THE DEPARTMENT OF PHYSIOLOGY
THE following sketch of the Department of Physiology covers eighty-nine years, and during much of this time the lectures and laboratory courses were required of students of the Medical School, the Homeopathic Medical College, and the College of Dental Surgery, and were also available to students of other departments who desired to elect them.
Physiology is the science which treats of the normal activities of living organisms. The vital processes of plants and animals are fundamentally the same, and the science of physiology is built up of a vast number of facts which have been ascertained by the study of many forms of life. With the growth of our knowledge of physiology the subject has come to be subdivided into a number of specialties — physiological chemistry (or biochemistry, as it is now called), physiological botany, physiological psychology, and others — many of which are now taught on the campus. Physiology in the Medical School deals with the chemicophysical activities of the fluids, tissues, and organs of animals (especially man), their interdependence, and the way in which they react on the body as a whole in its response to the influence of its environment.
The importance of physiology in the training of the physician has always been recognized, and the subject was one of the four required for graduation of the first class of the Department of Medicine and Surgery.
Teaching and research. — The first to teach physiology was Jonathan Adams Allen (Middlebury '45, M.D. Castleton Medical College '46), who was appointed Professor of Pathology and Physiology in 1850, but who later acted as Professor of Therapeutics, Materia Medica, and Physiology. New England born, a direct descendant of Ethan Allen of Revolutionary fame, he settled in Kalamazoo in 1846. Two years later, at the age of twenty-three, he became a professor in Page 911the Medical College at La Porte, Indiana, whence he was called to the University of Michigan. According to Dr. W. F. Breakey, he had a striking personality and was a popular lecturer (Breakey, p. 274; Lombard, pp. 240-43). While at the University of Michigan he gave the introductory addresses to the classes of 1852 and 1853, addresses which were published by the classes. Besides the many addresses he delivered, he published a book on Medical Examinations for Life Insurance, which ran through no fewer than five editions. He had a keen sense of humor and could be decidedly sarcastic when he chose. For example, referring to epidemics, he said:
We need a careful chronicle of their visits and peculiarities from every part of the state. Isolated reports are comparatively valueless. What Doctor So-and-So saw or thought he saw; what wonder-working charms he carried in his dilapidated saddlebags; how many he cured or dismissed to the Superior or nether regions, although facts very interesting to Doctor So-and-So and his committee of old ladies, are, in a scientific point of view, hardly worth the paper on which he communicates them to the popular medical or secular paper, according as he believes or disbelieves in the code of ethics.
("President's Address,"Trans. Mich. State Med. Soc., 1859, p. 21.)
Allen was in many respects ahead of his time. He urged the accurate registration of births, deaths, and the causes of deaths, and the collection of statistics and observations upon epidemics and endemics. He pointed out the apathy of the public and the need for physicians who would educate the public to demand better trained doctors; and he called attention to the desirability of a high grade of preliminary attainment before matriculation in a medical school.
He argued in favor of a state hospital, and said:
By rendering this hospital subservient to the clinical department of the State Medical College, the patients would while helpless themselves, be made to contribute to the general welfare, proving that "there is a soul of goodness even in things evil," and "from the nettle, danger, can be plucked the flower, safety."
("President's Address,"7th Rept. State Med. Assn., 1859, p. 31.)
He had been trained as a physician and probably taught physiology from the point of view of the clinician. Although he is not known to have made any original contributions to the subject, he had a good knowledge of physiological literature. Dr. Huber, in his article on the history of this school, wrote:
… The whole subject of reflex nervous influence, of which excito-motor and excitosecretory action are but constituent parts, was taught as early as 1850 in the University of Michigan [by J. Adams Allen], and in his teachings and writings are to be found the only explicit and comprehensive exposition of the whole subject of reflex nervous action that has ever fallen under my observation.
(Huber, "Historical Sketch," p. 608.)
Something of the man is revealed in the following extracts from an address:
Here is the standpoint of view. Medicine is to be looked upon and studied, precisely as all other arts and sciences are to be looked upon and studied. The truths upon which it is assumed to be based, are to be tested as all other truths are tested; and when they cannot abide the same, let them be mercilessly discarded.
(J. A. Allen, "Observations on the Medical Platform," p. 24.)
Condemning books which are merely compilations of old dogmatic teachings, he said: "We want a living, breathing, productive literature, not a barren, dead, marshalling of old errors" (ibid., p. 27).
Unfortunately, Allen became involved in some difficulty, and in 1854 was asked to resign. The Proceedings of the Regents contain merely a resolution, signed by twelve of Allen's colleagues, headed by Tappan, asserting that "the prosperity Page 912of the Medical College and the general welfare and harmony of the University are seriously affected by the connection of Dr. J. Adams Allen with the institution as a Professor" (R.P., 1837-64, p. 565).
When Allen left the University he apparently returned to Kalamazoo, where he became a prominent and respected physician, as is shown by the fact that he was the president of the Michigan State Medical Society in 1859. That same year he was called to be professor at Rush Medical College, Chicago, and later he became its president.
The next to teach physiology was Abram Sager (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute '31, M.D. Castleton Medical College '35, A.M. hon. Michigan '52). During his nearly thirty-three years of service beginning October 1, 1850, when as the first President of the Faculty of the Department of Medicine and Surgery, he gave the opening address, he played many important roles in the University (Huber, Sager). He became Professor of Obstetrics, Physiology, Botany, and Zoology in 1854, but the next year was called merely Professor of Obstetrics and Physiology, which title he kept until 1860, when he again taught, instead of physiology, the diseases of women and children. Dr. William F. Breakey, who was a student during Sager's time, said of him: "It is no disparagement to other members of the faculty of his time to say that he was one of the most profound and versatile in literary and scientific scholarship" (Breakey, p. 270). In the journals of the period are translations by him of foreign physiological papers, and there is an article by him in the Michigan University Medical Journal (1: 265-67) giving the result of experiments upon the respiration of cold-and warm-blooded animals, when caused to inhale exciting, indifferent, and directly noxious gases. He collected a valuable herbarium (see Part VIII: University Herbarium) and made considerable additions to the medical museum, then considered an important teaching adjunct (see Part V: Department of Materia Medica and Therapeutics). Of his ability as a practitioner, "a few of the older residents of Ann Arbor speak reverently and lovingly" (Shaw, p. 123). Because of failing health he resigned in 1873, and was made Professor Emeritus in 1874.
Corydon L. Ford (M.D. Geneva Medical College '42, A.M. hon. Middlebury '59, LL.D. Michigan '81) was appointed Professor of Anatomy in 1854, and Professor of Anatomy and Physiology in 1860. He held this title until he resigned a short time before his death, April 14, 1894. From 1887 to 1891 he was Dean of the Department of Medicine and Surgery. Dr. Charles B. Johnson, one of his old students, said of him:
Dr. Corydon L. Ford, who taught us our Anatomy and Physiology, was in a class by himself. He could pick up a dry bone and in three minutes have hundreds of wide-eyed, open-mouthed hearers intently attentive lest they should miss a word, such was his power over an audience.
(Johnson, p. 18.)
When Ford at the age of eighty-one delivered his last lecture, Dr. Lombard had the good fortune to be present and was greatly impressed by his distinguished bearing, his method of presentation of his subject, his grace in the demonstration of the dissection (in spite of his handicap of one shortened leg), and his remarkable hold on the attention of the student audience (Lombard, p. 244). Unquestionably he was the best lecturer on anatomy this country had seen. Ford was not a trained physiologist, but he deduced the functions of the human body from the structure of its dead organs; his demonstration of the action of the valves of the heart and the cause of the heart sounds, for example, was convincing. He Page 913had little to do with the teaching of physiology in the Department of Medicine and Surgery after 1872. He gave lectures on anatomy, physiology, and hygiene to the students of the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts, however, as late as 1877, having begun these lectures to nonmedical students in 1869.
Henry S. Cheever ('63, A.M. '66, '67m) was appointed Demonstrator of Anatomy and Curator of the Medical Museum in 1867. He was appointed Lecturer on Materia Medica and Therapeutics in 1868 and was advanced to the professorship the following year. In 1872-73 he was made Professor of Therapeutics, Materia Medica, and Physiology, and during the same period he filled the chair of physiology in the Long Island College Hospital.
Throughout this time he was also engaged in general practice, and it is not strange that under the accumulated strain of these combined labors his health broke down (Breakey, "Cheever," p. 152). In 1873 he obtained a leave of absence, and his work was carried on by Frederic Henry Gerrish (Bowdoin '66, A.M. ibid., '67, M.D. Medical School of Maine '69, LL.D. Michigan '05) as Lecturer on Therapeutics, Material Medica, and Physiology. That year the Calendar stated (p. 62):
It is absolutely necessary before taking up these advanced studies in Surgery [Ophthalmology and Otology] that the student should be fully acquainted with the Anatomy, Physiology, and Physics of the special senses seeing and hearing.
Upon Cheever's resignation, the Regents requested Ford, who still retained the title of Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, to fill the chair and discharge the duties of the professor of physiology, aided by an instructor in the Physiological Laboratory whom they would appoint (R.P., 1876-81, p. 147). The result was that Burt Green Wilder (Lawrence Scientific School '62, M.D. Harvard '66), of Cornell University, was appointed Lecturer in Physiology, to give one course of lectures in 1876-77. Charles Henry Stowell (Genesee Wesleyan '68, Michigan '72m) was made Instructor in the Physiological Laboratory, under the direction of Professor Ford. Stowell retained this title until 1879, when he became Lecturer in Physiology and Histology, and in 1880 he was appointed Assistant Professor of Physiology and Histology. The next year he was made Assistant Professor of Histology and Microscopy.
In 1881 Henry Sewall (Wesleyan '76, Ph.D. Johns Hopkins '79, M.D. Denver '89, M.D. hon. Michigan '88, Sc.D. hon. ibid. '12) was appointed Lecturer in Physiology (Lombard, p. 297). He had received training in biology under Newell Martin, who in turn had been trained under Huxley and Michael Foster. After receiving the doctor's degree, he worked with the celebrated German physiologist, Kühne, in Heidelberg, and on his return to Baltimore was appointed associate in biology at Johns Hopkins.
Victor Clarence Vaughan (Mt. Pleasant College [Mo.] '72, Ph.D. Michigan '76, '78m, LL.D. '00) was at this time (in 1880) Assistant Professor of Page 914Medical (physiological) Chemistry. To quote from Novy's address at the memorial meeting for Dr. Vaughan:
Through his work in physiological chemistry he was in touch with the progress in physiology, which was then looming strong on the horizon as a result of the work of men such as Claude Bernard, Ludwig, and Foster. And when there arose in 1881 the question of an independent chair in that subject, young as he was, he strongly urged and secured the appointment of Henry Sewall, who proved to be an inspiring teacher and an investigator of the first rank.
(Vaughan Memorial, p.8.)
The fact that a man who did not have a medical degree, but who had been trained as a biologist, was called to do this work showed that the medical faculty recognized the value of pure science as a foundation for medical education. In 1882 Sewall was made Professor of Physiology, and given an assistant, Willis Elmer Hallowell ('82m).
From the first Sewall had devoted himself to research work. During the eight years that he was connected with the department he published twelve articles, in which he gave full credit to those who worked with him (Lombard, pp. 298-99). The most remarkable of these researches was the one on immunity. To Sewall belongs the credit of being the first to give incontestable proof that it is possible artificially to establish immunity to a purely chemical poison which is the product of a living cell, by injecting the poison into an animal frequently, in small increasing doses. Sewall saw the importance of his discovery. He wrote: "We may suspect that the same sort of resistance against germ-disease might follow the inoculation of the appropriate ptomaine, provided it is through the products of their metabolism that the bacteria produce their fatal effects" (Sewall, p. 203).
The year following the publication of his discovery, Sewall, attacked by tuberculosis, was given a leave of absence, and in 1888 resigned and went to Denver. He later became one of Denver's most prominent physicians and wrote many excellent medical articles in which the application of physiology to clinical medicine was given prominence. There are at least fifty papers carrying his name (Lombard, pp. 297-301).
The year 1888-89 was unfortunate for the Department of Physiology, not only because of Sewall's illness, but also because Elmer Sanford ('87), who had been his assistant, and who had been appointed Instructor in Physiology, died. Gustave A. Deutcher, Assistant, carried the work for a time, and then Joseph Weatherhead Warren (Harvard '71, M.D. Bonn '81) was called from Harvard to complete the course of lectures.
In 1889 William Henry Howell (Johns Hopkins '81, Ph.D. ibid. '84, M.D. hon. Michigan '90, LL.D. Trinity '01, Sc.D. Yale '11, LL.D. Michigan '12), who was associate professor of physiology at Johns Hopkins in 1888-89, was appointed Lecturer in Physiology and Histology. He had been trained in physiology, as Sewall had been, by Martin at Johns Hopkins. Howell was made Professor of Physiology and Histology the next year. It was not easy to lecture to a class of women and men, consisting of students from the medical, homeopathic, dental, and liberal arts departments, some of whom, at least, had the reputation of being unruly. Howell concealed beneath a quiet, mild manner great strength of character, which came to the fore when certain students tried to take advantage of him. Howell decided that either they or he would leave the University. The students left, and he had no further trouble with his classes.
In addition to his work in the Medical Department, Howell was listed in 1890 and in 1891 on the staff of the Department of Law, as Lecturer on Microscopy Page 915in its Medico-Legal Relations.
After Stowell left the department, Howell was given charge not only of the teaching of physiology, but also of the instruction in histology. To help him, in 1889 Gotthelf Carl Huber ('87m, Sc.D. hon. Northwestern '30) was appointed Instructor in Histology, and the work in physiology and histology was carried on in the Physiological Laboratory. In 1891-92, when Huber had a leave of absence, Frank A. Waples ('89, '93m), who had previously acted as an assistant, served as Instructor in Histology. Howell and Huber were thoroughly congenial, and together did research work which resulted in two excellent papers bearing their names. Howell published four other papers as a result of his research work at the University of Michigan. The name of Elizabeth Cooke appeared on one of these, and that of Sidney Budgett and E. Leonard on another (Lombard, p. 302). Howell left the University in 1892 to go to Harvard, where he took charge of the new laboratory course in physiology. Soon afterward he was called to Johns Hopkins, where he later filled many important positions.
Warren Plimpton Lombard (Harvard '78, M.D. ibid. '81, Sc.D. hon. Hobart College '09) was appointed Professor of Physiology and Histology in 1892, the appointment being confirmed the next year, and he was made Professor of Physiology in 1898.
Lombard had received his original training under Ludwig in Leipzig; had served under Curtis, as assistant in physiology, at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York; had done research work at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and in New York; and had been assistant professor of physiology at Clark University for three years, until he resigned in 1892. He was a physiologist, not a histologist, although he was called Professor of Physiology and Histology.
A number of Lombard's original investigations were made with others — two with Professor Walter B. Pillsbury, one with Sidney P. Budgett, two with Fred M. Abbott, and five with Dr. Otis M. Cope. The physiology of man especially interested him, and this interest resulted in three papers dealing with the influences which affect endurance in voluntary muscular work. He invented a balance capable of supporting a man and of recording the changes of weight occurring during short intervals of time; devised a piston recorder with the aid of which the effect of respiration and vasomotor action to produce rhythmic changes of the human heart were studied; and, working in Professor Max von Frey's laboratory in Würzburg, discovered a method of observing the capillaries of the human skin and measured the blood pressure in the arterioles and capillaries. He gave much time to studying the influences which determine the duration of the systole and diastole of the human heart.
The physiology of nerve muscle in general was another of Lombard's major interests. He wrote papers on the mechanical effects of the contraction of individual muscles and on the action of two joint muscles, as demonstrated by a model. He also wrote an article on electrotonus, and a section in the American Textbook of Physiology on nerve muscle.
In addition brief reports were published on special apparatus devised in the laboratory, as well as addresses, including "The Life and Work of Carl Ludwig."
In December, 1922, he presented his resignation, to take effect in June, 1923, on the completion of thirty years of service. He was made Professor Emeritus in January, 1923, and in August of that year he presented his library to the University for the use of the Department of Physiology.
Page 916In 1892-93 the staff consisted of the professor and a student assistant. There was no laboratory mechanic, and, since appropriations for the laboratory were small, the staff had to make and repair the smaller apparatus used in the laboratory course. The assistant was Sidney Payne Budgett ('95m), who had worked with Howell and who continued in the department until 1896, when he became professor of physiology in the Medical School of Washington University, St. Louis.
It was in 1901-2 that the largest number of students (282) attended the lecture course. That year fifty-three students took the laboratory course. The assistant, Wilbur Pardon Bowen ('00, M.S. '01), was made Instructor in 1902. He left the following year to become professor of physical education at the Michigan State Normal School, Ypsilanti. While in the University he published five articles, two of which dealt with the effects of bicycling on the heart rate, blood pressure, and duration of systole.
Only one student assistant had been allowed until 1903-4, when there were two; in 1905-6 there were three. In 1906 Carl John Wiggers ('06m), who had been an assistant from 1903 to 1905, was made Instructor in Physiology, a position which he held for seven years. He was given charge of the department in 1910-11, while Dr. Lombard was in Europe on leave. During this year, Wiggers gave the regular lecture courses, except those for the dental students. The latter were taught by Otis Merriam Cope ('02, '04m), who was appointed Instructor in Physiology in 1910. Wiggers and Cope, with the aid of two student assistants, both of whom had served the preceding year, supervised the laboratory work. Wiggers resigned in 1912 to take a position at Cornell Medical School and became professor of physiology at Western Reserve University in 1918. While in Ann Arbor he did excellent research work, publishing fourteen papers from the University.
For many years a few students of the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts had elected the lectures and laboratory courses in physiology, usually with the idea of teaching the subject. As students planning to study medicine were urged more and more by the medical faculty to extend their premedical preparation, the number from the liberal arts college increased; these students elected courses in physiology as their science subjects.
The number of students enrolled in the laboratory course gradually increased until by 1923 the work was being given to two sections of about eighty students each. This necessitated an increase in the staff, and six student assistants were employed in addition to the professor and the instructor.
From 1910 to 1926, Otis Cope, as Instructor and later as Assistant Professor, helped teach the dental students. Eventually he had full charge of their work in physiology. The course of lectures that he gave them was less detailed than that offered to medical students and was elected by some students from the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts who wanted a less extensive course — such as those preparing to teach physiology or physical training in high schools, or to be supervisors of school hygiene. Cope played a significant role in physiology. A good organizer as well as a good teacher, he was of great service during the sixteen years that he was connected with the Department of Physiology. He resigned to accept a professorship in physiology in the New York Homeopathic Medical College in 1926. His name appeared on seven published researches, five of which were made with Dr. Lombard on the influences controlling Page 917the duration of the systole and diastole of the human heart.
John Henry Muyskens ('13, Sc.D. '25), who had been Instructor in French and through his work with Professor Meader had become interested in the mechanics of phonetics, did some research work in the Physiological Laboratory on the movements of the mouth, especially of the soft palate. In 1922-23 he became Instructor in Physiology and helped with the laboratory work. In the summer of 1923 he and Dr. Cope conducted an optional laboratory course in physiology. Later, he continued his studies of the mechanics of phonetics in relation to abnormalities of speech.
Other pieces of research in the Physiological Laboratory which were published during the years 1892-1923 were papers by David P. Mayhew and A. E. Guenther; two by George O. Higley, Instructor in Chemistry, who undertook some investigations on the rate of excretion of carbon dioxide; and two by Thomas A. Storey, later Professor of Physical Education at Leland Stanford Junior University.
In 1923 Robert Gesell (Wisconsin '10, M.D. Washington University '14) succeeded Lombard as Professor of Physiology. He had already gained a name for himself in research when he came to the University of Michigan, and this, together with his wide experience as a teacher, made him a welcome addition to the faculty of the Medical School.
At first Gesell had to occupy the quarters in the old Chemical Building (Pharmacology Building), which had been the home of the Department of Physiology since 1910. He wrote in his account of the department:
When I came to Michigan I found a well-organized department but with the growth of physiology and of the classes the University quarters were again in a crowded condition. Fortunately new space [approximately 32,000 square feet gross] in a building to be completed within two years was allotted to the department along with funds for added equipment. With these augmented facilities the possibility of extending substantial opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students and for staff research was at hand.
(Gesell, p. 43.)
Method and curriculum. — The history of the Department of Physiology shows an appreciation of the clinical method of instruction from the earliest days, but the conception of a physiological laboratory came much later and was of slow development. With the growth of the laboratory occurred an increasing emphasis on research.
Laboratory instruction. — The first teacher of physiology at the University, Professor Allen, in his president's address in 1859 before the Michigan State Medical Society said:
It is about as difficult to convey to a student by oral instruction any definite ideas of particular diseases, as it is to explain colors to a blind man or sounds to the deaf … It is the clinic only which is the truly substantial part.
In his introductory address to the third session of the College of Medicine and Surgery Professor Allen argued the importance of the writing of theses by students. Probably it was due to him that in the first years emphasis was laid on the writing and defending of an original thesis on some medical subject, as a requirement for graduation.
Although a histological and physiological laboratory was organized in 1876 and $3,500 was appropriated by the legislature in the next year for its equipment, the teaching of physiology could not have advanced greatly because the professor at that time, Stowell, was not a trained physiologist, but a histologist. In short, Page 918for the first thirty years of the existence of the Department of Medicine and Surgery physiology was taught at the University of Michigan as in the other medical schools of the country in those years, almost wholly by lectures and recitations and by the use of textbooks.
From the time when Sewall came (1882) the teaching of physiology changed. Of course he gave lectures — forty hours each semester the first year, and in 1883 seventy-two hours each semester. The completeness of his lecture course is indicated by the synopsis that he published for the use of the students (Sewall, Topical Synopsis). But his chief interest was in the laboratory, which he developed as rapidly as he could. At first, the small amount of equipment and inadequate facilities permitted opportunities for research work to advanced students only. We read in the University Calendar for 1882-83 (p. 93): "Students willing to devote time to original work in Physiology, Physiological Chemistry or other branches, after due preparation, are given the fullest encouragement and cooperation." This statement was undoubtedly inspired by Dr. Vaughan, who ardently advocated research work, not only by the teachers, but also by the more competent students.
In 1883 the legislature appropriated $2,000 for apparatus, and the Announcement of the Department of Medicine and Surgery stated that a special course of practical demonstration in physiology would be offered the second-year class. The laboratory was to be open daily for purposes of physiological experimentation and research. The list of apparatus was, however, limited to those instruments which were the most essential and, in general, to one piece only of each type. In those days almost all physiological apparatus had to be imported from England, France, or Germany.
By 1885 the number of instruments had been increased so that there were some duplicates, sufficient for a small number of students, and that year the demonstration course became an optional laboratory course in which the student made the experiments himself. This course, which was later extended, Sewall continued to give as long as he was with the department. The course was very complete, as is indicated by the notes still preserved in the physiological library. This was the first laboratory course in physiology offered in any medical school of the country, although earlier Newell Martin had supplied one for students of biology. It had been an uphill fight. One notices in the account of the apparatus in the Announcement that there was a foot-power lathe, which means that the professor and his assistant had to take off their coats and make some of the simpler instruments. No laboratory instrumentmaker could be thought of in those days.
The Calendar of 1887-88 noted the unsurpassed facilities for practical work in physiology (p. 26):
A large and well-lighted room is appropriated chiefly to the use of undergraduate students who perform under the direction of instructors most of the fundamental physiological experiments … A smaller room is devoted to advanced work and original investigation. Conveniently situated are an apparatus-room, a dark chamber for optical experiments, an incubation closet, and a large work shop containing machinists' and carpenters' appliances. The instrumental equipment of the Laboratory is unusually complete.
With the completion of the new Anatomical Laboratory Building the Department of Physiology had inherited the former quarters of the Department of Anatomy, that is, all of the third floor (except the northeast corner room, which Dr. Ford continued to retain for himself) and the attic in the old Page 919Medical Building. Both the large room on the third floor and the loft were well lighted by skylights. Of course they were somewhat odorous — to put it mildly — after the many years during which they had been used as dissecting rooms, but they gave ample space for the work.
Howell carried on the work of the department on the lines which Sewall had established. The first year he lectured and continued the optional laboratory course inaugurated by his predecessor. Later, he extended the work, as shown by the little book of Laboratory Directions which he had printed for the use of his students in 1891. In 1890 the medical curriculum was lengthened from three to four years (of nine months each). In the schedule of courses for medical students given in the Calendar of 1890-91, lectures in physiology were listed for three hours in the second year and for two hours in the third year. At the same time, a practical laboratory course was provided, to last throughout the second semester, 1 to 5 P.M. daily, for students of the third year, and this course was required, except for the students who were to be only three years in the Department of Medicine and Surgery. The next year this laboratory course in physiology was a requirement for all students, the first laboratory course in physiology to be required in any medical school of the country.
Professor Howell was one of the speakers at President Hutchins' luncheon at the celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the founding of the University of Michigan (1912). In his address he said:
It has been some twenty years since I had the pleasure and the privilege of being a member of the Faculty of this University. Although this connection lasted but a brief three years, it formed an eventful period of my life, for I made here some friendships which I prize highly and I acquired for the University a respect and an affection that have been intensified by every succeeding contact … When the methods of the experimental sciences began to penetrate into the field of medicine some of the older and more influential schools failed to adjust themselves to the new conditions and thereby lost gradually their prestige. The Medical Department of this University on the contrary was among the first to adopt the newer methods of instruction and early enrolled itself among the progressive schools in this country.
(The Seventy-fifth Anniversary … University of Michigan, pp. 77-80.)
In the medical Announcement of 1892-93 the following statement, reminding one of Allen's introductory address of 1852, appears:
Knowledge is gained from one's personal observation or experience or is communicated from one to another. The former is positive knowledge, while the latter may be designated as hear-say. The medical student acquires this positive knowledge in the laboratory, in the ward and autopsy room, while he must depend for much of his information upon lectures and textbooks. It is the aim of this school to give its students all the positive knowledge possible and with this in view, great stress is laid upon the laboratory instruction in … [Various sciences were mentioned, but unfortunately physiology was omitted from the list].
The members of the medical faculty have always vied with one another for time for their laboratory courses, each of them honestly believing that the course which he was giving was the most important in the development of a doctor. When Howell left in 1892, and a new Page 920man was to come, the opportunity was too good to lose; consequently, the new man, Lombard, found that he was to give five lectures a week each semester, and that the laboratory course in physiology was to be no longer required, that in its place an optional one of six weeks had been substituted, and that there was no time left when the regular medical student could take such a course.
The lectures and recitations of 1891-92 were attended by 235 students — medical freshmen and sophomores, homeopathic medical students, dental, graduate, and pharmacy students, and those from the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts. In addition, there were three sections of optional laboratory work, for medical, homeopathic, dental, liberal arts, and graduate students.
From 1892 to 1904 there were only minor changes in the work of the Department of Physiology. The medical, homeopathic, and dental students were required to attend the lectures and recitations, and there were always a few graduate students and students from the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Literature, Science, and the Arts who elected the courses. Usually there was a special quiz section for dental students. The practical laboratory course, which was optional for all students, continued to be given to small sections, the number totaling from twenty-one to fifty-four. The laboratory was at all times open to students sufficiently advanced to do research work, and courses were offered for students proposing to teach physiology.
In 1904-5 the practical laboratory course in physiology became a required course for medical and homeopathic students, although it was elective for students in other departments. That year the course was given in three sections to seventy-six students, and in 1905-6, 103 took the required course in laboratory work, which was given five afternoons a week for nine weeks.
With the coming of Gesell (1923) there was a change in the teaching of physiology. At that time the old methods of lectures, recitations, and frequent written quizzes, in which the student was made to feel that his work was definitely assigned and under constant supervision, was altered. The student was given greater freedom to do his work in his own way, this being especially true of the laboratory work.
In 1930 Professor Gesell described the methods of instruction:
Formal instruction is offered to three groups of students in medicine, dentistry and physical education. An introductory course of eighty lectures on human physiology with demonstrations is given jointly to the students of dentistry and physical education during the second semester. In the following semester another set of forty-eight lectures on the physiology of muscular exercise is given to the students of physical education. The course in physiology offered for the students of medicine begins the second semester of the first year of the medical curriculum with a series of lectures, demonstrations, and conferences. These lectures and demonstrations include an introduction to general physiology followed by a systematic discussion of the physiology of muscle, nerve, circulation, and respiration. The remaining subjects are concluded during the first semester of the sophomore year, the class meeting three times a week. The laboratory course, which consists of eight weeks of five three-hour periods and one laboratory conference each week, may be taken during the summer session between the two lecture courses or in the fall along with the second set of lectures. All courses offered by the department are open to undergraduate and graduate students of any school who have adequate training in physics, chemistry, and biology.
In the combined course for dental and physical education students, the enrollment is about one hundred and twenty-five; in the course in the physiology of muscular exercise about twenty-five. The enrollment in the course for medical students is about one hundred Page 921and eighty, of whom approximately one hundred and fifty are medical students…
In our lectures we attempt to cover the subject in a fairly systematic way emphasizing the principles of physiology, the methods of research, and the means of arriving at conclusions. Demonstrations are freely used. Clinical data are frequently employed and found valuable not only in establishing fundamental principles but in gaining the interest of the students as well. Reference to original literature and to monographs are given but there is no assigned reading. It is left to the student to determine whether he reads or not. Three standard text-books are recommended but no specific one required. The class is divided into three sections for weekly conference…
The laboratory course is in the process of development. At present there are thirty-seven experiments each requiring on the average one complete laboratory period. One experiment (respiration of man) runs the entire week. The physiology of muscle, nerve, central nervous system, special senses, circulation, respiration, secretion, and metabolism [is] represented in varying degrees. Our aim is to develop careful technic, accurate observation, clear thinking, and sound deductions. With that in mind as much reliable standard research equipment is provided as the funds will permit. Detailed laboratory instructions are kept at a minimum. Quantitative analysis of results with the use of graphs is encouraged. Brief descriptions bearing only on the essentials are submitted by the student for weekly inspection. So that inspection may be critical, only a small proportion is graded. The student does not know which experiment is graded, neither are the grades reported. It is for the student to determine whether or not he is satisfied with his work. He has an opportunity to find his weak points at laboratory conference and through the instructors in the laboratory.
Twenty-three of the experiments the student does in the large general laboratory with equipment issued to him for the course. These experiments he is free to carry out when he pleases. The laboratory is open day and night throughout the week. The remaining experiments which are performed in the outlying rooms require special equipment and more guidance. These are assigned on posted schedules to the students in rotation.
(Gesell, pp. 43-44.)
From the beginning of 1935-36, laboratory work has been offered as a special course to the students of the School of Dentistry during the second semester.
Combined curriculum. — Dr. Novy, in his address at the memorial meeting for Dr. Vaughan, said:
[A] significant step due to the initiative of Dr. Vaughan was the early establishment of the combined curriculum. By arrangement with the Literary Faculty in 1892, students were permitted to register in the Medical School at the close of the third year and were given their bachelor's degree upon the completion of the first year in medicine. Eventually this arrangement was modified so that a student desirous of obtaining the two degrees could shorten the time from eight to seven years for the A.B. degree and to six and a half years for the B.S. degree. By this arrangement the Medical School sacrificed nothing since the Literary College merely gave credit to which any student would be entitled if he elected such medical courses.
(Vaughan Memorial, p. 11.)
Summer instruction. — No one was enthusiastic about teaching in the summer, but, because of the low salaries, it was done to help pay living expenses. Wiggers, Cope, and Muyskens all taught summer laboratory courses in physiology at various times, and sometimes to rather large numbers, the work being carried on in the same manner as during the regular sessions. The complete advanced course of lectures and laboratory instruction is offered during the summer. This opportunity of meeting all of the requirements in physiology has attracted many out-of-state medical students.
Buildings used. — Originally the lectures were given in one of the two lecture rooms in the old Medical Building. After the addition had been completed in 1864, the amphitheater (the upper Page 922lecture room) was undoubtedly used by Professor Ford. Sewall, Howell, and Lombard lectured there until 1906, when it was declared unsafe, and then Lombard was assigned the amphitheater of the old Homeopathic Building on the north side of the campus. After 1910 Lombard lectured in a small amphitheater which had been built at the east end of what was known as the old Chemical Building (Pharmacology Building), except when the classes were too large and he had to use the west lecture room of the West Medical Building. Professor Gesell gave his lectures there until the East Medical Building was constructed in 1925; after that he used the lecture room in the east wing. The laboratory work also was shifted from place to place as time went on.
When the new Anatomical Laboratory Building was completed in 1889, Howell took over the former anatomical quarters — all of the third floor and the attic. Howell's private room was in the southeast corner. Lombard occupied these rooms, using the large room as a general laboratory, and the attic for a shop and for research. It was not until 1910 that the Physiological Laboratory was moved to the third- and fourth-floor rooms of the Pharmacology Building, near the center of the campus. Lombard used the large room on the northwest corner for his private office and for much of the research work of the staff. Special experiments of the students took place in small rooms on this floor or on the floor above. Other rooms on the fourth floor were used for the shop, for research work, and for storing instruments, one room being devoted to a balance for recording the loss of weight. The animals were housed in the east end of this floor.
Gesell found quarters crowded. Fortunately, new space, approximately 32,000 square feet gross, consisting of the second, third, fourth, and fifth floors of the south wing of the East Medical Building was allotted to the department in 1925.
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