The Civil War Connection

As you may know, we are currently celebrating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. This event lasts from April 12, 2011 until April 9, 2015 and commemorates the four years the nation was at war. Hundreds of organizations throughout the country are looking to their histories and their collections to find a personal connection with the war — Des Moines University included.

The history of osteopathic medicine has a direct connection with the Civil War–founder Andrew Taylor Still was inspired (in part) to change the face of medicine after experiencing the shortcomings of Civil War medicine on the battlefield. The result, of course, was the discovery and development of osteopathic medicine.

But at Des Moines University, the direct Civil War connections aren’t as obvious. Founded in 1898, DMU’s faculty and students were (for the most part) too young to have served in the War. However, one of the College’s founders, Col. Arthur Latham Conger, was an instrumental figure in the Union Army. He is featured in the current issue of the DMU Magazine; read a brief article about him here.

Even though 150 years have passed, Civil War enthusiasts abound. Two such persons are on DMU’s faculty, and were kind enough to loan some amazing Civil War era medical implements to the Archives. And, of course, the DMU Magazine featured them as well.

Amazing stuff!

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