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The William Osler Papers

Letter from William Osler to Henry Barton Jacobs pdf (377,015 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from William Osler to Henry Barton Jacobs
In this letter, Osler commented on the progress of the war, and the slowness of the Allies' build-up. He also mentioned Revere's transfer to a field ambulance unit, and the fire that damaged the Osler home on November 11th.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
4 (377,015 Bytes)
1915-12-10 (December 10, 1915)
Osler, William
[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
Exhibit Category:
Sir William: Regius Professor at Oxford, 1905-1919
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Dec. 10th, 1915
Dear Jacobs
I hope all goes well with you & Mrs. Jacobs. 'Tis nice to hear that she is keeping well, & that you have on the whole had a good year. I am glad you did not come to this cauldron. What a mess! and we are not half through. It is sure to be a long war. Finance may stop it & leave the issue undecided, which would be unfortunate. Either we or the U.S. has to smash Germany. If we go under she will be
at your throats within a year. Ships, ships, ships! Where would we be without the navy & it may be the navy that will decide the war. The difficulty is to turn a democracy into a fighting people. It is very slow work. Lord Darby has apparently done the job without conscription. The recruiting has been wonderful. There will be an army of 4 million within 6 mos. Lack of proper organization is sadly felt. You cannot grow a big general staff in a few months, any more than you can build up a Krupps in a year. On the whole the country has done wonderfully & if we could only shut up the politicians & editors and put the war into the hands of a few good men she would do better still.
We were nearly burnt out the other night. 3:30 am smoke wakened Grace. The dining room was ablaze. Revere was at home & he & I got out the mss & incunabula from the upstairs room, which was black with smoke. The only valuable thing that was lost was the lovely Vernon plaque, which you & Mrs. Jacobs had done of me. "Twas melted to a ball. Revere is well, but there is not enough to do at the McGill unit so he is going to join a field ambulance, and will be near Poperinge. Poor laddie, he longs to be back at Ch. Ch. [Christ Church College at Oxford] with his books. Oxford is empty -- we have 20 men at Ch. Ch. Instead of 280. The losses have been fearful and so many
friends have lost boys, Rolleston, Garrod, Moore, Herrington, Schaefer among them. Extraordinary people -- such self-restraint -- no murmur or discontent.
Grace is working at high pressure -- 120 women in a big laboratory. I am seeing all sorts & conditions of sick & wounded. We had a bunch of Harvard men -- 30 here -- the other day. I enclose programme. Cheever, the chief, seems a jovial . . . [rest of line blank]
I am picking up a few treasures -- nice xi cent. ms of Platearius -- one of the Practice of Bernard Gordinius. The catalogue grows, but Secretary, William! and the chauffeur have gone. I have a man in the p.m. from Bodley.
Love to Mrs. Jacobs.
Ever yours,
Wm. Osler
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