Letter from William Osler to Frederick T. Gates [Transcript]
Osler writes that North America is still very far behind Germany in the scientific investigations of disease. He believes
that the laboratories are imperfectly equipped, that the men in charge have too much teaching to do, that there are not enough
assistants, and that there is a shortage of men dedicated to scientific work. He offers to provide Gates with a copy of a
summary he wrote on the progress of bacteriological science printed in the New York Sun.
[Description courtesy of McGill University.]
About this transcript: Soon after Osler's death in 1919, Lady Osler asked their good friend Dr. Harvey Cushing to write
a biography. For this project, Cushing gathered a wide variety of material, including a substantial amount of Osler correspondence
and other memorabilia borrowed from Osler's family, friends, and colleagues. He employed three secretaries to transcribe
these documents, and later donated the transcripts (along with his other working materials) to the Osler Library. Because
many of the original documents were returned to the owners, the Cushing transcripts constitute the largest and most accessible
collection of Osler's correspondence.
Harvey Cushing's "Life of Sir William Osler" was published by Oxford University Press in 1925, and was awarded
a Pulitzer Prize in 1926.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (369,978 Bytes)
1902-03-05 (March 5, 1902)
[Gates, Frederick T.]
Transcriber: [Cushing, Harvey]
Original Repository: Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University. Osler Library Archive Collections, P417: Harvey Cushing Fonds
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
"Father of Modern Medicine": The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, 1889-1905
(To Mr. F. T. Gates)
No. 1 W. Franklin St., Baltimore,
Mar. 5th, 1902.
Your letter is, of course, very gratifying. I have been greatly interested in the Rockefeller Institute, and feel sure that
good results will come of it. We are still far behind Germany in this question of the scientific investigations of disease.
Even our best laboratories connected with Universities are imperfectly equipped, the men in charge have too much teaching
to do, there are not enough assistants, and there is an increasing difficulty in getting the best sort of men to devote themselves
to scientific work. One serious difficulty in the limited number of positions with which living salaries are attached. For
example, only last week a doctor connected with a leading school in St. Louis came to me wishing a pathologist and bacteriologist.
They offered a salary of $2000! And that is more than is paid by any of the other schools in the city.
Did you see the brief summary which I gave the progress of bacteriological science in the New York Sun last year in the general
reviews of the subject of science? If you did not, I can have a copy sent to you.