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Seller Story: Dr. Henry Heimlich, Cincinnati, OH


Decades before he would introduce the world to the Heimlich Maneuver, the lifesaving technique responsible for saving countless lives, Dr. Henry Heimlich arrived at Camp Four in Inner Mongolia, China on June 4th, 1945, in the midst of World War II. A doctor in the U.S. Navy, he had volunteered to be part of a clandestine mission that was part of SACO, a private treaty between the United States and forces in China resistant to the Japanese occupation. He spent the next several months in the camp, tending to patients and training soldiers in basic medical practice. The mission was a tenuous and dangerous one, in close proximity to the Japanese occupation and adverse Chinese forces. Dr. Heimlich oversaw the treatment of numerous soldiers, villagers and outsiders at the camp, which is likely when he received many of these items from patients and dignitaries.

The late Dr. Heimlich’s autobiography, Heimlich’s Maneuvers, provides a riveting account of his work in Inner Mongolia. Camp Four was one of the more remote stations where the Americans were operating, and Dr. Heimlich was at a distinct medical disadvantage: “I saw illnesses that were far more advanced than they ever would have progressed and an array of ailments that had been virtually eliminated back home,” he recalls.

Many of the remarkable works in this sale were gifted during or acquired by Dr. Heimlich during this appointment and station near the Gobi Desert. The collection of SIno-Tibetan bronzes is emblematic of that regional iconography, as is the dragon robe. “I remember when I was little, carefully lifting the glass off of our coffee table that held these small treasures, and imagining the people who had given these things to my father as gifts,” says his daughter, Janet. “My understanding is that they were tokens of appreciation given by people whom he had medically treated. When I think about my father The Humanitarian, I don’t only think about his medical innovations, I also think about how he felt personally connected to so many individuals who owed their lives to his work.”

Seller Story: Dr. Henry Heimlich, Cincinnati, OH
Seller Story: Dr. Henry Heimlich, Cincinnati, OH
Sino-Tibetan Bronze Buddha Statue

Sino-Tibetan Bronze Buddha Statue

Final Bid:
$1,300
Water Stones Agate Vase by Elyse Sens

Water Stones Agate Vase by Elyse Sens

Final Bid:
$65
Group of World War II Era Chinese Currency Including a 1930 Central Bank of China 50 Customs Gold Units Note

Group of World War II Era Chinese Currency Including a 1930 Central Bank of China 50 Customs Gold Units Note

Final Bid:
$65
Industrial Style Two-Drawer Work Table

Industrial Style Two-Drawer Work Table

Final Bid:
$182
Collection of Asian and Other Metalwork

Collection of Asian and Other Metalwork

Final Bid:
$95
Chinese Silk Robe

Chinese Silk Robe

Final Bid:
$56
19th Century Chinese Bamboo Scholar Carving

19th Century Chinese Bamboo Scholar Carving

Final Bid:
$2,550
Chinese Pewter Cast Mirror

Chinese Pewter Cast Mirror

Final Bid:
$320
Pair of Chapman Octagonal Brass Lamps 1970s

Pair of Chapman Octagonal Brass Lamps 1970s

Final Bid:
$331
Chinese Phoenix Reticulated Plaque

Chinese Phoenix Reticulated Plaque

Final Bid:
$725
19th Century Bronze of a Tibetan Lama

19th Century Bronze of a Tibetan Lama

Final Bid:
$350
Vintage Display Case Coffee Table

Vintage Display Case Coffee Table

Final Bid:
$270
Seated Sino-Tibetan Amitābha Buddha Bronze

Seated Sino-Tibetan Amitābha Buddha Bronze

Final Bid:
$1,550
Hon Company Sled Base Chair

Hon Company Sled Base Chair

Final Bid:
$22
Maryjo Koch Mixed Media "Common Gull"

Maryjo Koch Mixed Media "Common Gull"

Final Bid:
$69
Pair of Chinese Rosewood Carvings of Shouxing the God of Longevity

Pair of Chinese Rosewood Carvings of Shouxing the God of Longevity

Final Bid:
$181
Fine Chinese Rosewood Carving of a Scholar-Official

Fine Chinese Rosewood Carving of a Scholar-Official

Final Bid:
$10,600
Russian Icon on Panel of the Decollation of St. John the Baptist

Russian Icon on Panel of the Decollation of St. John the Baptist

Final Bid:
$575
Bradington Young Leather Reclining Wing Chair

Bradington Young Leather Reclining Wing Chair

Final Bid:
$277
Hand Knotted Heriz Serapi Area Rug

Hand Knotted Heriz Serapi Area Rug

Final Bid:
$345
Nickel Plate Chocolate Pot

Nickel Plate Chocolate Pot

Final Bid:
$71
Group of World War II Era Chinese Currency Including Fifteen 1936 Central Bank of China One Yuan Notes

Group of World War II Era Chinese Currency Including Fifteen 1936 Central Bank of China One Yuan Notes

Final Bid:
$65
Vintage Table Lamp

Vintage Table Lamp

Final Bid:
$575
Vintage Widdicomb Eight-Drawer Dresser

Vintage Widdicomb Eight-Drawer Dresser

Final Bid:
$310
Clay Pipe Bowl Display With Pipes

Clay Pipe Bowl Display With Pipes

Final Bid:
$80
Taiwanese Wood and Brass Anchor Bookends

Taiwanese Wood and Brass Anchor Bookends

Final Bid:
$165
1955 Alva Studio Statue After Michelangelo Buonarroti's Moses

1955 Alva Studio Statue After Michelangelo Buonarroti's Moses

Final Bid:
$145
Southwest Inspired Carved Wood Candle Holders

Southwest Inspired Carved Wood Candle Holders

Final Bid:
$41
Vintage Chinese Dress and Shoes

Vintage Chinese Dress and Shoes

Final Bid:
$17
Chinese 19th Century Bronze Monk Figure

Chinese 19th Century Bronze Monk Figure

Final Bid:
$1,000
Early Greek Icon of the Life-Giving Wellspring

Early Greek Icon of the Life-Giving Wellspring

Final Bid:
$700
Tibetan Gilt Bronze Statue of the Green Tārā

Tibetan Gilt Bronze Statue of the Green Tārā

Final Bid:
$5,850
Circa 1897 Thomas Hayes Sterling Silver Trinket Box

Circa 1897 Thomas Hayes Sterling Silver Trinket Box

Final Bid:
$411
Ceramic Table Lamp

Ceramic Table Lamp

Final Bid:
$60
Kimball International Office Chair

Kimball International Office Chair

Final Bid:
$22
Cartier Inc. Sterling Silver Dish

Cartier Inc. Sterling Silver Dish

Final Bid:
$541
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Seller Story: Dr. Henry Heimlich, Cincinnati, OH

“He had an ability to relate to patients in a truly compassionate way,” says Janet. “A few times, I had the privilege to see Dad interact with patients and I was always struck by how warm he was with them. For example, Dad made unwavering eye contact. Sometimes, he’d pull over a chair over and sit down next to their bed so he didn’t have to look down on them. In the 1950’s, Dad was the first American to perform a complicated surgery that involved replacing the esophagus using the lining of the stomach. It allowed patients who hadn’t eaten solid foods for years to be able to swallow again. Dad was also the first physician to perform this operation on an infant, a baby named Guy Carpico. Dad was so concerned about the baby’s survival, he sometimes slept in the tiny patient’s hospital room. Before Guy’s first birthday, he could eat normally. Several years later, he wrote the forward to Dad’s memoir, Heimlich’s Maneuvers.”

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