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The Henry Swan Papers

Letter from Henry Swan to his first wife, Mary Fletcher pdf (1,808,974 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Henry Swan to his first wife, Mary Fletcher
Intending to have them published, Swan's wife had his letters transcribed as he sent them.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (1,808,974 Bytes)
1944-11-14 (November 14, 1944)
[Swan, Henry]
[Swan, Mary Fletcher]
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
World War II
Exhibit Category:
Medical Training, Wartime Surgical Experiences, and Early Career, 1935-1949
Box Number: 1
Folder Number: 51
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1944-1996
Folder: World War II. Letters at home, by Henry Swan II, 1944-1945
Nov. 14, 1944
We are definitely in a minority on the Southern question! Perhaps I shouldn't say "we", as that implicates me as taking sides, which I usually refuse to do in regards to that debate-without-end. But we are nine in all, and the solid south is represented by four. Two are foreign born, and hence take no interest in this matter. One was born in Canada, but now claims Connecticut as home. Illinois and Colorado round out the geography. We are a study in personalities; our individualities have many facets, but almost all of them are positive. Our politics are complicated, and run the gamut from Right to Extreme Left. Some of us have more than average intelligence, others are moderately so; none are stupid. We are, all but one, young, strong, opinioned, uninhibited -- and we live in close and constant proximity inside the walls of one tent. We have one fire, one table, a common food reservoir, a common source of liquor, and we have the time -- time to play on each other and enjoy each other's company. I think it is one of the most interesting societies in which I have ever lived.
Let me introduce ourselves, briefly.
(1) Fletcher Wright, Captain, team chief. Born and bred Virginia. Married. Two children. Somewhat older than the rest. Conservative, somewhat reticent. Likes a good story, but withdraws from argument. Slow and easy going.
(2) Nick Codik, Lt., anaesthetist. Hungarian born, medical education in Italy, U.S. for financial opportunity in 1937 - New Jersey. He is our senior in age, our baby in height, barely 5' 2". Linguist. Earnest in his work, though lacking experience. Formal and polite, but pleasant and thoughtful, he often ends up as end-man, the butt of good natured repartee. Unmarried.
(3) Bob Hubbard, Lt., asst. surgeon. Single, young, dark-complected. North Carolinian, 15 mo. out of medical school. Quiet, conservative, pleasant, sober.
(4) Phil Koesterer, Capt. shock team. Young, uncertain, tenacious, slow of thought and lacking humor, but of strong opinions. In the verbal jousting, he often comes out (undaunted) on the short end in the face of his more brilliant adversaries. Conservative. Unmarried.
(5) Thad Mosely, Lt., asst. Surg. Mississippi born and bred, country boy, there is nothing sluggish or lazy about Thad. A cheerful smile, an attentive and inquisitive mind (one which is thoroughly honest and well-trained), studiously clean, well-built and athletic, moral, conservative, traditional, he enters the lists as the most positive individual mentioned so far.
(6) Ernest Craig, Lt., shock team. Texas born, Harvard educated, intelligent, his personality levels to our group. Humorist and caricaturist, he sees life whole and always in relation to the human element. His verbal wit is subtle; his drawings unique.
(7) Valentine Walhauser, Capt. X-Ray team. German-born Jew, came to America because of political & racial persecution in 1937. Practicing in Akron, Colo., before the war. Married with one child, he is, none-the-less, our gay Lothario, our seducer of women. Cheery, cocky, cheeky, though seldom objectionably so, he churns through life in a boisterous fashion, enjoying it and himself without much nonsense about serious or moral considerations. He is firmly ticketed with the nick-name of "Million Volts".
(8) "Marque" Margolik, Lt., anaesthetist, a Canadian-born Latvian Jew, he now claims Conn. his home. He is our "enfant terrible", our radical, our communist. A brilliant intelligence, a retentive memory, a strong intellectual curiosity, a quick and ready humor, a wide literary back-ground, he is urbane and subtle. He prides himself as a "liberal", but his approach is, in these things, emotional, and most people would think him a dangerous radical. He is perhaps the most interesting individual of us all.
So there you have the ingredients of the stew; stir it up and let it simmer, and the product is plenty of verbal repartee, schemes & counter schemes, jokes and counter jokes, debates almost to the point of anger, volumes of healthy, hearty laughs. Our tent is like a teapot bubbling away merrily, every so often lifting its lid to let off a little steam.
My part in all this is very simple. I sit around and bait the hooks, and do a little goading from the side. However, knowing me, you understand that occasionally I am forced to throw my hat vigorously in the ring. If we look as if we are going to be holed up for the winter, though, I think I shall undertake a subtle campaign to endeavor to teach Margolik a more intelligent and critical approach to his social thinking. That would be a most stimulating as his mind is like a whip.
Right at the moment, though, my lids are drooping, and I feel the need of a little sleep.
G'nite, my darling,
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