In January 1921, Sawyer met with Dr. Victor Heiser, the director of RF operations in the East. Heiser asked him to come along
on a three-month tour of the RF public health sites in southeast Asia, and Sawyer agreed, though it meant missing the birth
of his son (who arrived on March 23.) In this letter he shared the news, and his concerns about the trip, with his wife.
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1921-01-12 (January 12, 1921)
Sawyer, Wilbur A.
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From Hookworm to Yellow Fever: Rockefeller Foundation, 1919-1927
Imagine my state of mind! Dr. Heiser came yesterday, and almost the first thing he told me was that he wanted me to go with
him on a three months tour of Java, Siam, Manila, Darwin, etc., starting from Brisbane at the end of his visit. It seems
to me very important from the standpoint of our future that I should go, but I would hate awfully to be away when the baby
comes. I would probably not be back till the first of May. What the trip might lead to I can only imagine, but it will give
Dr. H. a chance to size me up and see if I have any ideas. Moreover he is willing to have me get an understudy which is suggestive.
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How I wish we could talk it over before the tickets would have to be bought. Dr. Heiser has made reservations for the Montoro,
a Dutch Boat, which leaves Brisbane about Feb. 3, if it sails on time. The strike will probably not affect it as the stewards
We shall probably stay in Melbourne to attend a meeting on Monday. After that I hope to hurry back with Dr. H. or alone,
but it will probably be necessary to stay in Sydney a day if Dr. H. is along.
Please think this all over and see if there would be any way for you to do without me at the critical time. We should of
course have to employ more help and it would probably be necessary to go to a hospital. What think you?
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On Monday, I went to Watson's Bay at the mouth of Sydney Harbor and stayed over night there. In the morning the Makura
came in and I went aboard with Dr. Mitchell, the quarantine officer. We went in a launch and we were probably the first people
on board after the pilot. I saw the American tennis champions and also the Hawaiian and American swimmers.
By the way, I saw Consul Norton about the citizenship of the new baby, and he gave me the forms to fill out. He says that
we have several months to do it in, and can file them through Mr. Tanner. Either parent, or the doctor, can sign them.
I may wire you from Albury asking advice. I feel as if I had
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to make a decision whether to be a brute or a fool. Pleasant, isn't it? I don't feel like the former this beautiful
I shall wire Mr. Palmer our probable date of arrival in Brisbane, probably when we buy tickets. You might phone him and ask
him to let you know. He would probably do so anyway.
You ought really to have two husbands, old sweetheart. Then, if I didn't kill the other one, you would have someone to
look after you when I had to go on trips. Well, I am hoping that I can see the thing more clearly later in the day. I have
not yet recovered from the shock of having the problem thrust on me.