Passport to a Better World: Oregon Health Professionals Abroad

This exhibit highlights the international service of four individuals: Dentist Horace Miller, physician Esther Pohl Lovejoy, nurse Naida Hoffman Hurlburt, and physician Charles Grossman. Distinct from one another in background and profession, each crossed the globe in service to a better world, whether in the halls of higher education, on the front lines, or in pursuit of international
cooperation.

exhibit brochure

Horace Miller: Exploring Dental Education around the World

School of Dentistry, University of Guadalajara, Mexico, c. 1950s. Horace M. Miller Papers [2010-013].

Horace M. Miller was born in Portland in 1892, the son of Herbert C. Miller, who was the founder and first President of North Pacific College of Oregon. After graduating from Reed College in 1917, Miller attended North Pacific Dental College, graduating in 1924. He later served in the U.S. Army Artillery during World War I. Between the two world wars, Miller taught oral surgery at his alma mater, and served as secretary of faculty. In 1941, he was appointed a major in the U.S. Army Dental Corps, and during the war was stationed in Australia, where he was Chief of the Dental Section. While in Australia, Miller participated in “American nights,” hosted by the Victoria Dental Association of Australia, and conducted research on local dental education and clinical facilities.

After his experience in Australia, Miller developed an interest in dental education around the world. He traveled extensively, and was interested in bringing the best techniques from international dental education to instruction at University of Oregon Dental School (now OHSU School of Dentistry). Through travels to England, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, Mexico, among others, Miller documented facilities, curriculums, and initiatives so that he could share with his colleagues at the dental school. After conducting in-person research, Miller often followed up with the international colleagues he met in his travels, to confirm details and numbers so that he could present them accurately in presentations to his colleagues and students.

Esther Pohl Lovejoy: Distinguished Physician, Activist, and Chair of the American Women’s Hospital Service

Dr. Lovejoy with Dr. Mabel Elliott and Dr. Moskovitis of the Greek Department of Public Assistance, 1923. Esther Pohl Lovejoy Papers [2001-011].

Esther Pohl Lovejoy was born in Seabeck, Washington Territory in 1869. Lovejoy became the second woman to graduate from University of Oregon Medical School in 1894. In 1907, she was appointed Portland City Health Officer, the first woman to hold the post in a city of its size. Dr. Lovejoy served with the Red Cross in Europe during World War I, where she developed a keen interest in medical relief work with refugees of war.

Lovejoy was appointed chair of the American Women’s Hospital Service (AWHS) in 1919 and led the organization until her retirement in 1967. Founded during the First World War by the Medical Women’s National Association, the AWHS sought to advance the work of women in medicine and provide transnational medical relief.

In a letter to women’s suffrage leader Carrie Chapman Catt, Lovejoy described her role in the organization and the turbulence of its early days, noting that the group had “all kinds of internal troubles and for this reason a dark horse from the Pacific Coast was put in control for a short time in order to establish peace, if possible. I was the dark horse and am still on the job.”

Dr. Lovejoy’s leadership and tireless work ethic transformed the American Women’s Hospital Service from a tempestuous committee into a formidable humanitarian medical relief organization. By the end of her 48-year chairmanship, American Women’s Hospitals had spread into 28 countries and benefited countless communities at home and abroad.

By Rosie Yanosko

Naida Hoffman Hurlburt: Serving with 46th General Hospital in North Africa and Europe

Army nurses pose on a street, Besançon, France, 1945. Naida F. Hoffman Hurlburt Papers [2003-004].

Naida F. Hoffman Hurlburt was born in Santana, Kansas in 1915. Ms. Hurlburt studied nursing in Garden City, Kansas at St. Catherine's Hospital. After working as a nurse for several years in Kansas, Hoffman moved to Coos Bay, Oregon. Hoffman joined the Army’s 46th General Hospital unit, affiliated with the University of Oregon Medical School (now OHSU) in 1942, and left for training in Fort Riley, Kansas in July 1942. The unit was deployed to Oran, Algeria in 1943, treating wounded soldiers who were evacuated from Italy.

After a year in Oran, the unit went to the front lines in southeastern France in September 1944, then on to the city of Besançon in eastern France, near the Swiss border. Taking up residence in a former German army barracks, the unit treated American and French soldiers through 1945. As the war ended, the unit remained in Europe, treating Russian prisoners liberated from work camps. Hurlburt was decommissioned on February 6, 1946.

Throughout her time in the service, Hurlburt kept a documentary and photographic record of life on the base and in the surrounding areas. Her personal papers, now housed in Historical Collections & Archives, include hundreds of negatives covering her time in Kanas, Algeria, and France, as well as journeys to Switzerland and England after the war.   

Charles Grossman: Cultivating Ties of Friendship in China and North Korea

First tour group of the Evans F. Carlson Friends of the People’s Republic of China and hosts, Shaoshan, Hunan Province, China, 1974. Charles M. Grossman Papers [2008-027]. According to Grossman, this tour group’s visit marked the first time that Americans were allowed to enter the site of Mao’s birthplace in Shaoshan.

Charles Grossman grew up in New Jersey and attended City College of New York and NYU. After completing his internship at Yale and teaching for several years at NYU, he moved to Oregon to practice at Kaiser Hospital in 1944. He served on the faculty at University of Oregon Medical School (now OHSU) as a Clinical Instructor from 1947-1953, and then served on the faculty at University of Portland for several decades until his retirement.

In 1947, in Portland, Dr. Grossman was called to attend to U.S. Marine Brigadier General Evans F. Carlson at the end of his life. As a personal physician to Carlson, Grossman heard the General’s stories and impressions of the People’s Republic of China, where he had served and traveled extensively. After Carlson’s death, Grossman became interested in facilitating greater understanding of China among Americans. He founded the organization, the Evans F. Carlson Friends of the People's Republic of China, in honor of his friend and patient’s admiration for the country.

Grossman’s interest in fostering international cooperation led him to develop medical and nursing exchange programs between China and the U.S. in the 1970s and 1980s. He also North Korea as part of his work with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War in 1991. In addition, he initiated a tour program as part of the Carlson organization. The tours brought Americans from many professions and backgrounds to visit cities, villages, hospitals, and factories, often as the first visitors from the U.S. The first tour of China, in 1974, consisted of eighteen visitors, and included teachers, doctors, writers, stay-at-home mothers, led by Grossman and his wife, Helen Frost Grossman. Grossman made his final visit to China in 2009 at age 94, for the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.