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The William Osler Papers

Letter from Abraham Flexner to William Osler pdf (1,221,021 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Abraham Flexner to William Osler
In this letter, Flexner talks about Osler's letter ("Whole-Time Clinical Professors") to Ira Remsen about the full-time clinical faculty debate at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
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2 (1,221,021 Bytes)
1911-10-06 (October 6, 1911)
Flexner, Abraham
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
Metadata Record Whole-Time Clinical Professors (September 1, 1911) pdf (3,172,648 Bytes) ocr (14,194 Bytes)
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Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
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October 6, 1911.
My dear Sir William, --
Your note warning me what to expect reached me some three weeks ago. The pamphlet has not yet come. One of the Hopkins men, however, wrote me perhaps ten days or more ago asking a question about it, in reply to which I told him simply that my copy had not yet arrived. He replied by sending me his own.
I think, that understanding my report as you did, you were very good indeed to call me any kind of an angel, even an angel of Bethesda! It ought, however, to have been clearly explained when the report was mailed to you that it did not at all undertake to do what you appear to have judged. I was endeavoring not to characterize the Johns Hopkins Medical School in its entirety but only to make a cross-section as the thing now stands, to describe what I saw, and to make recommendations as to the use of the proposed gift, looking at the question from that point of view. The opinion that the report reflects is therefore entirely consistent with a decidedly different opinion as to what conditions were during your incumbency. My former report embodies my conviction as to that. I knew, for example, perfectly well - everybody knows it - that what I have to say of the pay wards has not the remotest or slightest application to you. I did not trouble to state that fact, simply because everybody thoroughly well understood that what I said was intended to apply only to conditions at this moment.
I don't want to think that I am at all deceived as to my own limitations in dealing with the subject of this nature. I should be the first to admit that nothing that I suggest carries weight except insofar as it wins the approbation of those scientifically and professionally trained and experienced. Had the medical board turned down my recommendation, I should have felt that to be the end of it, and I still feel that whatever persuasiveness it has is a consequence more of their approval that of my suggestion.
Very sincerely yours,
Abraham Flexner
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