Letter from Grace Osler to her sister, Susan Chapin [Transcript]
Osler has just returned from the Canadian Hospital near Folkestone, located in a house donated by Mrs. Markham. Lady Osler
explains that the undergraduates at Oxford are much diminished as a result of the war. She relates news of family and friends,
and is particularly anxious about Josephine Phelps, who remains in Antwerp. She has advised Osler to send his books to America
for safe-keeping during the war.
[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 (1,242,615 Bytes)
1914-10-15 (October 15, 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.
Sir William: Regius Professor at Oxford, 1905-1919
(Lady Osler to Mrs. Chapin)
(Oxford) Thursday p.m. 15th (Oct., 1914)
Willie has ordered me to bed but I had arranged to begin my letter to you before going to bed. He is just come from near Folkestone
- the Canadian Hospital - a house given & furnished by Lady Markham. The wounded are coming there now. No letter from
you yet about money but perhaps one will come tomorrow as some American letters have come tonight. This week has been as busy
as the last. Rivera got easily settled in College. He has the nicest rooms in Peck - but only temporary as the man is at the
front - but I have no idea that there will be any "next Term" - Fancy not 70 men at Christ Church. Sunday in Cathedral
was too sad - so few undergraduates, many soldiers and when they sang God Save the King it was too much - The Yeomanry quartered
in Meadows Building come to church. Revere was at home for luncheon yesterday. He has joined the Officers Training Corps and
is hard at it - Drill & March every day with lectures in the evening. I am almost ashamed to write about the many things
I have been doing. Mr. Sherman came for Sunday - He has tried to get into some Regiment as Chaplain - but Kitchener won't
have them. Willie thought he could get him into the Colonial Horse & we were writing & wiring all Saturday but failed.
He expected to sail yesterday on the Scotian for home but it has been taken over - so I do not know what he will do. He's
going to Trinity Church St. John as curate - doesn't like the idea at all of being in a fashionable church. Lady Strathcona
came up to settle Arthur and brought good news of Donald at the front. Bobbie was here Sunday. Marion & Mrs. V. B. are
in Leamington & will come to Oxford for Sunday. We are dreadfully anxious about Josephine Phelps. I think I told you she
had gone to Antwerp in August to help a friend at a Hospital in the Zoo - started by some ladies. All has gone well &
busy as the friend left & she was made Head although not trained. Last week they had a letter saying she was staying by
the patients but we hear they have moved out - No word has come since the fall of Antwerp. Today I have been telegraphing
American consuls & Ministers & Hofer some news from The Hague in the morning. It is terrible for her people. Needless
to say the anxiety is intense now. The Fall of Antwerp in our men being interned in Holland is terrible. Poor Margaret Pearce
is frantic as she has no word from her husband & he may have been in Antwerp. I have had the blues today like sin and
wonder what will become of us all. I could never go back & live in Canton.
The Refugees are pouring into England - Willie was at Folkestone today and said the streets were packed solid. Lights are
reduced here now at night in only one lamp allowed on a motor. In London they say it is awful at night - rows of lights are
put in Hyde Park on the grass - to divert the attention of airships from Westminster Abbey & other Treasures. I want Willie
to send his books to America but he laughs won't believe it. Our workroom has been delving for a week over 300 bed jackets
for the Hospital and children's clothes & shirts. We are tremendously busy over the Louvain Professors - They are
coming with a rush now. Some people have taken them in and we have taken rooms & houses for others. We have taken none
except for the night - is too trying for Willie and he must be protected in every way - all the horrors & war talk nearly
kill him and he looks ill & worried often.
Friday 6 PM. Your letter came this morning with the splendid news about money and I am filled with gratitude. You say $9.80
but I suppose you have "pinted" in the wrong place. You have been an angel I hope I haven't bothered too much.
I am hurrying this off to catch the post. It was a pity about Dr. Welch's letter but you see we are short of deliveries
& collections and mine didn't get in in time & then there are so few boats -