From the Archives: Dr. Whitely’s Class


In this classroom scene from around 1948, a small group of medical students give their undivided attention their instructor, James M. Whitely, M.D. After pulling an array of glass containers of medical instruments and supplies from the cabinets behind him, he casually leans on the counter with his foot propped up on a stool.

According to medical school course catalogs, Whitely taught sections in Clinical Obstetrics beginning in 1948. The section met for two hours each week for 5.5 weeks, covering "examination of pregnant women, pelvimetry, and instructions in prenatal and postpartum care."  Whitely himself graduated from the School of Medicine in 1938. Later in his career he became the first physician to head the Oregon division of the American Cancer Society.

In the middle of the group of students, a young woman is distinguished by her curly blonde hair. The student is Marion Larsen Krippaehne, who earned her M.D. in 1948. Dr. Krippaehne went on to a career in internal medicine as a clinician and educator in the School of Medicine. She was also the wife of surgery chair William Krippaehne, M.D., and the mother of seven children. Her dedication to career, family, and community service made her a role model and mentor for women health practitioners. After a long, fruitful career and family life, Dr. Krippaehne passed away on April 15, 2013.

The image is from the collection of Charles F. Norris, who worked as a campus photographer in the early- and mid-twentieth century. Norris also took the popular photo of students riding the campus shuttle in the 1920s.