Mrs. Stein continued her secretarial duties for several years after Sabin's retirement in 1938. Her letters provide a
picture of day-to-day work at the Rockefeller Institute, and Sabin's various responsibilities, and convey the affection
Sabin's staff had for her.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (217,072 Bytes)
1938-07-15 (July 15, 1938)
Sabin, Florence R.
Original Repository: Smith College. Sophia Smith Collection. Florence Rena Sabin Papers
Reproduced with permission of Rockefeller University.
At the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, 1925-1938
Box Number: 13
Folder Number: 10
July 15, 1938.
Dear Doctor Sabin:
You must have been bewildered as to why I did not reply to all your beautiful letters sooner, as a matter of fact, as to why,
indeed, I failed to write to you before you left Denver. The truth of the matter is that I did not receive your various missives
until today. You will remember that I had an appointment to see Dr. Traut over at the New York Hospital as soon as you left.
I gathered from him then that he was a little disturbed because he had not been able to do that examination under an anesthetic
and he was somewhat insistent upon my coming into the hospital as soon as possible. I therefore made arrangements to go in
on Sunday and on Monday morning, bright and early, I was prepared for the ordeal and wheeled up to the operating room. The
ether made me extremely ill and I still feel very badly today. Dr. Traut tells me that there is some kind of a tumor in the
general region of the left ovary but apparently not attached to it. He suggested that I do nothing until after my vacation.
I can imagine that the examination must have been very thorough for I could not laugh, cough, sit or stand in comfort until
today. Then there were other complications for when I was ready to leave the hospital I was informed that my case was not
covered by my Associated Hospital benefits which was quite a blow. So you see even at a distance your noble spirit manifests
itself for your extreme generosity lightened the blow no end. What a wonderful person you are! I have had a tear in my eye
ever since that last day when I watched you hurry down the hall on the third floor. It seemed as if all that was fine, generous,
sympathetic, and understanding in my associations at the Institute went with you. I shall never be happy here without you.
There is one bad point to this interruption of my work now. I have been advised to take my vacation now, which means that
I shall not be able to finish the Denison report until my return. In the long run, I think it is probably better, for I should
not like to hurry it through. I want the last report to be a good one and to be done carefully. I am sure Mrs. Swan will
understand. I shall return shortly after the middle of August and will do that the first thing. I did finish the tables
for the manuscript and everything else. When I get around to it, I shall make an extra copy for you and shall send the two
voucher books to Mrs. Swan.
I am so glad that you got space on the Zephyr. It would have been too sad to think of your climbing into an upper berth when
you were so tired and so burdened with luggage.
About your various requests: I did have extra carbon copies of all five papers for Doctor Thomas and I am mailing them to
him today with a covering note. I found the photograph - the chemistry one that goes with the defatted paper - without any
trouble, and sent it to him also.
I think that is very generous of Mrs. Swan to permit Mrs. Gross to keep her award. I have written to her and to Doctor Blankenhorn
in accordance with your instructions.
I was not sure whether you wished to have a carbon copy of last year's Denison report, but in case that is what you meant,
I am sending it to you. It is, however, the copy for my files here and so eventually I should like to have it back. You
need not worry at all about the new report for I shall go over everything carefully and make sure that it is quite complete.
I believe you are starting today for San Diego, I am so sorry I couldn't have gotten a letter off to you before you left,
but ether does awful things to me and I was too ill to raise my head.
I hope I am right, but I seem to remember that you asked me to put that copy of "Good Old Death" by Doctor Sewall
in the package with reprints, etc. to be sent to you to Denver. I am sure that I did put it with those things and trust you
found it. If not, and you will let me know, I shall search for it on my return in August but I am pretty certain that is
what was done with it.
I sealed the two letters in an envelope addressed to Doctor Gasser - one for him and the other for Doctor Dochez as Secretary
of the Board. I think I shall make a fresh copy of the last report as soon as Doctor Smithburn has had a chance to read his
part. I am leaving a note for him and the key to the file.
From today on I shall leave arrangements to have your mail forwarded. Then I shall be glad to take it over again when I get
back. It is a joy to serve you in any way. There are one or two enclosures which you will want to see. Your tribute to
Lilian Welsh has just appeared and two copies of it have been received. I am keeping one here for my collection and am sending
you the other one under separate cover. It looks grand.
Unfortunately I have not a forwarding address at the moment. If one becomes available I shall let you know. We are going
to Mexico with some friends and I do not know where we shall stay. Things have quieted down at the Institute and our laboratory
is empty and sad. Without you in it, anyhow, it could never be the same place. We all felt so safe and happy and congenial
when you were about. Life is sometimes too demanding!
Have a glorious summer, dear Doctor Sabin, and come to see us often, for we all love and admire you beyond words.
I'll finish what I can today and leave in the morning. My deepest thanks to you for your wonderful last minute gift.
It thrilled me beyond words!