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The William Osler Papers

Letter from Howard A. Kelly to William Osler pdf (1,109,761 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Howard A. Kelly to William Osler
In this letter, Kelly discusses a second more personal critique of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine by Flexner, which had lately been circulated.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (1,109,761 Bytes)
1911-05-09 (May 9, 1911)
Kelly, Howard A.
Osler, William
Original Repository: Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University. Bibliotheca Osleriana
BO #7651
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Exhibit Category:
Sir William: Regius Professor at Oxford, 1905-1919
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Baltimore, May 9, 1911.
Dear Dr. Osler:
What is going to happen here is hard to say. I wrote you of the report that was circulated among us members of the faculty after Abraham Flexner's visit; I wrote you that Flexner did not visit me at all but took his opinions from some other sources. Dr. Welch and Dr. Williams decided that they would not disturb clinical men like Drs. Young and Finney but would let them stay in under the new organization, so they were assured by Dr. Williams after our last faculty meeting that they would be allowed to remain.
Since then it has transpired that another secret printed report has been circulated among the trustees coming from Mr. Flexner, as we all believe with Dr. William's and Dr. Welch's knowledge and concurrence. This report is excessively personal, taking up different heads of departments and their associates and in many instances severely condemning their work and methods. I enclose you a copy of that part of the report which affects my department. Dr. Welch was excessively annoyed when he found this report had gotten into other hands but the trustees. None of the rest of us knew anything about its existence until copy was given to Dr. Young by one of the trustees who had received it. My objection to the first report was its personality, but Dr. Welch deprecated so bringing personal matters into the issue at all that I withdrew a minority report which I had already submitted and read; and now it transpires that, with Dr. Welch's knowledge I fear, this other intensely personal report has been circulated among the very people to whom I desired to appeal. I refrain from making any comments as to the justice or honorable character of such methods.
I send you a statement of the activities in my own department during the last two years. I wish you were here that I might advise with you. I called on Dr. Welch today but he had gone to Atlantic City. I am not worried about this matter and not anxious. I believe our trustees will do justice but I am not even anxious for that. I will take contentedly and in a good spirit whatever may be forthcoming.
I have been working now for about ten years on my Kidney Book and am at present putting through the press my Cyclopedia of Medical Biographies in two volumes. I have undertaken some of this outside work simply to show that a doctor can be broader than his specialty.
A strong feeling is growing up among all the junior man against Dr. Williams, who they think has been unduly active in these matters. I cannot say whether this is justified or not. Should their suspicions in the end proved to be well founded, he will have utterly ruined himself for all future relationship of usefulness to the profession.
Faithfully yours,
Howard A. Kelly
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