Letter from Henry M. Hurd to William Osler [Transcript]
Although Hurd is upset by the news of Osler leaving Baltimore, he understands that Osler has been pushing himself too hard
and needed to slow down. Hurd himself has thought of resigning. He explains that the Johns Hopkins Tuberculosis Dispensary
is short on money and wonders if he should ask Mr. Phipps to make a donation. He believes that the success of the Hospital
and of the Medical School has been largely Osler's achievement.
[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 (939,728 Bytes)
1904-08-14 (August 14, 1904)
Hurd, Henry M.
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
From H. M. Hurd,
Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Aug. 14, 1904.
Dear Dr. Osler,
I am much distressed by your letter although I fully appreciate your reasons for taking the step. I have thought for a long
time you were driving the machine much too hard and that you must inevitably break down if you did not find some way to slow
up. I congratulate you upon the recognition which you have received. If talents, self-sacrifice and high devotion to the good
of the profession deserve any reward you have certainly earned the promotion. But what are we to do here in the Hospital and
Medical School and in the community at large when you have done so much and are likely to leave so much to do that nobody
can do so well?
I have had a singularly barren summer and felt the burden of work as never before. Whenever I have accomplished has been by
a mighty effort and I have often thought of resigning. Thirty-four years in a public institution are beginning to make an
impression upon my endurance which I once thought to be of iron.
Our Tuberculosis Dispensary is making excellent progress but we are to spend about $12,000 instead of $10,000. Ought we to
ask Mr. Phipps to see us through? The master thought I ought to ask you the question. Please write me your impressions. My
own judgment would be to say nothing to him. Our preparations for opening the new Surgical Building in October are made but
nothing has been done in the way of formal exercises. Have you any response from T. Clifford Allbutt or any other eminent
man. Thayer thinks we ought to unveil the Lazer tablet at the same time that you and some Army man, possibly Surg. Gen. O'Reilley
should speak. I think also that Thayer should say something. Welch and I thought we ought to convene at 11 a.m. and opened
the surgical part and adjourned for a collation and afterwards had the tablet unveiled. Please let me know your views.
I cannot forbear a personal word in view of your unexpected announcement. I feel the success of the Hospital and Medical School
has been largely your achievement and that you have done the most to hold together the different departments and to establish
a high standard of professional work. In fact if it had not been for your breadth and the liberality of view we could never
have attained our present position. I wish to thank you personally for what you've done, and to express my sorrow that
the pleasant relations are to be severed. I hope that the transfer to Oxford will not lessen your interest in clinical medicine
or diminish your opportunities for its study. Kindest regards to Mrs. Osler.
Henry M. Hurd.
I send this to Murray Bay as I do not know any other address.