Pages from the Past: Doctors save lone finger left on the hand of a pioneer in X-ray research

An article in the Aug. 3, 1912, edition of The Argus reported on the pain and suffering endured by a local doctor in his quest to understand the new field of x-rays that eventually led to his undergoing more than 100 operations.

After having lost the sight of one of his eyes and afterward having four fingers of the right hand amputated, Dr. Frederick H. Baetjer, of Melvin avenue, Catonsville, a member of the staff of the Johns Hopkins Hospital and a well-known x-ray expert, narrowly escaped having the remaining finger on his right hand cut off when it became infected during an operation last week. Dr. Baetjer has been a patient in the hospital for nearly a week and that the finger was not amputated is due to the fact that timely treatment was administered in the way of injection and exterior applications.

About three years ago, Dr. Beatjer, who uses the x-ray a great deal, was injured by an electric current and his hand burned badly. His fingers were almost burned from the hand and were afterward amputated.

As the result of an accident 12 years ago while at college, Dr. Baetjer lost sight of his right eye in 1908, the member having been removed in an operation which was performed at the hospital at that time by Dr. Wiliam Baer.

Dr. Baetjer takes the loss of his eye and fingers optimistically, and declares that they have been lost in a good cause.

Editor's note: According to the April 13, 1925, edition of Time magazine, Baetjer endured "52 digital amputations in 16 years as the result of continuous work with x-rays." He eventually lost eight fingers and died at age 58 in 1933.


Deserting his wife after he had fallen in love with Gertrude Scrivener, 16 years old, daughter of Mrs. Mollie Scrivener, of Ellicott City, Charles Nails, of Howard county, was arrested Tuesday by Detectives Berney and Armstrong of Baltimore, and turned over to the Howard county authorities.

He was charged with enticing the girl away from her home. Questioned by the detectives, he stated that he loved the girl and that they had gone to Betterton to work so they could raise enough money to pay for a divorce he expected to get from his wife. The girl has been returned to her mother.


There was a mad dog scare in Morrell Park Tuesday afternooon. A brindle terrier dashed through the hamlet shortly after 3 o'clock, biting at children and forcing them to seek shelter. The animal, which was frothing at the mouth, showed indications of being mad and bit several other dogs.

A half hour later, the dog ran into the cellar of the store of John Brindauer, on Union avenue. Patrolman Arnold closed the door on it and shot it.


Mr. and Mrs. George Fisher, of Frederick avenue, have a maltese cat which has a small horn growing from its head, between its ears. The cat, which is about 10 years old, had a smiliar horn last year, and after several months, it dropped off. The horn measures about an inch and is similar to that of a goat.

75 Years Ago

An article in the July 30, 1937, edition of The Catonsville Herald and Baltimore Countian reported on the tragic end for a troubled man.

A verdict of suicide was given last night by Dr. Otto M. Reinhardt, coroner for the Southern district, in the death of Robert S. Duck, 58, of Charing Cross road, Catonsville, who was found shot in the head.

Duck was found by his mother, Mrs. Suzie Shepherd Duck, when she went to his room to awaken him. He was taken toSt. Agnes' Hospital, where he died a few hours later.

An employee for many years in the offices of one of the bay steamship lines, Duck had been in poor health for some time.


Boy Scout Troop No. 327 of Arbutus entertained the Girl Scout Troop No. 85 at a hike and camp fire last Friday evening.


Messrs. George Link and Wesley Fritz of Arbutus were held up and robbed of $40 and a wrist watch last Thursday evening on the Gun Road in Relay.


Mr. Carroll T. Holtz of Benson Avenue met with an accident on the Washignton Boulevard near Sulphur Spring Road early last Sunday morning while he was on his way to work for his employers, the Baltimore Transit Company. His car was badly damaged but no one was hurt.

50 Years Ago

An article in the Aug. 2, 1962, Herald Argus and Baltimore Countain noted the success of a fishing tournament for local youngsters.

Last week, the Catonsville Junior Chamber of Commerce conducted a fishing tournament for youngsters from the General German Orphan Home and from local Boy Scout troops.

The boys, ranging in age from six to fourteen, assembled at the Home at 205 Bloomsbury avenue from where members of the local Jaycees, equipped with fishing tackle, bait and refreshments, transported the young anglers to a pond in Howard County. The pond, well stocked with fish, is on the property of W. Burton Guy, Centennial road.

The minute the boys baited their hooks, the fish started biting and the competition was under way. Local merchants had donated prizes such as model airplane kits, fishing tackle and a spinning rod.


Three Edmondson Heights children are dead of carbon monoxide posioning and their mother is in serious condition after they were found in a gas-filled station wagon on Wednesday, July 25, in front of their summer home at St. Margaret's in Anne Arundel county.

Dead are Karen J., seven; Brenda K. three and Ronald T. Jr., 15 months, children of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald T. Schuerholz of 1533 Kirkwood road. The children were pronounced dead at Anne Arundel Hospital, Annapolis, where their mother, Mrs. Jean Caovert Schuerholz was admitted in an unconscious state.

It was reported that Mrs. Schuerholz had been under treatment for a nervous ailment.


Trickery was used on Wednesday of last week on the desk clerk at the motel at 6401 Baltimore National Pike to obtain $10 in a fast exchange of one, ten and twenty dollar bills. Police are looking for a man about 55 or 60 years of age wearing a gray suit and dark gray hat, who successfully tried the same scheme at two other motels the same day.

Material from archives courtesy of Catonsville Historical Society.

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