The Development of Medicine
As of 2009, this 1938 WPA mural by William Palmer entitled “The Development of Medicine” is located in the Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens. It may have originally been installed in the Queens General Hospital (now the Queens Hospital Center).
According to a 1964 interview with the artist:
“It was stated in a recent book on the WPA – that the panel Controlled Medicine was in effect a plea for and propaganda for socialized medicine. This statement is without any basis of fact, and the author never contacted me for my analysis panel. To put the record straight – the mural Development of Medicine was painted to show the ignorance, superstition and fear of “uncontrolled medicine” – the great historical contributions and discoveries which lead up to the scientific and enlightened medicine and hospital care of the 30s, as shown in Controlled Medicine. The theme of this panel shows the equipment, etc., used by the hospital in prevention of disease and the treatment of the patient. Socialized medicine was not in my vocabulary in 1936, and certainly in doing my research for the work it was never considered or mentioned by any hospital authority. The real purpose of the murals at Queens was to serve two main purposes – one, to give the waiting patients in the “in-coming and out-going patients rooms” something to look at and to inform them of the history and background of treatment – and two, Dr. Kogel, the Superintendent of Queens used the panels in this lectures to student nurses on the history of medicine.”
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