In this letter, Osler wished Jacobs a Merry Christmas and reflected that the war was not as bad as expected so far--a million
men were in training, and spirits were good. He also was grateful for the help sent from America, especially for the many
Belgian refugees. (When Germany invaded Belgium on April 4, 1914, they encountered a fierce reistance, which delayed their
entry into France by a month. Reprisals were harsh, and many Belgians fled the country, including over 200,000 who went to
England. The Oslers and others in Oxford opened their homes to many Belgians, and raised funds to help bring more to safety.)
Osler also mentioned bidding for a collection of original medical drawings commissioned by Sir Jonathan Hutchinson. Hutchinson
(1828-1913) was an English surgeon, dermatologist, pathologist, and venereal disease expert. Osler obtained the large collection
for Johns Hopkins; but it was later put into storage, and was only rediscovered in the 1950s, by Dr. Victor McKusick.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (417,710 Bytes)
1914-12-15 (December 15, 1914)
[Jacobs, Henry Barton]
Original Repository: Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives. William Osler Collection
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
World War I
Sir William: Regius Professor at Oxford, 1905-1919
From the Regius Professor of Medicine, Oxford
15, December, 1914
Happy Christmas to you and Mrs. Jacobs! I hope this will catch you just on Christmas morning by the "Lusitania". It
will be rather a triste Christmas over her for so many people, but, on the whole, there is much to be thankful for. Things
are a great deal better than anyone could have hoped -- well on in the fifth month of the war, and Belgium not yet finished
with. Things here are really going very well. The recruiting has been active; there are fully 1,000,000 men in training, and
the spirit of the country is A.-1.
I do not know what we should do without the help from America. It is splendid and greatly appreciated. One hears of it in
every direction. The poor Belgians need it badly. It is really an appalling situation for them. We have our group of professors
very comfortably settled, and, with the money Grace has raised and the Rockefeller Foundation, we can hold out for a year
at least. I wish you could come in this house one morning and see the Gallerie Lafayette in our drawing room, with a dozen
or more of the Belgian professors' wives doing over American clothing.
I am hoping on Friday to secure at auction for the Hopkins Library the Hutchinson collection of original drawings and plates,
etc. Marburg and Welch have cabled a bid up to 160 pounds. I think we shall get it, unless Wellcome is bidding for his Historical
My library continues to grow, as that kind brother, E. R., left me another cheque this summer.