In January 1924, the Sawyer family left Australia, returning to New York via Ceylon, India, Egypt, and Europe. Dr. Sawyer
spent several weeks inspecting hookworm and malaria control campaigns in Ceylon, then went on ahead to do similar work in
India. The family, meanwhile stayed in Ceylon to wait for Dr. Sawyer's mother to arrive from Shanghai, China, and then
joined Dr. Sawyer in Bombay on April 12th. In this letter, he comments on some of the minor annoyances of traveling in India,
such as a pet mongoose that likes to hide in visitors' suitcases.
The "Conjeerenam" referred to by Sawyer in the letter is likely Kanchipuram, the "Golden City of a thousand temples,"
and one of the seven sacred cities of India, about 70 kilometers from Madras.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
4 (177,234 Bytes)
1924-03-29 (March 29, 1924)
Sawyer, Wilbur A.
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
From Hookworm to Yellow Fever: Rockefeller Foundation, 1919-1927
Just a line before I put on my hot blue clothes to go to the Gov't House to luncheon. I am advised to wear blue. They
say silk would be too comfortable for a vice-regal function.
Yesterday and the day before I went to Ranipet 70 miles away to see our work there. When we arrived the Brahmin physicians
in charge of the local work put a wreath of jasmine around my neck and had an assistant fan me during my stay in the office.
In the evening we drove to a village 12 miles
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miles further off to hear an out-door lecture in Tamil on poochies by another one of the Hookworm doctors. Again was I invested
with jasmine and this time before the multitude before the temple. I left my wreath on with the result that the bits of red
wool that decorated the wreath stained my coat. But what of that,-it should wash out!
I spent the night with Dr. Galen Scudder, one of the Group that Dr. Flora Innes is with at Vellore, a few miles further on.
Dr. Innes was away and I had no time to go further.
Providence guided me to Ranipet on one of the two
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weekly ice-cream days in the Scudder household. I lived up to American traditions.
Yesterday we drove straight through to Madras in a ratty Ford. We stopped to refresh ourselves with plantain and coconut,
our only food and drink all day, at Conjeerenam [sic], one of the seven great Hindu temples of India.
To day I have packed. I removed the mongoose from my suit-case three times and think he is not in with my clothing now.
He has a reputation for burrowing into the cushion of one of the chairs in the drawing room, but no-one has sat heavily on
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Address me in care of the Am-Consul at Calcutta or Bombay.
I hope you all have a very good time at Nuwara Eliya. Give Mother my best love when she arrives.
The enclosed tinsel is off my last huge wreath of jasmine. Look out for the red stuff,--it stains. The tinsel's best
for the time being.
I hope it has not been altogether too hot in Colombo. It is hot and dry here and Velore is already declared a famine area.
The last monsoon failed.