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The Henry Swan Papers

Letter from Henry Swan to Bryan Cooper pdf (1,156,736 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Henry Swan to Bryan Cooper
Number of Image Pages:
2 (1,156,736 Bytes)
1965-01-19 (January 19, 1965)
Swan, Henry
Cooper, Bryan
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Exhibit Category:
Learning from the Lungfish: Studies of Hiberation, 1963-1988
Box Number: 20
Folder Number: 4
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Personal and Biographical, 1936-1995
Folder: [Scrapbook, 1965-1966]
January 19, 1965
Dear Bryan:
Your shipment of three boxes arrived in Denver on the evening of January 15 at approximately 8:00. Thus, the fish had been enroute for a period of approximately 56 hours.
I opened the cans about 1/2 hour after their arrival in Denver and found that the water in the cans was at a temperature which was extremely cold to the touch, probably only a few degrees above freezing. It is clear that the fish, in their transportation in the jet were subjected to the cold temperature in spite of the request that you made that they be kept between 70 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
While opening the packages, we found the situation to be as follows: Both the large fish were dead and had obviously been dead for a considerable time as they were stiff in their circular position. Three of the seven fish, 7 to 8 and one half inches long were dead, the others were sluggish and nine of the fifteen, 4 to 6 inch fish were dead, two were active and four were sluggish.
It is now four days later and we have had the fish in our bathroom in appropriate containers and all of the fish that were definitely alive on arrival, are alive and now are apparently vigorous and healthy. Thus, our success ratio was 10 out of 24 fish, but this is not really so good because the two big ones were both lost.
Bryan, it would be my conclusion that the tin cans you have are definitely not big enough for the larger fish. A fish should be able to stretch out so that it can raise its nose up to breath and I think that when you coiled them up so tightly to get them in the time can, you may even have drowned them, making it impossible for them to have readily raised their nose to obtain air. Secondly, I think that if we are going to ship any fish in winter, we must use some insulating material. I suggest polystyrene foam as it is extremely cheap and at the same time extremely good.
Before sending any more fish, therefore, I suggest that you investigate time or aluminum containers which are oblong in shape and are at least as long as the 26 inch fish. I don't think it has to be extremely wide but it should certainly be high enough so a very considerable volume of oxygen could be placed in it with the fish. Polyethylene bags could be used lengthwise and thus be much longer than when they are used upright. I do not think that more than one fish should ever be placed in a container.
In looking over your bill, I think the $17.00 for the large fish is fair enough but the $13.00 for the rather small seven and eight inchers, is excessive as compared to the $5.00 for the 4 to 6 inchers.
I am enclosing $193.00 draft to pay for the remainder of your expenses and I shall let you know in a week or ten days how the fish continue to do. I see no reason why they should not continue to thrive now that they are adjusted again to a warmer environment. I shall wait to hear from you concerning your arrangements for a different kind of packaging. Meanwhile, we might get in 3 or 4 fish at least as large as the ones you sent me, as these are the ones we are most anxious to have.
Very sincerely yours,
Henry Swan, M.D.
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