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The William Osler Papers

Letters from William Osler to Henry Viets [Transcript] pdf (1,870,804 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letters from William Osler to Henry Viets [Transcript]
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:
3 (1,870,804 Bytes)
Date Supplied:
21 February - 16 November 1919
Osler, William
[Viets, Henry]
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.
Exhibit Category:
Osler, Medical History, and Medical Libraries
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
21 February, 1919.
(Letters to Dr. Viets)
13, Norham Gardens.
Dear Viets,
Please occupy your, I hope, abundant leisure in making a study of Nicholas de Cusa, 1401-1463. The town is near Treves, and he is stated to have founded their hospital for 33 poor man, in the church of which is his heart (to which pay my salutations,) and in the Hospital a number of his manuscripts. (V. Heller:Geschichte der Physik, page 210.) and in the libraries you will find several works upon him.
Though chiefly remembered as a precursor of Copernicus, he really was a great experimental philosopher. I have just got his original, ed. prin. to my great delight, and the conclusion of his wonderful de docta ignorantia is appropriate - si me amas, esto diligens - vale.
Sincerely yours,
Wm. Osler.
(Notes on back of letter - Viets notes)
must be 50 - good
not sick - 28
A room for each man - only men - only for men - wife has to be looked out for before they will take them
Only last 9 years have any women been here
6 sisters now -
4 domestics & w in kitchen -
"Poor Hand Maidens of J. Christ"
St. Vincents
Burgomaster & 6 men in town sent in
Am. just here
Sitting room was used for Am. boys - 6 or 8 yesterday
Whoever forgives Germany
6 -
4 counselmen
1 rector
1 burgomaster
Christmas for Am. boys
Dr. Thomas gives 20
14 March, 1919.
13, Norham Gardens, Oxford.
Dear Viets,
I am delighted to hear that you are on the track of St. Nicholas; do get all details possible and photographs. He will be a splendid subject for study in you could have the special section on
Dr Staticia Experimentia
translated. Look up as literature too - there should be plenty of it in Treves.
Sincerely yours,
Wm. Osler.
18. III. 19
13, Norham Gardens, Oxford.
Dear Viets,
On the other side are the important items about de Cusa. Try to find them at Treves. And having the de Staticia Experimentia translated & you can use it. At the library, Bonn, you should be able to get many of the older & the recent items. Get photographs. There is a picture - tableau (?) Of him "dans l'eglise de Neuslift" and another in the Augusten Convent at Brixton - see Remach's Repertoire T. II. p. 657
1 Das Mopelthal zuischem Zell und Kunz - Stambery 1837
2 Serapeum, 1864 & 1885, an account of the library by Kraus
3 Das Hospital zu Cusa und dessen Stifler. Juer 1841
4 Scharpff, Der Kardinal . . . von Cusa 1871
5 Jacobi, Das Universium oc. Berlin Thesis 1904 with many bibliogr. references.
Your sincerely
Wm. Osler.
8th April, 1919.
13, Norham Gardens, Oxford.
Dear Viets,
Thank you so much for the de Cusa book which came this morning. I hope to hear that you have seen the hospital, and will be able to get some photographs. He would be a very good subject for a study. As I told you and having the "De Staticis Experimentis" translated, it will be at your disposal.
Sincerely yours,
Wm. Osler.
(8. IV. 19)
Dear Viets,
When I wrote this A.M. I had not seen your letter in the de Cusa Vol. I am so glad you are going to see the old place & the books. Order me any literature of importance about him. The book about the Library I should like very much. There may be old pictures too & could you find a copy of the Deutschrift? I do hope you will be able to return via England; but I fear there may be difficulties. Let us know.
Your sincerely
Wm. Osler.
24th April, 1919
13, Norham Gardens, Oxford.
Dear Viets,
I am delighted with the catalogue. What treasures! and so many interesting medical things.
You should make an interesting article on your visit there, and you could write a little introduction to "de Staticis Experimentis" which, as I told you is being translated. It is not long, but really very important.
What are you likely to get to England? Do let us know, and come directly here.
Sincerely yours,
Wm. Osler.
10th May, 1919.
13, Norham Gardens, Oxford.
Dear Viets,
I do hope Welch saw the library.
The "de Staticis Experimentis" is part of the large volume it should be at the back of the "de Docta Ignorantia." I have not yet got the translation: it will be at your disposal.
I have got an admirable paper here by our Professor of Pathology (unpublished) on Cusa's position as a philosopher.
Call 206 when he reached London.
Sincerely yours,
W. O.
19. VII. 19
13, Norham Gardens, Oxford.
Dear Viets,
Thanks for message - M all the better for my 70th bi-day. Pineal shadow in the monthly x-ray picture less intense, the very next day.
The De Staticis exper. section of Cusa translation is here - what shall I do with it? Send it to Boston or are you likely to be here? You could work it in a paper very well. There is good stuff. I sent the Plaut Exper. with a brief note to the Annals some time ago but heard nothing. We had a great presentation of the Vol. Allbutt looked so well. We hope to go to Jersey Aug. 1st.
Sincerely yours,
Wm. Osler.
(16. XI. 19)
13, Norham Gardens, Oxford.
Dear Viets,
Here is a translation, wh. use as you wish. 'Tis an interesting record - the balance, the pulse & respiration - counting & plants - weighing
When did the balance come in again?
Did Bacon know of it?
Consult that new History of Science man at Harvard.
There is material for a good bit of work.
With it is extract from an unpublished paper on Cusa by Prof. I. A. Smith of Magdalen.
Wm. Osler.
I am better - still in bed & still coughing.
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