Dr. Sawyer took a roundabout route to the 1950 meeting of the American Public Health Association in St. Louis, and visited
daughter Peggy in Winston-Salem, his Rockefeller Foundation colleagues in New York, and his son Bill in Boston on the way.
His letters commented on family, accommodations, and sometimes on social conditions en route.
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1950-10-27 (October 27, 1950)
Sawyer, Wilbur A.
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I am in Bill's study with the door shut and Tommy pounding on it. I arrived before their breakfast and knew I was at
the right house when I heard the chorus of dogs inside. The present dogs seem affectionate, however and don't snarl and
growl and go into a dither as the original Sin did. All the family seem well. Tommy is walking all over the place and giving
in imitation of conversation.
The presents seem to have made a hit, especially the fear and magnetic dog and the cricket basket. I bought a Cinderella
Peep-Show Book of the Folding Book series. It is really very clever. The tray was appreciated by Kitty, who sends her thanks.
It seems to be somewhat warped from tight packing, but ought to straighten out. It is a great relief to have the pressure
taken off the contents of the tags.
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Bill seems pleased with his instructorship. He has no classes now but advises a couple of students doing research, and doubtless
has zone research of his own under way. It is a lovely day--no more rain! The skies are blue and the sun bright. Moreover
you could see your breath this morning.
Yesterday I gave my speech in St. Paul's Chapel at Colombia. I was glad that I had put my outline on cards that I could
hold in my hand, for the promised "reading desk" was just a very low stand with a low transmitter on it for the recording
machine. The second speech was read from a rather faint manuscript of ordinary type, which made for difficulty. Moreover
the papers were rustling over the transmitter and between it and the speaker's mouth. [. . .] there was no intent to
put the wire-recorded speeches on the air, but they will comprise a special issue of the Journal of Social Hygiene.
The chapel was comfortably filled, and I could recognize many old friends in the Audience. Mrs. Blanche Snow was sitting
between the two sons in front, along with the daughters-in-law and at least one grandson. The family were very appreciative
of my speech. Mrs. Snow had detected only one error of fact. That
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ranch at Briggs belonged to Uncle Dan and not to Dr. [. . .] Father, who owned the store. I arranged to have the correction
made in the manuscript--also other minor changes and improvements. The editor had achieved the speech with the manuscript
and expressed astonishment at my following the text word for word apparently without reference to my notes.
Mrs. Miriam English Doll asked after Gertrude and sent her best regards.
Mrs. Snow hopes to visit California and I extended our invitation to come to Berkeley. She said to tell you she had written
thousands of letter to you, all but inking them in. The boys were cordial and very appreciative. Dick said he had learned
a lot he didn't know about his family. In the evening I was guest at the dinner of the Board of Directors of the Am.
Soc. Hyg. Assoc. and had a good feed before taking the midnight train for Boston.
P.S. I suppose you have read in the paper that Dr. Kendall and Dr. Hench received the Nobel Prize. W.