Avery was like an uncle to his young cousin Minnie Wandell, and the two were quite close. When Avery retired, Wandell acted
as his housekeeper in Nashville. In this letter, Avery wishes Wandell a happy birthday and discusses a symphony he recently
attended with colleague Alphonse Dochez. Avery also briefly discusses an upcoming speech, some of his recent research, and
a dinner at which he met Nobel laureate Karl Landsteiner.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
6 (181,148 Bytes)
1930-11-19 (November 19, 1930)
Avery, Oswald T.
Original Repository: Tennessee State Library and Archives. Oswald T. Avery Papers
Courtesy of the Tennessee State Library and Archives.
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Nov. 19 1930
Lest the crowded days that intervene between now and the 19th cheat me of the coveted chance to pen this note of Birthday
Greeting, I'm taking time by the forelock and availing myself of a quiet half hour this evening--
It was a grand concert this afternoon--How disappointed I was that you could not enjoy it with me--but as I sat in that great
hall I thought of you listening to the same music in your comfortable little apartment and I was happy that you at least had
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the wet and damp of a long trip back and forth, and you shall have other opportunities to hear the great Toscanini inspire
his orchestra. They say seats are sold as high as $15.00--so great is his performance.
"Do" went in your place, but not in your stead. And now the house is desserted [sic], Else, and the Dochez brothers
are out--and I've just pillaged the ice box--had my supper and was tempted to call you on the phone again--but I guess
I must indulge myself in the written rather than the spoken word--Just to let you know I'm thinking of you--Eager for
your happiness and well being--and thinking too of the day this week which marks the beginning of a
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new year for you. If I had my way the days that it brings would each be filled to full measure, pressed down, brimming over
with all the delightful experiences of life--and I have faith that they will be--the happiest you have yet known--a glorious
year for us both. And with this wish goes you all my love and thought--You mean much to me Sis, and as the years pass I find
I am becoming more and more reliant upon you.
I am wondering if you will be good enough to spare me the rather difficult task of a shopping tour in search for something
that you might like and accept instead the enclosed check and spend it to get that very thing--please do. There is something
which you may feel you could not otherwise have,
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and it would make me very happy if you would get just that thing.
Now, if all goes well--I'm not going to be cheated this week end--perhaps I can get away Saturday. This week is a full
one--I've got to make a speech before the Am. Assoc of Surgeons at the Institute on Friday, and have mapped out a heavy
schedule of experiments--by the way you'll be pleased to know that the Enzyme work is progressing better even that I dared
hope--Almost too good to be true.
We have perfected ways of concentrating and purifying it and find that as little as two drops will protect a mouse against
a million times the fatal dose of Type III pneumococci--
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Last Friday I had dinner at Dr. Flexner's given in honor of Dr. Landsteiner. I sat on the right of the Nobel Prize winner
and felt highly complimented--What a splendid character he is--so simple and modest--so brilliant in accomplishment.
I'm looking forward to being with you--My days are very busy ones--sometimes hopeful, sometimes disappointed--that's
the life of research, but come what may, my thought is always of you and your courage and faith sustain me. A joyous birthday
to you and many more to follow.
God bless and keep you
With all my love
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[post script on reverse of page five]
Many thanks for your good letter and for sending Catherine's. Feel so sorry for the folks.