From the Historical Unit Collection: Dr. W. W. Mayo’s Microscope

August 11, 2015 at 1:22 pm

One of the many artifacts in the Historical Unit’s collection is a microscope that was purchased by Dr. William Worrall Mayo.

antique microscope

Dr. W. W. Mayo’s Microscope, purchased in 1869

He became fascinated with microscopy during his medical school training, and travels to other institutions increased his interest in this new technology. According to the Mayo family, he purchased at least two microscopes during his lifetime and mortgaged his home to purchase this one in 1869.

Dr. Mayo’s wife Louise was a bit hesitant to mortgage their home with the responsibility of four children and times being hard. However, she told Dr. Mayo, “Well, William, if you could do better by the people with this new microscope, and you really think you need it, we’ll do it.”

The story told is that the microscope cost $600 and took ten years to pay off the mortgage. Patients coming to Mayo Clinic did indeed benefit from the purchase of this microscope.

For more information about the history of the Mayo Clinic, and to see other artifacts in the collection, contact the Mayo Historical Unit and Archives.


Contributed to LibLog by:

Renee Ziemer
Coordinator of the Mayo Clinic Historical Unit


Entry filed under: Feature Articles, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

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