Letter from Charles R. Drew to Lenore (Robbins) Drew
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
10 (507,695 Bytes)
1939-04-13 (April 13, 1939)
Drew, Charles R.
Drew, Lenore (Robbins)
Original Repository: Howard University. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Charles R. Drew Papers
Reproduced with permission of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.
Becoming "the Father of the Blood Bank," 1938-1941
3 A.M. 4/13/39
Just in from giving another talk before the Manhattan Medical Society but I must get a word off to you before turning in.
Seems ages since I left you standing in the window as we pulled out - a lovely picture that completely filled my vision as
the miles sped by. Lowell left me to my thoughts and we came to Charlotte in the evening with hardly a word having been passed.
We spent Friday night with an old friend of his, Dr. Green and left early Saturday morning for Oxford, N.C.
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There we had dinner with Lowell's grandmother, went all through the orphanage his grandfather started and then struck
out for Washington. We arrived at my home about 10 PM to find things in an uproar my brother having just been brought back
from the hospital with a broken leg which he sustained earlier in the afternoon when the ladder on which he was standing to
give the roof a Spring coat of paint broke and dropped him about 30 feet. Lowell spent the night with us, then pulled out
for New York early in the morning. I stayed to see how my brother
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was going to make out. During the morning I took my mother to church and then spent two hours with the Dean of the medical
Next I went to see Dick Hill. They plan to build at Howard a nursing school some what like the one at Spelman. This is the
dope. Learn all you can about the school at your place, run by your department I believe, so that when you come through Washington
you'll know all about it. They plan to use it as an experimental school, attended largely by children of the
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faculty and a few other select kids. Dick will recommend you if you like the plans and the set up and plan to have you carry
on some of your own work too. In the schemes for the future are also plans for a "Little Theatre" on the campus. This
should be right down your alley. The members of the drammatic [sic] department are also friends of mine and a word about your
training in costumes and designing will I'm sure put them definitely on your side if the job materializes and competitors
appear. When you come through you can stop with my sister Mrs. Nora Drew Gregory. I've told
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her about you and I'm anxious for you to see some of my folks. My talk with Hill was entirely satisfactory except that
all the plans are in such a formative stage that nothing definite is possible at present and probably will not be until next
Sunday afternoon I went down to the Lincoln Memorial to hear Marion Anderson sing. In all my life I have never seen such an
impressive thing. With the soft rays of a pink sun gleaming against the white marble beauty
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of that magnificent structure and reflecting itself in the long still pool of water that stretches off towards the Washington
Monument she raised her exquisite voice in song and lifted with a sweep of melody a whole race to higher levels of thought,
feeling and hope. Countless thousand paid her the tribute of almost reverent silence when she sang her songs of joy and sorrow.
She held them beneath her magic sway, making them laugh or sigh at will and when she finished with "Nobody knows the trouble
I've seen" many eyes were moist with unashamed tears
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and hearts too full for words. Filled with a strange pride and awed by the loveliness and significance of it all my thoughts
went out to you and in the beauty of the moment I communed with you and found my happiness increased. Oh how I wished that
you might have been there with me.
On Monday I took my brother back to the hospital, poor devils leg was giving him so much trouble, and after further Xrays
the cast was removed and the leg reset under general anaesthesia [sic]. The pictures taken on Tuesday suggest
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that the whole thing may have to be done again, this time by open operation and nailing of the bone fragments in place. I
was terribly sorry to leave him in such rotten shape but he's in good hands and my time was up.
Last night I met your mother, father and Leon, spent two hours in your home and tried to explain the rapid action of our few
days together. Your mother was sweet, your dad tolerant, courteous and kind; your brother puzzled but darned decent. Needless
to say I wasn't at my very best but I think I
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managed to get away without creating too bad an impression. Your brother offered to take me to me your fiance but I thought
perhaps I'd do that the next time. He also said he had a lot of things to tell me but then decided that it would probably
be best for me to find them out for myself. So far all is well. I left Phila. at 11:22 PM and got to bed about 3 AM this morning.
Now it is nearly 4 AM and I have to be on the wards at 7 so for tonight little girl I'll have to leave you to seek my
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lonely cot but in my dreams I shall come to you and be near you and so pass the hours in a new found joy.