"Facts from the Past" are monthly E-mails dedicated to sharing the historical knowledge of Albany Medical College. To subscribe, email Jessica Watson, M.S.I.S., Archivist, at WatsonJ1@amc.edu


   Featured Fact

The Hudson Brothers

Albany Medical College has had many relatives attending and obtaining medical degrees. Early on in its existence, the College graduated a set of twin brothers, Abisha and Abijah Hudson. The Hudson brothers were born on May 1, 1819 in Oxford, Massachusetts. They both received a public-school education and went on to study medicine.

Abisha, Class of 1846, moved to Sterling, Illinois following the receipt of his medical degree where he practiced medicine for twenty years. He became a well-known physician in Sterling and was an organizer of the Keokuk Medical College in Keokuk, Iowa (1890-1908). He was also a well known and respected faculty member of the Rush Medical College of Chicago.

Abijah, Class of 1847, first attended lectures at Geneva Medical College, Geneva, NY before attending Albany Medical College. He paid for these lectures by engraving the plate for printing the medical college's diplomas. After attending lectures at Geneva he practiced medicine for a time in Albany, Illinois, then followed his brother to Albany, New York to attend Albany Medical College. Following the receipt of his medical degree from Albany Medical College he returned to Illinois and opened his own medical practice.

Both brothers served in the Civil War, Abisha served as surgeon of the 34th Illinois infantry and Abijah as a surgeon of the 26th Iowa Volunteer Infanty. Abijah served with his regiment in multiple skirmishes and battles including the attack on Haines' Bluff near Vicksburg in 1862, the battles of Resaca, Dallas, Atlanta, and was with General Sherman on his "march to the sea," following the battle and capture of Atlanta. After the war the brothers went into practice together in Stockton, CA and Abijah entered politics serving 4 years in the State Senate. A year before Abijah's death in 1902, the San Joaquin Medical Society, of which he was a member, honored Dr. Abijah Hudson for his 82nd birthday with a banquet.

Eventually, Abisha retired from active medical practice due to failing health and in 1899 he and his wife, Rose Elliot Hudson moved to Mount Vernon, Ohio where he lived the rest of his days until his death in 1905.


  "Facts from the Past" Samples


Medical Education Jukebox

What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of a jukebox? Music? 1950s?  Buddy Holly? The 1950s was a popular time for jukeboxes; however they were in existence long before then. The first “jukebox” dates back to the late 1880s with the invention of “nickel-in-the-slot” machines which were coin operated phonographs. Several people would crowd around a phonograph, insert their nickel, and listen to a song on listening tubes resembling stethoscopes. Albany Medical College also had a jukebox, though not the musical kind. In 1970, the Department of Postgraduate Medicine at Albany Medical College developed the medical education jukebox. The jukebox used slides, printed materials and U.S. Mail to further educate physicians and keep them up to date on the latest medical advances. Although no longer functional, the medical education jukebox is available for viewing on the 3rd floor of the Schaffer Library right outside the Albany Medical College Archives. Stop by the Library to learn more about this fascinating and unique item. 



  Ethel Cermak Tompkins, MD

During a period when the medical field was dominated by men, Dr. Ethel Cermak was a positive example not only for aspiring female physicians but also for women in general. A 1938 graduate of Albany Medical College, she was born in Schenectady, NY on March 20, 1914 to native Czechoslovakian parents.  She received a B.S. degree from William Smith College in Geneva NY in 1934 followed by study at Albany Medical College and received her medical degree in 1938.  While at Albany Medical College, Ethel met her future husband, Victor N. Tompkins also a member of the class of 1938. The two married shortly after graduating.  Internships and residency followed graduation and marriage. Dr. Cermak Tompkins served her residency at Albany Hospital with additional training at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA.  Following her residency training, Dr. Cermak Tompkins opened her own private practice in pediatrics while also serving as attending pediatrician at Albany Hospital and instructor in pediatrics at Albany Medical College.  Following WWII, the Tompkins bought a house on Madison Avenue in Albany where Ethel continued her pediatric practice and where both she and Victor raised four daughters. The Tompkins leave a lasting legacy at Albany Medical College with the establishment of an endowed scholarship fund since 1994 and which continues to support medical students today. 






Patrick Fumio Hagihara, MD
A native of New Jersey, Patrick was born on St. Patrick’s Day in 1933, a day that inspired his parents to name him Patrick. In 1941, he embarked on a visit to his grandparents in Japan and was witness to and survivor of the atomic bomb hitting Hiroshima in 1945. In 1948, he returned to his home in the U.S. and finished his education, graduating valedictorian from Commerce High School in New York. He graduated from Columbia University and entered Albany Medical College. He held a black belt in Judo and as a medical student he taught Judo at the Schenectady YMCA as the Chief Judo Instructor. He graduated from Albany Medical College in 1960 and completed his residency at the University of Minnesota where he trained in colon surgery but also had an interest in liver transplants. In 1964, while at the University of Minnesota, he and three other surgeons performed one of the first heterotopic liver transplants. During the Vietnam War, Dr. Hagihara served as a U.S. Navy general surgeon at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Guam from 1968-1970. Following his military service, he moved to Kentucky and began working at the Albert B. Chandler UK Medical Center in Lexington. Dr. Hagihara worked there until the time of his retirement in 2007 and was considered one of the best endoscopists and colorectal surgeons worldwide. After his retirement, he worked with veterans at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Lexington.


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