In 1914 a group of medical students gathered to form an honorary society. They selected the name of Galen, a famous Greek physician who lived about 1800 years ago, for the organization. Samuel W. Donaldson ('16m) and Hubert R. John ('16m) were instrumental in the formation of the society and did much of the preliminary organizational work. Other members of the group in its first year were Albert C. Furstenburg, '15m, now Dean of the Medical School; Maurice R. Lohman, '15m; Frank P. Hunter, '15m; Walter I. Lillie, '15m; John W. Sherrick, '15m; Alonzo C. Smith, '15m; Clarence A. Christensen, '16m; Frederick Harrison,' 16m; Edgar V. Beardslee, '16m; Evan G. Galbraith, '16m; George J. Curry, '15m; Glen J. Wilmore, '16m; Harold R. Henderson, '16m; Loren K. Meredith, '16m; William M. Dugan, '16m; John J. O'Leary, '16m; J. Bradford Seeley, '16m; and Richards E. Amos, '15m.
In the beginning the new society did not have the broad interests later developed. It was organized primarily to fill the need for a liaison agency between students and faculty of the Medical School. Meetings were held at different medical fraternity houses. Faculty men were invited to become honorary members. The new society began to form a closer bond between the students and faculty.
From modest beginnings the society has developed a comprehensive program of service to the University and to the children in its Hospital perhaps unequaled by a comparable society anywhere. Galen Medical Society, supported by the generosity of students and townspeople, has broadened its original interests to brighten the lives of thousands of individuals.
On the night of November 3, 1927, William W. Thomas ('28m) suggested at a meeting of the society that a tag day be held to raise money to "help the poor kids in University Hospital at Christmas time." Out of this suggestion has come happiness to many thousands of children.
Thoms was appointed to head a tag day committee that same evening, with Fred M. Doyle ('28m) and Glenn A. Carmichael ('28m) as his associates. In Page 1928the following month Galens held its first tag day, followed by its first annual Christmas party for shut-in children in the University Hospital.
Tag days have been held by members of Galens annually ever since in order to provide Christmas cheer and year-long vocational and recreational interest to children in the Hospital. Another source of revenue for the society is the Galens newsstand, operated at the Hospital, and the annual Caduceus Ball and Medical School Smoker also produce income which goes into the general fund.
The society has set up a loan fund to assist medical students, and Galens scholarships are also available. The society has donated money to obtain much-needed surgical equipment for a hospital in England. Contributions have been made to the Hospital Bulletin, to the Internship Committee, to the photography shop at the Hospital for the purpose of increasing medical knowledge by study of photographs, to the maintenance of a physiotherapist for polio cases, and to numerous other projects.
In February, 1928, the society received a letter from Miss Dorothy Ketcham, then Director of the Social Service Department of the Hospital, outlining the need for a prevocational shop and for recreational facilities for children confined to the Hospital. Members of Galens foresaw the enormous value of such an investment and arranged to provide funds for its inception.
The Galens Shop was begun in 1928. It is now regarded as the finest venture of its kind in any general hospital. Financed through the generosity of University students and Ann Arbor townspeople the shop was founded and carefully nurtured through the years by Galens and Miss Dorothy Ketcham.
All children who are confined to the University Hospital are welcome to the Galens Shop. When they are physically limited in their movements the materials of the shop are brought to their bedside. The project has immeasurable therapeutic value.
Self-sufficiency is the keynote of the shop's program. Under the careful guidance of a thoroughly trained instructor, the children are free to select what they desire from the multitude of tools, work projects, toys, games, books, and records. The program attempts to help the children attain self-sufficiency through individual expression. They learn to design and create things which produce inner satisfaction. They express themselves through materials and tools. And they learn the all-important faculty of sharing their experiences, working together, and encouraging each other.
The materials and tools provided in the shop are many and varied. There are jig saws, a lathe, a sander, a drill and circular saw — all equipped with safety features and run by electricity. There are innumerable hand tools, all readily accessible to the children, and work tables, paint facilities, drying racks, and plenty of books and patterns designed to stimulate ideas.
Out of the Galens "Fun Fund" have come books, games, manipulative toys, many kinds of dolls, trains, and endless other toys and educational tools. A complete record library, designed especially for the children, is maintained. The wonder, amazement, and sheer joy of finding these things at a hospital have been expressed in the eyes and voices of thousands of sick children.