From the Archives: Dr. Weinzirl’s two-tone shoes

by Maija Anderson, OHSU Historical Collections & Archives

January 21, 2015

Dr. WeinzirlDr. Adolph Weinzirl is a figure of perennial interest to researchers using OHSU’s archives. After working in public health for the city of Baltimore, he and his wife relocated to Portland in 1938. Weinzirl served as both Chair of the Department of Public Health at University of Oregon Medical School (a precursor to today’s OHSU School of Medicine), and as Public Health Officer for the City of Portland. His work on communicable disease prevention and sex education was very influential in the state of Oregon. He passed away in 1968. His wife, Elizabeth Halberstadt Weinzirl, is also a fascinating historical figure: She got a tattoo at the age of 47, which was highly unusual for any woman at the time – let alone a doctor’s wife. She then added more and more, becoming a well-known “tattooed lady” who collected and displayed her unique body art. 

Not long ago, a researcher came to Historical Collections & Archives in search of a photograph of Dr. Weinzirl “wearing two-tone shoes.” We didn’t know the photograph, but she was sure she had seen this image on a previous visit. We found many photographs of Dr. Weinzirl, but none showed him wearing distinctive footwear. Fortunately, we had plenty of other suitable photographs for her project. Shortly after her visit, we found the image in question, hiding in plain sight in a file of images of interiors of the Old Library.

That's Dr. Weinzirl at far right, of course (picture above). The photograph, taken in 1945, shows him relaxing with colleagues in what was once the Physicians' Reading Room, and is now a meeting space in the Old Library. As well as Dr. Weinzirl’s jazzy shoes, the photo includes many other 1940s details, including registrar Caroline Hoopman’s elaborate updo and the ubiquitous smoking stand. Our researcher was delighted to see the photograph again.

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