August 2002 Bulletin

Stained glass "Tree of Andry" now graces AAOS entrance

Orthopaedist created artwork as thank you

Dedicated to memory of mentors

By Carolyn Rogers

When you walk through the main entrance of the AAOS headquarters building in Rosemont, Ill., you will be greeted by a beautiful new stained glass artwork displayed in the window above the front doors.

Crafted by Academy member Martin L. Morris, MD, the handsomely framed stained glass image is modeled after the "Tree of Andry"—French surgeon Nicolas Andry’s 1741 illustration of a splinted, crooked tree, now the international symbol of orthopaedics.

Dr. Morris says he created the piece for the AAOS because he’s had little opportunity over the years to thank the Academy and its many members for his introduction into the "wonderful world of orthopaedics."

"I was never active in Academy projects or involved in medical politics," he says. "So like the little juggler in the Christmas story, I wanted to contribute a product of my few remaining skills—a product of my retirement."

Dr. Morris truly enjoys doing glasswork. When he’s done with one project, he’s always anxious to do another one.

"My brother in St. Louis, Alan Morris, MD, (chair of AAOS Council on Health Policy and Practice) is involved in medical politics, so we’re always in touch with what’s going on at the Academy," he says. "I’ve been very aware of Andry’s tree over the years, so it just occurred to me it would be a nice project to do."

Dr. Morris became familiar with stained glass 25 or 30 years ago when he took a course on glasswork.

"I took the hobby up again shortly after I retired and moved to San Diego, five and a half years ago," he explains. "It’s a perfect project for retirement, especially for a surgeon. It gives you the opportunity to work with your hands and be creative. And you have something tangible, definitive to show for it in the end—a permanent work of art."

Dr. Morris never sells his projects, but often donates them to various clubs and other groups.

"I’ve made at least 20 pieces and most of them are fishing oriented," he says. "I belong to several fishing clubs and have donated pieces to several clubs and also to San Diego State University. Currently I’m working on a project for a fishing tournament that will be used as an auction item to raise funds for the Make-a-Wish Foundation."

If he had to estimate the time it takes to finish a piece, Dr. Morris says that, on average, he probably finishes a project over a three-to-four week period, working intermittently.

"I’ve threatened to get a stop watch and punch in and out to see how long it really takes," he jokes. "Sometimes I’ll spend four or five hours working on a project one day, and then go a week and not do anything. That’s the beauty of stained glass. You can work on it for five minutes, come back three months later and it’s exactly where you left off."

Dr. Morris dedicated the "Tree of Andry" artwork to the memory of Drs. Fred Shapiro and John J. Fahey—"two of the finest teachers I have ever known."

"Both were mentors when I was in my training," he says. "Dr. Shapiro was head of the program at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, and Dr. Fahey was in charge of the program at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Ill. I learned more from those two men than everybody else combined. They were motivational to say the least."

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