From Woody's Couch

Our Playbook on OSU History

Author: mares.12@osu.edu (page 1 of 14)

Using the Lantern and Alumni Magazine Archives

The Lantern and Alumni Magazine Archives have moved to Veridian!

To help you make the most of the new features (and find some of your old favorites) we’ve put together this blog to walk you through the new look. Click on any of the images to enlarge them.

Home page features:

From the home page, you can choose to search or browse the issues depending on what you are trying to find. The “advanced” button allows you to limit your search to dates or other specifications.


Search results page:

After you search a term, you are taken to a page that looks like the image below. From there you can click on articles or limit your search further. Remember, you can always click on the “Help” button for more detailed directions.

Selecting an article:

When you select the article you want to see, you’re brought to a page that looks like this. You can clip the articles for future use or navigate to other search results.

 

As always, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Enjoy exploring the new interface!

Hygiene-conscious health services director led campus through 1918 pandemic

Dr. H.S. Wingert, undated

Dr. H. Shindle Wingert was a man ahead of his time: A firm believer in preventive medicine, hand-washing and what now would be called “social distancing” to thwart the spread of disease, he served OSU more than a century ago during the 1918 pandemic.

A 1903 graduate of the Maryland Medical College, Dr. Wingert arrived at Ohio State in 1907, joining the faculty as a professor in the Department of Physical Education. At that time he also was named Director of Physical Education and Director of Athletics. In 1915 the Board of Trustees selected him to be the first director of a new department, Student Health Services, located in Hayes Hall. He reported directly to then-President William Oxley Thompson.

Even before he was in charge of students’ collective well-being, Dr. Wingert was promoting good health practices. In 1908 he wrote a letter to then-Ohio State President William Oxley Thompson sharing slogans such as “Health First” and “Prevention is Greater than Cure.” Soon after he became head of Student Health Services, he proposed a student health board composed initially of student aides in the Department of Physical Education who would fan out throughout the University District, checking on ill students daily in their apartments and boarding houses and reporting their status to Dr. Wingert.

Lantern article, 1918

“It is necessary that all contagious diseases be reported to Dr. Wingert immediately,” the Lantern reported, “for the only safeguard to the students is the safe isolation of the patient.”  It’s unclear whether the proposal was ever put into practice, however.

Lantern article, 1918

By 1918 the pandemic known as the “Spanish Flu,” reached the U.S. when soldiers carried it home after serving in the trenches of World War I. In September 1918, the campus began hosting the Student Army Training Corps, which brought military personnel to campus to train new cadets for the war effort. At first, Wingert was cautious, saying that there was “no necessity for a quarantine being established” even though other campuses were launching such measures. His advice, according to The Lantern, was for the men in training to keep themselves in good condition “to avoid the possibility of disease making headway among the students” and for everyone to “[c]over up each cough and sneeze, if you don’t, you’ll spread disease.”

He even made sure football games could continue, saying there was no reason to cancel them as long as spectators remained apart while in the stands. Ohio State hosted games in Columbus on October 5 and 12 against Ohio Wesleyan and Denison, respectively. The disease spread rapidly across the country, however, so as a precautionary measure, University officials ordered campus to close on October 11 and directed all students to return to their homes until the University reopened on November 12. Football games also were cancelled during that period.

Though he encouraged students to remain vigilant and avoid social gatherings if possible, Dr. Wingert announced in February 1920 that the pandemic was on the decline, with only five cases reported since the beginning of that year.  In 1923 Dr. Wingert told The Lantern that “the influenza epidemic is practically ended” with only an average number of students with flu symptoms seeking treatment. During the epidemic, eight deaths were reported out of the 440 cases handled on campus.

Happy about hand-washing

After the epidemic, Dr. Wingert continued to promote good hygiene practices, such as hand-washing. In fact, he claimed that he washed his hands “100 to 160 times a day” due to “his belief that more diseases are transmitted by the hands than any other medium.” While it allowed him to maintain good hygiene, he did fear that, “they will wear out some day.”

He promoted good hygiene practices in other ways. In March 1922 he created a series of 18 cards with various health tips and advice, such as “Prevention is Greater than Cure” and “Something You Should Know About Contagious Diseases.” These were made available at various campus locations, and they would be used throughout the years, such as during a mumps outbreak on campus in April 1928.

Good hygiene practice card, 1922

Good hygiene practice card, 1922

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pharmacy poisonings scandal

Despite the success of preventing a large-scale outbreak of the flu at Ohio State and the creation of the helpful health cards, Dr. Wingert’s tenure as health services director was tainted by controversy. In 1925 two students who had fulfilled prescriptions at the campus pharmacy died. The dispensary, which Wingert had founded in 1921, was busy during the cold and flu season and it employed many students, who often filled the prescriptions with no direct supervision. It was believed that these contributing factors allowed someone, intentionally or mistakenly, to mix deadly strychnine pills into a batch of quinine pills.

An ensuing investigation eventually revealed that the incorrect fillings may have been done by a dispensing pharmacy that provided the medications to the Student Health Services pharmacy, not the pharmacy itself. However, it was illegal for students fill prescriptions without a professional pharmacist on duty, so the pharmacy was shut down during investigation.

The strain on Dr. Wingert from the scandal may have been too much; in August 1926 he sustained a “nervous breakdown,” according to a 1970 history of the student health services, and he was placed on a year-long leave, during which his assistant director, Dr. Richard Kimpton served as acting director. Dr. Wingert returned as director in March 1928.

His own health decline

A few months later, Dr. Wingert attended a meeting on May 1 regarding the “freshman problem.” The meeting was convened by then-President George Rightmire to discuss a report that had been issued by a university-wide Committee on the Freshman Problem that had been studying how the University could help freshmen better transition to University life. Recommendations ranged from changes in the level of coursework that would be available to freshmen, to special class offerings, such as learning effective study habits. (One of the recommendations ultimately resulted in what is now known as Orientation.)

Lantern article, 1928

Part of that committee’s charge was to study a possible reorganization of the student health services, including putting it under the oversight of the College of Medicine. Dr. Wingert was not in attendance, however; he died due to complications from acute nephritis at the age of 61 on May 11, only ten weeks after returning as director.

 

Documenting COVID-19 and the faculty/staff experience at The Ohio State University

We need your help! The Ohio State University Archives is currently collecting information from current Ohio State faculty and staff regarding their experiences related to the COVID-19 pandemic.  These unprecedented times have had an enormous impact on work and personal lives of University employees, and we want to know how they have affected you.

1954, Oval

We would like to hear about your experience of transitioning to a telework environment or your environment as an essential faculty/staff member, the obstacles and benefits of these experiences, and how you have interacted with your co-workers, friends and family during a time of social distancing.

How you can help:

If you are currently a faculty or staff member at The Ohio State University, you can fill out our Google survey, found here:

https://forms.gle/hV3sSigdYH7EsQ3t9

Here are a few sample questions from our survey:

– Are you currently working on campus, from home, or both?

-What benefits or challenges has this new work situation created?

– How has the way you spend your work time changed during the pandemic?

-What do you miss most about not being on campus?

-Have you been practicing social distancing?

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why should I fill out this survey?

By filling out this survey, you will be providing valuable information on your experiences that will provide historically significant information for future researchers.  Your reflections will be important for those in the future who want to know the effect this crisis had on our community.

How will my information be used?

The University Archives may retain your responses for future research, outreach and education, including but not limited to, courses, presentations and exhibits.  The Archives will NOT use your identifying information for these purposes.

Just think, your information could become part of the Ohio State University’s historical record!

Can I remain anonymous?

Yes, you are welcome to answer this survey anonymously, and with as little or as much information as you want to share.

If I provide my contact information, will it remain secure?

Yes, your contact information will not be shared. At the end of the online survey, you will be asked if the University Archives can retain your email address to contact you in the future to participate in an oral history interview, serve on a panel or be contacted by a future researcher.  You can select yes or no.

Who can I contact if I have other questions?

Please reach out to us at: archives@osu.edu with any questions you may have.

Thank you for helping us preserve our history!

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