School of Medicine unveils Great Basin History of Medicine Photo Archive

2/15/2007 | By: Staff Report  |

The history of medicine can be traced back thousands of years to the time of the Ancient Greeks. Modern medicine, as it exists today, however has a much shorter but no less interesting story. In Nevada, that story begins with the frontier military medicine that was practiced in the Great Basin during the 19th century.
Now Nevada's medical history is also a story that, with just a few clicks of the mouse, can be viewed online thanks to the efforts of Anton Sohn, M.D., University of Nevada School of Medicine professor and pathology department chair, and Bonnie Ragains, a library technician with the School of Medicine's Savitt Medical Library.

Sohn, who acts as the medical school's resident historian, and Ragains, who handles information resources for the medical library, have worked tirelessly to upload more than 600 images from the Great Basin History of Medicine Photo Archive to the School of Medicine website.
"Nevada has a rich healthcare history," says Sohn.  "These photos tell our story.  They show us where we've been and how we've made it to where we are today. They also show us the possibilities of where we can go tomorrow."
The images available online represent just a portion of the School's collection of more than 7,000 photographs that tell the state's medical history. The photo collection documents more than 100 years of healthcare for Nevada citizens and includes images from the early days of the School of Medicine, the Nevada State Medical Association and member societies, the Reno Surgical Society, and early Nevada hospitals, doctors, nurses, dentists, and veterinarians.
In addition to the digital collection, the School of Medicine also boasts an indexed collection of 35 mm slides and negatives which can be found in the Doctors Hood History of Medicine Library located within Savitt Medical Library in the Pennington Medical Education Building on the Reno campus.

The library, which is open to the public, also contains an antique medical instrument exhibit, more than 90 oral histories of prominent Nevadan medical figures, and books on the history of medicine.
The digital collection, which can be accessed at, is offered to the public without copyright restrictions; however, the University of Nevada School of Medicine should be credited as the source for any image copied from the site.

Sohn and Ragains plan to continue uploading more of the collection of archival photographs to the online gallery. 


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