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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
"Notes on Giving"
Letter from Alan Gregg to Harvey Cushing (August 8, 1934)
2 August 1934.
I wonder if I ever told you, as a matter of history, that Tom Salmon, S. I. Schwab, D. J. McCarthy, L. H. Weed and I representing
our several departments of clinical psychiatry, neurology, neurosurgery and experimental neuropathology agreed after the War
to relinquish our professorial posts and to start a National Institute of Neurology, preferably at Washington, with two objects.
One of them was to continue with our supervision of the nervous and mental disorders, both organic and functional, that had
occurred in the Army, and the other was to establish an institute thereby which could be continued in peace times as a National
Institute of Neurology. It was a large programme and we thought we needed an endowment of about ten million for it. This
would have meant nothing to the Government which has since squandered hundreds of millions on these same patients over whom
we had agreed to take supervision.
The Government, in spite of their talk of reconstruction, couldn't see it, but Dr. Welch did and he thought the Rockefeller
Foundation might do it - he even went so far as to say that considering the urgency he would have felt that this was more
important for the country at large than the hygiene programme into which the Foundation had decided to launch.
I saw George Vincent, Abraham Flexner, Mr. Gates and others and we had various meetings, but finally, for reasons which I
need not go into, the project fell through and each of us drifted back into his former humdrum professorial job.
Now I have just vaguely wondered whether the idea which was sown by these conferences may have had anything to do with the
founding of the Institute of Neurology in McGill which I understand is just about to be dedicated. I have
promised Penfield to go up there and give an address and I wonder if you could give me some correct historical data as to
how an institute of neurology came to be established there under your auspices. Anything you might be willing to tell me I
will use of course with discretion, but I merely want to get the facts correctly in mind so that I can properly refer to them.
This letter my possibly have to pursue you away from New York which I hope for your own sake is not holding you this hot summer