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The William Osler Papers

Letter from Ellen Osler to her son, William Osler [Transcript] pdf (1,087,717 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Ellen Osler to her son, William Osler [Transcript]
She relates news of family and friends. Osler's father will write the school about him staying on another year. Osler's mother advises him to think carefully about his decision to enter the Church. She sends him a "volume of good advice" and encourages him to read the "Book of Proverbs." She was proud to see "Osler 1st" so many times in the paper [refers to an athletic competition].
[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 (1,087,717 Bytes)
1866-05-30 (May 30, 1866)
Osler, Ellen
[Osler, William]
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:
Biographical Information
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Dundas May 30th. 1866
My dear Willie
When I tell you that we are without a shadow of a girl in the house to do the work, that Ellen Mary is very poorly so that Charlotte and I have it all to do, you will not wonder that I have not written since my return home. Papa was away all last week at Barrie, Mono, and he saw many old faces and the old home to which Mr. and Mrs. Dairson had only gone the day before so that it was all in confusion and did not look to advantage. Edmund was down on the 24th and BB and Carrie have since then been to Toronto they will (all well) be moving into their house next week. We heard today from Lloydtown, aunt, uncle, and Miss Gertrude are going to drive down here next week they go to Bolton then onto Milton and from thence to Dundas which they expect to reach by dinnertime on Tuesday. And will remain to the end of the following week most likely -- it is to be hoped that we may have a servant before they come and that EM will be better. Charlotte bids me tell you that she will write as soon as she can and I shall leave it for her to give you any general news -- except I may as well tell you that Edmund heard from Frank his letter was dated the 22nd. They had not sailed then from Provincetown, having been detained in repairing the ship which caught fire one night already without having positively been to sea he seems to have had enough of it -- perhaps he is written to you all about it.
Papa had your letter a day or two ago and will probably write to you soon and as well to Mr. Badgeley about your remaining another year at school. And now my dear boy let me have a little serious chat with you about entering the Church which you say you have made up your mind to do. My first impulse was to thank God that he heard my prayer and inclined one of my six boys to make choice of that as his path in life. It is a matter not to be decided on hastily any more than is any other profession -- take your time for consideration and above all search her heart for the motives inducing your decision, remember that God always judges of us by our motives while man can only judge of our actions. If you ask of God he will give you wisdom and guide you in the right path and without His guidance in all things we are sure to err. I am quite sure that if you do seriously and in earnest desire to be fitted for the service of God in his Church Papa will do all he can to help you forward by giving you a liberal education and both of us will bid you God speed. I do always beg of God to keep you from evil and lead you to all things profitable for your salvation. I send you a volume of good advice which was given many years ago by a good man to his son at Shrewsbury School it is good for boys in all ages and at all schools read it carefully and follow it fully and in the book of Proverbs which the wisest of fathers wrote for the benefit of his Son and which is meant for you as well as for him you will find far better advice than I can give. May God incline your heart to love and serve him through His beloved Son is the prayer of your loving and serve him through His beloved Son is the prayer of your loving Mother
Ellen Osler
I see your name flourishing in the Games of Monday, it was a bad day nevertheless I hope you all enjoyed the fun.
My dear Willie, I must just scribble a line to tell you how proud we all were to see "Osler 1st." so many times in the paper today and I was so sorry to see the rain yesterday but it does not seem to have made much difference; we hope to have a long account of the day's proceeding from you soon the notice in the Leader was very short. You will have a long letter from me as soon as I can find time for such a proceeding.
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