Oral Interview Transcription Highlights

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Memorable Cases

Farmer Tries Advice

Audio file

Well, I really like extension, but of course that's a whole different world. That's gone and it's just as simple as when the dairy herds consolidated, you know, it is just as simple as, you know, one 400 cow herd doesn't need as, as much veterinary care as 10-forty cow herds did. (Yeah, that's true). It's it's just that simple. ... It was funny to play those games and things or talk with...but the one particular time I remember I was in extension meeting and I was talking and some guy in the back gets up and he says, "you were on my farm one day and you made me so mad" and oh buckets. <Laugh> He said, "you told me, I didn't know how to milk cows". And he said, in fact, you made me so mad that I tried what you said to do. <Laugh> And you were right. It worked. <Laugh>. But the way he started out, you know!

Thought you might need to duck. Huh.


A.C. Spannaus Waconia MN Practitioner Kansas City Veterinary College 1916
Night Calls

Audio file

Do you have any interesting experiences on night calls?

One afternoon about five o'clock I got a call on the other side of the lake [Lake Waconia]. And the only way you could get to the other side of the lake was to cross the lake -- which is about four miles. Because around the lake the roads weren't open in winter. Went there, and took my horse into the barn and fed him. And took care of his sick horse. And we went into the house and had supper, and about seven o'clock I hitched up, ready to go home. I got down to about a half a mile out on the lake and got into a snow storm -- I couldn't hardly see the horse. Now what? So I put the lines around my shoulders and let the horse go. I didn't do anything because I had a horse I could depend on fairly well. He never left the road! And I never was so glad. Then when I got about close to the island, I got into some water on the ice. And we splashed through that and got back on the track again, and I never was so glad in my life to see the lights of town when I got close to town.

What time of the year was this?

That must have been sometime in January or February. It was a real doozy, that night.

Was it usual when you went out on calls that would take some time, like a colic in a horse, that they would put your horse in the barn?

Well, if it was something that they figured would take a while, my horses were put in the barn and fed, and blanketed.

I had another experience. One night it was about nine o'clock at night, I was standing in front of the window, looking out, and I says to my wife, "this is a night you wouldn't want to chase the dog out". And about a couple of minutes later the telephone rang. Here a fellow had gone to work and cleaned the top of his silo and buried the moldy silage into the manure pile and then he let his horses out -- seven of them. And they ate that silage, and they were -- all seven were sick. "Can you come out", he said. I don't know how I can make it. He said, "you can make it!" So I had a Model-A Roadster that went through a lot of snow. So I started off and I got to within about a mile of his place and I got into the ditch. And then I shoveled off and fussed around and I finally got back on the road and I got to his place. Well in the meantime, the wind had knocked down the telephone wires. I couldn't call home to let my wife know that I got there and I wasn't going to come home until the morning. So we treated the horses and I stayed overnight and had breakfast. By breakfast time we went down and looked at the horses again and they were all eating, I had a good night's work. And I got home the next morning about 10 o'clock and the Mrs. was just about frantic! We had a doberman pinscher. He was her companion and he would follow her all over and just kept company for her. It made a lot of difference.

I don't remember anything else. There was probably some other things.

Oh yeah, one night I drove over across the lake with the buggy to try the cut-off [and shorten my route.] I got to the other side of the lake on the northwest side. If I didn't go to work one of the horses fell into open water. And I had the horses freshly shod that afternoon. And I just said "giddy-up, get-get going". We got the horse out so she could get her front feet on the ice again, and she got out, and I got through that water hole. When I [giggling] got over to the farmer's place, he said, "Gee you must have drove fast, your horses are all wet.”


Ralph Farnsworth CVM Ambulatory Medicine and Como Zoo Veterinarian OSU 1962
Lion Cubs and Babies

Audio file

How did Como Zoo get started?

Well, of course it's been here 150 years or something. There wasn't a lot known about zoo animals in those early days and we didn't have any real good immobilizing drugs. You had things like squeeze cages. So there was a minimal amount done. Dr. Sorensen and was Dr. Clifford, they were in surgery or Clifford was in surgery. Sorenson was in medicine. They kind of divided that up and Clifford left and Sorensen was going into administration. And so they're looking for somebody to take it. And I've kind of said, I guess I was low man on the totem pole. I kind of got the job cuz it fit with doing it on ambulatory. And some people in the clinic worked with it a while, but eventually I just kind of did it and had a backup person. And of course in those days we didn't have a lot for cell phones and so on. And you were on call and being on call meant you had to leave a phone number where you were gonna be, if you went someplace or whatever. Fortunately, we never got called a lot, and then the zoo director, John, he was kind of a forward thinking guy. He was a different...but he starts sending me to the zoo veterinarians meetings. In those days, the zoo veterinarian is about 30 people. And we'd sit around and there was some presentations, but a lot of time we'd just sit around and discuss things and so on. Well as time developed, Dr. Yuli Seale was out at the VA Hospital and he wanted blood samples on everything and he got working with Dr. Stowe and so they started using some of the immobilzing drugs, things like Phencyclidine and Ketamine and the narcotics and some of those things. Well, once you got to where you could safely immobilize animals to get blood work and so on, then, then you ended up...a lot more stuff got done. Early on immobilizing was kind of a last resort. You tried to get away from that. Well as you went on, there was more and more knowledge came in and I was kind of at that area. I kind of grew up with the science really from where it was. So I was kind of in the right place at the right time.

Okay. But why did it click with you? Why did you enjoy it?

It was a challenge. I always liked going to zoo when I was a kid. I lived in...we used to go Toledo Zoo, which was a pretty good zoo. Just kind of got started. And then of course you get involved with the zoo community. There was the Zoological Society and some of those things, and you got involved with designing buildings and so on. Actually Susie got involved with it, they used to hand raise a lot of stuff in those days because the mothers just didn't take care of it or whatever. And we kind of developed some systems for doing that. And occasionally Susie would hand raise something here for a while, or if we had something that was... There's a couple of kind of interesting...one day they well...we had a bear grizzly bear cub and it wasn't...I was gonna...I was feeding it with a stomach tube and I just, you know, brought it back and forth with me and so on. And I had it at home here at night, of course, and we were expecting a baby and Susie said, "Well, that's a good practice for you to get up and handle her". <laugh>. But it got to the point I couldn't do it alone and she had to get up and help me. So!

So it's time we introduce Susie's your wife of how many years? <Laugh>

And then there was one that the keepers brought in this lion cub one morning and it was pretty much gone. Well, I make up some formula and got some formula into it and had it in a box on the, on the radiator.

Hot Water Bottle.

Yeah, by the end of the day, it didn't look too bad. So I brought it home and I think she got that one on a bottle. And that was the one that turned out to be around the zoo for a long time. I've got a couple of pictures. We had our son was about two years old at that time. And I've got some pictures of him with the lion cub and, and I've also got one when they were both 20. I told him, I'd like to repeat that picture. He was holding the lion cub up, but I couldn't get either one of 'em to do it.


Advice for Young Veterinarians

Dr. Jo Ann Schmidt-O'Brien First Female Graduate of CVM 1952
Girls Grow up to be Veterinarians Too

Audio file

Well apparently you wanted to become a veterinarian when? Grade school, high school?

I didn't think that there were women veterinarians early on, in grade school. I had a brother that was three years older than I was and a lot of people thought, well he'll be a veterinarian. I talked to him about it. And I can remember listening to people talk to him about that's what he should do. And I thought, you know, that's really what I'd like to do. But I didn't think that women could be veterinarians, because it was really an unknown thing. And I was very fortunate in high school I had a English teacher in advanced English course who had gone to Michigan State. And of course Michigan State even in those days, had a few women graduates. And she said, of course, women! Because it was obvious from my writing was a creative writing course she taught. That my interest in animals was very great. And she was the first one that told me that were women veterinarians and that you could be a woman veterinarian. And she thought, I ought to look into that. And that's when I really, probably in my junior year of high school thought, well yes I could be a veterinarian and that's what I want to do. So yes, that was my career goal from then on.

Alvin Weber CVM Histopathologist ISU 1944
Be Curious

Audio file

Looking back again, has the veterinary profession been good to you? And if you had to decide a profession again or something to go into. Would you take Veterinarian medicine?

Well, I wouldn't have to hesitate a moment. From the day when I was in the dairy barn at home and saw some of these cattle problems, until now, I still have that curiosity as to "what's going on". So this curiosity started then, and it still is there. When I see my colleagues here, looking at some problem that they have an interest in, it excites me just to see them excited. I think the veterinary profession is one of the most rewarding ones, no matter whether you're out in practice or whether you're in industry or whether you're here at an academia, because you're doing worked to try to better the animals themselves. And of course, the ways in which animals serve mankind.

Ralph Farnsworth CVM Ambulatory Medicine and Como Zoo Veterinarian OSU 1962
Different Era

Audio file

Whereas today it seems as though the herds are large, the dollars and cents are still very much involved. Students are still going on to school, but the cows come and go with less attachment don't they?

Yeah. Well, I can remember one herd that I worked with that was out here and it was a small herd, 30 cow herd. And it was a very good herd. And this dairyman had been Dr. Hoyt's client for a number of years. And then when Dr. Hoyt, he developed Hodgkin's Disease, he ended up dying and I kept working with that herd. And he always felt a little bit. And this guy was, he is very nice and, and so on, but he always kind of felt like he'd rather have Dr. Hoyt probably than me. Well, he had this cow that was a real special cow and she'd broken several records and she was typed and he'd sold bulls out of her and everything. Well that was back in the days before we really knew how to prevent milk fever, and she would come down with milk fever when she calved. We were able to get her up a two or three times. She had some complications and so on. And then one time he had this cow bred to a high-power bull and the calf was sold. She had a dystocia and I was able to get the calf alive. And it was a bull calf. <laugh> Finally things kept getting better, you know? And at one point he and the county agents and people had a party to celebrate this cow and I got invited, so I figured I'd arrived. <laugh>

Yeah. And I knew the kids. I see his kids were out there around the barn. In later years I saw them extension meeting. Yeah. It was a different era.

Very good relationships that we develop with our clients. Aren't they? We have wishes for them as well. For their success and how they go about doing things. I think that's ambulatory reached into that both in milk quality, and then with building design as well. And the calf raising and all.

Ralph Farnsworth CVM Ambulatory Medicine and Como Zoo Veterinarian OSU 1962
Cows come, Cows go

Audio file

We did some research for Boumatic and did a fair amount of teat dip stuff. We worked with 3M. Working with these corporate people was, was always kind of interesting.

What was interesting about that?

Oh, just that you just learned how that whole world operated. You know?

Yes. So their objectives were different than yours and your work was very necessary to them accomplishing their objectives.

Yeah, it meshed. Yeah.

And some probably had the farm experience that you had. Where does your love for science, your love for animals, your love for students? How, how do those all come into the career you've had?

I, I don't know. It was what you did and it was fun, I guess.

All right. I don't think I'm operating at top speed unless I'm taking care of animals, whichever situation it is. I just seem to need them in my life. Not just pets but other people's [pets].

Yeah. I guess one thing, back in the day where I...people will say, "oh, you're veterinarian, you must love animals". Well, yeah, you do you like...but in that day, it wasn't about the individual animals. It was about those families that depended on those cows and those kids that got to go to school if the cows did well. And it was, it was more about that. You liked the cows and you wanted them to be comfortable and so on. But that also resulted them in them being productive. And that was really where it was. Because cows come and cows go.


Early CVM Woman Succeed

Dr. Jo Ann Schmidt-O'Brien First Female Graduate of CVM 1952
Democracy Works! Political connections lead to women acceptance in CVM

Audio file

You applied for the class then in 1951 perhaps in a year or so before that time. Were accepted the immediately into the veterinary school? Because you know, I was one of those rare breeds, I was in the first class. And we had 24 in our class. We lost one. As I understand it, there were something like 350 applications for the first class, which I was totally unaware of. So here we have a young lady come along and, applying for veterinary school and if I'm sure you're aware of this, there was a tremendous backlog of male students coming home from the service and wanted to get into veterinary school. So Jo Anne comes along, puts in her application. What happened then?

Yes, Yes. I am very aware of that. It wasn't quite that simple. Before they even let me enroll in pre-vet, they sent me down to talk to Dr. Boyd see if they would accept women in pre-vet. I don't know! But anyway, I do remember that before they'd allow me to enroll in a pre-vet course. So I talked to him and he said, well yes, that was all right. And they, he saw no reason why I couldn't do that. So I went ahead and did my pre-vet and put my application in that spring, didn't hear anything about it. My grades were good, thank God. That was a necessity. And I had everything that was required at that point, except I wasn't a Minnesota resident. So I put my application in and I didn't know Bee at that time so we couldn't compare notes, but I knew some of the members of your class. And I had a good friend who had been active with some of the members of your class in lobbying the legislature.

Would you care to mention these good friends?

I can't even remember his name. I'm sorry to say. He did not get admitted to veterinary school. But he was very active in the pre-vet club. Yes. So he kept me sort of informed, but he kept telling me, he said, they're not going to take any women students this year. They're just not going to take any women students, this year. Everybody says they're not going to take any women. And I said, well, okay. They told me that it wasn't going to be that major of a bar. So after I put my application in and the first group were selected, I didn't hear anything. So I called Dean Roepke was the student admissions type. And I called his office and asked him. He said, they hadn't made many of their final decisions because they were waiting for people to complete summer schools and so on. And I called again after the end of the first summer session and hadn't heard anything and the same story.

Well then it was pretty far into August by this time, by the end of the second summer school session. And I still hadn't heard anything. I went by his office one day. I was still working for Mrs. Bantle and the hundred collies. I'd take the station wagon, go and pick up food and it was fairly near. So I went by his office and walked in and spoke with him and I said, you know, what's happening? I know summer school's over and I still haven't heard anything. And he said, well, we had our final meeting yesterday and you should have a letter in the mail today. And I said, well, what does it say? And he said, we did not accept you. And I said, why? And he said, we decided that we wouldn't take any women students this year. And I said, oh, and swallowed tears and walked out and went home and told Mrs. Bantle, the woman I lived with this.

Mrs. Bantle had been a graduate of the university 30-35 years before that. And she had a lot of influential friends. They lived in Saint Paul. At that time River Road ended at Seventh Street and they lived about two blocks down beyond where I think there's a big triple-M plant. No right on the edge of the Mississippi. They're beautiful location at a lovely home with 100 Collies running around the 10 acres they had along right along the river, the dog's would go down to the river that it was on. She had a lot of friends and she was outraged. She felt that I had been dealt with very poorly by being kept waiting all this time. And she was also outraged to think that her University of Minnesota was going to discriminate against women and not take women students. So she got to work and she got a lot of letters, called a lot of people that she knew people, bank presidents, board chairman, board members. She knew one member of the trustees of the university and the board of regents. And then somehow rather, I don't know just how that happened in our questing around for support. Met Dean Schmitz, who was at that time, I don't know if this is still true, but he was the overall dean of the whole St. Paul campus. He was the dean of the Saint Paul Campus and he had a supervisor position of all the Schools of Veterinary Medicine, Agriculture, Forestry, Home Economics, and he had a daughter that was working in the veterinary section and he had been following, unbeknownst to me, this whole situation. Because she had been telling them, they're not going to take any women students this year, and he did not approve this. He felt that this was not fair. So he became an ally and I quoted to him what Dean Roepke had said to me, and I will give Dean Roepke credit when he was confronted with this, he said, yes, I did say that because they had told Dean Schmidt's that they hadn't taken me because I wasn't a Minnesota resident and they were qualified Minnesota residence, which made a lot of sense. I don't know why they said they hadn't taken Bee (Hanlon). I never did find that out because I didn't know to ask about Bee (Hanlon) at that point.

So we went to work and Dean Schmidt said that I because I was self supporting, that I should file a petition to become an emancipated minor. So that was the first thing we did. We filed that and was granted because I'd been living in Minnesota and been self supporting. And so I became an emancipated minor and therefore could be considered a Minnesota resident and that was important. And then the veterinary school, Dean Schmidt worked with them. I don't know what he said or what he did, but apparently he was a very diplomatic person. And he said to me often, he said, we have to be diplomatic about this and convince them that they want to change their mind. So I think it was four days before school was to start. The veterinarian school admission board held another meeting and re-reviewed my application and apparently Bee's (Hanlon) and accepted us. They added two seats, it was going to be a class of 48. And they simply added two seats, so we showed up the first day of school and members of the class and I have to give all the staff a lot of credit. I never felt persecuted.

I'm sure I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I know I did because you don't feel too welcome. This was not an unknown story amongst the rest of the class and many of the men felt as you probably did, that there were a lot of men out there that, but they did not require veterans. That was not one of the admission things. There were non-veterans in my class. There were several non-veterans in my class that were my age or I was not even the youngest in the class. I think Bernie was younger, thank God. He was the baby. Being a veteran or not was not an admission criteria. They didn't require a large animal experience that required animal experience. God knows already had enough of that with my own dogs and working for a veterinarian for two summers. So I was in good shape on that. And by their own admission standards, there was no reason other than the residency why I shouldn't have been admitted.

As I said, I have no idea why they didn't admit Bee (Hanlon) or what reasons they had in their own mind. Because she was both a veteran and a Minnesota resident. But when I became an emancipated minor, and a Minnesota resident, there was a lot of support. It was purely political influence, pure clout. And it's just how democracy works.

Ruth Krueger CVM Class 1956 & 3rd Woman Graduate
Successful CVM admission through CVM connections

Audio file

I can recall that I came over here. My parents had to bring me. Of course I didn't have a car, good heavens. Who had a car. I surely didn't. And I can recall my mother and dad brought me over here. Hi. We were trying to find a place for me to stay. Obviously I knew I was going to have to become a state resident. That's the only way I can afford to do it. And so I knew I was going to have to stay here. I knew philosophically speaking, I thought if I can't get in on my good grades from Wisconsin now, just keep working here to, I sneak in one way or the other. I mean, I had no qualms about, I didn't know the term Brown-Nosing then. I mean, I didn't basically see anything illegally about that, more than... I thought that I was good enough person, that if they knew me that they'd get me in. So when I found out that Dr. Sautter was the head of admissions, I have worked within the histology department over in the University of Wisconsin part time. So I just turned back around and applied for a job in that department and got one.

So you applied and got in then in 1952. And you were working for Dr. Sautter.

You betcha. I always figured if you make yourself invaluable to a person and they have some way to get you in. I also babysat their kids. I catered their parties. Peg and I got along good. I mean, I'm not... I guess you call that Brown-nosing. I just figure if you're intent on something, you don't pass up the chance.

No you don't. No you don’t.

Dr. Bee Hanlon Staff Radiologist & Diplomate First Class with CVM 1952
Dr. Jo Ann Schmitt O'Brien's Financial Struggles

Audio file

No, Jo Ann was not married. Jo Ann had a rough time going through, she had to work to pay for tuition. I have this stipend from the government, it was a lot easier. But she worked and work late hours and then we'd come to class and go to sleep. I'd have to keep nudging. C'Mon Jo Ann wake up. She always asks me to do that. And I think that provoked a lot of teasing or classmates with that. She would doze off and maybe your pencils would fall on the floor or book or they would gouge her from behind. You know, come on, wake up. But she was one of these people that didn't have to study very much. She was very bright. I had to put a lot of labor into my studies.

I certainly did too.

I put a lot of midnight hours watching Jay Hanson.

Ralph Farnsworth CVM Ambulatory Medicine and Como Zoo Veterinarian OSU 1962
Single vs. Married Classmates

Audio file

Well at one point, probably even still when you were there, everybody did everything but eventually they started specializing a little bit and that was okay because it's not a whole lot of fun to teach somebody that thinks they're never gonna touch a cow, the details about a cow. I thought was okay. It worked out that way. I can always remember. In later years that was a basic course, bovine restraint. And I ended up teaching quite a bit of that. And I always remember, going to setting up and getting ready to go and this gal came in and she was enthusiastic. But you pretty sure she was never gonna touch a cow, you know? And, and she says, well, okay here. And what's the first thing we do. And I looked at her and she had hoop-earrings about that big! <Laugh>.

Did you tell her to take those out ? <laugh> That might work in a small animal practice. Take those out. When my class was there in the late seventies, we graduated in [19]80. I think y'all were still learning how to deal with the women in the class, because I think you were concerned about physical demands and so forth and yet learning that they really had a lot of determination and maybe even some different ways of going about restraining and going about getting the work done. We were unified in terms of trying to provide good preventative medicine, as well as therapeutic medicine. Certainly that's changed a lot. Do you feel that the university still supplies good background in therapeutics or has the emphasis really switched in large animal at least to preventative medicine?

Well, it's like we were talking about Milk Fever. Well, we figured out how to prevent it. And I think there's a lot of things like that. You mentioned the women, it was kind of interesting in my class at Ohio State had three women and that was the first or second. Anyway, there was a woman that was her last name was Edge, in [alphabetically close to] Farnsworth. And so we were in clinics a lot together. So I was kinda used to that, but the time I got up here. Actually we had that worked out pretty well. She had been a lab tech. And when we'd get in the lab, we did all the CBCs manually and so on. And so we'd be working the day and about about three o'clock she'd say, okay. And she'd run 'em all off in about 15 or 20 minutes. You know, we were done and there was a guy with the name Emerson and three of us were always in the clinic room. Well Emerson and I were single and she was married. So we liked to do a little something on the weekend and she lived out aways. So we eventually set this up, we had to go in and do night treatments and you just kind of did 'em on your own. So we had the deal, Emerson and I would do it all during the week and then she'd do Saturday night.<Laugh>

So that was to your advantage. <Laugh>

One of the things, as I was teaching some of these things in the later years, I used to first on these talking about bovine restraint, first one, he is talking about bovine restraint. Somehow I always ended up, I'd go in, I'd say that I'd pick out the biggest guy in the class. The biggest, there were still a few in there at that day, at that point.<laugh>. And I'd have him stand up and I'd say you can't hold a cow on the end of a rope, just on the end of a rope. And I'd point out, you know, you use your head, you get a wrap around a pole with rope and I could also relate to the women, the fact, you know, look, I'm little and I'm old, so I'm weak. And so I gotta use, I gotta, I gotta use...

Mechanical advantage!

Audio file

Ruth Krueger CVM Class 1956 & 3rd Woman Graduate
Early aspirations to be a veterinarian

When did you first get the inkling that you wanted to become a veterinarian?

Well, I imagine that's a question more people answer and you know when you're a kid you don't know really what's out there. A veterinarian was the first person I ever saw that had the kind of work that looked interesting and also looked like for me as a way out of the dairy farm. Frankly, I loved my cows. The biggest worry I had is who's going to take care of those holsteins ,when I go to school. I knew I was going to school, there was never any doubt. And this is the biggest step as I recall in my mind, a woman going to college, not particularly what field I was going to into but just to go from a relatively poor family, fifth of six children. To make the jump to college, nobody asked what I was going to go into. But I knew in the back of my head that it was veterinary medicine, but I had no idea then how long it was, where I had to go. It didn't make any difference. I knew I was going to be living the rest of my life and I basically just.... The little contact I'd had with the veterinarians around there, the local practitioners was, that's sort of a thing I want to do!


Memorable Stories from Students & Faculty

Dr. Glen Nelson CVM First Class of 1951 & CVM Faculty Diagnostic Lab
Changes to the Profession 1951-1986

Audio file

Now when we graduated Glen, I took a map of Minnesota and I obtained a roster listing of all the veterinarians practicing in the state and I just put a circle around every town where there was a veterinarian. If there were two, I put two circles and you can move in anywhere you wanted in the state of Minnesota and not really encroach too much on anyone else. Over the years, that certainly has changed, I think.

Well that's right. there are towns, small towns that have five, six, seven in a group practice. Group practices were very uncommon in our days. It was kind of a solo practice and there's much more sophistication to practice and more species specialization and discipline specialization today than there was at that time. And there's more herd health preventative medicine. We were more into the emergency treatment, basically calving's, Milk Fevers prolapses. Where there's much more, probably much more productive financially for the farmer to spend that money on preventative maintenance maintenance instead of treatment. So there's a lot more that, practitioners are into today then we ever thought of being into.

I think it's time to cut back and and the college has cutback 20%. They've cut back from 80 students per entering class to 64. And I do believe that, you know, when students graduate with an average of $28,000 in debtedness and they scramble for an $18,000 a year job, it makes one wonder about the financial. Now I think when we were students, I know when I was a student that was not a factor. I never wondered whether veterinarians made a living or not. I just knew what I wanted to do and that was important and finances weren't a consideration, but they certainly have to be.

Dr. Jo Ann Schmidt-O'Brien First Female Graduate of CVM 1952
No Women in on campus CVM dorms

Audio file

Do you think maybe they gave you a little bit of an advantage?

No. And we wouldn't have asked for it nor accepted it. Point of honor.

Do you by chance know, and I believe her first name is Joanne Parent. She lives up in Foley. She claims -- and there's a little bit of a discrepancy here between her claim and Dr. John Arnold's claim. She claims she's the first licensed female veterinarian in the state. Dr. Arnold says she's the first practicing licensed female veterinarian. Which is a moot point. But anyway, she graduated I believe from Ontario. And we asked her the same questions and she had no problem going through veterinary college up there, except when it came to the sterility work. The professors would say, "Joanne, you can have the afternoon off." They were embarrassed.

They were embarrassed.

They were embarrassed for her. There were four or five other women in the class. But you'd never had that sort of an experience?

Oh, the only experience we have that might've been similar as you can remember when we were juniors and seniors, we lived in the clinic. You had week's duty in clinic and you stayed there overnight. Well they didn't have any place for the girls to stay. There was just the one dormitory. At that time they didn't have co-educational dormitories at all. And that was probably the only advantage we ever had, Bee and I. When it was our turn to be duty students, we got to go home at the time of the last streetcar that left the St. Paul Campus because they had no place to sleep us. So that was an advantage that I'm sure was resented. But we would have been perfectly willing to stay. But that was much too advanced for Minnesota, or any other place in those days.

Dr. "Bee" Hanlon Staff Radiologist & Diplomate First Women Graduate CVM 1952
Competitive Study Habits

Audio file

Where did you have it placed then?

It was placed in a trailer park on Lexington, that is still there.

North Lexington, I know where that is.

There was another person in that trailer camp. Lyle Jay Hanson.

Is that right? He was in your class?

He was in our class. We used to watch each other's lights because we studied so late.

Talking about slouching and who studied, Paul Lundgren was cleared as studious person in our class and he said he learned from Herbert Hoover who was really wasn't too bright going through Yale, but he found out who the smartest fellow in the class was. Then he always studied two hours longer than he did.

About the time I go to bed, I'd look over there at Jay's trailer, the light would be on and I tell him the next morning, I saw your light on when I went to bed.. He said, but the other day I saw your light on when I got up early in the morning. We had a lot of fun on that.

John Arnold CVM Large Animal Surgery ISU 1941
War & Social Change in 1970 lead to College Constitutions

Audio file

When Dean Thorp then started working through these other people and he was here for 17 years or so?

Something like that.

When did his little empire start to fall apart? I don't want you to go to when it was full blown, these things sort of work gradually, don't they?

Okay. Thorp worked real hard to solve the problems of the college and when he got it accredited, then he slacked off a bit and because of his fine work, he became recognized nationally among veterinarians and institutions for his ability. He began to be appointed to various committees and commissions. Some he held offices on, national ones. He started to go more and more to these other meetings because here it wasn't a challenge anymore. Those were new challenges and shortly after he became dean, he had an assistant Dean or Associate Dean appointed. Griffiths was the first one I think it was. And then Kitchell. I can't remember if there was another one or not. But then Bob Anderson was. Anyway he turned more things over to his assistant or associate Dean, he didn't have them take much action, but he had him report to him what was going on and suggest things that needed to be done. He was fairly assessable when you'd go into talk to him, later on you'd go and talk but he would be shifting things in and out of his desk and getting things in a briefcase and getting all ready to leave. You got to impression he wasn't listening to you and he was just being courteous, not to tell you to go. Or that was enough. And then he started having some personal problems. He started to drink a bit and then he had a family problems, which ended in divorce, then he remarried. Then he started to be make decisions, which didn't seem to have much basis in fact or reason. And faculty is getting a little bit concerned about that.

And then came a blow up in physiology. Dr. Gray [Dr. Grace Gray] was a woman chemist, I think she was a chemist. Anyhow a pharmacologist, came up for tenure. And Dr. Stowe, who was head of the department at that time it had been set up so if anybody comes up for tenure, you had a meeting of the senior faculty. To pass on whether they should recommend it to the Dean, the Dean's committee or not. And Dr. Stowe is very fine individual, but he is a little bit lax on carrying out things properly or according to rules where they should be done. Instead of calling a meeting, he talked to various staff members in the hallway. In the hallway, he asked them about it. They didn't realize, at least they said... That he was asking in regards to granting her tenure or not, asked about Grace Gray. He reported back, not to grant her tenure. Some of the members of the faculty kind of stirred things up then that not a proper meeting was held. And she was discriminated against because she was a woman. And this blew up. As a result, Dr. Thorp relieved Dr. Stowe his duties as head of the department.

The department of what?

Physiology and Pharmacology.

Then Sellers was no longer here.

Sellers had left.

Who were these people, the members that decided that there was discrimination? You just used that broad term "member". Let's name some names?

Well, the department then organized and had a secretary. Edward Jankus was the secretary. I am not completely certain, but I'm sure Everett Short was one of these in it. I don't know about the president. Sally Jorgensen, she may have although she was not that active or I mean, filed I guess you'd say. And let's see. I guess that's...Paul Hammond. Paul Hammond I think goes too. Anyway, Thorp quieted things down. Relieved Dr. Stowe of his duties as head of the department. Then she was finally granted tenure. In retrospect, she should not have been granted tenure. She was not that productive. She had several research projects and she never published or published very little on any of them. Didn't complete most of them. And anyhow its...

As I understand you John, these people then were working under Stowe who did him in. Did I understand that right?

Yeah. They went to the Dean. You know about things not being carried out correctly and was using discrimination. And so on, and so on.

They didn't go to Stowe and say, "you Stowe, you did this, this and this wrong".

I don't know if they did or not.

Strange way to run a university John.

And then, seeing they gave this so, then others started writing department constitutions.

This is all in Physiology now.

Pharmacology yes.

Oh, Pharmacology!

AND Pharmacology. They were combined.

Oh, they were combined. Okay.

And then some people in pathology and parasitology became a little concerned. The main one was Bemrick. They started to write a constitution and then they decided to get a college constitution. But anyhow...

John, let's go back again. You keep using that word, "They". Now are we talking about the people over in Pharmacology & Physiology who were under Stowe. And those people over in Parasitology who were under Henry Griffiths.

Parasitology and Pathology.

And Pathology. Unbeknownst or inspite of their superiors, who were Henry [Griffiths] and Stowe. These woman... these people. Women were with them. They went ahead and did this.

I think, Sautter was head Pathology and Parasitology at that time.

Could've been. Could've been. And so they didn't...

I don't know whether they knew about the constitution or not, I think they did. I think they knew about the writing of the constitution.

When they did find out, did they go to the Dean and say, "Dean, now I'll take care of this".

I don't know. I doubt it. (Okay). They wouldn't have pay any attention to them if they did. The people who were drawing up the constitution.

They wouldn't have.

I don't think so.

In other words, these department heads don't have much power or control.

Yeah. Anyhow, then the group in physiology and maybe others too. Yes, it was. Got an appointment with vice-president Shepherd, the Vice President of Academic Affairs. For the purpose of discussing getting a college constitution and that apparently was just an excuse for the meeting because then they asked him about that and then they switched over to a petition to remove the dean and I think that had already been started.

They got petition calling for a change in administration and the way administration was being handled in the college. And Everett Short was instrumental in that. Don Lowe. And Usenik was involved. Benrick. They got over half of the staff to sign this petition. I signed it but I signed with the idea of having Thorp change his ways and many others signed with the same idea. Well then some of the more radical ones or violent ones decided that this was a petition to remove Dean Thorp. They were signing it that way now, to vice-president Shepard. They hadn't presented yet but they were ready to. So Dr. Thorp and his wife were up on the iron range by Ely where they had purchased some land and starting a chip factory, I think. Some kind of wood... but I think it was chips they were making. So Lowe and Pomeroy flew up there to tell him about what was going on. He was supposed to be ill at the time. So he came back and anyhow then the petition went to Shepherd and Don Smith, who was another vice-president, I think he was, can't remember his title was. Whether it was Business Vice-President or Planning Vice-President, something like that. They got involved. Before this, and there was a lot of animosity between Vice-President Shepherd and Dean Thorp. They really were swords edged meetings. Thorp was trying to get more out of Shepard and utterances calling Shepard stupid. In other words, from Shepard he accepted the petition. I've got it documented someplace, but I may be a little bit wrong in the order of events.

Moose [University of Minnesota President Malcolm Moose] was advised of it. And Thorp was removed as Dean. Thorp presented his resignation first, and that was refused by Moose because he wanted things studied first. Shouldn't act hastily, but I think Thorp later withdrew his resignation. then he was relieved of his duties and Pomeroy was supposed to be appointed acting Dean, but then Thorp came back and so Pomeroy was kind of left in limbo. Then a committee was appointed, to hear the complaints about Dean Thorp. Dr. Zemjanis was chairman of that committee. I can't name all the other members, but I know Zupp was on it. Everett Short was secretary of the committee. Usenik was on it. Glen Nelson was on it and I think Libby was on it. And they requested, staff members to appear in front of them or to write their suggestions and criticisms. And it was set up if they were afraid or didn't want their name known to send him to Vice-President Shepherd. This was a farce because Everett Short, the secretary of the committee, was allowed to go over to Shepherd's office and read these letters, but the names of the writers were not deleted. So he got all the names and reported back to the committee. What they said and who said it. At the close of this, Dean Thorp was invited to go in and present his side of it. He was not presented was specific complaints, as I understand it. Nor was he given any chance to face his accusers. As a result of these meetings, this committee decided in view of the large amount of dissent that Dean Thorp could not operate effectively as Dean again. So he should be removed. And that was sent on to Vice-President Shepard and went on to President Moose. I might say President Moose, he turned the operation of the University essentially over to Vice-President Shepherd as far as the affairs of this kind and academic affairs are concerned. He stayed aloof from all that and only when a final decision was made, did he appear. And Vice-President Smith, I felt was very fair and good. But then of course he didn't have much to say about it. It was Vice-President Shepherd who had the most to say. And I think Vice-President Shepherd made some decisions which were not in the best interest of the university or the college. I think he was influenced somewhat, by his animosity toward Dean Thorp in his decision.

So that was the end of Thorp's deanship.

Thorp was placed on leave. And given an office over at Northrup Hall for a period time. And then he left the university.

Do deans receive tenure?

No. Deans do not receive tenure. Thorp did have tenure though in the Department of Pathology. He'd seen to that when he came.

So if he wanted to, he could have stayed here and continued with the salary.

Well, no. The salary would have been reduced, he wouldn't get the Dean's salary.

I have another question. Are you aware of any faculty member who has ever been terminated with tenure, who's ever been terminated censured or asked to resign?

The way it's set up, it's practically impossible to fire anybody with tenure. You have to document, either inefficiency or not being competent, or doing something against the law. And these are very hard to do.

John Arnold CVM Large Animal Surgery ISU 1941
"Oh well, what the hell. Let them have their way"

Audio file

Then Pomeroy came in as acting Dean or...

Supposedly but I think it was only a few days. He hadn't unbacked yet.

Oh, is that right. And then R.K. [Anderson] as still there when the Pomeroy was there? (Yes). Okay. So Pomeroy was gone. (UmUm). And Sorensen comes in. R.K. Is still there?

I'm not sure. If he was or not.

Kind of some confusion in those times? So then, but then R.K. Left.

Yeah. Later R.K. transferred over to the Minneapolis campus in the Department of Public Health. He was given an office over there, but he had a dual appointment.

There was some ill-will in there too, wasn't it? (Yes). I heard that he kind of rode the fence a little bit. Some of you people didn't know, if he was with Thorp or against him. Is there some validity to that?

Well, we blamed maybe rightly, maybe wrongly, R.K. Anderson for much of the misinformation that Thorp received when he was going to all these meetings about what was going on in the college. He gave Thorp some poor advice, at least I know one instance where Thorp did something that was not too wise and his secretary Jane VanAvery told me that that was Anderson's idea. So one instance, but R.K. Was believed generally believed to be a supporter of Thorp and in with him. And then R.K. Appeared in front of the committee, R.K. disassociated himself from Thorp and said what he would have done. And he wouldn't have done any of those things. And it was looked upon as a ploy to get himself appointed acting Dean and then Dean. In other words, he turned against Thorp, now this is from one member of the committee. I do not have direct knowledge, it is secondhand knowledge.

Were there any faculty members that came before this committee, and supported Thorp?

Yes, the faculty was divided. But most of them were against him. But there was faculty that were for him.

Did they speak up?

Yes, they spoke up. Glen Nelson was for him. Libby was for him. Hanlon was for him. Sorensen was for him. There were several others that would not say anything, either way.

Pussy footers!

Either that or they didn't know, they were confused. And all the people that you've mentioned that were for him, I'll bet you a good to lunch, that they all vote Republican.

Yes. I think you're right.

You know that liberal element is okay, but I think that they have a tendency to be so dam vociferous, and tenacious. They just wear you down and say, "Oh well, what the hell. Let them have their way."

There's another factor, too. All of them were the older staff. More vociferous were the younger staff. And also that was a time when it was unrest among the students in the university, all over the country. This caught on with some of the younger staff too.

So do you recall the year that Thorp left?

I think it was 1970.

1970. All right, so Thorp was gone and now we have Sorensen come in as acting dean. (Right). Did he have an associate with him?

I think it was Dr. Pomeroy. At least he had attended some of the committee meetings representing the administration. A committee was then was set up to select a new Dean. He was headed by Dr. Westley Spank of the medical school and staff members. Dr. Sidney A. Ewing from the Oklahoma State University Veterinary College was selected to become the new Dean. He took office on the 1st of January, 1973. After he was here a few months, Dean Ewing reorganize the college. First, he appointed two associate deans. One was Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. The other was associate Dean of Services included the veterinary hospital, the diagnostic laboratory was placed under him and the research facilities.

Dr. Short was appointed Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Dr. Timothy Brasmer was associate Dean of Academic Affairs. He further reorganized the college into the Department of Biological Sciences and Veterinary Clinics. Later, this proved not to be to workable. And then the Department of Veterinary Biological Sciences and Veterinary Pathobiology were formed under former Department of Biological Sciences. And then Department of Veterinary Clinics was divided into Department of Small Animal Clinics and Department of Large Animal Clinics.

Dr Arnold, we appreciate this opportunity to have you tell us in great depths of detail the history of the organization of our college of veterinary medicine. I'm sure that time to come, there will be many, many people very interested in what you've had to say. So before we close off John, we'd like to give you an opportunity to make some concluding remarks.

Well, I like to say first that while I have criticized many individuals in this presentation. Personally I liked them. They were well intended, moral, good people. But my feeling was, that they were placed in positions for which they were not qualified and therefore it made decisions which were not altogether too wise. Another thing I want to say is that president Morrill was supportive of the College of Veterinary Medicine, but he was handicapped by the recommendations that Dean Bailey gave him. And he in turn had to support his Dean. But the college has fared very well in spite of all these adversities. And I think it's mainly due to the quality of the people on the staff here.

Thanks again, John. I think you have given a very, very fair evaluation, and very objectively of the college. Thanks again, John.

You're welcome.

John Arnold CVM Large Animal Surgery ISU 1941
Graduate Student Unrest for Pay 1953

Audio file

When I graduated in 1951, John, our school was on probation. (Right). I want to go back just a little bit now because I think maybe some of these problems that you will be getting into later on, maybe were carried over from the inception of the school. You said back in 1952 there was a lot of unrest among the faculty members. (In 1953. Yeah.) It was this just because of the deanship not being settled or were there other problems?

No, there were other problems. When I first came here, I'd been in Iowa for two years before that, practicing at Mora, on the staff. There were no Saturday clinics. The Ambulatory Clinic had no phone of its own. When you called the Ambulatory Clinic, it went into the secretary up on another floor. Students were not really required to take care of their cases on weekends. I was shocked at that at first because...in fact I got onto some of the students for not taking care of their cases over the weekend and all they had to do was go to Dr. Boyd and he said, "Sure, you don't have to do that. You'd get more experience going out with a practitioner or just going outside." So it left the staff members, many times to take care of cases on weekends, that students had assigned to them.

And the set up in a clinic was rather strange, in that Dr. Campbell was Director of Clinics, ran practically everything from his office. Dr. Mather was in charge of Small Animal Clinics, but then all letters to clients had to go through Dr. Campbell, to be checked before they went out. In the Large Animal Clinic, Dr. Hoyt, Dr. Pritchard and I rotated, depending upon who was in favor - as to being in charge but we really weren't. We were just straw bosses and Dr. Campbell ran everything. The pharmacy was locked except when Arden Ostergaard was in it and no staff member had a key. The key was kept by Dr. Campbell's secretary. So this led to was people stashing drugs away in their lockers, so they wouldn't be caught without drugs after hours or weekends when they're on duty. All the staff members except Dr. Campbell, Dr. Merrill, Dr. Boyd, Dr. Kernkamp, Dr. Pomeroy, Dr. Griffiths, and later Dr. Weber and then Dr. Hemingway, of course was in physiology, but the rest of them were graduate students. And Dr. Bartlett was the first one to finish. And no real effort appeared to be made to keep him on the staff because they'd have to raise his wages.

That was a given that they would have to raise his wages?

When you get your PhD degree, then next year you're supposed to get a raise in wages.

And then there must have been something said that said, "David, you're not going to get your raise."

Well, of course, he made some other demands too. And anyhow, they didn't meet them. That sent a signal to the rest of the staff, once you finished your degree, you wouldn't be kept. Unless you're willing to stay at the wages, you got as a graduate student. So that led to unrest. So there was considerable unrest in the clinic and also in the rest of college.

You were mentioning the number of instructors or professors at the inception of the school that were graduate students? Maybe I have misunderstood you. Kitchell was a graduate student wasn't he?

Yes. Sellers was a graduate student.

Spurrell, (yes) Stowe?

Yes. Stowe, Scanlon.

Well, the only one that I know that had a PhD was Henry Griffiths. (Right). He was the only one.

Roepke did too.

Okay. But as a veterinarian...

And I think that Pomeroy had a PhD.

Yup. Yes, he did. Yes, he did. Was it difficult at that time to obtain instructors with a PhD?

Yes, it was.

It really was.

At one time Minnesota was about the only place where a veterinarian could get a PhD degree in veterinary medicine.

At that time?

About that time.

...(Section not displayed for clarity)...

Isn't that strange? As a student, we were not aware. At least I wasn't aware of all of this unrest.

Well you graduated before it kind of hit its peak.

Yes. So at 1952 or 1953, the college was still not fully accredited or accredited?


It still wasn't. So we were still on probation. Was that because of the faculty wasn't up to snuff or we didn't have the Dean yet? Did we have to have our Dean, a recognized Dean reporting directly to the president.

Dr. John Arnold (26:29):

The main thing that kept us from being accredited was the position of the head of the school, not being able to report directly to the president. Lesser were other criticisms. The council on education committee report criticized the school for lack of Saturday classes. The lack of direct telephone service to the ambulatory clinic and not developed enough. Then the lack of staff. One counsel on education member Dr. Aiken who later became editor of the AVMA journal, told me Minnesota started out with the best nucleus of a faculty of any of the new veterinary schools, that started at that time. Later they had made the least progress of any of them because they had not made an effort to keep their good young faculty. After they received their advanced degree, it seemed to allow them to go and then replace them with another graduate student at less salary.

Alvin Weber CVM Histopathologist ISU 1944
Married Life on Campus with a Rooster

Audio file

What year was it that you come to Minnesota?

I came to Minnesota in the fall of 1949 during that polio epidemic and everybody was really concerned about it. So we were very careful in what we did. So at any rate, it was 1949 when I began here.

Meantime, you would become married?

Yes, I married in 1945 and had one little child and an interesting thing happened. I wanted to get into Thatcher Hall up here, to have a place to live you see. And when we came up here, It was said that you had to have two children in order to get in there and we didn't have two children, but Rose Kinnelly who was secretary said to me, "well, are you expecting?" And I said, "we're not expecting, but we're expecting to expect." And Rose said, well that's good enough. So we got a place at Thatcher Hall.

I understand you had a chicken in your apartment at Thatcher Hall?

We of course, liked pets all the time. And we had a rooster we brought up from my parents' farm, it's called Petey Rooster. And he used to crow in the morning and upset the people around the place. But I told them it was a very innocuous type of thing-that rooster crowing. And please would they let us have it because the kids really enjoyed it. The rooster wasn't entirely housebroken so we had to be careful about that. But when it came time we'll do something with Petey, the kids couldn't see us butchering it. So we sent it back to the farm. But that was our first pet up here.


Al Weber CVM Histopathologist ISU 1944
Is the University of Wisconsin a communist school?

Audio file

Where did you take your pre-vet?

Well, times were very tough when I started college. I went to Marquette one year and just couldn't afford to keep that up. They told us at the University of Wisconsin was a communist school, my parents did. So I better stay away from there. But I was so broke that I said, well, communists or not, I'm going down to Madison because I can work my way through and tuition was virtually nothing. So I graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BA with the idea of teaching awhile to get enough money to go to vet school. But then now my cousin said, "if you're going to go to vet school, why don't you go down there and get in there now and work your way through" So that's what I did. I went down to Ames, Iowa and did my veterinary degree there.


Automobiles and Roads

A.C. Spannaus Waconia MN Practitioner Kansas City Veterinary College 1916
Buick stood up the best

Audio file

When you came to Waconia did you get an automobile?

In the summer I bought a second-hand Overland. And I used that for a couple of years. Then I went to work, and bought a Model T. And I might say, at that time I bought gas for 9 cents a gallon and all told I had 13 Model T's that I wore out. Then I switched over to Buicks, I guess I had about six Buicks. I got some Dodges and a Chrysler. So I had about seven or eight Chryslers. During World War II, I had a Chrysler 342.

So you had lots of different kinds of cars. Nice. Which did you like the best?

I like the Buick .... options .... stood up the best.

They had more space too, did they not?

A.C. Spannaus Waconia MN Practitioner Kansas City Veterinary College 1916
Cold and Roads

Audio file

What were the roads like?

In the early days the roads were miserable. There was no paved roads. If you had gotten a gravel road, that was a luxury, they mostly were dirt roads. And in spring, when you went and took out the team and you had these narrow tires on your buggy, there were roads you went through that you nearly went down to the axle in the mud. And then of course during the winter, we'd use a sleigh. And when you went out in a sleigh, you took a shovel and there were a number of times we needed to shovel out the teams, to get through and back to the road.

Did you have trouble keeping warm, riding on the sleigh in the winter time?

At first I did. But after awhile I got a sleigh that was enclosed -- that had doors like a Model T. And then I got footwarmers were you burned a bunch of carbons[?], and a nice heavy fur robes. And of course you had one of these great big fleece-lined coats and a fur cap on and we got along alright.

When you talked about fur robes. What kind of fur was it? Do you remember?

I think it was sold to me as a bear robe, but it was heavier -- I still have it.


Century Old Treatments and Diseases

Difficult Diseases

A.C. Spannaus Waconia Mn Practitioner KSU 1916
Sleeping Sickness

Audio file

Well you brought up the fact that you were in the transition period when horses were replaced by the tractor. And that's when we had this epidemic of sleeping sickness or encephalitis.

Oh, I went through that and I never want to go through it again. I remember that we had one day -- a 24 hour period -- I made 22 calls to sleeping sickness. Beside the other few things that they happened to call. Of course, I tell you the fatalities were about one in four. Regardless what you did. You didn't have anything to combat sleeping sickness.

Did you have a driver? Did you get any sleep?

I had a driver. I drove in the nighttime and the driver drove in the day time. And I'd sleep through the calls. I had young fella, that used to work for me, a handyman around the place. He was my driver and he was a good driver. Well, like I said, I make 22 calls in 24 hours, at one time. But the time vaccinations came in. I think I vaccinated some 1500 horses in one spring. When the thing was at its height during one May, I lost 13 pounds in one month, just for the work that had to do. But as I said before we didn't have any sulfas or antibiotics in those days. All we had was maybe -- our main drugs were nux vomica, (indistinct), belladonna, aconite and of course, like, epsom salts. Then when we first got the penicillin in, it was in lipid form. We used some of that but after it got to be commercialized more, we used that quite a bit and we got some very good results. Same Way with sulfas. Sulfas was came in before antibiotics and if I remember right. And we got very good results from that, especially sulfanilamide. that was used an awful lot. Used to buy it 25 pounds at a time, we used it that way. It was used very much in mastitis cases. And then later on, we had infusions into the udders for mastitis control.


A.C. Spannaus Waconia Mn Practitioner KSU 1916 
Milk Fevers & Quacks

Audio file

Did you have any milk fevers?

Yeah, we had milk fevers. Not too many of them, but some of them. And you know it was just had that old bicycle pump that you had, you inflated the udder and that done the job.

How did you tell how much air to put in?

When the udder got fairly solid, so like it was full of milk, I quit. But the trouble was that you tied off the teats so the air wouldn't get out, and then you'd get sore teats after awhile. I tried to get away from that. And I tried all kinds of things but that was very...there were things I didn't like about it. How long did you have to leave this ligature around the teat? About four or five hours. After the cow got up, they just took them off. If you didn't lose them literally by that time. If I didn't tie them too tight.

Did you have any troubles with quacks? Non-licensed veterinarians?

It was about one in every township. These quacks were licensed after awhile, so you couldn't do much about it. How about the neighborhood handyman? Did you have some of them? I had some of them too. But after awhile, when they had something sick too, I was called. They didn't take care of it on their own.



A.C. Spannaus Waconia Mn Practitioner KSU 1916
Mineral Oil & Reek’s Capsules for Colic

Audio file

What kind of medicine was used for colics?

Well, we had this Reek's Capsules, you've probably heard of that. That was one of the main things. And we used a lot of mineral oil. I wouldn't be able to recall it right off -- we used a lot of aromatics spirits of ammonia too.

Did you use Linseed Oil?

No, I didn't like that. It kind of made the horse go off-feed after that (indistinct) and mineral oil didn't. I'll tell you an incident after World War One, I bought heavy mineral oil, 55 gallon drum, direct from Germany for 60 cents a gallon, way down here to Waconia.

That's hard to believe, it is . . .

Yeah, it is.

What other drugs did you use? What did you use for colics besides mineral oil?

Well we used this Reek's Capsule, it was made up of ginger, and ammonium carbonate, and Capsicum and then some Oil of Cajeput. That was all put in, that was one of the mainstays.

Good. You remembered the contents of those capsules!

I remember, but I don't remember the measurement (indistinct).


A.C. Spannaus Waconia Mn Practitioner KSU 1916
Muster Plaster Treatments

Audio file

Well what types of calls were most of them? What animals?

Well, in the beginning it was mostly horses. A lot of colics of course, and a lot of lameness. And of course, I had every different type of diseases you can imagine that you'd run across. In those days they had what they called Distemper or Strangles, I had a bit of that. Then pneumonias -- there's a funny way that you treat it. You didn't have any antibiotics or any sulfas. We treated them with stimulants and ammonium chloride for an expectorant, and then a mustard plaster. The was a big deal - the mustard plasters.

How did you put the mustard plaster up?

You used flour and mustard, stirred it up with water and made a paste out of it, spread it on the newspaper. Then put it on the side of the animal. Then put a rope over it and tied it down so it wouldn't fall off. And you left it on for a day or so before taking it off.

Surgical Treatments

A.C. Spannaus Waconia Mn Practitioner KSU 1916
Poll evil & Cryptocrhids

Audio file

What surgery did you do?

Well, we had a lot of poll evil, a lot of these barns around here were old barns and they were made out of logs, lower doors and they bumped their heads and got poll evil and fistulous withers and that kind of thing. Then there was abscesses, things of that kind. And of course, one of the main surgical things was castration of colts in the spring of the year. I averaged about 150 colts per year. It was not very profitable because you've done it for $2 a piece. If you've done about 13 to 15 a day, you thought you'd made a good day's wage.

Did you lineup several to do it in one day then?

Yeah, I called them up the night before so they had 'em in; a lot of them were in the pasture. (indistinct.)

Did you take somebody with you to help to hold the horse?

Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't. Of course when I first started to castrate them by casting them and tying them up. And then after awhile I got fairly good at standing operations. I didn't have anybody along, once in a while I had a fellow along in it. Around Cologne there was all always a man that lined them up for me. And then he went along. And we had quite a few cryptorchids. I was able to operate on 'em. Half of them had been operated on and doing the job over again.

And that was quite a feat in those days to operate on a cryptorchid?

It wasn't completely bad after you got the hang of it.

When they castrated them and only took only one testicle, did they tell you which side they took?

No. You had to look for a scar. They usually used the right, so when they laying down it was the left testicle. But if it was on the right-hand side, you cut in there you'd usually get it.

CVM - Starting the Veterinary School

Dr. Glen Nelson CVM First Class of 1951 & CVM Faculty Diagnostic Lab
GI Bill of Rights

Audio file

Glen I'd like to bring up something at this time. I don't know how many of our class still have the original letter of acceptance.

While I'd guess you're the only one.

I have it here. And I'd like to just take a minute to talk about it, Glen. This letter was postmarked, August 19th at 3:30 PM 1947. And in those days, 3 cents took care of first-class delivery and it came out of the Department of Agriculture and it's addressed to Mr. Paul J. Cox 908 Vista Avenue Saint Paul Two, Minnesota. In those days there was some sort of zoning here in the cities. I received this letter and my wife and I were living at my mother's house and I was so nervous, I couldn't open up the letter. So I called up, my wife who was working in downtown St Paul and said I'd like to meet her outside of the building and I brought this letter along and she'll open it up and she read it to me. So I'd like to read this letter.

Please do. I don't remember seeing it since August of 1947.

Is that right. Well, it's dated August 18th, 1947. Dear Mr. Cox, we are pleased to inform you that you have been selected as a first year student in the veterinary medicine curriculum. Registration Information for veterinary students is being completed and should make it possible for you to register after Monday, August 25th enclosed as a fee statement for the preliminary deposit of $10. Forwarding this deposit to the cashier's office, University Farm within 10 days will constitute our notification of your acceptance of a place in this class. Such payment once made will not be refunded should you later decide not to enter into veterinary medicine and will however be applied toward your tuition at the time of registration. Failure to make this payment may result in being replaced by alternate candidates. Very truly yours, R. E. Summers, dean of admission and records. And boy that, I was really pleased. So I am sure that every member received the same identical letter. I had this in a file. (Isn't that interesting?) Back home under personal and I dug it out.

Good for you. I bet you're the only one in the class that still has that. So 24 students received that letter.

Yes, received this letter. The idea of the $10. So I had a scrape up the 10 dollars.

So they talk about difficulty getting into veterinary college today. Yeah, I guess it was fairly difficult back in 1947 to get in.

Well because of the fact, Glen, that most of the class were GI, we have the GI bill of rights, which kind of made it easy for the majority of us to get into the class or to pay our way through. So that was another good thing that came out of this, that we had the government pick up the tab.

Yes, the bill of rights, I think it made the difference of most of it. I know it did for me. I'm going to college or not going to college. And for that I've always been grateful. But I think that was a essentially a four year scholarship because if one was in the service long enough, you had a maximum of 48 months of the GI bill, which paid for your tuition, if I recall, plus a few dollars. And I'm not sure how much per month?

Married Fellas $125 a month.

That plus the fact that, I know Margaret worked and Mary worked and her wives all had jobs and we work part time as well. I think we all accomplished something that can't be accomplished today. And that is graduated from college without a big indebtedness. I don't believe I owed any money when I graduated from college. A matter of fact, I had a new car paid for.

Dr. "Bee" Hanlon Staff Radiologist & Diplomate First Women Graduate CVM 1952
First Woman Board Certified Woman Veterinary Radiologist

Audio file

But I was going on at the time, with wanting to get my board certification. That had opened up in radiology.

So I was studying not only diagnostic radiology, but therapeutic and a little nuclear medicine at that time, just opening up. I did for my boards in 1955, the first woman that was a diplomat in Radiology National Board.

On the national board!?! The first woman! Isn't that an award!

The first woman, that worried me a lot. I haven't heard from the examining committee for several months and I was about to give a talk in Indiana. I wanted to know very badly if I had made it. And finally the letter came, it was quite a celebration.

Well. I would hope so.

That was the early American College of Veterinary Radiology. I was the first one.


Dr. "Bee" Hanlon Staff Radiologist & Diplomate First Women Graduate CVM 1952
First Woman Accepted by increasing class size

Audio file

Okay, so then you applied for veterinary school and were accepted in the second class? That was in 1948?

1948 yes, because I graduated in 1952. But application to veterinary school wasn't all that rosy, I was turned down, as was the other girl in the class, Jo Ann Schmidt O'Brien. I went back to my town and thinking it was rejected. They plainly stated, we're not admitting women into that class. And so I thought, I better go on with my background medical entomology for awhile. I had planned to go on to graduate school anyway somewhere or another. If it was coming back here to Minnesota, my husband was still in pre-medical courses with that time. I was turned down, as was Jo Ann. And it was just I believe a week or a weekend before school opened that I received a telegram stating they changed their minds. They were allowing two women into the school. And if I wanted to attend, I should get there on the first day, which I did. And this where I got all the news on how difficult Jo Ann had it. She stayed here during the summer and was working for a dentist and his wife who had a kennel. When she was rejected, I mean it didn't stop there. She went to war. Not Jo Ann specifically, but with people she was with. They thought it was very unfair not to let the women. And so apparently this as I understand it, and it would be better to interview Jo Ann on this for details. But the women that the dentist's wife were associated with, more or less got together and flooded the Dean's office with letters. The dean being the good boy that he was, Dean Boyd, we all like him. He didn't want to get involved with women. He added two chairs, he didn't replace any body.

Dr. "Bee" Hanlon Staff Radiologist & Diplomate First Women Graduate CVM 1952
GI Bill for Tuition and Living Expenses

Audio file

That's very interesting I just didn't imagine that you had that sort of the past.

Oh, I've got a lot of outdoor activity. I always loved the outdoors and we lived so we could really enjoy it.

Did you use up all your GI bill or what did they call it again now?

It was the GI bill and I used up everything. I was shy, I think about a quarter and where I had to work a little bit in the summer. To make the tuition for that one quarter.

Was just in veterinary school?

In veterinary school, they took care of the entire tuition and a little stipend. Something to live with at that time, Gi Bill covered that. It worked out very nicely.

I believe I had 48 months, which worked out just fine for me. That was a big problem back in those days, having enough money. If the kids think it's tough now, it was tougher then.

Ralph Farnsworth CVM Ambulatory Medicine and Como Zoo Veterinarian OSU 1962
Dr. Ed Usenik Stories

Audio file

Yeah. Well, [Dr.] Ed Usinek was one that I worked with quite a bit and I have a couple examples with him. We were doing...he did a lot of the zoo stuff with me. Onetime somebody brought in this raccoon with broken leg. We took an x-ray of it and I called the zoo director. And small animal is gonna be $50 to fix it or something. And zoo directors, "Ah, it's not worth it. Just euthanize it". Well, this lady had a couple of little kids in there and she said, "oh, no, We'll pay for it". We'll take care of when I told her. And then I said, "look, she doesn't look like she should be spending money on an animal like this. So I went to Ed back and talked to Ed Usenik, and I showed him the x-ray. And I said, "what would happen if we just let that go?" [ed replied] "Probably heal". <laugh> Ed was the iron ranger, you know? "Probably heal". And so I went back and told the lady, I said, let's keep, if you gotta carrier and keep this in. You know, let's keep it in the carrier and don't let it run around very much and just keep it going. And let's see what happens. And Ed was right. It healed. <Laugh>.

Another time, they had a crow in with a dislocated wing, and I think I'd taken an x-ray of that too. And I walked around the clinic there and Ed was on the phone. He was there quite [along time] so finally I held up the x-ray and he looked at the x-ray as he's continuing to talk on the phone. And a whoosh, gives it to me. It was back in place! <laugh> And it stayed there!

Audio file

And I was in there one [day] and they were operating a operating on a obstructed foal and they had the mare tied in the stocks beside there. And she was just, she was throwing a fit. And Usenik, I said, "you want me to give her a little proazine". [Dr. Usenik replied] "uh, give her Travet". We went to give it about...and this was a tranquilizer that sometimes you had reactions to. And I said, "well, 1/2 CC". [Dr. Usenik replied] "Naw, I give her two". So <laugh>. I walked up and injected her IV with this stuff. And about that time she reared back and broke the halter, started toward these guys on this mat with this full-down at full-gallup <laugh>. She got, she got to 'em and she jumped and she jumped over the instrument cart. Caught it with her foot, sent everything went down the hallway and started out, started out through the horse ward. And I, so I went down through there. I expected to see her splatted up against the wall, the basic science <laugh>. she got to the end of the horse ward and stopped, tranquilized! <laugh>. It worked. Huh. So they had to sterilize the instruments and take a break and do that for a few minutes. And so the next day I said to Ed [Usenik], "you know, I figured out we did wrong with her". I said, "we should have gave her another half CC and she declared the cart and you wouldn't had a problem".

<laugh> The stories we have to tell about things.

Ralph Farnsworth CVM Ambulatory Medicine and Como Zoo Veterinarian OSU 1962
A Different Era

Audio file

Whereas today it seems as though the herds are large, the dollars and cents are still very much involved. Students are still going on to school, but the cows come and go with less attachment don't they?

Yeah. Well, I can remember one herd that I worked with that was out here and it was a small herd, 30 cow herd. And it was a very good herd. And this dairyman had been Dr. Hoyt's client for a number of years. And then when Dr. Hoyt, he developed Hodgkin's Disease, he ended up dying and I kept working with that herd. And he always felt a little bit. And this guy was, he is very nice and, and so on, but he always kind of felt like he'd rather have Dr. Hoyt probably than me. Well, he had this cow that was a real special cow and she'd broken several records and she was typed and he'd sold bulls out of her and everything. Well that was back in the days before we really knew how to prevent milk fever, and she would come down with milk fever when she calved. We were able to get her up a two or three times. She had some complications and so on. And then one time he had this cow bred to a high-power bull and the calf was sold. She had a dystocia and I was able to get the calf alive. And it was a bull calf. <laugh> Finally things kept getting better, you know? And at one point he and the county agents and people had a party to celebrate this cow and I got invited, so I figured I'd arrived. <laugh>

Yeah. And I knew the kids. I see his kids were out there around the barn. In later years I saw them extension meeting. Yeah. It was a different era.

Very good relationships that we develop with our clients. Aren't they? We have wishes for them as well. For their success and how they go about doing things. I think that's ambulatory reached into that both in milk quality, and then with building design as well. And the calf raising and all.

John Arnold CVM Large Animal Surgery ISU 1941
Clinic Floor Designed like a Meat Packing Plant

Audio file

Did the physical plant have anything to do with our accreditation?

No, not really. The council on education was fairly liberal, if efforts are being made to correct it. What they wanted to see was efforts being made to correct it. They were building a new veterinary clinic and they had received funds or planning money for the veterinarian science building. So this is progress on the part of university anyhow and so they weren't criticized with that.

John, you came here then at a good time. You were a young man? What part did you play in resolving some of these problems?

I really don't know. I probably helped create some. (HaHa.) I remember one problem that really bothered me was in the clinic they had a smooth floor, real smooth. It was actually polished on top and the animals would slip on that. I had horses fall down and knock out their front teeth, which was embarrassing to try to explain to the owner. We had cows straddle leg and have partial obturator paralysis. And I kept complaining about that until finally they appropriated $1,500 Dean Bailey did, to paint the floor. To something that was supposed to be less slippery. Well, they painted it, but it only lasted about two or three months and started to peel off and they started slipping again. Then I threatened to get a bulldozer in there with tracks on it. To go up and down the floor, crack it up. So then I got an outfit in here, that flayled the floor to make it rougher. But I asked why they had that smooth floor put in? They says "it's the exact type of floor that got in packing houses." "Yes", I said "but animals don't walk on the floor in packing houses. They're hung up on racks and people walk on them have boots on". That was one mistake!

John Arnold CVM Large Animal Surgery ISU 1941
School becomes a college

Audio file

Then from the very beginning, John, this school was organized contrary to the requirements of the AVMA, where the Dean was required to report directly to the Board of Regents and the President, right? Is that correct?


So we were wrong from the very beginning. (Right). How could that have happened?

That was because the way Bailey convinced President Morrill, that is how it should be set up.

Wasn't there anyone here with enough backbone, that could go up to Morrill or somebody and say, "this is wrong".

Well, they were caught by surprise by the legislature establishing the school and also caught by surprise at the first class had to start that coming fall. So things were thrown together in our hurry and that's the plan that apparently Dean Bailey came up. Seeing he was Dean of this campus, the president of the university accepted it.

Wasn't there another man, a Dr. Macy who had some control at that time?

He was director of the experiment station at that time. And while he had some control over the funds for experiments, he did not have anything to do with this.

He had no control then over the money or anything else for the veterinary school?

Not until he became Dean. Until he succeeded Bailey.

Is that right? (Yes). When did that occur to you recall?

It came about in about 1952 or 1953 when he was assistant Dean of Education, I guess he was called on the Saint Paul Campus. He was under Bailey, by the name of Henry Schmidt. He was head of forestry. He resigned to go to the head of University of Washington as president. And at that time there was considerable unrest among the staff at the college here. Dr. Hoyt and I had offers to go elsewhere and we were seriously considering it. We went to see Schmidt about it and he advised us to stay, although he said, I really can't blame you. Well then Bailey resigned too. And then Macy came on board, Macy became Dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry, Home Economics and Veterinary Medicine. And Macy called us, Hoyt and I and one other, up to his office.

Who was director at that time, do you recall? This was in 1952 or so?

That was when Kernkamp was director.

He was still director?

He only stayed for one year. (Okay). He was director then when Macy came in.

Did Macy call him along with the three of you?

No. And he told us that he was going to make a first rate College of Veterinary Medicine down there and he was going to base his reputation on that. If he didn't make it, he would consider himself a failure. He looked us straight in the eye and told us that. So then you stayed. And immediately he sent down the word that he wanted us to organize a college into a divisions, to come up with a plan of operation and organization. I don't know whether he put other people on the committee or not, to select the successor to Dr. Boyd. Which you can filled in the mean time by acting directors. But anyhow, we started to get first class people in here to interview for the position. We had Dr. Hutchens who later became Dean of Purdue. We had Oglethorpe from Louisiana, we had Carl Olson, and three or four others. And then we had Dr. Thorp come in. Everybody seemed impressed with Dr. Thorp, some of the others worried us. Because they had no idea how a veterinary college should be run. They were going to run the hospital was going to run like a clinic, an ordinary clinic. Like a private clinic out some place. And they thought rather than specializing, people should be trained to do more things. Which would be diluting any advancement. Anyhow, Dr. Thorp came and he was chosen. That was a wise choice. And then Dr. Thorp worked to get us to 'college' status. He had become Dean and he had the support of Macy. If Macy hadn't supported it, probably wouldn't have happen.

Al Weber CVM Histopathologist ISU 1944
"No vacation for seven years"

Audio file

When you arrived the school of veterinary medicine as it was called then was just developing. Can you describe some of that?

Yes. I remember very well that they had just had a fire and there was still a hole in the roof where the flames had taken off the roof. And Don Jasper who left us went to Washington State, I believe it was, or was it California. He was down at Davis, California. He had his desk just below the hole there and they put a piece of canvas over so he wouldn't get wet. Anyways, we had this Old Anatomy Building, which to me was very fine. I just wanted to get started someplace. And so I had an office right next to the Dr. Ralph Kitchell and we became vast friends and still are.

Well was there were slides available then for teaching microscopic morphology?

No, nothing was present and so we used to have to hurry. We had the old slaughterhouse just about 500 feet north of the anatomy building. So we'd go up there and get tissues, bring them back. Mary Phillips was an excellent technologist and I had brought from Wisconsin some triple stain techniques and they started calling me "Triple Stain Lover" there and I put together a couple of slide boxes of slides, which still partly are being used after some 40 years. We had to start from scratch on everything and I didn't take a vacation for seven years because we were always behind the eight ball, getting things ready.

You might say there was a lack of a proper teaching equipment and supplies during the early days. Was there not?

Yes. We had to start there from scratch too. One of the lucky things was that we got a student by name, a Peter Overhauser who I think now in Berlin Wisconsin and Peter was a very good artist. And so he started in drawing pictures on or what was it, canvas that you could roll up. And so he made us pictures of everything you can imagine. I remember the mammary gland when we still have a round. And so what we used to do was, in addition to using some two by two color slides, we would use these large chart drawings that we could use for illustration on the board. So that was one of the things we used. Then I had noticed someplace in the campus here that there was an overhead projector that was being used. And I thought that we ought to have one of those available in the veterinary college. So I called Visual Aides and asked them if they might provide us one. And they said that this was too specialized equipment to have a send out to each lecture room. So I asked the Dean if he might provide us with one and eventually we did get one, but you see where we were at that time.

Your lectures, did you have trouble staying ahead of the class or did you have a course already prepared when you came here?

Nothing was prepared and so we had to get the slides around and go to the library, and dig up information that would be pertinent in histology. So it wouldn't be just a college of letters and science or whatever course, but rather one that would be directed towards veterinary medicine. So we were always just about two hours from lecture time before we had put everything together and some of the slides that the students would use were still wet from being cover-slipped just before the students used them.


CVM - Leadership

John Arnold CVM Large Animal Surgery ISU 1941
Dean Thorp: Now this school is ready to come a college

Audio file

Let's go on to Dean Thorp because I think he had a really had a dramatic effect on the school/college.

Dean Thorp did. The first thing he did was get a telephone in to ambulatory to improve their status. He did away with the department of veterinary medicine, which the AVMA criticized because it didn't seem any function for it after the other departments or divisions were started. He put Fenstermacher in charge of the Diagnostic Laboratory and separated that. He got more staff members and he got more research. Then he started to work on the legislature because the legislature had been told before, that when we got the veterinary science building that would essentially complete the building program of the college. And this was carried out furthermore, and the legislature visited us. We were under orders to tell them how well off we were. And I was instructed to get every large animal instrument out on tables exhibit for them. It didn't matter how obsolete they were, to show them how well off they were. In fact, I had to bring some of my own instruments in here to use for surgery at times. Well, he had to fight all this. He started out by getting pieces in the newspaper, that the school of veterinary medicine had the poorest research facilities of any veterinary school in the country. He kept hammering at that until he got funds to build an addition on the clinic, to remodel and add-on to veterinary building. Then of course, to get much more operating funds for the college.

John, you mentioned that Thorp was here a week and he says, "we're going to get a telephone in the ambulatory area and he was going to put Fenstermacher in charge of the diagnostic lab". How did he know to do that?

He didn't do them right away. When he came here, the year before I think it was, we all were required to write a 15-year projection for the college of veterinary medicine, what we thought should be done. All the staff members except the new graduate students were requested to do that. And that went over to the other campus and most of us felt, nobody would ever read it. Just be filed away, which does seem to be usual with such reports. But he got them and he read every sentence.

Who got them?

Thorp did.

Excuse me. Did we establish the year he came here?

1954, I think it was.

In the fall or the summer?

It was July one.

July one. So the classes weren't in session so much and so he could sit down concentrate.

He read every word. And I was surprised because he called me in to ask me some questions about mine. And he quoted things throughout it. That I know he had to read it, to find. Then he had the report of the AVMA council on education. And he put these together. With his background at the National Institutes Of Health, he went into action. And he really worked.

Who was in charge of the diagnostic lab before Fenstermacher?

Well he was, but it wasn't a separate unit. He separated out as a separate unit and put him in charge.

it sounds like, what you're telling me, is right off the bat Thorp was pretty savvy individual about running this college. It still has a school, wasn't it when he came?

Yes, it still was a school.

He was very aggressive...

And I might say this, he had Dean Macy's support. You wouldn't be able to do it without Dean Macy's support. And then Dean Macy said later on, "now this school is ready to become a college". Which would take it out from under his jurisdiction. But he pushed it.

I admire Thorp even more now since I know a little bit more about his background because anyone could have sat down and read these reports from the AVMA and these 15-year projections and said, "let's get going". (Yeah). But he did it.

He did it.


John Arnold CVM Large Animal Surgery ISU 1941
Dean Kernkamp budget challenges in 1953

Audio file

When you came here in 1950, who was the dean?

Oh, there wasn't a Dean at that time. There was a director of the School of Veterinary Medicine as it was called. And that was Dr. Willard L. Boyd.

But then he was still the first so-called Dean or director?

He was the first director, yes.

Who followed him then?

Well, he was followed by different people. He's stayed on until he was 68-70 years old. I can't remember which. By special action of the Board of Regents because at that time you had to retire from the administration at the age 65. They had nobody to replace him. So he stayed on. And then Dr. Martin Roepke was appointed acting director. He stayed on for about a year and then he resigned. He was not a veterinarian. He was a PhD biochemist and a very good one. And he had a good mind, but because he was not a veterinarian, he did not receive widespread support. And because of that lack of support and lack of respect among the veterinary profession, I think was the reason that he resigned.

In the connection with Dr. Roepke. I also heard that to be an accredited college recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the Dean had to be a veterinarian. Is there any truth to that?

Yes, that's right. The head of the veterinary school or college has to be a veterinarian and he has to have direct access to the president of the university. And not pass through another Dean or something like that. So requests aren't passed on by another person before it gets to the Dean.

If that was known, why would the administration put Dr. Roepke in as acting dean?

The head of the St. Paul campus, that time was Dean Bailey. He was Dean over the entire campus and he did not like the veterinary school. He didn't want in the first place. When it was put in by the legislature, over his objections, he did not give it his full support. This was another effort on his part, to kind-of snub the profession and also the Council on Education of the AVMA, which are approved schools. And another thing he did in his committee he set up to find a successor for Dr. Boyd, he had no veterinarians on that committee. When Dr. Carl Shlotthauer of the Mayo Clinic learned of this, he wrote a letter to Dr. Mayo. I can't remember which Mayo it was. He was on the Board of Regents and promptly then that Dr. Mather was added to the committee and then Dr. Hoyt was added to the committee. This was at the insistence of, or started, by Dr. Schotthauer. When Dr. Roepke retired or resigned, then Dr. H.C.H. Kernkamp was appointed acting director. And Kearney [Kernkamp] was a very fine fellow, but he seemed to have the idea that his job as director, was to sign every request that came in front of him. So then Dr. Kitchell and at first Dr. Pritchard, and then when he left, Dr. Hoyt was assigned to monitor what a Dr. Kernkamp signed.

Who assigned these people?

I don't understand?

Here we have Kernkamp as the acting director, and now we're going to have some people overseeing or taking care of some of his paperwork. (Yes). Who decided to do that? He is the top man.

Yes. But it was decided above him because he's was getting into trouble.

Who was above him? Was Bailey above him?

It was Bailey.

And I was sort of trouble was he getting into?

He was apparently going beyond their budget.

Well, you mean to say that Kernkamp was that bull-headed, that he wouldn't pay any attention to the fact that, Hey, you're over $100,000?

I don't think he realized it.

He didn't. And it was Bailey who put in Pritchard and Kitchell and Hoyt to look after Kernkamp?

That's my understanding. It was him, although there was some descent in the college or in the school, it was at that time. Because if somebody went in with a request and had a good story, it got approved.

Oh, I see. I see. Kernkamp was just to too nice of a fella. Couldn't say no.


Did it work out better than when we had Pritchard or one of those individuals...

Pritchard and Hoyt and Kitchell? Yes.

...working on the request for money?

They were more even-handed and things were made more on their merit and need.

How did Kernkamp accept this?

He apparently accepted it.

He did!


Al Weber CVM Histopathologist ISU 1944
Deans have distinct personalities

Audio file

During the years, there's been changes in administration. Do you want us to describe some of those changes? Perhaps beginning with Dr. Thorpe. Who had the school of veterinary medicine elevated to a college?

Well, there was some turbulence that went on with that. I guess you'd call it just growing pains. I think everybody had the proper attitude about trying to better the college. But sometimes things got a little bit negative. Dean Thorpe was rather cautious all the time. I remember one thing he said and I was "let's dance with them all, but marry none of them". He was very cautious in many respects. What should I say here? We seem to have the first big furor when the department of veterinary physiology and pharmacology thought that Dean Thorpe was not making decisions one way or another and thought he ought to be removed. And that lead to unfortunately, setting up of two factions. There was the older group, and then there were the so called young Turks. That ultimately lead to the resignation that Dean Thorpe. And then came the administrative changes. As I mentioned before with one department then two departments and now four or five departments. And then there was this idea of joining either the agricultural faculty as one big unit or becoming a part of the college of medical sciences. Dean Thorpe was very cautious about that. I'm not sure whether did the right thing or not, but at any rate with the faculty feeling that we should go with the college of medical sciences, that's where we are today. But Dean Thorpe listened very carefully to the faculty. But he was, I think just a little bit concerned that since we were animal people that we were sort looking for another way and I don't know what the future will hold in regard to whether he was right or wrong.

Dean Ewing followed Dr. Thorpe after there were acting deans?

Yeah, Sid Ewing came on in and well, Sid Ewing was an awfully honest and long suffering and listening person. Now my own opinion is, Sid Ewing probably was well... I always think of the term, the philosophical saying that "it's not the fish, It's the water". In my own view, Dr. Sid Ewing probably was most effective as department head rather than Dean because a Dean's job is a rough one. It takes a special person to be in that office and I think those years when Ewing was here, we kind of suffered, not because of anything wrong with the Dean, but rather the position he was in.

So at any rate, when that blew over, then things seem to stabilize out when Bob Dunlop came and, Bob Dunlop was a very fine person. I think he could talk to anybody at the university without having to look up to him. Bob liked to travel a whole lot. So each one has his own personality. So it seemed to me, that probably one of the problems was, there was a whole lot of attention to WORLD affairs, which is also important. And some of the people got a little bit upset that probably the home front wasn't being taken care of well enough. But again, what you do in one area, you can't do in another. And so we grew in one respect and probably didn't grow as much as we should have been another. But all these fellows were honest and tried to do their thing and each one's personality sort of resulted in what they did or did not do. I always used to say the german proverb, "Wer nichts tut, [macht nie elwas falsch]". So let's see, how does that go in german. In otherwords it says that "he who doesn't do anything, never does anything wrong." (Speaking german), that's what it means.


Beautiful Locations

Dr. Jo Ann Schmidt-O'Brien First Female Graduate of CVM 1952
Describing Pike Island on the Mississippi River including beautiful Gladiolas

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Was Mrs. Bantle's husband a dentist?

That's right.

I remember their home distinctly. It sat above the river bank, just a little bit down the Mississippi River from Fort Snelling.

That's right. It was like a stone castle. Yes, a stone castle, built of native stone in this beautiful place. Big iron gates, and a courtyard you came into with flagstone. It was a lovely place. It was just where the Minnesota came in and joined the Mississippi, a little island. I used to swim in the Mississippi there. Every summer. I swam. The dogs swam with me.

That's called Pike Island now.

Is that what it's called? At that time they raised Gladiolas for the bulbs on that island. And they used to cut the Gladiolas when there were only one or two flowers because that's better for the bulb apparently. And they would cut the stocks and dumped them into the river and you'd see all these Gladiolas floating down the river. And we used to go over some times to take the rowboat.-- they were perfectly happy. We had a little rowboat -- Dr Bantle and I would go over every once in a while and they were perfectly content to have us go and cut the Gladiola stocks and just save them cutting them. We'd cut gladiolas and bring them home. It was a beautiful home.

Yes, I remember that home. I just lived, if you would go east on West Seventh Street towards downtown, I lived maybe three quarters of a mile down West Seventh Street, off of Vista Street, which is not too far. And so I roamed that area quite a bit, so I'm well acquainted with that area.

It's was just a little dirt road back then, right there at the house.


Dr. Earl Thompson International Practitioner Graduate of CVM 1952
Discrimination in the South and on Campus

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So when you went to vet school, that was right around the World War, world War?

Well, I tell you what happened. I graduated high school in 1945, and then I went in the Navy for two years. And when I got out of the Navy, I promised my dad I'd come home and run the farm. Meanwhile, while I was gone, he got married again. My mother died in childbirth with the 12th child years before, and he had remarried. And so I was out there alone on the farm. 'cause all the rest of the kids, the younger ones were there, but they weren't much help. And they'd gone to town mostly to live with my dad. So I lived alone and farmed for a year, thrashing run. Did mostly horse work, had a one tractor that we used. but most of the equipment was still for horses. And so I did horse farming and cattle. And, and at the end of the year, I decided about halfway through, I decided that this is kind of not too good, <laugh> <laugh>. So I quit at the end of the year.

In the services and the services were segregated. And I the blacks on the ship told me what segregation was like, and I couldn't believe it. So after quitting farming, I hitchhiked to New Orleans and got a job in a gas station to study segregation to see what segregation... This was true. What it was happening, it was 10 times worse than what was, what happened. I went to the black churches and the white churches, and I swear, the white churches, I think thought we should go back to slavery. It was that bad. And some of the experiences I had, I went back and sat with a black man on a bus and got literally thrown off the bus physically by the bus driver. He was bigger than me so he could do it. <laugh> <laugh>. But, and then I, after nine months down there, I came back and went to the university [U of MN]. So I started in 1949.

Okay. <affirmative>. So…

You can throw all that out, you know. But that's my background on it.

That's an interesting part of your history, because there's not too many white people that would stick their neck out <laugh> like you did. <laugh>

I went back and you would throw all this out, but I started college and our AGR Alpha Gamma RHO invited me to come down to pledge. Now, I knew they didn't let blacks in.

I'm sorry, what did you say? Who invited you down to Pledge?

Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. (Oh, okay.) On Ag Campus there. (Okay.) I'm sure they're still there. Well, they invited me down to pledge. And I knew they didn't let blacks in there, but I went down to make a point anyway. And so I ate their lunch, and they took me up to room to talk to me. And I said, "well can a black join?" No. And so I'm real dark, I guess, so, I said, "then an Indian can't join either?" So they, they assumed I was Indian. It took him two hours after talking to the national office and stuff to see if an Indian could join. So I decided that, I said, "you know, if it takes you long to decide anything, I'm outta here." I was gonna be out there anyway, <laugh> because they didn't let blacks in. But I left. But then they passed the word that I was Indian, and I was very dark coming from New Orleans. Of course. And, and they, and then it became a dilemma for me, because if I started denying my race, that wasn't good. Denying, if, you know, and so I decided to become an Indian. So I became a Sioux when people asked me what Indian I was. So I went through college being part-Sioux.

But you're not really any Sioux Indian?

No! <laugh>. Okay. But I was a dilemma for me, <laugh>. But the experiences I had were something because, for instance the people prefer to go up north, and they knew I was Indian. They go to the library and sit at a table a lot. Often wouldn’t move. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. It was restaurant, I mean, the cafeteria, same way. And it some of the people, even one of 'em in vet school, didn't like Indians. He had to be my lab partner. He thought I was the stupidest Indian he ever met. <laugh> <laugh>. But that was true. I wasn't too bright. But I eventually my wife, when I met her, I didn't tell her. But I was going with a girl there from up north, and her brother came down to college, and the first thing, he came and told [me] that he didn't want an old buck hanging around his sister, you know, and for, you know, to begin with, I thought it was hilarious. I thought it was funny. But after a few years, it started to, it really did start to bother me. What happened to Indians. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But that's my story. <laugh>

So you've been you've been very progressive your whole life, it sounds like <laugh>?

 Well yes. I'd say it, it's progressive thinking. Mm-hmm.

Dr. Jo Ann Schmidt-O'Brien First Female Graduate of CVM 1952
Discrimination by Classmates but not Professors

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You had some bad experiences?

Oh, just, part of it was my fault. I can look back and realize that, because as I said -- I'm sure that -- I had never met discrimination in my life before. And it's not a pleasant feeling and it's given me a lot of sympathy for racial minorities, ethnic minorities and so on. And it is simply not a pleasant feeling for someone to decide that you can't do what you've always wanted to do, what you've always thought you could do. Then, as I said, a lot of the fellows felt, if she weren't in this class, my friend who didn't get admitted would be in this class, which isn't a fair thing to say at all. So there were some of my classmates that sort of ignored us. But there were many who were perfectly friendly and it wasn't a great thing. A few minor harassment incidents.

How about your instructors?

Fine, no problem. No problem whatsoever.

Do you think maybe they gave you a little bit of an advantage?

No. And we wouldn't have asked for it nor accepted it. Point of honor.

Dr. Jo Ann Schmidt-O'Brien First Female Graduate of CVM 1952
Women DVM Isolated at AVMA Meetings

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Well then tell me about some of the good times you had? Parties or new friends you made?

Bee and I, were of course good friends. But I really did not socialize with members of my class.

You didn't!

No, I really didn't.

Was that on purpose?

Partially. Because nobody invited me anyway (laughter).

Did you date during that time? Did you date any of the members of your class?

Never. No. And that that was 50-50. 50 because I didn't want to, 50 because nobody asked me.

When we had a Christmas party or something like that, did you go to those?

I'd go to the student smokers, and suffer through the cigar smoke. But I smoked myself anyway. But I think that's about -- those were sort of semi-official. You may remember, they had speakers and so on. That I went to. Again, a point of honor, but it's not comfortable. Bee was married, and that made social things a little easier for her. But it is not comfortable and it was never comfortable for many, many years for me to ever go to any organized veterinary things. Even after I was out of veterinary school and you would go to things like AVMA meetings or state association meetings or AAHA meetings, you'd be the only woman there. And even people you knew, if you went up to talk to them, they'd sort of shy away and stuff. And it's silly. It was silly then. Now I don't think it happens, and besides there are a lot of women there. But it simply wasn't a comfortable situation so I'd usually avoid them.

Politicians, Political Activity and our Profession

Dr. Glen Nelson CVM First Class of 1951 & CVM Faculty Diagnostic Lab
Veterans Political Persuasion

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I think it's a great interest to know how do you a group of students then we're able to make some contact with the political structure.

Well, when we formed the preliminary club, then we had a pretty good force of students that were returning veterans. They were being denied an education that they wanted. And we had a pre-veterinary meeting in the student center on the St. Paul campus and we invited key legislators, regents, livestock people, and newspaper reporters to the pre-veterinary club meeting on the campus. And that kind of stimulated a tremendous amount of interest, because these were people that were very supportive of the college that we had invited to our meeting.

Did many of them come?

Yes. Yes. Ancher Nelson. Al Steadman from the St. Paul Paper, J. Seneca Jones, a regent. Auggie Mueller from the appropriations committee of the House. Ancher Nelson, Senate Finance Committee chairman, author of the bill to start the school. The real key and influential people were here on the campus meeting with us as pre-veterinary students. And this did not make the administration happy.

How do you account for the fact that such influential people? Especially this man on the newspaper, would have the newspaper as an organ to promote this would come? Just because some students invited them.

Al Steadman was as influential in this school as anyone. Since he was very interested in agriculture and he was an agriculture reporter and an editorial writer for the St. Paul Papers. And we had done our homework. Then we got a lot of statistics from, particularly Dr. Fenstermacher which was a great help, probably the biggest help of anyone on the faculty. And there weren't many in telling us the value of livestock in Minnesota. Dr. Fenstermacher was a director of the diagnostic laboratory, and the disease problems that were ongoing in livestock in Minnesota and the shortage of veterinarians in Minnesota. That coupled with the with the demand of returning veterans for an education being denied them, was a pretty strong evidence for support of these key people.

it seems to me what you're saying is that you have very little, if any problems politically, outside of the school?

Oh, we have no, we had tremendous support. As a matter of fact, we can get into that just a little bit later from these people that really helped to guide us, key people - senator Ancher Nelson from Senate finance and Auggie Mueller from the House Appropriations Committee. They helped give us some guidance on how to go about stimulating support for this endeavor because they were very supportive. Both Ancher Nelson and Auggie Mueller were farmers. They still are as a matter of fact.

We had one meeting with these key people on the campus and I recall inviting Dean Clyde Bailey to the meeting and he indicated that he had another commitment that night and couldn't make the meeting. We didn't tell him who was going to be there. We just invited them to the meeting. Well, the day after that meeting I had a note in my post office box from Dr. Boyd to see him immediately. So I went down and Dr. Boyd said, I don't know what's up, but Dean Bailey wants to see you as soon as possible.

Tell us who Dean Bailey is?

Dean Bailey was the dean of the College of Agriculture. The Department of Veterinary Science was a department in the College of Agriculture.

He was not a veterinarian?

Dean Bailey was not a veterinarian, he was a chemist. Dean Bailey called me in for the purpose of, first of all, castigating me for having the poor judgment of having key legislators and regents on the campus to discuss this issue and that we were really out of touch with reality because we didn't have any idea of what kind of expense was involved in starting the school.

Dr. Glen Nelson CVM First Class of 1951 & CVM Faculty Diagnostic Lab
Political Drama at the Capital with Dr. Paul Cox

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So in the spring of 1946, the money was appropriated?

No. In the spring of 1947, the money was appropriated for the school.

I understand that there were very strict conditions tied to this money?

Well, the appropriation had some tight times because the bill looked like it was gonna fail at several occasions. There was one time when Ancher Nelson called me out of class. I was having a class with Al Harvey on the livestock judging. After it looked like it was going to fail, Ancher Nelson wanted me to try and get the touch of Dr. Boyd and get him down to the capitol because he said that there was good news that the bill was going to pass through his committee and all he needed was a dollar figure from Dr. Boyd to put into the bill. So I, here again as a student, I went to the old anatomy building and I found Dr. Boyd up in the library reading a book and told him I have my car down there and Ancher Nelson wanted him to come before the committee and give him a figure to start the school. It was going to pass and it was good news. Boyd simply told me that he could not go down there and he would not go there, to give him a figure. I couldn't believe it. I thought it was such good news that I thought that he would be very willing to do that. But I understand now that there are certain administrative decisions and that that was one and that he wasn't going to fly in the face of the administrative decision. So I either went down to the capitol or I called the Ancher Nelson. I forget which but I told him that, unfortunately Dr. Boyd wouldn't come down before his committee. Oh he said, don't worry, we'll have Dr. Boyd down tomorrow and we'll have President Morill with him and we'll get a figure out of him. All we want as a figure in that bill, it's going to pass. In my opinion and a looking backward back on this, that this was a missed opportunity for the college to get off on the right foot because they could have put any figure that they wanted, reasonable figure to start this college in a first class way. I feel that administration didn't support the college, they weren't really behind it and they put down some figure that wasn't realistic. And ever since the college has always been a little bit critical about the legislature not supporting the school properly to start with. And we're building piecemeal when in fact the university missed the opportunity to put in the figure they wanted when the school was started. That's my opinion.

So now you have the money and you're ready to go.

One other interesting comment I think with Ancher Nelson is that before he had wanted Dr. Boyd down there to put the figure in. It looked like the bill was dead. And it was getting near the end of the session. So Ancher Nelson called me and asked me if I could get the pre-veterinary club as many members as possible. Put on what parts of their World War II uniforms they had available and to come down to the Capitol and confront him in the rontunda of the Capitol, showing that the returning veterans were demanding a veterinary education from the legislature. And I got, I don't know, probably 50, we've got a picture of it as well documented in the picture. Showing us, confronting Ancher Nelson in front of the stairs at the rotunda of the Capitol with a whole group of returning veterans demanding of a veterinary education and Al Steadman had already been informed, I suspect by Ancher Nelson to be there for the picture and for the article in the paper. That I think was a very key, was very interested in anyway.

Well that's just sort of clout that you need to really get this school in gear and get it going.

Dr. Ruth Krueger CVM Class 1956 & 3rd Woman Graduate
Standing Up for Adequate Pay for the Profession with Dr. Paul Cox

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We as veterinarians better know that. I don't think we appreciate, how much veterinarians are eternal optimists. You get around veterinarians and they're just always like a bunch of little kids and we're always talking about something like. Wow! You know, we forget all the bad. Have you noticed, do you remember the bad things that happened in practice? You remember the things you did good!

I remember the bad things because that's why I love practice. I throughly enjoyed practice. But I got so fed up with farmers, that I was not able,... I don't like to use the word dishonest. They give us a line you know, like the farmer one time said to me, well doc, he says you know, the cow died, you didn't do too good, tell you what I'll do, I'll split the difference. And I would just explode and tell him to take the money, stick it up.... And I said, don't ever call me again. Well that's the lost claim. The smart veterinarian would have said, okay Joe, that's fair enough. And then the next few calls your out there, you had a little bit more on until you get back the full amount. He's still happy and your happy. You see, I could never operate that way.

I used to do cryptorchid horses that way and they started mumbling about... I'd always tell them, okay, it's $25 for cryptorchs. I mean this is in the 50s. They'd say gee that's awfully high. I'll tell you, why don't we do, double or nothing. If he lives, you pay me $50. If he dies, you don't owe me a dime and I'll even have them pick it up. I never lost a crypto. They'd be happy as a Lark. My husband always marveled at my ability to do that. I still have, I think my nose is just a little crooked. Back in those days in Germany, I think somebody followed some of those wagons into the blazes. I had no trouble on that, but the state of Utah tried to beat me out of, they said they were out of money, couldn't pay my claims for vaccination, and I called him up. I said, I was depending on that for my kids' Christmas because businesses has been awful slow here in December. Well we just aren't going to have any money. Maybe we wouldn't have any at all. So I'd slowed up my kids. The next day we went up to the state Capitol. I turned them loose from the state Veterinarian's office. I told the kids, be little devils. They were. They climbed up on the window sills and everything else. I'm just saying, see these little kids, they don't have any Christmas because we're not going to get paid. And I mean, they didn't do anything nasty. Our kids were very well disciplined. But they knew how to pick up the phone, he was pretty nervous and he finally decided that had money. I got paid. They never did that to me again. I was the only veterinarian, they said that they weren't gonna pay.

Dr. Ruth Krueger CVM Class 1956 & 3rd Woman Graduate
Veterinarians as Merchants or Missionaries with Dr. Paul Cox

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It is a different world.

When I started to work in the city of St. Paul, I think we had seven veterinary small animal hospitals. And gosh, I just can't tell you how many there are now. Just being in the city of St. Paul. Within the city limits of St. Paul. I wouldn't hesitant to say at least 25. And then right around the ring of St. Paul, many, just so many veterinarians and, just the opposite in large animal medicine. They're having a difficult time as I understand it, getting veterinarian to go into large animal medicine. The other thing that I make an observation on my reading the journals is that veterinarians graduated will be offered salaries anywhere from $18,000 to $20,000. I kind of think that's a crying shame. (That is.) I had one person telling me, well, he's all-hell, he says, you can get in cheaper than that. He said, I've got a woman working for me for $13,000. Now anyone... And I think this is one of the reasons why veterinarians still have a ways to go up that professional ladder of respectability. The MD, when you go into his office, he'll say, well, I'm Dr. Cox. And he'll say, How are you, Ruth? He won't say.... (Yeah. Yeah.).

You know, the thing is. I have different attitude. There was an article in one of the journals, are you a missionary or are you a merchant? (Yeah.) Remember that? (Yes.) Let me go on record. I'd like it a heck of a lot better. I'd like have it on my tombstone, "She was a missionary". But also the fact that a woman will work cheaper. When I saw how many women were going into veterinarian medicine, I told my girls, don't go into it. The money won't hold up. I was in the golden years. I really do. I'm sure you feel that way too. Now there are so many restrictions on drugs and what you can do and all the legalistic ends and, no, I'm afraid not. This isn't the golden age of veterinary medicine anymore. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's fun, if you're a specialist in surgery someplace.

But there isn't that much to keep you alive. I don't think so. Well, I think that the new graduate though, I am jealous of them, they are so much smarter. I would hate to try to go through this school today. (Oh, I would too.) I couldn't handle it. No way.  

I don't want to go back. No. But there is a certain amount of common sense still that is lacking in lot of public relationship between the public and the veterinarian. Now the veterinarian, from what I see is nowhere near as revered as they were before. They just are treated like blood suckers. (I agree with you.) They equate it with, like having to pay the undertaker. Well I guess you're going to get to me one way or the other and I can try to beat him but don't know how I'm going to do it. And I hate to think of that as being my field. But I mean I still see myself as, that's my field.

Dr. Ruth Krueger CVM Class 1956 & 3rd Woman Graduate
Government Role in Protecting Health Discussion with Dr. Paul Cox

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Let me just said something here. It brings it back a funny story. You said that some people don't even know that chicken has a liver. We had one of the local female announcers on television, and it had something to do with chickens and hatching eggs. Anyway she said, did they know that the chicken was pregnant? (HaHa). Well anyway, I know what you mean. Let me just say something about myself. I was director of environmental health of the city of St. Paul for almost 20 years. And when I look back at it, what I knew at the end of 20 years, I never would have gone into it, for the same you are talking about. If you think that you have the pressures. The Councilman who would be equivalent to say, senators and congressmen, really putting you up for the task. If you wanted to close down a dirty restaurant. If he was Chinese then you were picking on him because he was Chinese. If he was black because he was black or italian. Or you just didn't like them. Or you are trying to get even. You send the sanitarians out to do the work. I was tough on him. I really was. But in the long haul, didn't make a damn bit of difference. I'm just saying, I'm just wondering with all of the work that you did, do you think you left a lasting impression, on anyone, are any of those plants any better today than they were before or if they are better, are they better just because of new technology, which if implemented would have made the plant more money, because this is what's happened to restaurants. The only reason you have better refrigeration, the meat will last longer. The potato salad would be safe for maybe a week. It's the only reason they have it. Not because you told him to put it in, see?

The good people I saw meat industry were good when they came in and inspite of inspection would have done a good job whether they were alone or not. There's a certain vacuum there. If there is money to be made, there are a certain amount of people that infiltrate and go to make the fast buck despite what's done or inspite of what isn't done. But my impression, I know that I impressed some inspectors. I still have inspectors, inspectors that are out of the line, thanking me for the kind of backing up and training they got under me and that is my reward. I never intended to save the world. I mean, only one guy did that and they crucify him. What the hell? No. I mean I did my work. I can honestly say I never could have had the feeling that oh-oh! I pulled this pay and I didn't do what I was hired to do. I think that the average public thinks they're getting more for inspection than what they are. I basically say, forget about inspections. Throw it out. Don't have it. You're misleading the people, they think they're getting something that they're not and then just have a few watchdogs like me. About 12 of us and when you find somebody... Especially when Puerto Rico calls you. Don't have any issues. In otherwords, let them operate. When you send somebody, send them was a cock-eyed pitchfork and a pipe to throw. And then it's like dog training. I'll say heel, he'll heel. He'll watch and if they don't heel, you kill him. No or something like that. I don't see nagging, nagging, nagging at people and that's basically the reputation I had was, that if I ever said something once, I didn't say it twice. Next time I wrote it, and the third time we were going to court or we were gone someplace with it. There wasn't any of this... But then that was my way of working. A good practice, I think is what it says to me.

Ruth Krueger CVM Class 1956 & 3rd Woman Graduate
Political Change to a Democrat

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We had a political change in there between the time I came in in 1979. Political wheels started grinding thin. As I say, I went in in 1969 a republican, and it came out a Democrat. Which you may have heard before. All the people saying that you go in and you think that you believe a lot in one attitude and you realize when you get in the government, it isn't working like what you thought it was. But then with compliance, I spent time in Washington and the idea was, that my next step had to be to Washington. The pressure was on to get me out of looking at [meat & poultry processing] plants, I'm not a controllable person psychologically speaking. I'm suited to be a veterinarian, where you make your own decisions. You live and die on your own decisions and the animal does. And that doesn't fit well in government.

Dr. Jo Ann Schmidt-O'Brien First Female Graduate of CVM 1952
Politcal Clientele's Character

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Great. Being motivated in Washington DC, did you have any prominent clientelle?

Oh yes. You know, that's just part of being in Washington. We had several senator's dogs. Currently we take care of Senator Howard Baker, who is now Reagan's chief of staff, we've taken care of his dogs for about 15 years. When I first went with Dr. Gowdy, we took care of J. Edgar Hoover's cocker spaniel. I could write a little short story sometimes, it would be "senators in Washington dignitaries as seen through their veterinarians eyes" because it's really quite a gauge of character. Senator Baker, I like very much and have a lot of admiration for him because he calls and talks to you about his dogs. Another senator that I was very impressed by personally is Senator Bradley, from New Jersey. He lives about a mile from our practice and as he says, he inherited the cat with the house. The cat had belonged to the people that they bought the house from and they took the cat when they moved but the cat kept coming back to the house. So they kept the cat and Senator Bradley, -- this was about four years ago and he had a daughter that was about 12 at the time, and that cat was important to her and I'm not sure how important it was to Senator Bradley, but it was important to him because it was important to his daughter. And he used to come in Saturday mornings with his daughter and -- again a very bright man. That's why I said I have great respect for his intelligence because all the people that you have as clients over the years, he had a very bright mind and the cat was quite sick, critically ill, and he knew the questions to ask. He wasn't an experienced in veterinary medicine, but his mind would cut right straight through to the questions that he wanted to ask. Very intelligent man and also obviously very caring about his daughter and therefore about the cat. We've had ambassador's dogs, senator's dogs, and cabinet secretary's dogs. We took care of John Foster Dulles dog before he died. And it's fun. It's an interesting thing. Most of our clients are not glamorous, but it sort of spices up the day with them.

Did these prominent individuals pay their bills on time?

Yes. Some of the ambassadors -- not the higher ambassadors themselves -- but some of the diplomatic people, they're notorious in Washington for being a little sloppy on bills. But we didn't have much trouble. We even had a couple of Russians from the Russian Embassy. I don't know where on the ranking they were, what position, but they were from the Russian Embassy and this one man and wife had an English Cocker Spaniel and he was quite easy to deal with. Occasionally she'd bring the dog in and she was like, she was petrified. She wasn't very fluent English since she just felt like they did not have KGB people with them. They came in on their own and he always came along. She usually came with another woman.

Dr. Jo Ann Schmidt-O'Brien First Female Graduate of CVM 1952
DVM Surplus in 1980's

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You know, there is a trend now and at all the veterinary colleges, to reduce the classes. Minnesota is, now doing that. How do you feel about that?

I think that's very understandable. I think that you're already beginning to see some degree of overcrowding and small animal medicine as far as too many hospitals, too close to each other. I'm fortunate that it hasn't personally affected me, but I can see it in other places. I can see it in our own area and in talking to practitioners from areas like Florida and so on and so forth. It's sort of sad and you demographically you can't help but feel they are going to be turning out too many graduates. I think they have to cut back because look at how many schools there are now compared to what there were. And I don't believe, from what I read and understand about large animal medicine, that there's that much of an increase in large animal medicine because of the large agribusiness and so on. That really means a need for fewer veterinarians when they're more concentrated and you're not making spending a lot of time going from small farm to small farm. In small animal medicine in the cities, I think it's pretty well documented that the dog population is not increasing. It's holding fairly steady. The cat population is increasing, but it's really very difficult now to find, in the urban areas, in the downtown areas, it's difficult to find a place where you can have animals. Either you have your own home or rent a home. A few of the condominiums allow small dogs but not majority of them by any means. I'm somewhat encouraged about a reversal of that trend now it's been discovered how important it is for older people and people in general to have companion animals and how much it does for them health wise. And you really are beginning to see a little loosening up as far as some of the retirement homes, letting people keep their pets and so on. But it's caused a concern. I think it has to be for the young veterinarians of today -- it's not a cause of personal concern, but I'm concerned about the field of veterinary medicine.

Dr. Jo Ann Schmidt-O'Brien First Female Graduate of CVM 1952
Animal Rights Activities Viewpoints recorded in 1987

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Are there anti-vivisectionist active Washington DC?

The animal rights people are very active in Washington DC. We see little of them, but they do things like raid laboratories and have demonstrations and so on. Some of the more extreme positions, I don't agree with. I don't think you can be a veterinarian and being really profoundly anti-vivisectionist. Even when I worked in Chicago, the Anti-Cruelty Society there, they were not antivivisection. Simply, what it has evolved into now, I think the responsible position, the laboratories need supervision. They need supervision for the care of the animals in the laboratories, to try and avoid this tremendous duplication of everybody doing the same thing and using animals unnecessarily for that. That I can support, that I do support. But pure avid vivisection of animals should never be used for research. I don't see how any veterinarian could really support that. Because we've all learned, and been trained on animals.

Maybe it's just my impression, but I think you would be surprised if you appeared before the junior class in veterinary school and started talking about animal rights versus human rights and their attitude. I give a talk there once a year, on animal control. When I bring to their attention that if you walk into my yard and my dog bites you, it's my fault. See! They don't buy that. Or if you tease my dog and my dog bites you, it's my fault. They're all in favor of doing work in their surgery on animals until they get through, but they don't want anymore of it.

That's what I mean. How can you be a veterinarian . . .

That's right. But there is a difference in these new students. I can assure you that I have a terrible time. I have had some of the women in the class come up to me afterwards and just give it to me. Because having been with the St. Paul Health Department for about 20 years and one of my duties was animal control. They don't appreciate the fact that there are laws governing both activities, both human activities and animal activity. So I'm a little bit taken back with today's students.

Interesting. For instance, I'm very much in favor of leash laws and I think I'm very angry because they're not enforced more than they should be. I do not like to have animals run loose. And yet I know animal rights people's own animals should run loose. And I don't agree with them. And I strongly urge cat clients to keep their cats indoors all the time because they're going to get them killed. We practice right in Georgetown, that's a very congested area, and there simply isn't room for cats to roam around and they end up dead. And from that standpoint, I want them kept inside, and the dogs should go on leashes and I don't want to see them running loose. I had one young man that had a retriever and he'd opened the door and let it run loose right on one of the main thoroughfares and Georgetown. Brought it in at five months, scraped by a car. I gave him the O'brien lecture on keep your dog on a leash. Brought it back in at seven months, hit by a car with a broken leg, got the lecture again. I said, I don't want to see you back here with any more broken bones. This is it. You can let your dog run, but I've got better things to do than take care of that and it makes me feel too sad and so on. He still let it run, but I wouldn't see him anymore.