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From medicine to art: Nils Paul Larsen (1890--1964)

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Item Summary

Title: From medicine to art: Nils Paul Larsen (1890--1964)
Authors: Powers, Janine A Olson
Advisor: Matson, Floyd
Keywords: Medicine
Larsen, Nils Paul
American studies
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Issue Date: Dec 2003
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Citation: Powers, Janine A. (2003) From medicine to art: Nils Paul Larsen (1890--1964). Ph.D. dissertation, University of Hawai'i, United States -- Hawaii.
Abstract: Nils Paul Larsen (1922-1964) was a significant transitional figure in Hawai'i as it was changing from the plantation era to a modem Pacific community. Larsen, who lived in Hawai'i from 1922 until his death in 1964, was recognized in varying degrees as a physician, director, researcher, writer, historian, politician, artist, playwright, inventor, association president, decorated war hero, Swedish consul, honorary kahuna, and Congressional delegate. Larsen was especially acknowledged for his instrumental role in advancing plantation medicine and elevating public health in Hawai'i as a pathologist and Director of the Queen's Hospital. He used his professional influence to raise public awareness through numerous publications and associations in the field of health. His medical interests emphasized the need for better nutrition, notably with regard to infants and plantation workers. He was also involved with educational measures related to population control, sanitation, and industrial medicine. Larsen became President of the Honolulu Print Makers Association and was nationally recognized for his original etchings. His artistic sensibilities centered on local scenery and nature themes. His etchings often reflected a social and cultural sensitivity that suggested ambivalence toward modernity and the Western impulse toward technology and development. In the course of his many-sided career Larsen championed the cause of social justice. Among his interests were traditional Hawaiian herbal and medicinal practices that he concluded were superior to those of the early missionaries. His immersion in this line of study led him to the status of an honorary kahuna. There is ultimately a compelling contrast between Larsen's role as a scientist and empiricist and his capacity to appreciate the influence ofnontraditional medical practices. Larsen's political desires led him to accept the appointment as Swedish Consul. He advocated the change from Territorial status to statehood for Hawai'i and, in 1960, took an active role as a delegate in the Constitutional Convention to assist in the writing of the Constitution. His devotion to world unity led him to attempt to springboard the Hawai'i chapter of the World Federation, a group hoping to unite the nations ofthe globe in a "more perfect union."
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Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - American Studies

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