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Hyperbaric Medicine Collections: Artifacts

Artifacts from the UHMS Collection

A number of artifacts related to diving and hyperbaric medicine were given to the Medical Center Library & Archives when the C.W. Shilling Library was donated by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society to the University.  Below are images of selected artifacts.

 Little Jake, circa 1930s 

 This small diver model, named Jake, was made in the early 1930’s by Captain/Dr. Charles “Chuck” Shilling and diver friends.  Jake’s apparel is an authentic representation of the diving gear of that era.   He was used by Dr. Shilling in his 86 talks recalling the rescue of the submarine Squalus.

Jake’s hands formerly belonged on one of daughter Charlotte’s dolls and so Jake was added to her collection.  He was periodically removed from the collection by Dr. Shilling to serve as a prop when recalling the rescue of the submarine Squalus. 

Here is another account of the Squalus rescue operations by the U.S. Navy.

Jake was willed to grandson Darnell Simonel who used to scuba drive with his grandfather.  Darnell has loaned Jake to the C. W. Shilling Library now part of the Medical Center Library & Archives at Duke University.


NOGI Award Statue1980 (polywood)

Inscription on plaque:  NOGI Award 1980 -- Distinguished Service -- Dr. Charles Shilling

The NOGI award has been given every year since 1960.  It was originally sanctioned by the Underwater Society of America, and later by the offspring Academy Of Underwater Arts And Sciences.  It is given to a select cadre of divers and undersea luminaries who rank at the top of their fields in four categories:  Arts; Science; Sports/Education; and Distinguished Service.

The NOGI statuettes were originally designed and carved by the reknowned artist Vero Puccio of New Orleans. They were hand carved out of mahogany. In later years, he made a mold to produce them from polywood.

This statue is part of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society’s C. W. Shilling Library, which is now part of the Duke University Medical Center Library & Archives.


Inidian fetish

Sans Blas (Kuna) Indian Fetish Circa 1930

The wooden fetish was given to Dr. Charles “Chuck” Shilling by a Sans Blas (Kuna) Indian chief after Dr. Shilling cured the chief’s wife. 

The fetish was believed by the natives to have magical powers and it was placed outside the sick wife’s hut by a local medicine man. 

Dr. Shilling had the item carried back to the states in an empty torpedo tube aboard one of the submarines.

The fetish is a gift of Dr. Shilling’s daughter Charlotte Banas to the C. W. Shilling Library which is now part of the Duke University Medical Center Library & Archives.


Close-up of San Blas Indian fetish face.

Subject Guide

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Ginger Carden