Letter from Charles R. Drew to Lenore (Robbins) Drew
Item is handwritten.
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[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
Here in New York today the world in all its greatest splendor is on display. Great personages from the far flung corners of
the earth, vast treasures of the ancients set as diadems in mountings shining with brilliance of modern genius in a thousand
thousand ways, dazzling lights, glorious colors a world in all its richness -- yet I think only of you. For the Fair amazes,
awes, overwhelms with its largeness, its splendor, the range of imagination that created it while thoughts of you warm, and
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quiet like bring a still deep joy. You can't know how much this means to me.
Now to come down out of the clouds for a moment, though I love it up there. I saw Dr. Whipple and the results were wholly
First, he has permitted me to formally register for the degree of Doctor of Science in Medicine, a thesis to be turned in
next April, the rest of my work to be completed by next June. There is more here than meets the eye. There are no such Negroes
at present, Lambert of the Rockefeller Foundation is opposed to it, attempts have been made before by others to
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no avail. It's much more than a degree I'm after. There are those in high places who feel that Negroes have not yet
reached intellectual levels which will permit their attempting the very highest reaches.
Second, on June 15th I will be eligible, I believe, to take the examination of the American Board of Surgeons. I shall apply
as soon as I am eligible and Dr. Whipple has assured me that he will back me in my right to take it and push the thing until
it's over with.
Thirdly, to be sure that I won't be stale in actual opera-
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-tive techniques, beginning on June 15th I go back into the wards as a member of an operating team to stay until such time
as I have brushed up a bit after a year in the laboratory doing research.
Fourth, as soon as I find a suitable assistant (if you were a nurse you'd have a job at $150 a month) we are to begin
an experimental "blood bank" to run for a year in an attempt to find out why unfavorable reactions still persist in
So you see all the things I told you I wanted to do are at least going to be given a chance.
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Now as to your plans. If you plan to leave Atlanta on May 27th you had better write to Hill for an appointment on Monday the
29th and another with the head of the Homes Economics Department on the same day. My sister, Nora, will meet you when you
arrive on Sunday. You can bunk with her. I'd like to have you see the rest of the Drews. Each Sunday at 4 they eat together.
They consist of Joe, my brother, usually not too bad but mean as a bull now since he's laid up with a broken leg, no Spring
cleaning done, the yard in
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shambles, a couple hundred dollar bill, unable to work and likely to go into debt during the Summer. Well I guess he's
got a right to be blue. Grace, his wife, never says much, knows a lot, seems a little aloof, but really is a swell person.
Their two brats, Richard and Jay, bad, a little smart-alecky just -- two boys -- of 6 and 3 -- that always means trouble.
Nora, my older sister, 26, married, teaches school, exuberant but sincere. About to have a baby, at least so she thought when
I was home, which looms as a personal item for it was our plan for her to
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teach and give a lift until I finished, but then one can't regulate everything and I hope she is going to have a baby.
It will make her very happy and Francis her husband is one of the finest.
Eva, my kid sister, has just reached the jitterbug stage, a senior in high school I think you'll like her. You see I think
they're all pretty swell I'm the prodigal, the wanderer the black sheep of the family. Yet strange enough I fear a
bit of the fret because I'm never there.
The whole thing revolves of course around my mother.
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If you plan to come here before going home I shall arrange for this. Even though it be a month away Lenore I feel your presence
here already. How many things to say, to plan, to dream together.