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The Charles R. Drew Papers

Letter from Charles R. Drew to Edgar B. Carter pdf (128,231 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Charles R. Drew to Edgar B. Carter
Number of Image Pages:
2 (128,231 Bytes)
1944-11-06 (November 6, 1944)
Drew, Charles R.
Carter, Edgar B.
Abbott Laboratories
Original Repository: Howard University. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Charles R. Drew Papers
Reproduced with permission of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center.
Exhibit Category:
"My Chief Interest Was and Is Surgery"--Howard University, 1941-1950
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Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
November Sixth
Dear Mr. Carter:
This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter of November 1, 1944. Mr. Alphran had come in to see us I believe when several of our local physicians had asked him about the published Story of Plasma. I think that our men are very conscious of the absence of my name because of the fact that recently I was awarded the Spingarn Medal on the basis of the part I had played in the early development of mass production of plasma. It raised two problems in their minds -- Either that the Springarn Medal was awarded to someone who had not earned it or that the part played was too small for inclusion in the Story of Plasma as a whole. Since your article, I have had many visitors and several letters requesting information about my exact role in the early part of this program. Doctor St. Hill of Meharry asked the most detailed questions and got probably the most detailed answers and copy of his letter was sent to me.
As one who has frequently compiled literature for a short resume, I know the difficulties one has in including just the right names. I think that the storm of protest in this particular time is secondary to the high degree of feeling concerning the policy of segregation of the bloods now maintained by the Red Cross and the Armed Forces. The feeling is just a little less heated than it was at the time when Negroes were forbidden even to give blood to the American Red Cross. It is another form of humiliation which faces a large part of our population and makes them very hyper-sensitive to slights, which, though accidental, have all the ear-marks of the many which are not accidental. I have not tried to evaluate too closely what my relative place is in this story or should be. No matter how you write the story, it will be unfair to many people, for names like William Thalhimer of New York City Department of Health, Unger of Post Graduate in New York, Rosenthal at Mt. Sinai Hospital of New York, C. P. Rhoads of Memorial Hospital of New York, DeWitt Stetten, Chairman of the Medical Board of the Blood Transfusion Association, Mr. Tracy Vorhees, President of the Long Island College Hospital and a great many others played such a dominant role in selling this idea to the Red Cross and getting the project going that it would be very difficult for anyone not associated with the early stages to write a true and fair story. All that you did write is accurate, well-done and was very informative, I am sure, for the great mass of physicians.
I have written to Doctor St. Hill to tell him that the letter which he wrote you is accurate and if you cared to publish it, it would meet with my approval. I am sure that Doctor St. Hill did not want to make any issue of the matter but simply wanted to call your attention to what he felt was an omission which because of the present state of feeling about the plasma project as a whole was certainly open to misinterpretation. I certainly do not wish to have an issue made of it in any way.
Very sincerely yours,
Charles R. Drew, M.D.
Department of Surgery
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