Skip to main contentU.S. National Library of MedicineU.S. National Library of Medicine

Profiles in Science
Pinterest badge Follow Profiles in Science on Pinterest!

The Wilbur A. Sawyer Papers

Letter from Wilbur A. Sawyer to Margaret Sawyer pdf (171,081 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Wilbur A. Sawyer to Margaret Sawyer
Following his discharge from the Army Medical Corps in May 1919, Dr. Sawyer accepted a position with the Rockefeller Foundation's International Health Division. His first assignment was to initiate and oversee a hookworm control campaign in eastern Australia. He and his family arrived there in August, settling in Brisbane. Sawyer traveled frequently for this job, and his letters home describe some of the unique features of Australia's geography, economy, and population. In this letter he added comments on the trouble caused by alcohol. (Sawyer was a non-drinker, and seems to have supported the alcohol prohibition campaign in America.)
NOTE: The original document is written in pencil on thin paper, and as a result the image is difficult to read.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (171,081 Bytes)
1920-05-20 (May 20, 1920)
Sawyer, Wilbur A.
Sawyer, Margaret
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Hookworm Infections
Exhibit Category:
From Hookworm to Yellow Fever: Rockefeller Foundation, 1919-1927
Box Number: 2
Folder Number: 1
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1911-1995
SubSeries: Personal correspondence, 1911-1995
Folder: 1920
Murgon, May 20, 1920
Dearest Margaret:
Again I sit beside the dwindling, flickering candle. It does not seem to be quite so cool to-night.
We have had an interesting day at the Aboriginal Settlement, and I have a few photos that will be interesting. One of the striking things about the abos [sic] is the good grade of English that they talk. I heard one say "Au revoir" in reply to a "good-bye", and they use the same idioms and inflections as the average Queenslander. And yet they are living in all sorts of extemporized shacks with log fires inside them, and they go shuffling about barefooted in rags.
My room is over the saloon and I hear all the arguments. Yesterday a drunk spent much of the evening trying to sing Annie Laurie at the top of his voice. It was all sentiment--tearful sentiment--and no tune or intelligible words.
Then there was a terrific
argument between the bartender and a "guest" who was being urged to depart under threat of violence. Judging by the length of the discussion I take it that the bar-tender is a man of loud words rather than action. He told us that bar-tending was a most degrading business,--he used to run a store in Indoowpilly [?]. He had decided to sell a man drink only while he had money and then refuse to give him any more. He couldn't stand this everlasting begging for credit, and he wasn't going to give any more. When their money was gone they would get no more drinks at his place.
I have a reservation (I think) to leave here Saturday night and arrive in Brisbane Sunday. So "au revoir". Lots of love to you and the three nice little girls.
Metadata Last Modified Date:
Linked Data:
RDF/XML     JSON     JSON-LD     N3/Turtle     N-Triples