Dr. Sawyer was in Georgia and Alabama inspecting malaria and hookworm control programs from late August to early October 1924,
while his family finished a vacation in northern Michigan and prepared to move back to New York City. In this letter Sawyer
described some of the health problems he had seen while making the rounds with local Rockefeller Foundation representative
Dr. W. G. Smillie.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
3 (174,081 Bytes)
1924-09-24 (September 24, 1924)
Sawyer, Wilbur A.
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Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
From Hookworm to Yellow Fever: Rockefeller Foundation, 1919-1927
If you saw the rivers of tears I am shedding you would sit right down and write me a letter with a sponge or blotter enclosed.
Another day and no letter. The office staff thinks my wife is a fiction and the Secretary has offered to write me a letter
if I do not get one soon. Even Peggy seems to have forgotten her old man pops.
Yesterday I played with hookworm statistics, and the day before Dr. Smillie and I drove out in the country to investigate
thyroid and tuberculosis cases. Rural Queenslanders live in palaces compared to
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the rough cabins of the white farmers here. You can hardly imagine the depths of ignorance and physical degradation of many
of the people. At one house we went to see a case of tuberculosis in the mother of the family. We found that her husband
had died of tuberculosis, her 18 year old daughter had advanced tuberculosis, her 16 year old daughter was in bed with the
survivor of a pair of illegitimate twins born four days before. An assortment of younger children and grandchildren were
floating about the place and viewing what the future had for them. And this was only a sample. Most of the farmers seem
to be tenants and to move most every year, adding failure to failure. When they are talked to about health precautions about
one idea out of ten seems to penetrate the drawn and impassive face with mouth hanging slightly open, and that idea is not
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The last two days have been comfortable, but before that it was very hot here. Real tropical heat. People were wearing thin
clothes,--palm beech or just plain cotton. Most people went about without coats.
Have you heard anything from Freda Bage? I hope you will have room enough so that she can visit you without overcrowding.
I suppose I will be back before then.
What do you think of this for a combination of business? There is a shop here that makes coffins and sanitary privies. I
suppose one business falls as the other rises, and the firm cannot lose.