Letter from Edith Campbell to William Osler [Transcript]
As angry as she is about her removal from Taplow, Campbell would prefer not to have her name made public. She describes the
events that led up to her troubles and eventual dismissal. She would like to be made Matron of a General Hospital in France
or Salonika to show the public that she is fit to be trusted. She thanks Osler and Lady Osler for all their help and support
throughout the ordeal.
[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:
2 (1,200,175 Bytes)
1916-12-30 (December 30, 1916)
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
Miss E. Campbell to W. O.
Dec. 30th (1916)
Dear Sir William,
Thank you for your letter and wishes for 1917.
Angry and sore as I am about everything I feel that it would do no good having my affairs made more public even then they
are and I would rather not have my name mentioned in your letters.
No doubt about Miss Macdonald being on the fence for the first few days but I understand and forgave it long ago as I know
I have only Mrs. Vidal, Mrs. Phipps and Mrs. Astor to thank for her temporary doubt of me and she and the Sisters must know
how untruthful and vulgar it all was.
Our padre, Capt. Whillatres (?) was asked by Mrs. Astor if he thought the matron 'was in love' with Col. Gorrell and
the man went to the Sisters and asked so I sent him a message to deliver to Mrs. A, which I hope he did, that the vulgar story
was started by Mrs. Phipps and yourself and nobody the world could or did believe it, so they might as well stop repeating
Lady Boston writes me regularly and she said at first the stories were utterly disgusting and so untruthful.
So I suppose Sir Sam, Col. Bruce & Co. were filled up by these stories and have nothing else to go on as they never asked
me and suited themselves to believe.
The officers who I reported for being drunk and some on duty, Major M -- , Keely, ?, ? and Cathcart, to Col. Gorrell time
and again did their best to get even. I made my mistake not taking it over Col. Gorrell's head to Gen. Jones, but the
Col. used to promise me to get things changed and straightened and I must say he tried but made me unpopular with the offenders
instead of keeping me out of it and his manners were so abominably rude and rough when correcting anyone that everyone resented
and hated him for it.
All I want now from anyone of them is to be made Matron of a General Hosp. in France or Salonika to show the public that I
am fit to be trusted and that the three Sisters under Mrs. Vidal's guidance who swore that I had been cruel and undermined
their health, Sisters Lordly, Ryan and McKenzie, by overwork, brought to task for their lies, but even they are not worth
getting angry about. They have done for themselves already I hear.
Miss Macdonald wrote me (privately) to say that she hoped by the end of Jan. that I would have No. 1 Gen. in France, the best
they have, the one we all like best, and my O.C. would be Col. Wylde, a man I know and respect, a gentleman in the truest
and highest sense. Sounds too good to be true, and if they thought she and I wanted it badly would do something to prevent
it. So you must be very careful not to let anyone know. I don't know if I ever can thank you and Lady Osler for all your
kindness to me. What I would have done without your sympathy and help I don't know. I couldn't have felt worse if
a real bomb had blown me up. The worst wars are not all in the trenches!!
So I really care about is to be given a place of trust again and No. 1 General would be perfect.
All the 'workers', Lady Boston and her workers have written to me such charming friendly notes so they don't believe
evil and if the Matron-in-Chief, Matrons and Sisters who I care for and the M. Os. who really know me, nothing else matters
a bit and I would not trouble to let them ever hear my name again.