, had no degree aspirations. Special and preparatory learners numbered 816, and the Summer Session of 1930 attracted 382. Student population fell off somewhat due to the depression but rose again in the late thirties, so much so that in 1938-1939 all records were broken; 518 names stood on the books either as candidates for a bachelor's or an advanced degree. Regular undergraduate course students numbered 386, eighty were, registered for master's degrees, and ten for the Ph.D.; the rest were advanced students not candidates for a degree. Taking into account the quality of the staff and the library and allied resources of the School, the sharp gains in the graduate division impressed Hanson as entirely logical. It was gratifying, too, that the male contingent came to comprise a fraction more than half of the full time students. At that point, special and preparatory pupils had climbed to 886, and 508 were registered for the Summer Session of 1939. Counting learners at all levels, some 1,912 were enrolled in 1938-1939, as compared with about 1,653 at the outset of the decade.

While auditions for scholarship applicants in the opera department were discontinued, scholarship and loan funds for needy students of promise were expanded during the depression, with the result that in 1932 some 192 awards, the largest ever, were made. The University treasurer reported that income from tuition fees and dormitory rooms dropped by one fifth between 1932 and 1934.

Now and then, community-oriented students tried to infuse vitality into the Students' Association, which had charge of monthly assemblies addressed by speakers of note, of the yearbook, and of School dances and social functions in general. Class organizations, too, never strong, arranged parties and participation in intramural athletics. Beginning in 1935 each Junior woman acted as a "big sister" for a Freshman during the first week of school. To present contemporary dramas, a "Q" Club was organized (1938), and the previous year a Graduate Club was formed; it met monthly for supper and to listen to an address and then discuss its content. The sororities and the fraternity maintained their customary round of dances and parties and at least once a year presented a public musicale.

In 1933 financial stringencies rendered it impossible for the students to publish the School annual, The Score, but with that exception it came out each year, some issues leaner than others. Representatives of all degree classes, not Seniors alone as in the past, helped in the production of the 1934 Score ; the following year it became--and remained--a Junior class undertaking. Sketches of ten well-respected American composers featured the 1936 edition.

Squash and handball courts, provided for the larger body of male students, proved unexpectedly popular, and rivalries in interclass basketball and volleyball were rather intense. A baseball match between faculty and students was a standard event of annual picnics held in Ellison Park to the east of Rochester; in some years a boat excursion across Lake Ontario to Canada replaced the picnic. And sometimes Cutler Union was the scene of big, formal Eastman School dances.

To reduce costs for a few undergraduates, one floor of Stephen Foster dormitory operated on a cooperative basis at a saving of fifty dollars a year per student. Along with the College, School tuition fees were increased by $100 in 1939-1940.

It is not clear from the available evidence whether Seniors held class day exercises each year just before graduation. Certainly they did so in 1936, with Kilbourn Hall as the setting; the program consisted of a class history, a class prophecy, an oration, and a heartfelt farewell message from Hanson. A symbolic baton was passed to a member of the incoming Senior class. Alumnae of the school after about 1932 regularly took part in Campus Day at the Women's College. In 1936 the custom began of holding a mid-winter gathering of graduates living in metropolitan Rochester and the following year the usual Commencement luncheon was shifted to the handsome Oak Hill Country Club.


Half in jest, half in earnest, a widely-circulated national magazine pointed to the Eastman School as "a gigantic incubator of young U.S. composers." It was a source of just pride that over a six-year period; four American winners of the Prix de Rome, which carried with it two years of training at the American Academy in the Italian capital, had studied at the Eastman School. One of them, Kent W. Kennan, 1934, attained distinction as the composer of "Night Soliloquy," a symphony, and sonatas, and as a teacher at the University of Texas. His classmate, Gail T. Kubik, carried off many prizes, the Prix de Rome twice and Pulitzer among them, for choral compositions, chamber music, and symphonies. 3 "In Praise of Johnny Appleseed" and the folk opera "A Mirror for the Sky" are often accounted his best productions. Reference has previously been made to Wayne Barlow, also class of 1934. His faculty colleague for sixteen years, Burrill Phillips, 1932, allowed self-conscious Americanism to shape his early compositions ("Selections from McGuffey's Readers," "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere"), but turned more cosmopolitan as he grew older; several coveted honors, including two Guggenheim Fellowships, were awarded to him. A 1932 graduate with a master's degree, R. Nathaniel Dett, won acclaim as musical director at several Negro colleges, for arrangements and publication of Negro folk songs and spirituals, and for general promotion of musical culture among American Negroes.

Two men who received degrees in 1936 made names for themselves as composers and conductors: Richard H. Bales and Gardner Read, Jr. The former wrote orchestral, instrumental, and choral selections, acted as guest conductor in several cities, and was appointed regular conductor of the National Gallery Orchestra in Washington. Read likewise conducted several major orchestras and earned prizes for his works, among them symphonies and a Suite for Organ, and taught composition at Boston University.

Rochester-born David L. Diamond, non-graduate 1937, had the pleasure of hearing his "Symphony in One Movement" performed when he was only sixteen. Unusually versatile as a writer, he produced ballets, choral, orchestral, and pianoforte works, and songs; he received the Prix de Rome and twice held Guggenheim Fellowships. "Psalm" for orchestra and a piece in the serial or twelve tone technique, "The World of Paul Klee" are representative examples of Diamond's creativity. Also in the class of 1937, Frederick Fennell made a national reputation as a bandmaster and composer ("The Civil War, Fort Sumter to Gettysburg"), and as a teacher in the Eastman School and at the University of Miami, whose symphony orchestra he also conducted.

Robert M. Palmer, 1938, who became professor of music at Cornell University, was nationally respected for "The Trojan Woman," concertos, string quartets, and a symphony. His contemporary at Eastman, Charles S. Kent, who received a master's degree (1939) and a Ph.D. (1951), wrote "A Room in Time," an opera, and became dean and director of the Peabody Institute of Music in Baltimore. Holder of three degrees from the School-- bachelor's (1932), master's, and Ph.D.--Thomas A. Gorton composed songs, piano pieces, and symphonic music and was named dean of the School of Fine Arts at the University of Kansas and conductor of its Little Symphony. Robert E. Ward, 1939, captured a Pulitzer Prize for his opera "The Crucible," and also wrote orchestral pieces together with many scholarly articles and reviews; during the Second World War he lead an army band and composed for soldiers' reviews. 4

Arthur A. Whittemore, 1936, and Jack W. Lowe, 1938, excelled as a team of concert pianists, performing all across North America and Western Europe. Rosemarie Brancato Rothman, 1931, a coloratura soprano, sang with the Chicago Civic Opera Company. Noteworthy as a conductor was Victor N. Alessandro, 1937, who eventually wielded the baton of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra and nine years after his graduation was awarded an honorary doctorate in music by his Alma Mater. China-born Vladimir A. Ussachevsky, M.M., 1936, Ph.D., 1939, pioneered in music experimentation at Columbia University and twice received Guggenheim Fellowships.

Prominent as a musicologist was Leonard W. Ellinwood, winner of the Ph.D. in 1936, who carried on advanced research in phases of medieval and of church music and joined the staff of the Library of Congress. Another Rochester-born youth, Mitchell W. Miller, 1932, trained as an oboist, established a popular national reputation through a television series, "Sing Along with Mitch;" associated with the Music Corporation of America, Miller also served--uniquely--on the U. of R. board of trustees. 5


By the end of the 'thirties, the faculty and professional staff at the Medical Center had grown to 315. Of them, 150 physicians were classified as senior, mostly, of course, practicing physicians who taught part time, and half as many served on the junior or resident staff of the several clinical services of the hospitals.

When Professor Stanhope Bayne-Jones accepted a post at the Yale University Medical School in 1932, George P. Berry of the Rockefeller Institute was chosen to succeed him in the chair of bacteriology. It seemed to the senior teachers of the School, several of whom knew Berry well, that the originality of his mind more than counterbalanced his limited experience as an instructor. A victim of parrot disease or psittacosis, Berry had described the progress of the malady in a significant paper, and he had attracted professional acclaim by investigations in virus diseases. He was also interested in yellow fever and the presence at the School of an unusual collection of literature on that subject (assembled by Trustee Edward G. Miner) may have been a factor in his decision to respond affirmatively to the U. of R. invitation. Numerous contributions to medical and educational journals brought Berry many honors and he served on the editorial boards of scientific periodicals. More than that, in the office of assistant dean and then of associate dean of the School he displayed the executive abilities that led the Harvard Medical School to lure him away as dean in 1949. Rochester evidenced its appreciation and evaluation of Berry by conferring upon him an honorary doctorate in science (1955).

It was no light task to pick just the right person as director of the Strong Hospital, when in 1935 Nathaniel W. Faxon moved off to head the Massachusetts General Hospital. Shortly before he left, Faxon came out strongly for a privately operated insurance program for the ailing. "If the cost [of medical care] is not voluntarily spread over groups of individuals and families," he presciently predicted, "the state will ultimately" undertake just that, using "funds collected by taxation." To replace Faxon, the choice fell upon Basil C. MacLean, superintendent of the Touro Infirmary, New Orleans, who was described as a "large, strong, vigorous person, and rather reserved"--the last point required, it was presently evident, some modification.

To fertility in ideas and a warm social conscience, MacLean united a genial personality and great talent as an administrator, attested in one way by his election as president of the American College of Hospital Administration and in another by constant demand for his services as a hospital consultant and surveyor in other communities and by the Army Medical Corps during the Second World War. Additionally, he contributed liberally to medical and hospital journals and served as an officer in several national medical organizations. Irreconcilable differences of opinion with regard to his jurisdiction at the Medical Center, together with the feeling that he spent too much time in work as a consultant, preceded his resignation in 1954 as director of the Strong Memorial and professor of hospital administration. MacLean then took office as commissioner of hospitals in New York City. Among the able men he enlisted to share in the management of Strong Memorial was Albert W. Snoke, who after nine years at Rochester became (1946) the director of the Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Only those newcomers who remained at the U. of R. for long periods can possibly be recalled here. Coming to Rochester in 1931 as a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in dentistry, Harold C. Hodge advanced up the academic ladder in biochemistry, radiation biology, and pharmacology. His investigations were focused on the physical and chemical properties of enamel and dentine, fluorine and caries, and pharmacology of uranium compounds and of fluorine. In season and out, he conducted a twin crusade on behalf of water fluoridation to prevent dental caries and humane use of animals for research, and he served (1947) a term as president of the International Association for Dental Research. For fifteen years Hodge held the position of chief pharmacologist of the U. of R. Atomic Energy Project. Gifted as a teacher, his largest contribution to medical literature was the Clinical Toxicology of Commercial Products, several times expanded, in whose preparation he was assisted by co-workers. 6

Called to the U. of R. in 1932 as an instructor in physiology, Henry A. Blair advanced to a professorship and was put in charge of the department of radiation biology and eventually of the Atomic Energy Project at the University. Aside from membership on the editorial staffs of scientific journals, he edited The Biological Effects of External Radiation. Shortly after he reached emeritus status, his name was affixed (1968) to the library of biophysics and radiation biology.

In the area of medicine in the strict sense, Nolan W. Kaltreider specialized in studies of heart ailments, E. Henry Keutmann in kidney disease, nitrogen and electrolyte metabolism, and endocrinology, Harry L. Segal in gastrointestinal research, notably on peptic ulcers, Henry C. Shaw on diseases of the skin. John A. Lichty, pediatrician, investigated certain infectious diseases and rheumatic fever, while Wesley T. Pommerenke spent himself in research on the physiology of reproduction and of the cervix uteri; as a visiting professor, he carried his learning to medical institutions in Japan and India. For more than three decades Herman L. Pearse taught surgery and carried on research on vascular and abdominal surgery and flesh burns, and Earle B. Mahoney, class of 1934 at the School, whose investigations ranged over cardiovascular and cardiac surgery and surgical shock, advanced from instructor to a professorship in surgery. John F. Gipner added to his normal instruction in ophthalmology a short, highly successful post-graduate course in his specialty. Experts in neurology and neurological surgery, respectively, were Paul H. Garvey and William P. Van Wagenen. 7


From the beginning of the Medical School, psychiatry, which for five years benefited from a grant by the Rockefeller Foundation, and radiology formed distinct divisions within the department of medicine, and additional specialized areas were set apart as wisdom and technical efficiency dictated. Radiology was recognized in 1939 as an independent department with Professor Stafford L. Warren as chairman.

Whatever the department, the discovery of new knowledge had top priority at the Medical Center. The annual reports of the Dean and of the Director of the hospital, incorporated in the reports of the President to the board of trustees, team with synopses of the research work and novel laboratory experiments that were under way or had been carried to completion. When a detailed history of the Medical Center is prepared, these reports will prove invaluable sources of precise information. Each year during the 1930's the Dean begged for more funds to support investigations of promise, to bring eminent specialists to the School as visiting lecturers, and to furnish loans for able and needy students. A Monthly Bulletin of the Strong Memorial Hospital, which at its debut in the autumn of 1929 was a crude affair but quickly improved, reported on significant departmental events, staff appointments, statistics, and the like.

A faculty committee charged with devising a Ten-Year Plan of progress recommended (1933) the enlargement of funds to finance research, expansion of the animal house, the library, and the hospital, the erection of a building for physical exercise and recreation, and the provision of more free beds for indigent patients, which would be helpful in teaching procedures. A steady stream of foreign medical men came to the Center for short or longer periods to learn about research projects and in some cases to take part in them.

Curricular patterns for training M. D. 's had been rather firmly set in the first years so that relatively few modifications seemed necessary. Beginning in 1934, the degree with honor was conferred on candidates whose academic achievement was excellent and who wrote a thesis describing a piece of original investigation in which use was made of the relevant literature in a foreign language. That same year, for students and staff alike, an Eastman Memorial Lectureship was established to bring several distinguished experts on some phase of the healing art to the School every year. With Professor Corner in charge, a seminar in medical history for

advanced students was started (1937). To honor the distinguished brain surgeon Dr. Harvey Cushing, a Cushing Prize was established (1938), to be given to the student who composed the best essay on a topic in medical history; the first winner, Jean Captain Sabine, 1938, wrote "A History of the Classification of Human Blood Corpuscles." The regulation that candidates for admission to the School had to show a reading knowledge of scientific German was dropped (1933).

Several pre-clinical departments, biochemistry and vital economics notably, offered programs leading to the master's or the Ph.D. degree. Important adventures in post-doctoral training was also undertaken. For instance, a short course each summer acquainted practicing physicians with current developments in ophthalmology, and what came to be known as "Practitioner's Clinics," held once a month from 1933 until after the involvement of the United States in the Second World War, enabled interested doctors in metropolitan Rochester to learn of recent advances in specialized branches of medical care. Similarly, from 1936 into the war era a Medical Conference or Institute contributed to the post-graduate education of alumni of the School, many of whom accepted the invitation to attend.

The first of these conferences was held in conjunction with the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the opening of the School. Diagnostic clinical problems, demonstrations, and lectures attracted gratifyingly large audiences. A small booklet, The First Decade, recounted what had been accomplished and it was disclosed that 242 M. D. 's had by 1936 been conferred, a large percentage of them on candidates who held undergraduate degrees from the U. of R.

In the first ten years Strong Memorial had treated 44,000 patients, the Municipal Hospital over 40,000; more than 5,900 babies had been brought into the world, over 43,000 surgical operations had been performed, and more than 929,000 people had been served by the Out-Patient Department. All in all, it was a record of achievement which everyone concerned could view with satisfaction.

An interesting scheme for a "George Eastman Institute of Industrial Hygiene" enlisted (1936) some administration and trustee support, though not enough to convert the proposal into a reality. On the other hand, a cooperative venture with the Trudeau Sanatorium at Saranac, New York, for instruction and research in respiratory physiology lasted from 1939 to 1946, the University underwriting half of the modest expenses involved. After no little opposition, the city government renewed (1937) the mutually advantageous contract for the operation of the Municipal Hospital and the city Health Bureau Laboratories, to run until April of 1948.

Library collections grew consistently, with Professor Corner ever on the alert to acquire rare medical works and books that illustrated the history and traditions of the profession. By 1937 more than 92,000 volumes had been accumulated and 440 professional periodicals, many of them from Germany, were being regularly received. 8

In the meantime, additions had been made to the physical properties of the Medical Center. A much appreciated athletics building, two stories high, to the north of the Medical School, for basketball, squash, handball, and wrestling was opened in the summer of 1933. It was also used for dances and parties and soon the lounge was fitted up as a recreational rendezvous. The Staff house and Helen Wood residence for nurses were slightly enlarged (1935) and a garage of twenty-car capacity was erected close by. Urgent requests for the expansion of the Strong Hospital and more garages peppered the yearly reports of the Dean and Director, and the point was stressed that many patients had to be turned away owing to lack of space.

To a degree, the rising demand for services stemmed from a Rochester Hospital Insurance plan introduced in 1935 (as had been advocated by Director Faxon), which two years later afforded protection to about 60,000 citizens. Requests for hospital care jumped by approximately sixty per cent from 1933 to 1937.

A very considerable share of the medical treatment rendered at the Medical Center was given free of charge, at a cost of around $200,000 a year. The annual deficit, met by appropriations from endowment fund income, posed no doubt the most serious financial problem for the U. of R. It must be said, however, that operating losses prevailed in hospitals attached to universities the country over. Suggestions that the Rochester Community Chest be asked to bear part of the outpatient expense fell flat, partly because in the harshest period of the depression that civic enterprise failed to reach quotas, and farther along in the decade Chest policymakers felt unable to allocate money to the Medical Center. Director MacLean commented upon "the extraordinary innocence" in Rochester regarding the charitable work being done and wanted publicity to make the free services of the Medical Center more widely understood and appreciated. By 1939 the net annual deficit had been reduced somewhat as compared with the worst of the depression years.

Generous gifts made possible the purchase of radium for use in the therapy of malignant disease and research in aspects of medical science, such as urological surgery. When the five-year Rockefeller grant for the training of dental graduates terminated, the Carnegie Foundation furnished a subsidy that covered part of the cost, the remainder being borne by the University treasury.


Although the Medical School facilities could accommodate seventy-five new students each year, there was no haste to enroll that many. In fact the fifteenth class, admitted in September, 1939, contained only fifty-seven, four of them women, chosen from twenty-six undergraduate institutions and from about 600 qualified applicants. This record may be compared with the class that entered nine years before--forty-seven, including two women, selected from some 400 applicants. Whereas in 1930 the total registration stood at 158, in 1939 it had reached 200. On the grounds that it would be impossible to give him clinical training, particularly in obstetrics, a Negro applicant was denied (1937) admission, and that reasoning prevailed down to 1947 when the first Negro matriculated at the School.

Until the erection of the athletic building at the Medical Center, students were privileged to make use of the facilities for physical exercise on the River Campus. Student health created problems, especially the high incidence of tuberculosis, an affliction that was almost completely overcome after a Health Service was organized (1934). It was alleged that students used narcotics extensively, but an investigation revealed only one known case of addiction to that vice.

Certain professors viewed with alarm the growing tendency of students to get married before the completion of their professional studies. By action of the Advisory Board a notice over the signature of the Dean was posted in 1933-1934 stating that marriage might impose a serious handicap on students. If married students encountered financial difficulties, they should not expect help from loan funds, and many of the best hospitals, it was warned, refused to accept married interns. All and sundry were reminded that the oracular Dr. William Osler had counseled students to "marry medicine" and "place their affections in cold storage" during the critical training years. Members of the School's secretarial, technical, and nursing staffs were bluntly informed that marriage would automatically terminate their employment, except in exceptional cases. It was an up-to-date version of King Canute endeavoring to stem the sweep of the tide--and no more successful. 9

Almost all the students whose homes were not in Rochester lived with private families near the School, though until late in the decade several men had living quarters in a dormitory on the River Campus. A small loan fund could be tapped to assist learners in straitened circumstances, and many relied upon summer earnings to meet part of the costs of medical education. Tuition charges which had been advanced to $400 in 1930 were increased to $500 in 1937 (at the Johns Hopkins the rate was $600), but student protestations effected a fifty dollar reduction for those already enrolled at the School.


Outstanding among the graduates of the School were Earle B. Mahoney, 1934, already mentioned, and Doran J. Stephens, 1929, both on the U. of R. faculty. Stephens, author of more than fifty major scientific articles, died before fulfilling the high promise he had shown; fellow alumni set up a fund to provide a prize in his name, awarded annually at Commencement to a U. of R. graduate. Willard M. Allen, 1932, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, after several years of teaching at Rochester was appointed professor in Washington University, St. Louis. He contributed original papers on the histology and physiology of the female reproductive organs, which brought him many awards, and he was the first graduate of the Medical School to be elected to the University board of trustees. At the Centennial celebration in 1950, a University award was given to Charles M. Carpenter, 1933, a teacher at the Medical Center for fourteen years and a key figure in medical work related to atomic research during the Second World War.

In a lengthy list of scientific papers, Paul F. Hahn, Ph.D., 1937, circulated the results of investigations on iron deficiency anemia and cancer therapy and diagnosis. He introduced (1950) colloidal radioactive gold which is used principally in the war on cancer, and soon after this discovery he joined the U.S. Public Health Service and became assistant to the director of the National Center for Radiological Health. A winner of the Ph.D. in biochemistry (1938), Richard S. Manly distinguished himself by discoveries in carbohydrate metabolism and the physical properties of teeth; along with a professorship at the Tufts School of Dental Medicine, Manly presided over the International Association for Dental Research. Winner of awards for distinguished service, Mary Steichen Calderone, 1939, served as executive director of the Sex Information and Educational Council of the United States (SIECUS). 10


It has already been noted that in 1931 Claire Dennison replaced Helen Wood as Director of the Nursing School and Superintendent of Nurses and remained for twenty years. Under her leadership the School witnessed a pleasing growth in size, especially an increase in degree as distinguished from diploma students, and in the quality of the instruction. Beginning in 1934, diploma students received two months of training in public health nursing together with experience in the psychiatric clinic. Arrangements were made (1931) whereby winners of nursing diplomas with high records might enroll in the College for Women and in three years qualify for a bachelor's distinction. For degree candidates in nursing, revision in the program of studies during the collegiate years enlarged the time given to scientific subjects. The period of professional training was raised (1932, 1934) from twenty-eight to thirty-six months, but working hours in the hospital were cut (1935) from forty-seven to forty a week; standards of admission were tightened. In 1938 an affiliation with the Rochester State Hospital was worked out.

Solemnity attended capping exercises for nurses, when preliminary candidates had satisfied the requirements to wear caps, small square creations dubbed "strawberry boxes," and when Seniors donned the distinguishing caps of graduate nurses. Before the adoption of the "strawberry boxes," student caps were singularly unattractive, heavily pleated headpieces; as for the rest of the uniform, ill-fitting gray dresses reached to the ankles, shoes and stockings were black, and capes had a gold lining. This costume was not calculated to lift the spirits of either patients or embryonic nurses, one of the latter lamented.

Significant changes were introduced to brighten the off-duty hours of student nurses. Not only was an office of social director created, but informal classes were organized in music appreciation, choral music, poetry and art, and lectures were presented on current events. Excursions were made to the Memorial Art Gallery or Genesee Valley Park and a Student-Faculty Council and an Athletic Association functioned effectively. Seniors arranged a formal annual dance, and Juniors a bazaar and pageant. It was permissible for nursing students to use the School athletic building at appointed times. A big grievance, Janet Brown Fisher, degree nurse 1932, has written, was the rigorous discipline that prevailed; students were "terrified underlings" and regarded the physicians with whom they worked as "non-benevolent gods."

Each class chose its favorite flower, colors, and a slogan. 1932, to illustrate, picked the lily of the valley, green and white, and as its watchword, "United we stick, divided we're stuck." A yearbook called the Sonour appeared for the first time in 1932 and like the annuals at the colleges (though less elaborate) contained many photographs, literary, poetic, and humorous pieces, and a class history, prophecy, and will. Only one issue of a multigraphed and not very informative newssheet, The Student Cap (1937), has been found by the present writer.

As of 1939 the Nursing School counted 252 graduates, and at that point 113 students were at work, reckoning in six from the Rochester State Hospital but omitting degree aspirants then at the College for Women. Reiterated requests by the Director for small scholarship and loan funds seem not to have been met. Although not many graduates took an active part in the alumnae organization, that body did manage to publish The Pioneer, recording the doings of graduates, more particularly.

Footnotes for Chapter 28

  1. Howard Hanson to Rush Rhees, January 4, 1935. Rhees Papers.
  2. David Diamond, 1937, "Bernard Rogers," Musical Quarterly, XXXIII (1947), 207. R D&C, May 5, 22, 1967, May 25, 1968; R T-U, June 3, 1968 (Rogers). R D&C, January 15, 1967 (McHose). The Score, XXIX (1954) (White). Ibid., XXXII (1957) (Yegudkin). R T-U, July 1, 1968 (Riker).
  3. Time, XXXIII, May 8, 1939, 34.
  4. William Austin, "The Music of Robert Palmer," Musical Quarterly, XLII (1956), 35.
  5. RAR, XIV (1953), no. 5, 24-25 (Miller).
  6. Advisory Board Minutes, December 10, 1931. Nathaniel W. Faxon to Edward G. Miner, January 9, 1932. Miner Papers, Box 197. R D&C, April 20, May 3, 1935. Current Biography, XVIII (1957), 345-347. U. of R. Medical Alumni News, Fall, 1963, 8 (MacLean). Ibid., Summer, 1960, 2 (Hodge).
  7. U. of R. Medical Alumni News, Fall, 1961, 9 (Keutmann). Ibid., Fall, 1963, 1 (Garvey).
  8. RAR, XIV (1936), no. 3, 61-63. R T-U, December 21, 23, 27, 1937. New York Times, June 11, 1938 (Captain).
  9. Advisory Board Minutes, September 22, 1931. Notice Posted on Bulletin Board, September 1933 and 1934. Dean's Office, Medical School.
  10. R T-U, March 21, 1941 (Stephens). RAR, XIX (1957), no. 1, 78 (Allen). R D&C, May 4, 1967 (Hahn).