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The Society and the Civil War


With the election of Solomon Blood, MD, as the Society’s 12th president, it was business as usual for the Wisconsin State Medical Society during its 1861 Annual Meeting. But the start of the Civil War just a few months later changed all that. The Society suspended all of its meetings—including the election of officers—until 1867 when the makeup of its leadership looked decidedly different. Doctor Blood, who was still technically president, had moved to Minnesota. Secretary/Treasurer Clark G. Pease, MD, also a past president (1857-1859), had been appointed Surgeon of the 2nd Wisconsin Cavalry soon after the Civil War started and died during the war in 1864.

When interest in the Society resumed, it was up to Vice President H.A. Youmans, MD, to rally the membership. Doctor Youmans authorized a special Society meeting on July 23, 1867, in Janesville; and with nine members attending, the Society was back. H.P. Strong, MD, of Beloit was elected to finish out Dr. Pease’s term as the secretary/treasurer, but no action was taken to elect a new president. Doctor Blood remained president, in name only, until 1868 when Harmon Van Dusen, MD, of Mineral Point was elected.

Test your knowledge

The Society’s Board of Directors wasn’t always known as the “Board of Directors”. What was it called before the name was officially changed at the 1981 Society Annual Meeting? E-mail your response to Jennifer Wieman by noon, Wednesday, Feb. 10.

The winner of last week’s trivia is Kevin Flaherty, MD, who knew that “Medicina nusquam non est” translates to “medicine is universal.” The literal translation of this phrase, which appears on the Society’s official seal is “Medicine nowhere not is.” It dates back to Roman encyclopaedist Aulus Cornelius Celsus, who lived during the first century.

Note that Dr. Flaherty’s name was selected randomly from all of the correct responses. Thanks to all who participated and good luck this week!

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