Letter from William Osler to George Birdwood [Transcript]
Arrangements for the restoration of the Tomb of Avicenna at Hamadan. Osler plans to bring the project before the Historical
Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, the Royal College of Physicians and the College of Surgeons. He believes that the
tomb should be restored if for no other reason than to show gratitude to the Arabs for transmitting their medical knowledge
to the West.
[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 (536,333 Bytes)
1914-05-06 (May 6, 1914)
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.
Osler, Medical History, and Medical Libraries
Dear Sir George,
We have only got this far - ascertaining the probable cost for the repair and for a small sum for permanent maintenance. Dr.
Nelligan of the Embassy in Teheran has the matter very much at heart and has with Dr. Funk and Dr. Sa'eed, obtained the
necessary details. With this information we bring the project before the Historical Section of the Royal Society of Medicine,
and the President of this Society and of the College of Surgeons and of the College of Physicians would, I am sure, join in
asking the Foreign Office to ask for the cooperation of the Shah. Nelligan thought that it might be better arranged quietly,
as if we asked the Government cooperation it makes it a sort of official affair. We suggest to have the French Society for
the History of Medicine cooperate.
I am sorry you cannot make out a case of Avicenna. After all, he's one of the great names in medicine and head force enough
to control the Schools for many centuries, and, if for nothing else, we owe the Arabs some gratitude as transmitters. His
tomb lies desolate it will do the profession good to restore it.
Thank you for the delightful letter. I will keep you informed as to our progress.