[Excerpt from Wilbur A. Sawyer's diary concerning his own yellow fever]
The Rockefeller Foundation's Yellow Fever Laboratory was established in June 1928 and placed under Sawyer's direction.
Like many of the staff who worked with yellow fever virus, Sawyer contracted the disease despite elaborate measures taken
to prevent infection. He entered a brief account of the experience, including daily temperature and pulse readings, in his
NOTE: The chart on pages 209 and 210 is very faint, small, and difficult to read in the original.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
6 (265,083 Bytes)
20 April-18 June 1929
Sawyer, Wilbur A.
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
The Yellow Fever Laboratory: Rockefeller Foundation, 1928-1937
Went to work in the morning feeling about as usual except for a slightly [. . .] head. When I reached the Rockefeller Institute
I had a headache and a beginning backache (small of back) and pains in my thighs. This grew worse and it was evident that
I was coming down with some infectious disease. About 10:30 a.m. I had finished my work and written up the records. So I
went home, walking to the subway, and waiting about an hour for a
[END PAGE ONE]
[BEGIN PAGE TWO]
train at the Grand Central Station. At Hastings I took a taxi and reached home at about 12:30 and went straight to bed, where
I stayed for several weeks. Dr. Russell and Dr. Cole were away on a tour of the IHD's work in the south. My temp. was
102 pulse 93.
Margaret called Dr. Parsons of Doll's Ferry. He considered the ailment as probably "flu". He left some [. .
.] tablets for the [. . .] two nights, but had no trouble with sleeping [. . .] illness[?]. Had "[. . .] quinine",
powerful stuff also, at first.
On Tuesday Dr. Tillet[?] came out from the Rockefeller Institute Hospital to see me, and later Dr. Russell, Dr. Gb[?] and
Dr. Tillet[?] came out. Specimens of urine and blood were taken. The albumin in the urine rose to about 2 1/2 grams per
liter and fell rapidly. Dr. Russell concluded that the disease was in all probability yellow fever. One day Dr. Connor of
the United Fruit Company, formerly of the [. . .] Zone, came out in consultation. On another occasion an ambulance was brought
out from New York, but the decision was not to move me. Personally, I did not
[END PAGE TWO]
[BEGIN PAGE THREE]
[END PAGE THREE]
[BEGIN PAGE FOUR]
[END PAGE FOUR]
[BEGIN PAGE FIVE]
feel very sick or apprehensive. My diet was only orange juice for a while, and then orange juice and vegetable soup. Naturally
I lost much weight.
The office staff sent me some lilies-of-the-valley and a book, "Seven Dials Mystery" by Agatha Christie. Dr. Geo.
E. Vincent sent me a collection of magazines, mostly English,--Puck[?], etc.
May 4, '29
Dr. and Mrs. Simon Flexner gave a dance at the Rockefeller Institute and Margaret and I were invited. Declined on account
of my illness.
[END PAGE FIVE]
[BEGIN PAGE SIX]
May 7. The birthday of Margaret and [. . .]
May 11. Ruth had a birthday party. Among her birthday presents was a croquet set from Gertrude Henderson and a tennis racquet
May 27. With Dr. Russell's approval I returned to work at the laboratory (R. Institute).
In June Dr. Stewart examined my heart and took an electrocardiograph tracing. Heart was normal except for a little "left
prefonderance[?]" which probably was present before the y. fever attack. Have myself [. . .] frequent [. . .] beats on
numerous occasion,--perhaps due to fatigue.
June 18. Attended a luncheon in honor of Dr. Chagas at [. . .] House.
Dr. and Mrs. Paul Hudson had dinner with us on the verandah in Hastings.