Meeting Archive

List of past Annual Ocular Heritage Society meetings:


2019- Toledo, OH
2018- Tucson,AZ
2017 – Philadelphia, PA
2016 – New Orleans, LA
2015 – San Diego, CA
2014 – Charlotte, NC
2013 – Baltimore, MD
2012 – Cleveland, OH
2011 – Boston, MA
2010 – New York City, NY
2009 – Charleston, SC
2008  – San Francisco, CA
2007 – St. Augustine, FL
2006 –  Forth Worth, TX
2005 – Charlotte, NC
2004 – Chicago, IL
2003 – Fort Worth,TX
2002 – Sturbridge, MA
2001 – Venice, Italy
2000- Washington, D.C
1999 – Lindsborg, Kansas
1998 – Petaluma, CA
1997 – New Orleans, LA
1996 – York, PA
1995 – London, England
1994 – Bloomington, IN
1993 – Mexico City, Mexico
1992 – Gainesville, Fl
1991- Philadelphia, PA
1990- New York City, NY
1989 – Waterloo, Canada
1988 – St. Louis, MI
1987 – San Francisco, CA
1986 – New Orleans, LO
1985 – Sturbridge, MA
1984 – Washington, D.C.

Highlight Notes From Some Of Our Meetings…


2018 Meeting

The 35th annual meeting of the Ocular Heritage Society was held in Tucson, Arizona, April 19 -21, 2018. This meeting was the first time the Society has met in Tucson. Our host and President this year was Thomas Valenza. We enjoyed great food and weather while we toured the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, saw some petroglyphs in Saguaro Park West, and visited the many sites at the University of Arizona including the Mirror Lab and Museum of Optics.

2017 Meeting

The 34th annual meeting of the Ocular Heritage Society was held in Philadelphia, PA April 27-29, 2017. Our President, Nancy Schiffer, was helped by Cheryl Mitchell, Maureen and Chuck Letocha to create a memorable meeting in the City of Brotherly Love. The group toured the College of Physicians of Philadelphia’s Mutter Museum, the University of Pennsylvania Rare Book and Manuscript Library including the Kislak Center for Special Collections, and The Barnes Foundation.

2016 Meeting

The 33rd annual meeting of the Ocular Heritage Society was held in New Orleans, LA May 12 – 14, 2016. This meeting was the third time the Society has been to New Orleans, the last time being in 1997. We enjoyed great food and mostly good weather while we toured Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, heard a lecture at the Touro Infirmary, and explored the French Quarter. New Orleans was the home town of Bill Rosenthal, MD (1922-2007) – a longtime member of the Society. Bill’s extraordinary collection is a legacy that can still be found throughout the city especially the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum which we enjoyed touring.

2015 Meeting

Stephen and Angeline Oppenheimer hosted our 32nd Annual Ocular Heritage Society meeting in San Diego, California. Our trip started Thursday with a visit to Balboa Park and the associated museums. We had lunch in Old Town San Diego, a State Historic Park . That afternoon, we had our first look at Steve’s collection. His collection is absolutely magnificent – rumors had it that it was one of the best private collections anywhere. Every surface of every cabinet, table, piano top and every available surface were completely covered with vision aids of practically all imaginable styles and materials. And, numerous framed collections and display cabinets were stuffed full of optical antiques. Also on view was a collection of long-time OHS member Tony Chahine. Tony’s excellent collection was practically all rare and unusual artifacts, documents and prints. Friday morning we visited the historic Del Coronado Hotel and Sunset Beach and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the seals on the rocks and beaches. Friday afternoon we returned to the home of Steve and Angeline for part two of viewing Steve’s collection.

Even with many hours spent examining this collection, there is no way all of it could be viewed by any member. Saturday’s main event were the presentations made by members of this organization. Neil Handley spoke of the difficulties involved in attempts to accurately recount a history of oriental spectacles; Dr. Jim Vendeland spoke early ophthalmology in the U.S. Army;  Dr. Terry Marshall gave one of his typically well researched and documented talks, this one about “The Eyewash Man, Bristol, Virginia”; Dr. Chuck Letocha talked about Optician Wars among competing advertisers in England; Dr. Jay Galst spoke about people who were both numismatists and ophthalmologists; Nancy Schiffer told us about “Seeing Kinetic Art”;  Dr. Jim Raven delivered his lecture on “Absconded Anatomy or Purloined Parts”-the details of which will be left to your imagination;  Dr.  John Tull once again amazed our members with his depth of knowledge, this time speaking about “Eyewater, Eyewash and Eye Lotions; and Alan McBrayer documented that John Quincy Adams did not use spectacles for vision correction. The ever popular Annual Auction raised money for the club, and the Annual Banquet topped off a fantastic meeting.

Meeting  2014 

Alan & Suzanne McBrayer hosted the 31st Annual Ocular Heritage Society meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Thursday morning we visited a private animal zoo, which all attendees appeared to greatly enjoy.  After lunch, a Thursday afternoon session and a Friday morning session at the McBrayer home gave members plenty of time to visit and to catch up with each other.  Friday afternoon was spent viewing the Mint Museum of Art, the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, and the Wells Fargo Museum.  Saturday started with our usual “show and sell” and a number of papers presented, including  Dr.Jay Galst on countermarked coins of opticians, Neil Handley on spectacles donated to his museum by England’s royal family, and Dr.Chuck Letocha on the invention of trifocals.  Also Dr.Terry Marshall gave a fascinating talk on cups and balls and other eye suckers.  Other excellent papers were delivered by Dr.Jim Ravin, Dr. David Fleishman, and an especially interesting talk on magic lanterns by Lou and Frizzi Schmalbrock.  This meeting was deliberately slower-paced than previous meetings so that members had time to see each other.  Thirty-six members attended.

2013 Meeting

Dr. Irv & Marleen Pollock and Dr. Chuck & Maureen Letocha were the hosts of the OHS meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, April 25-27, 2013.  Among the highlights of the trips were visits to the rare book room at John Hopkins University, the University of Maryland Medical School, including Davidge Hall, the oldest medical teaching facility in the Northern hemisphere still in use.  After a wonderful lunch at the Pollock’s home and a viewing of their collections, the group visited Fort McHenry and the Walters Museum of Art.  On Friday we visited the home and business of longtime member, Nancy Schiffer and an amazing private medical museum in York, Pennsylvania.  This was followed by a cocktail party at Chuck’s office where a collections of both the Letochas and Dr. John and Val Tull were on display.  We then went to Chuck’s home where we saw more of his collection and had dinner.  Saturday included our usual “show and tell” session and papers were delivered on a variety of subjects.  The banquet was held Saturday evening at the Renaissance Harbor Place Hotel on the harbor in Baltimore.

2012 Meeting

Dr. Jim Vendeland graciously hosted the 29th Annual Ocular Heritage Society meeting in Cleveland, Ohio at the impressive Glidden House Mansion. We had 25 members attend this well-planned and interesting event. A welcome party, closely followed by a Severance Symphonic concert, opened the festivities. On Thursday. the Dittrick Medical Museum rolled out the red carpet for our membership, with the usual “members only” displays that have become expected at OHS events. An afternoon at the Cleveland Museum of Art allowed us to view a special Rembrandt exhibit. Friday was typically fast-passed, with stops at the Old Arcade, the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After lunch, a visit to the new and impressive Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage and an exhibit of Dale Chihuly glass sculptures. A buffet dinner that night, hosted by Dr.Jim Vendeland’s daughter and son-in law, featured interesting historical talks about crime in the 1930’s, presented by guest speakers from the Cleveland Police Museum. Saturday proceeded with our usual Show, See and Tell, with ten historical talks on topics ranging from early patent medicines, lorgnettes, eyecups, ophthalmic-related numismatics, and many others, including Neal Handley’s report of the trials of book-writing.

2011 Meeting

Dr. David and Jacqueline Fleishman warmly welcomed the members of the Ocular Heritage Society to Boston, along with visiting guests from England and Europe. We stayed in the historic part of the city at the Millennium Hotel.  Special exhibits were seen at Franklin Institute of Technology, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Old Sturbridge Village,  and the collections of the future Optical Heritage Museum, now housed at the  American Optical Company, among others. A private showing of the Harvard University Scientific Instrument collection had also been arraigned.  David and Jacqueline also hosted a wonderful dinner at their home with a special showing of David’s fine collection.

2010 Meeting

Dr. Jay Galst hosted the 27th Ocular Heritage Society gathering in New York City. The meeting started with a tour of The New York Historical Society, with special exhibits for our members of spectacles, paintings, documents and ephemera arranged by curator Margi Hofer. Our next stop took in a display of antique optical instruments at the New York State College of Optometry. Rare books of ophthalmic and optical interest were viewed in the Rare Book Room of the New York Academy of Medicine, along with demonstrations on the conservation and restoration of books and manuscripts. A visit to the world’s largest gold reserve at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, along with a display of some of the world’s most valuable coins, was a show-stopper. OHS member Jerry Logan led us on a memorable tour of the World Center Center site and Financial District of New York. Our annual meeting included the presentation of papers about the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, the reproduction of historic eyewear, ophthalmology at Mt. Sinai Hospital, crime-related spectacles, the Madame Heymann collection, Lucian Howe, ophthalmological numismatics, and the history of the eyecup.