The Richard H. Driehaus Museum explores the art, architecture, and design of the late 19th century to the present. Its permanent collection and temporary exhibitions are presented in an immersive experience within the restored Nickerson Mansion, completed in 1883. Vibrant educational and cultural programs, as well as exhibitions, place the Gilded Age in context and illuminate the history, culture and urban fabric of Chicago. Photo by Alexander Vertikoff, 2014.
While the auditorium, designed by the architectural firm of Marshall and Fox, stands in memoriam to Dr. John B. Murphy, the surgeon best known for attending to President Theodore Roosevelt after an assassination attempt, the bronze Tiffany doors are dedicated to Dr. Norman Bridge. Little is known about Dr. Bridge, except that he was a trusted friend and business advisor to Murphy. In 1868 Bridge graduated from Chicago Medical College and in 1905 is listed in the Chicago Medical Directory as an Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Rush Medical College. A friend and business associate of Dr. Bridge, Edward L. Doheny, commissioned Tiffany Studios to create the bronze doors for the auditorium at a cost of $19,650.
Tiffany Studios artist Charles Keck designed the original clay sculpture, which was then sent to a foundry to be cast in bronze. The doors have a total of six illustrated panels, each depicting a famous figure in the history of medicine. The first panel depicts Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine, next to the tree of knowledge. The second panel shows the French chemist and microbiologist, Louis Pasteur, experimenting in his laboratory. The third panel illustrates Dr. Ephraim McDowell performing the first successful ovariotomy (ovarian cyst removal). The fourth panel depicts British surgeon Joseph Lister performing the first antiseptic surgery. The fifth panel shows Sir William Osler who was a skilled surgical writer and teacher. The final panel illustrates military surgeon William Crawford Gorgas who prevented the spread of yellow fever during the construction of the Panama Canal by implementing mosquito control.
Along with six illustrative panels there are two inscriptions. The first explains that the doors were presented “In appreciation of Dr. Norman Bridge, eminent physician and distinguished philanthropist.” The second inscription credits the presenter of the doors, Edward L. Doheny, in 1926.
Please view from sidewalk- Free.
Cover photo credit: David Wilson via Flickr.