For a long time now models and illustrations comprised the most valuable of resources for clinical instruction. Unfortunately, until recently they were difficult and expensive to produce which considerably restricted the use of pictorial representations. With the rapid progress and especially the simplification of the photographic process these obstacles cease to apply, and so it has become possible for even the amateur to work quickly and safely. In all fields there arises an interest for clinical photography. It will not be a long time coming when the physical science and chemistry of a photographic lab will complement most clinics and the greater hospitals. I have seized upon this particular regard with the expansion and refurbishing of the Leipzig Medical Clinic* and, as a consequence, during the past year a quite extensive collection of photographic examplars has already arisen out of this work site, which will continue expanding and progressing. Daily they provide me the best service during the lecture that accords a clinical lesson. I need not extravagate what this means, to be able to elaborate and supplement the details of a specific case at the sick bed through photographs that are equivalent, similar, or even anomalous.
Herewith is a sampling of the most instructive pieces in our collection that I tender for publication. I hope that they will prove to be useful, not only as a welcome aid for my colleagues during their lessons, but also within the broader medical lecture circuits, from demonstrations to personal research. Should this work acquire some favor as such, then to the ample material that is already available there is projected its furtherance. But my greater wish would be to enlarge it through the participation of my professional colleagues. I would take steps--and to this end much has already happened-- to acquire from colleagues that have qualified subjects at their disposal, photographs of the more interesting objects for vesting in this collection. It is indeed a worthwhile goal to commerce in such a way of mutual purpose.
The selection of cases for pictorial reproduction was made by divers criteria. By and large, rarity in and of itself was not deciding. More determinative though were; grade or a definitive classification of the cultivation of a condition, distinguishing stages of same, as well as characteristic postures and movements of the patient.
The plates are produced from copper etching in so thorough a manner I believe, that one can only be congratulating the publishing firm on this. Accompanying each plate is a brief text which contains information of the anamnestic and personal circumstances of the case as well as evidence pertaining to what the photographs invoke. Anything more is purposely not presented. It shall be just the pictorial rendering that is of paramount importance. The text shall only validate and enhance its usefulness as a teaching aid.
In order to accommodate my intention to provide an easy to acquire, convenient to handle teaching aid, the publishing firm has allowed an edition to appear in book form together with such a one in portfolio. This way it will be possible at lectures and talks to take out the plates and individually pass them around.**
Leipzig, in August 1894. H. Curschmann.
*The clinic owns its own major photographic laboratory and adjoining dark-room with very complete equipment for the shooting, developing, and finishing of images. It is here that this necessary work will be made exclusively inside the institute.
** For some type of protection it is recommended to secure the plates that are in circulation under glass and within removable frames. The firm Zeiss and Schneevoigt, Leipzig, Katharinenstrasse, provides such frames (price 3 Marks) with my wholehearted permission.