Original Repository: Rockefeller Archive Center. Rockefeller Foundation Archives
Reproduced with permission of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
"Notes on Giving"
Letter from Harvey Cushing to Alan Gregg (August 2, 1934)
Southold, Long Island
August 8, 1934
Dear Doctor Gushing:
Your letter of August 2 came last night. Your account of the project to start a National Institute of Neurology was new to
me, and, so far as I know, did not have a traceable connection with the development at Montreal.
As I remember it there was first a request from Penfield and Martin, to which we were receptive since it represented a promising
contribution to the advancement in North America of the study and treatment of diseases of the nervous system. Such study,
as you may see from other grants made by the Foundation in the past five years, is a phase of medicine to which we have given
financial aid in various ways.
Now this preference for the field of neurology and psychiatry may have derived in part from your earlier project but I should
think it likely that both your project and our attitude were the result of the general conviction strongly corroborated by
the war that these fields demand more effective measures both in point of study and treatment. You and Salmon had a lively
influence in driving home this view, but not by any one project, so far as I know.
If you'll let me add a bit to this answer to your question? The more I see of men and things the more I think causes are
but rarely single and simple. Thus it was not merely a request from Penfield and Martin coinciding with a special desire on
our part to help neurology which decided the matter: there was a conviction that it is
men that matter, especially in a new undertaking. I thought Penfield a good bet (and I think so now) and my colleagues agreed.
I could wish that the end-result of your address would be a heightened appreciation of the meaning of persons: - of the importance
of finding them, training them thoroughly, and backing them generously and thus liberating their energies. When institutions
in this country hold these things to be their job I shall be in favor of institutions whole-heartedly. And not enough do.
I saw Cairns, Oljenick and Olivecrona in their native haunts in June. All of them as abundantly appreciative of your example
and friendship as ever.