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Adolf Nichtenhauser History of Motion Pictures in Medicine Collection circa 1950
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Biography

Biographical Note

Adolf Nichtenhauser was born in Vienna, Austria in 1903. After studying psychology, art history, literature, and motion picture production at the Universities of Berlin, Bonn and Heidelberg, he received an M.D. degree in 1931 from the University of Vienna. Even before he began his medical career, he was intrigued by the educational and aesthetic possibilities of film. He frequently reviewed his films, studied their cultural applications, and directed and edited his own documentary on an Austrian labor organization.

Nichtenhauser's work with film continued after his arrival in the United States in 1939, first as an assistant to the director of health education for the National Tuberculosis Association, and later as a consultant to several federal and private agencies. One agency which employed Nichtenhauser as a consultant was the Armed Forces Medical Library (later the National Library of Medicine) for whom Nichtenhauser prepared a plan to collect and preserve medical motion pictures.

Nichtenhauser's major accomplishment is the unpublished "History of Motion Pictures in Medicine." In February, 1947 Capt. Robert V. Schultz (MC) of the U.S. Navy's Audio-Visual Training Section, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, initiated a contract to Nichtenhauser for the production of a monograph on the general status of medical films. The contract was later transferred to the Office of Naval Research and broadened to encompass the history of films in medicine. The Film Library of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) became the grant administrator, although it was Nichtenhauser who continued to broaden and polish the draft. Efforts to publish the history after Nichtenhauser's death in November, 1953, were unsuccessful.