Rosenbaum's Legacy: A History of Neurology

The Library and Historical Collections & Archives at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) are proud to promote discovery and scholarship in the history of neurology in honor of Dr. Herbert Rosenbaum. Our collaboration with the Department of Neurology includes collections of books and artifacts, space to explore historical materials, and a lecture series inviting scholars to share their research. 

To contribute to the history of neurology or advance historical research in your area of interest, please consider supporting the Library or contacting us for more information.

Dr. Rosenbaum was a student of the history of medicine in general and neurology in particular. He wanted to encourage medical students, neurology residents and faculty to become aware of those who came before us. He did this by generously giving us a large collection of historical neurology books. The OHSU Library created a special place for this collection, the Herbert Rosenbaum History of Neurology Room. He also donated money that allowed us to create a lovely space in which residents could study, the Rosenbaum Conference Room, located on the 12th floor of the Hatfield Research Building. Dr. Rosenbaum established an endowment to help maintain and enlarge the book collection. This endowment also helps to support an annual lecture on some topic related to the history of neurology, the Herbert Rosenbaum Memorial History of Neurology Lecture.

Residents often tell me that the history of neurology is all about “dead white guys.” There is certainly more than a grain of truth to that statement. But it is also true that usually the history of neurology is written by "living white guys" and, in the past, the contributions of women and people of color have been ignored. We have tried in recent years to ensure a more inclusive view of the history of neurology. In 2019, Dr. Lynda Yang lectured on the life and career of Dr. Augusta Klumpke. In 2020, Dr. Christopher Boes talked about Dr. Mary Broadfoot Walker. Both were successful neurologist researchers who overcame considerable obstacles because of their gender to go to medical school and obtain advanced training. Dr. Klumpke’s contributions to the work of her famous husband, Dr. Joseph Dejerine, and her own contributions following his death are not widely appreciated. (Most neurologists know about Klumpke's paralysis but few know that Dr. Klumpke was a woman.) Dr. Walker worked at a hospital in London that was not considered a place for scholarship and she carried a heavy clinical load. Yet she discovered the first effective treatment for myasthenia gravis and the association between hypokalemia and familial periodic paralysis. Her remarkable discovery of the effectiveness of physostigmine in treating myasthenia gravis was not accepted initially by the leading academic physicians of the time, some even denigrating her work. Her discovery was eventually acknowledged but her achievements did not gain her the fame that she richly deserved.

I encourage others to take time to learn about the history of neurology or the history of their own field and the contributions of a spectrum of people, including those who are quite famous and those who are largely or even completely forgotten.

Dennis Bourdette, M.D., Professor Emeritus and immediate past Chair, Department of Neurology
February 2021

Through the efforts made by the Library and Dr. Bourdette’s leadership on behalf of the Department of Neurology, there is renewed interest in learning about the history of the field. We in Neurology are seeing the clinicians and researchers who paved our way in a new light – as real and interesting people with important messages to convey.

Helmi Lutsep, M.D., Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Neurology
February 2021

Herbert Rosenbaum, M.D. (1924-2014)

small black and white commencement photo of Herbert Rosenbaum, M.D.
Herbert E. Rosenbaum, M.D. Class of 1949 portrait. OHSU Digital Collections.

Dr. Herbert Rosenbaum (1924-2014), earned his medical degree in 1949 here at the University of Oregon Medical School (now OHSU). He went on to become chief resident of the first neurology residency class at Barnes Hospital. During the Korean War, Rosenbaum served as a flight surgeon and neurologist for the Air Training Command of the U.S. Air Force.

Dr. Rosenbaum joined the faculty of the School of Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis in 1954 and taught the Department of Neurology’s practice of medicine course for 61 years.

A fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and a member and past president of the Clinical Society of Neurologists, Dr. Rosenbaum was dedicated to teaching the history and practice of neurology to students and residents.

Rosenbaum History of Neurology Collection

Image of brain illustration from: Gavoy, Émile Alexandre. Atlas D'anatomie Topographique Du Cerveau Et Des Localisations cérébrales. Octave Doin, 1882.
Gavoy, Émile Alexandre. Atlas D'anatomie Topographique Du Cerveau Et Des Localisations cérébrales, 1882.

The Rosenbaum History of Neurology Collection includes classic works in neurology from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection is held in the Rosenbaum History of Neurology Room of the BICC building on Marquam Hill at OHSU (see below for more).

The 170 titles that make up the collection are available via the Library Catalog. See items in this collection.

Rosenbaum History of Neurology Room

Color photograph of the Rosenbaum Room in the BICC Library; A table and four chairs are visible in the foreground, with a screen showing a brain image visible in the background. Empty bookshelves are visible at left.
Rosenbaum room, OHSU Library in the BICC Building.

Located in the OHSU Library in the BICC, the Rosenbaum room and the historical collections within reflect Dr. Rosenbaum’s love of learning and sharing knowledge with others. The room serves as an ADA accessible space for using historical collections and for small instructional sessions. It features seating for up to six, a monitor for presentations, and a height-adjustable table.

The room can only be accessed with assistance from Historical Collections & Archives staff and all visitors must be accompanied by Library staff while using the room. Please contact us for assistance.

Herbert Rosenbaum Memorial History of Neurology Lecture

The OHSU Library coordinates this annual lecture, which is sponsored by the OHSU Department of Neurology. Lectures are live streamed and recorded—explore them below. 

Thursday, October 11, 2021, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Dr. Elizabeth Coon
Mayo Clinic
Pioneering Women in Medicine and Neurology
Streaming video of the lecture

Thursday, November 12, 2020, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Dr. Christopher Boes
Mayo Clinic
The Dr. Mary Broadfoot Walker Effect

Streaming video of the lecture

Tuesday, October 1, 2019, 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Dr. Lynda Yang
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Augusta Klumpke: Remembrance of a Pioneer

Streaming video of the lecture

Monday, November 5, 2018, 5:00pm
Dr. Michael Aminoff
University of California San Francisco
Sir Charles Bell: Science, Style, and a Controversial Legacy

Streaming video of the lecture

Tuesday, November 7, 2017, 5:00pm
Dr. Jock Murray, M.D.
Dalhousie University
From Leeches to the Human Genome: The History of Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Over the Centuries
Streaming video of the lecture

November 18, 2016, 12:00pm
Dr. Michael Aminoff
Director of the Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders Clinic, University of California San Francisco
Brown-Séquard: The Man, His Syndrome, and Sensory Physiology

Streaming video of the lecture

November 17th, 2015
Christopher Goetz, M.D.
Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences and Department of Pharmacology
Director, Parkinson's Disease &Movement Disorder Program
Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL
Jean-Martin Charcot and the Role of Art in His Neurological Career
(Recording not available)