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Anesthesia & Analgesia:
doi: 10.1213/ANE.0b013e3182730098
General Articles: Special Article

Howard Dittrick: Curator to the McMechans’ Legacy Journal

Bause, George S. MD, MPH*; Edmonson, James M. PhD

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From the *Schools of Medicine and of Dental Medicine, Case Western Reserve University; and Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Accepted for publication August 29, 2012.

Published ahead of print November 9, 2012

GSB is currently the Honorary Curator, Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, Park Ridge, Illinois.

JME is currently the Chief Curator, Dittrick Medical History Center, Cleveland, Ohio.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Honorarium from the Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, Park Ridge, IL.

Reprints will not be available from the authors.

Address correspondence to George S. Bause, MD, MPH, Schools Medicine and of Dental Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, 5247 Wilson Mills No. 282, Cleveland, OH 44143. Address e-mail to UJYC@aol.com.

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Abstract

A noted medical historian and museum curator, Canadian American Howard Dittrick was a Cleveland gynecologist who served as Directing Editor of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia (1940–1954). In the aftermath of World War II, even after Congresses of Anesthetists had resumed, Dittrick and his editorial board allowed their yellow, then tan-covered journal, the so-called yellow peril,” to languish into near irrelevance.

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WHAT STEERED HOWARD DITTRICK TOWARD MEDICAL EDITING?

Howard Dittrick (1877–1954) was the sixth of 8 children born to a German Canadian and his Irish-Canadian wife. The Dittricks made their home in St. Catharines, Ontario, on the Niagara Peninsula. This peninsula divides Lakes Ontario and Erie, but also links Canada with the United States, presaging Dittrick’s professional career. Infectious diseases killed 4 of Howard’s older siblings and afflicted his 2 younger ones.a Perhaps understandably, Howard gravitated toward a future career as a physician. After schooling at St. Catharines Collegiate Institute, Dittrick detoured briefly from medicine by attending Ontario’s Welland Model School for teachers. He then matriculated at the Medical Faculty of the University of Toronto, the alma mater of his hometown mayor.1

At Toronto, he was inspired by 2 professors who were physician editors: the aloof Gynecologist-in-Chief Uzziel Ogden and the charming Obstetrician-in-Chief Adam Wright.2 Howard graduated in 1900 with an MB, which the University would convert to an MD cum laude in 1927. Dittrick’s professors recommended that he pursue postgraduate training in gynecology at Cleveland’s Lakeside Hospital. There, his Gynecologist-in-Chief was Hunter Robb, best known as the first Chief Gynecological Resident trained by Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Howard Kelly. From 1900 to 1905, Dittrick completed his internship and most of his residency at Lakeside Hospital.

With Robb’s blessing, Dittrick augmented his Lakeside postgraduate training from 1901 to 1902 by completing 6 months of postgraduate training at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital.3,4 Robb introduced him by letter to Physician-in-Chief William Osler, the professor who had commandeered Robb’s office at Hopkins for composing The Principles and Practice of Medicine.5 Astonished by the surgical skill of his “academic grandfather” Howard Kelly, Dittrick was even more startled to witness the pious Gynecologist-in-Chief drop to his knees in prayer before surgery. Although he barely met Surgeon-in-Chief William Halsted, Dittrick frequently encountered Pathologist-in-Chief William Welch. Most of Dittrick’s Hopkins experience focused on gynecological pathology.4 As luck would have it, Welch also ran Monday conferences on the history of medicine. Welch likely sparked Dittrick’s interest in libraries, museums, and the funding of such institutions. (Dittrick’s focus on gynecological pathology and history of medicine would advance him to Senior Clinical Instructor status at Cleveland’s Western Reserve University.)

In January of 1907, Dittrick married his Iowa-born, Toronto-educated sweetheart, Gertrude Moore. A gynecologist surrounded by female patients at work, Dittrick found gender balance at home, where he and Gertrude had 6 sons. To support his growing family, from 1907 to 1943 Dittrick moonlighted for extra income by conducting physical examinations first as a “Medical Examiner” and then a “Referee” for Prudential Insurance Company.b Dittrick was naturalized as a US citizen in July of 1911.

Dittrick followed his good friend Emanuel Klaus, MD, (Howard’s immediate predecessor as Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia Directing Editor) onto the Membership Committee for the Academy of Medicine of Cleveland. Eventually, Dittrick would serve as Editor for the Bulletin of the Academy of Medicine of Cleveland. In its early years, the Academy met at the Cleveland Medical Library Association (CMLA), an organization founded after Johns Hopkins’ Howard Kelly had donated to Cleveland’s physicians a 1555 tome by Vesalius. After organizing the CMLA’s medical museum (1926), Dittrick would be appointed as its Curator (1928) and then Director (1934). He edited the Bulletin of the CMLA for many years. In Spain in 1935, Dittrick served as an American delegate to the International Congress on the History of Medicine. In 1938, he again served as an American delegate to the congress in Yugoslavia.6

For the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS), was Dittrick the internationalist and medical editor who could follow Drs. Francis “Frank” McMechan and Emanuel Klaus as a Directing Editor of the IARS’ journal, Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia?

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HOW DID A GYNECOLOGIST WIND UP EDITING AN ANESTHESIA JOURNAL? (1939)

Drs. Emanuel Klaus and Howard Dittrick first met in 1902, when the former was a Western Reserve medical student and the latter was a Lakeside Hospital house officer. More than 2 decades later, the pair welcomed the future founding editor of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia, Francis “Frank” McMechan, to their Academy of Medicine on McMechan’s arrival in Cleveland. Both Klaus and Dittrick eventually revered McMechan as the gentle genius who, although crippled by arthritis, would tower from a wheelchair over the world of physician anesthetists. McMechan in turn admired Klaus’ fierce advocacy of physician-only anesthesia at Cleveland’s Lutheran Hospital.7 A product of Cincinnati’s German, and then Jesuit, schooling, McMechan bantered in German with Klaus, a German-speaking Hungarian-American Jew. In contrast, having been raised in Paris, Mrs. Laurette McMechan preferred to banter in French with the bilingual Canadian American, Dittrick.c

After Frank McMechan died in July 1939, Klaus preserved Laurette McMechan’s income by agreeing to function gratis as the IARS’ Executive Secretary and the Interim Directing Editor of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia. With both Laurette McMechan’s and Emanuel Klaus’ hearty endorsements, Howard Dittrick was appointed by September 1939 as Directing Editor of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia.d

Why did the IARS Board choose Howard Dittrick as Directing Editor of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia? He certainly had a track record as a medical editor, having successfully edited 2 medical publications. He also had a close friendship with Laurette McMechan and Emanuel Klaus. However, it is tempting to speculate that the IARS believed that Dittrick would bring to Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia important academic, political, and geographic advantages.

Having a celebrated faculty member like Dittrick edit Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia promised to improve the journal’s academic standing, and the standing of the IARS as well. At that time, surgical departments at most American universities and larger clinics had a stranglehold on physician anesthetist training programs. Many early training programs for anesthesiologists began in smaller hospitals. For example, Ohio’s first anesthesiology residency was a modest-sized program at Cleveland’s homeopathic Huron Road Hospital. The IARS Board saw in Dittrick a Cleveland-based medical editor with a current university affiliation. He was a Senior Clinical Instructor in Gynecology and a 35-year member of the Western Reserve University faculty. His postgraduate work in gynecological pathology at Johns Hopkins further strengthened his academic credentials.6 Dittrick had recently gained national fame with the American Medical Association’s publication of his “Getting Ready for Married Life.”8 He also achieved international recognition for his medical museum work. (For a more extensive discussion of Howard Dittrick as a curator, please read author Edmonson’s biography of him in Caduceus).9

Dittrick’s appointment as Directing Editor also served a local political purpose. In 1915, Agatha Hodgins founded the Lakeside Hospital School for Anesthesia, a nurse anesthesia training program. This was the same Lakeside Hospital where Dittrick had trained. In 1931, Hodgins started the National Association of Nurse Anesthetists (1931), which would quickly rename itself as the “American Association of Nurse Anesthetists” in 1939, the year of Dittrick’s Current Researches appointment. By appointing a Lakeside Hospital physician alumnus and current Western Reserve faculty member as Directing Editor of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia, the IARS hoped to effectively block local and national development of nurse-administered anesthesia. In considering the appointment, Emanuel Klaus understood that Dittrick had “been taught that at Lakeside Hospital … [he would work with] a nurse anesthetist.” However, Klaus opined that it might be “real propaganda” to “convert him [Dittrick] to real [physician-administered] anesthesia and … [to] open his eyes and ‘carry … [the message] to Garcia’ in the Lakeside Hospital.” Although Gynecologist Dittrick did not “know anesthesia,” Klaus believed that it would be “better to train him [Dittrick] as an anesthetist, than to train an anesthetist as an editor.”e

Meanwhile, the physician organization competing with the IARS, the American Society of Anesthetists (ASA) had only agreed to delay launching their own anesthesia journal until McMechan vacated his editorial office at Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia. Because the Manhattan-based ASA was attempting to gain political control of all physician anesthetists in the United States, having Laurette and the IARS Board select a nonanesthesiologist, such as Gynecologist Dittrick as Directing Editor, might provide the Directing Editor with immunity from political influence at least from Manhattan, if not from Cleveland.

Having Dittrick edit Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia promised to provide the IARS with the geographic advantages of a Cleveland-based internationalist. Despite practicing medicine for nearly 4 decades in Cleveland, Dittrick had remarkable credentials as a world communicator and internationalist. A Canadian native of mixed German-Irish extraction, Dittrick demonstrated language fluency in French and English and reading knowledge of scientific German, Latin, and ancient Greek. He networked extensively with a host of well-known medical and museum professionals. As trumpeted in Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia, Dittrick had “traveled extensively in Canada, Mexico, West Indies, Panama … and three times visited Europe,” including twice as a delegate for the United States to the International Congresses on the History of Medicine in 1935 (Spain) and 1938 (Yugoslavia).6

The personal friendship between Dittrick and Laurette McMechan, the Assistant Editor, was likely an important consideration. A former amateur thespian famous for her late arrivals and histrionic behavior, Mrs. McMechan exacted respect from the colleagues of her late husband.f After all, the IARS and its journal were the McMechans’ only legacies. Without her insistence on keeping their Cleveland-based IARS and its journal independent of the Manhattan-based ASA and its journal, Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia might have been absorbed into Anesthesiology. An IARS executive observed that Laurette’s “regal bearing belied her small stature. … She was precise, proper, and strongly opinionated [and] … had very rigid thoughts about the way that things were done.”f As Assistant Editor of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia, Laurette was so controlling a personality that it was quite possible that “no one else would take the job”g of Directing Editor. As her trusted consultant gynecologist (at least until his clinical retirement in 1942), Dittrick was a French-speaking confidant willing to work with the exasperating Mrs. McMechan.10

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HOW A NOT-SO-DIRECTING EDITOR HELPED THE “YELLOW JOURNAL” LOSE ITS YELLOW (1940)

As the new Directing Editor, Howard Dittrick provided little direction to Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia. Later Board Trustees observed, Howard provided “little input into … [soliciting] papers” for the journal and just “went over what … [Laurette and the IARS Board] got.”h After copyediting and occasionally rewriting a poorly penned article, Dittrick then tactfully communicated suggested changes with the article’s authors. Next, Dittrick and his wife Gertrude would review the corrected manuscript before typesetting. And finally, both of the Dittricks would proofread galley proofs.e Other editorial chores for Dittrick included composing abstracts of pertinent German or French medical literature and reviewing books. Because of Howard’s limited understanding of anesthesiology, book reviewing would quickly be shared with a host of physician anesthetists, including Noel Gillespie and Donald Hale.11 Howard’s final responsibility was drafting editorials for Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia, ideally on topics that a gynecologist and curator could comfortably address, such as obstetrics, abdominal surgery, and history of medicine. Eventually, Dittrick’s editorials sparked controversy when he unwisely strayed into areas in which he lacked clinical expertise, such as pain management and blood banking.i

Dittrick’s editorial debut was in the first issue (January–February) of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia in 1940, an issue published with the familiar yellow cover that the late Frank McMechan had insisted on for the journal. For Founding Editor McMechan, this “goldenrod” yellow was a cautionary but eye-catching color for readers that would make the periodical easy to spot on office or library shelves.c,e In many ways, choosing yellow to cover Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia reflected the dramatic flair that the McMechans, as amateur thespians, enjoyed bringing to both the IARS’ congresses and its journal.

The start of the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945) had resurrected some Westerners’ use of pejoratives such as “yellow threat or “yellow peril,” phrasings popularized by Kaiser Wilhelm II by the end of the First Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895). With fresh memories from Yugoslavia of his 1938 International Congress on the History of Medicine, Dittrick impressed Laurette with the growing use of the phrase “yellow peril” by her target readership overseas: Europeans and British Commonwealthers.c On the Continent, centuries-old cultural prejudices against the “Mongol Hordes” had been rekindled recently by Imperial Japan’s 1937 invasions of Shanghai and Nanking.

To avoid racially charged, negative connotations that the color yellow risked associating with the journal, Laurette sought a “much paler” color for the cover of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia.e In addition, from a pragmatic standpoint, Laurette also hoped to augment advertising by using 1-sided color on the cover of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia, leaving a white inner cover for advertising. Without IARS Board approval, she changed the outside color of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia front and back covers from “goldenrod” yellow to “champagne” tan.e The IARS Governors tacitly agreed to the color change at their October 1940 meeting.

From 1940 to 1954, the only “yellow” cover of the journal was Dittrick’s inaugural January–February 1940 issue. After that, the journal was tan during Dittrick’s entire term as Directing Editor. Nonetheless, when a competing journal, Anesthesiology, was launched in July 1940, anesthesiologists defaulted to referring to Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia as the “yellow journal” or less charitably as the “yellow peril.” The latter phrase grew increasingly pejorative stateside after Imperial Japan bombed US forces at Pearl Harbor.

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WORLD WAR II: SURPRISE ATTACKS … ON AN EDITOR AND ON A NATION: (1941–1945)

At the Congress of Anesthetists in Boston in November 1941, the IARS elected Cleveland’s Rolland Whitacre, MD, to its Board of Governors. The Board met next in Rocky River, Ohio, on the morning of Sunday, December 7, 1941. Whitacre was clearly disturbed how the journal’s quality had suffered during Frank McMechan’s health decline and after his passing. Despite being the newest Governor, Whitacre boldly proposed “that the Board of Governors constitute themselves as the Editorial Board of the publication of the Society.”j This surprise motion was not exactly a vote of confidence in their new Directing Editor. The Board also voted “to separate the expense of … the salary of the Editor” as $75 monthly from Laurette’s salary. After breaking for lunch, the IARS Governors resumed the meeting, unaware that at 12:55 PM EST the bombing had begun at Pearl Harbor. After emerging from their meeting at 4:50 PM, the Governors learned about the surprise attacks in Hawaii.j Howard Dittrick would not learn about his salary’s partitioning from Laurette’s control nor of his new Editorial Board until after President Franklin Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech.

Wartime would shift many IARS members overseas (at half of their civilian earnings) and would create the need for training large numbers of physicians and nurses to deliver military anesthetics. For Directing Editor Dittrick, World War II provided significant distractions from his editorial duties. He took pride in his past civil service on Canada’s Welland Canal Field Battery (1898–1899) and then on a stateside World War I Medical Advisory Board (1914–1919). From 1941 to 1945, Dittrick drilled and volunteered in Cleveland as a first aid officer for civilian defense.3

In tandem with the Clinical Congress of Surgeons, the 1942 Congress of Anesthetists was first shifted from “bombable” Los Angeles to Chicago and then canceled altogether. Once it was clear that so many members had been mobilized overseas for the war effort, no congresses for surgeons or anesthetists would be held from 1942 to 1945.k The publication of papers presented at the 1941 Congress of Anesthetists would be stretched out for publication in Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia from 1942 to 1943. Launching an appeal for more research, presumably to increase submissions to Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia, IARS Governor Charles Wells editorialized in September of 1942 about “Anesthesia and Medical Research.”12

Fortunately for the editorial board, a wartime shortage of paper (pulp) rescued them from their shortage of papers (articles). From 1944 to 1947, Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia reduced issue size by 16 pages, down to an average 44 pages total.13 By 1943, Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia publication was exhausting the remaining supply of papers, those that had been scheduled for delivery at the canceled 1942 Congress. In October 1943, while distracted by plans to incorporate the IARS, the concerned IARS Board of Governors (and Editors) proposed creating a research fund to help generate new articles for Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia to publish.l Remarkably, that is how research funding was formalized by the IARS Board.

Whether driven by his reaching retirement age, or by patriotic desire to assist in churning out more wartime physicians, or just by concern over dwindling submissions to Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia, 66-year-old Howard Dittrick retired from his clinical practice of gynecology and accepted a Director of Education position at the Cleveland Clinic from 1943 to 1947.10 In that capacity, his editorial talents were also diverted part-time from Current Researches to editing the Cleveland Clinic Quarterly.

From 1944 to September of 1946, when Congresses of Anesthetists resumed, Dittrick and his editorial board resorted to publishing Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia as a motley collection of dental and research papers, book reviews, reprints, theses, and presentations delivered at non-IARS meetings. Not having IARS congresses to funnel papers to Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia was likely a hardship that helped mature the journal away from being strictly a “transactions” or “proceedings” of IARS annual meetings and more toward becoming a true journal. Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia was evolving into a critical forum for receiving, revising, and, yes, refusing offerings, whether or not such submissions had been presented at IARS meetings. By early 1946, Assistant Editor Laurette McMechan was openly soliciting manuscripts in Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia, and Directing Editor Dittrick was pleading for articles on military anesthesia from physicians returning from service overseas.14,15

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CURATORIAL HONORS AMIDST EDITORIAL MISSTEPS (1945–1949)

On both sides of the Atlantic, most physician anesthetists understood that James Young Simpson had pioneered chloroform anesthesia and John Snow had chloroformed Queen Victoria for childbirth. Unfortunately, in the July–August 1944 issue of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia, Howard Dittrick, to his embarrassment as a medical historian, mistakenly editorialized about Simpson’s “delivery of Queen Victoria under chloroform.”16 As published in the January 1945 issue of Current Researches, London anesthetist John Ives wrote that he “could not let [Dittrick’s] slip pass.” For it “was the quiet Yorkshireman, John Snow, and not James Simpson, who attended Queen Victoria.”17 To worsen matters, in the next issue of Current Researches, the name of Dittrick’s late friend Emanuel Klaus was spelled as “Emmanuel Klaus” in his obituary.18

The death of Emanuel Klaus in March of 1945 ushered in the administration of IARS Executive Secretary Rolland Whitacre, the third Clevelander in that role to advocate physician-only anesthesia. During the next 3 years, Whitacre would repopulate the aging Editorial Board of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia. Ever respectful of geography, Whitacre preserved Board positions for Canadians, Buffalonians, and US Capital area residents. John Evans of Buffalo was replaced by his partner, Clarence Durshordwe. Kenneth Heard of Toronto was replaced posthumously by Montreal’s Harold Griffith. Cline Chipman of Baltimore was replaced posthumously by Morris Nicholson from the District of Columbia. In a more telling changing of the IARS’ “Old Guard,” Whitacre’s Board ended direct ties with Hahnemann Hospital (America’s homeopathic mothership), replacing Everett Tyler with Canadian-American William Friend. Whitacre also replaced Frederick Clement, a friend of Elmer McKesson (one of the founders of the IARS), with Harry Seldon, another Canadian American.m Perhaps Whitacre hoped that Friend and Seldon could accomplish for Current Researches what their fellow Queens University alumnus, Ralph Tovell, had done as Associate Editor (and soon Editor-in-Chief) for the American Society of Anesthetists’ Anesthesiology.

In October 1945, when Whitacre’s election to IARS Executive Secretary was formalized, Dittrick was receiving curatorial honors. The CMLA formally dedicated its museum as the “Howard Dittrick Museum of Historical Medicine.” As the Journal of the American Medical Association highlighted, the dedication included the unveiling of an oil portrait of Howard Dittrick at his namesake museum (Fig. 1).19 Unfortunately, however, Dittrick’s editorship at Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia continued to be plagued by mistakes and by the unwillingness of Dittrick and many on the IARS Board to solicit manuscripts for publication. In a March editorial, to his chagrin, Howard misspelled the surname of fellow Canadian native, curare pioneer Harold Griffith as “Griffiths.”20

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Figure 1
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AN INTERNATIONALIZING JOURNAL AND THEN ITS EDITOR LANGUISH (1950–1954)

As Whitacre began the year 1950 as ASA President, he probably appreciated having Seldon on the editorial board of Current Researches to help oversee Dittrick’s work. Perhaps sensing his own journalistic shortcomings, Dittrick editorialized his hope that “we may have another McMechan to make our organization effective.”21 Although likely intended to deprecate his own efforts as the Directing Editor of Current Researches, Dittrick’s editorial could certainly have been construed as criticizing Whitacre’s leadership as IARS’ Executive Secretary. If Whitacre took slight, he remained “his usual cool as a cucumber.”c Whitacre appreciated that as long as the well-traveled Dittrick continued as Directing Editor of Current Researches, he might prove valuable in connecting with Europeans at future international meetings. As planned by the IARS Board, 4 of the 6 upcoming meetings (1950–1955) would be advertised as “international” congresses, including the one in Miami (1950) “in Honor of Latin America,” in London (1951), in Montreal (1953), and the World Congress in Scheveningen, the Netherlands (1955).k,n

Whether collecting medical antiques, mounting exhibits, or editing papers, Dittrick always relied on his wife Gertrude as a sounding board for his ideas, a copyeditor for his journals, and an extra pair of eyes for proofreading. Her progressive blindness by 1952 forced Dittrick to train his own curatorial replacement at his namesake museum and to seek more editorial support from the Current Researches Editorial Board.9 By February of 1952, a 75-year-old Dittrick was still refusing to step down as Directing Editor of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia. Moreover, Mrs. McMechan, whose retirement annuity was nearly funded in full, was now waffling about stepping down as Assistant Editor. To Whitacre’s dismay, his IARS Board faced working with 2 advanced septuagenarians, Laurette and Howard, neither of whom had any immediate plans to retire. Ironically, just as Dittrick had begun grooming his own successor as museum curator, Whitacre would begin grooming in earnest Dittrick’s successor as Directing Editor of Current Researches, Harry Seldon. 9,i

Although he had renominated Dittrick as Directing Editor at the end of 1949, Seldon had become concerned in the early 1950s as Dittrick unwisely strayed increasingly into topics where Gynecologist Dittrick had little business: pain management and, particularly, the banking and transfusion of blood. Seldon insisted that Dittrick had written “an article on blood transfusion that was so utterly incorrect” that Seldon “was afraid to take it.”i

By February 1953, Dittrick had turned 75 years of age. His Editorial Board reduced his published presence in Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia from penning 5 editorials annually down to zero that year. In fact, only a single book review in 1953 included the byline “Howard Dittrick.”22 Dittrick had finally been relegated to little beyond correcting submissions’ “English and the grammar” and proofreading galleys for the journal.i

At this time, Laurette McMechan, the Assistant Editor, was clearly aware that Gertrude Dittrick was now legally blind and that Howard Dittrick was distracted and hampered by his wife’s disability.o However, it appears that Howard Dittrick and Laurette McMechan were equally reluctant to turn over the leadership of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia to a new generation. Curator Dittrick was just as reluctant to turn over his museum to his hand-picked curatorial successor, as editor Dittrick was to vacate his position as Directing Editor of Current Researches.

Circumstances spared the IARS Board from the drama of dismissing Howard Dittrick as Directing Editor of Current Researches in Anesthesia and Analgesia. By January of 1954, Dittrick had been diagnosed with carcinoma of the colon with liver metastases. With only months to live, he opted to enjoy his remaining time with his wife Gertrude, who admired his “quiet courage.”o As physician caretaker and Directing Editor of Current Researches, Dittrick could rest comfortably knowing that alongside Laurette McMechan, he had labored loyally as a curator to the McMechans’ legacy journal. In a moving memorial tribute to Howard Dittrick, members of the Ohio Academy of Medical History observed that near the end, few sensed his pain, and those who knew him would “never forget his cheerful black eyes, his kindness, his energetic enthusiasm, and his tireless determination to accomplish well whatever he set out to do.”p

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DISCLOSURES

Name: George S. Bause, MD, MPH.

Contribution: This author helped design and conduct the study, analyze the data, and write the manuscript.

Attestation: George S. Bause approved the final manuscript.

Name: James M. Edmonson, PhD.

Contribution: This author helped write the manuscript.

Attestation: James M. Edmonson approved the final manuscript.

This manuscript was handled by: Steven L. Shafer, MD.

a Genealogical records compiled by Jenny (Thayer) Dittrick, “My People. Vol. II.” Howard Dittrick Collection. Dittrick Medical History Center, Cleveland, OH. Cited Here...

b Doffuto ED. Letter to H. Dittrick, June 2, 1932. Howard Dittrick Collection. Dittrick Medical History Center, Cleveland, OH. Cited Here...

c B.B. Sankey, MD, personal communications with G.S. Bause, March and November 2002. Cited Here...

d IARS Board minutes, September 24, 1940. IARS Archives, Wood Library-Museum, Park Ridge, IL. Cited Here...

e IARS Board minutes, October 20, 1940. IARS Archives, Wood Library-Museum, Park Ridge, IL. Cited Here...

f Martin JT. Interviews of D. Merich, February 11, 1991 and March 17, 1992. IARS Archives, Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, Park Ridge, IL. Cited Here...

g Maggiore AF. Interview of J.T. Martin, June 30, 1992. IARS Archives, Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, Park Ridge, IL. Cited Here...

h Martin JT. Interview of M.J. Nicholson, March 14, 1992. IARS Archives, Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, Park Ridge, IL. Cited Here...

i Didier EP. Interview of T.H. Seldon, July 27, 1991. IARS Archives, Wood Library-Museum, Park Ridge, IL. Cited Here...

j IARS Board minutes, December 7, 1941. IARS Archives, Wood Library-Museum, Park Ridge, IL. Cited Here...

k IARS. 50th Congress [Program]: An Important Milestone for Anesthesiology’s Pioneer Organization. March 14–18, 1976. IARS Archives, Wood Library-Museum, Park Ridge, IL. Cited Here...

l IARS Board minutes, October 3, 1943. IARS Archives, Wood Library-Museum of Anesthesiology, Park Ridge, IL. Cited Here...

m IARS Board minutes, May 23, 1948. IARS Archives, Wood Library-Museum, Park Ridge, IL. Cited Here...

n IARS Board minutes, October 2–5, 1949. IARS Archives, Wood Library-Museum, Park Ridge, IL.

o Dittrick GM. Letter to Dr. Canki-Thallor, February 26, 1955. Howard Dittrick Collection. Dittrick Medical History Center, Cleveland, OH. Cited Here...

p Bunts AT, Fertig HH, Gebhard G. Memorial [notes] to Howard Dittrick, M.D. for the Ohio Academy of Medical History, 1955. Howard Dittrick Collection. Dittrick Medical History Center, Cleveland, OH. Cited Here...

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REFERENCES

1. Dittrick H. Our family doctor, the mayor Hist Bull (Calgary). 1946;10:160–3

2. Graduating Classes in the Faculties of Arts and Medicine (GCFAM). Torontonensis, 1900, Volume III, A Yearly Record and Memorial of Student Life in the University of Toronto. 1900 Toronto, Canada GCFAM:109

3. NA. The Canadian Who’s Who with Which Is Incorporated “Canadian men and women of the time”: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women: Vol. IX, 1961–1963. 1963 Toronto, Canada Trans-Canada Press:289

4. Johns Hopkins University. Register of the Johns Hopkins University, 1902–1903. 1903 Baltimore, MD Johns Hopkins Press:38

5. Dittrick H Memories of the Oslers. 1949 Cleveland, OH Academy of Medicine of Cleveland

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7. Academy of Medicine of Cleveland. . Academy meeting Cleveland Med J. 1917;16:49–51

8. Dittrick H. Getting ready for married life Hygeia. 1939;17:515–20

9. Edmonson JM. Dr. Dittrick’s Museum. Caduceus. 1990;6:1–25

10. Dittrick H. Dr. Dittrick takes clinic position Anesth Analg. 1944;23:15

11. Hale DE. Physics for the anesthetist Anesth Analg. 1948;27:209

12. Wells CJ. Anesthesia and medical research Anesth Analg. 1942;21:300

13. IARS Board of Governors. . Special announcement Anesth Analg. 1947;26:254

14. McMechan L. Manuscripts Anesth Analg. 1946;25:9

15. Dittrick H. The veteran returns. Anesth Analg. 1946;25:44

16. Dittrick H. Anesthesia from Britain Curr Res Anesth Analg. 1944;23:176

17. Ives J. A communication setting the record straight Anesth Analg. 1945;24:43–4

18. IARS Board of Governors. . In memoriam—E. Klaus, M.D., F.I.C.A. Anesth Analg. 1945;24:88

19. Fishbein M. Historical museum dedicated J Am Med Assoc. 1945;129:1036

20. Dittrick H. Twenty-five years of anesthesia Anesth Analg. 1946;25:87–8

21. Dittrick H. Cooperation, yes: coercion, no Anesth Analg. 1950;29:359–60

22. Dittrick H. The English pioneers of anaesthesia Anesth Analg. 1953;32:360

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