Selected writings of A. Jackson Howe.
"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." Opposed always to advertising by illegitimate means. Professor Howe herein shows how a doctor can make himself felt in a community in a legitimate and helpful way—a perfectly proper way of letting his work bring him into conspicuity and practice. Rightly managed, such a course can be condemned by no one.—Ed. Gleaner.
BIOLOGICAL STUDIES.—I have often heard the rural practitioner complain that he had no opportunities to advertise himself in his community or professional field of labor. To such I would say, "You have an excellent opportunity, but you do not know how to utilize it." I have in mind the outcome of what I told a young practitioner some years ago who was about to open an office in a county seat—a city of twelve thousand inhabitants. My young friend had acquired a good English education, and knew something of Latin. He was to advertise himself by a card in the local newspapers, giving references, etc. Then in due time he was to obtain an introduction to the School Board, asking the privilege of explaining the nervous system to the pupils some afternoon or evening. He prepared the brain and cerebral nerves of a calf, and also those of a turkey and turtle. With these specimens preserved in jars of alcohol, he entertained his hearers so well that he was soon invited to deliver a series of lectures in the City Hall upon the "Brain and Nervous System." To fulfill this great engagement he had to take time to get up material for display and illustrations, and in so doing he found himself quite advanced as a biologist, for he could not study the brains of the different animals without learning much of their habits and peculiarities— of environment and the influences modifying outline and function. He forced his pencil into service, and became able to represent on large cards such diagrammatic figures as might be useful to explain otherwise obscure points. He bought a blackboard, and compelled his hand to make rapid sketches in skeleton figures. At length he was so thoroughly prepared for popular teaching that the High School in the place engaged him to deliver a course of instructions in Biology at every term, even offering some pay for the work done. The result turned out to be that he was soon on speaking terms with all the best people in the county; and from this source of extended acquaintance he commanded a lucrative share of professional patronage. The old doctors turned up their professional noses at the method of arresting and engaging public attention, yet they all ceased to cavil as soon as they were forcibly convinced that the young man was well up in biological subjects.
Within a period of ten years the "young doctor" had founded a Society of Natural History; and for five years he had been President of it. To keep at the front in biological studies he had been obliged to buy books, and to spend time in making dissections; but by working diligently he had accomplished quite wonderful results —he had astonished himself. Little by little his private cabinet of skeletal preparations grew until it embraced every vertebrate animal in his vicinity, and duplicates enough for valuable exchanges.
"For all this. Prof. Howe, I am indebted to encouragement lent by you," he wrote some months ago; and he added, "Please publish this in the JOURNAL that others may be benefited thereby."
I will add that the average graduate from a medical college, if he possesses a fair education in English, may accomplish as much as the above doctor did, and a brighter, more ambitious man could even outdo him. There is scarcely a limit to what a young man may accomplish in this world of mediocrity. Then, the pleasure of acquiring knowledge compensates for the labor and expense of the scheme.—HOWE, Eclectic Medical Journal, 1886.