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The Wilbur A. Sawyer Papers

Letter from Wilbur A. Sawyer to Margaret Sawyer pdf (376,321 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Wilbur A. Sawyer to Margaret Sawyer
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. This letter shows that Sawyer was not enthusiastic about living in New York, and became less so upon hearing of Mrs. Sawyer's difficulties with bedbugs in the family's new living quarters.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
6 (376,321 Bytes)
1924-10-01 (October 1, 1924)
Sawyer, Wilbur A.
Sawyer, Margaret
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Public Health
Exhibit Category:
From Hookworm to Yellow Fever: Rockefeller Foundation, 1919-1927
Box Number: 2
Folder Number: 4
Unique Identifier:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1911-1995
SubSeries: Personal correspondence, 1911-1995
Folder: 1924
October 1, 1924
Dear Margaret:
Your letter came just as I was starting with Dr. and Mrs. Smillie and Baby Louise for Montgomery. Dr. Heiser wired to me suggesting that I visit the Industrial Hygiene works at Birmingham. So I expect to leave for that city to-morrow.
Alabama is much finer than your description of New York. At Andalusia I had a large bed-room with open fire-place, all spotlessly clean, and a private dressing room and bath room connected with it. Across the street was
a boarding house where I received good meals with the company of a bevy of school-teachers and two young doctors, for $1.25 per day. Soda-fountain drinks are still five cents each down there and the school buildings are fine with big grounds. The people have real Southern pride. The nice lady who rented me my fine room explained that she gave the money to the church, and the lady who gave me board told me how she happened to take in a few boarders to swell the household to a convenient size. They are nice people. There was an extra empty bed in the room. They suggested I bring the family next time.
Your letter has not increased my love for New York. If I had picked out the flat I would not dare to come home. As it is I feel more and more like buying a steamer ticket and deferring the agony of finding a home and cleaning it up, and then wasting one third of one's usable daytime in trains or underground tunnels.
Dr. Smillie lived near Princeton when he was stationed in New York. He liked it there.
I have no more faith in short-cut methods of removing bed-bugs than you have. There ought to be bed-bug specialists in New York to fumigate flats that are infested. It ought not to take much sulphur in such small closed spaces to make the bed-bugs cough themselves to death. But what would the family do in the meanwhile? Anyway, you have the piano and victrola and "Old Black Joe" to gladden the occasion, and there will be enough people in each bed to keep them all warm this winter. And it will take only three quarters of an hour to go to the office through the mole burrow,
and we may get sent to Japan in January. Everyone I have heard express an opinion would like to go to Japan. Just think of weeks on a clean ship and after that--cherry blossoms.
Answer me one question. Why do things cost about twice as much in New York as here? Enclosed are three vaccination certificates. If they will not do I will try again after getting home. Even a flat with B.B's is HOME if you are there, Old Sweetheart.
You and Freda will have to trip around a bit while the rest of us take care of the flat. I can still boil eggs, and fry French toast; and you will need a vacation from the flat.
We are having a northerly wind and cold weather. It must be quite chilly in N.Y., but then these flats are said to be always overheated!
Did you know that the black belt of Alabama was named after the color of the soil? We crossed it this afternoon. Also did you know that your new Howe sewing machine was named after the American inventor of the sewing machine, Elias Howe?
Good night, Sweetest,
P.S. Did you know that "Sugar" was outrivaling "Honey" as a term of endearment. It may be "Sac[c]harin" next. W.
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