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:
3 (386,382 Bytes)
1938-08-24 (August 24, 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
P.S. The weather in Near York is grand now. There is a good breeze and yet plenty of sunshine.
August 24, 1938.
Dear Doctor Sabin:
I am back at the old post all ready to tackle the various jobs that were left unfinished when we closed shop at vacation time.
Every once in a while I jump up and dash to the door leading to the hallway on the third floor for I seem to imagine I hear
your quick footstep and cheery voice but always my hopes are dashed to the ground and I return to my typewriter with a heavy
heart. The news that I may see you in October has left me simply without restraint. It is wonderful.
Your beautiful letters have put me to shame. I have had to write so many "business" letters in my life time that
I have developed an aversion to writing my own, hence I find myself very lax about applying my energies in that direction.
But I promise to do better, at least as far as you are concerned. I am now feeling well rested and free of that old gnawing
pain in the left side. Doctor Traut didn't seem to feel that an operation was necessary now, so I shall rely upon his
judgment and go to see him at intervals. He has been more than kind to me.
The trip to Mexico was fascinating. The reports in the American newspapers are greatly exaggerated, as you suggested. We
found the Mexican people very peaceful and extremely friendly. Just before we left Mexico we took a trip out to Tampico which
is the site of the old oil boom, when Mr. Doheny and a lot of Americans made thousands of dollars, and even there there was
no display of antagonistic feeling. We went fishing in the Gulf of Mexico with a native and Harvey hooked a huge tarpon.
He played with it for a long time and nearly landed it but the line broke and the fish rushed off with an expensive spoon.
The guide told us that the tarpon has a bony mouth and that even the experts land one out of eleven, so we didn't feel
too badly about it. We had a wonderful trip one day up the steep side of a mountain to a beautiful cave and I must say that
when we started through it each holding a lit candle, with bats flying over our heads, I felt far braver than Tom Sawyer and
was sure that our adventure was a much more daring one. We climbed the mountain on burros with wooden saddles on them which
were none too comfortable. It had grown dark by the time we were ready to descend and I shall never forget that trip down
the mountain. My affection for the burro is immeasurable since that time, for it is such a patient, sure-footed little animal.
All in all, we liked Mexico and the people so much that we hope to return another day to see the things we missed this time.
Another year we may not be so rich there, however, for on account of the expropriation situation the peso was very low; we
got five of them for every United States dollar. We saw a Mexican bullfight one day which I didn't enjoy a lot. But
the Mexicans think it is grand sport and if they approve of the performance of the matador they throw hats, jackets, flowers,
etc. into the arena. The history of Mexico is a strange and interesting one; the Otomies, the Indians who live back in the
hills, certainly look more Mongolian than anything else. You should have heard me talk Spanish. I carried a little dictionary
with me and every time I got caught in the middle of a sentence I looked up a word. The Mexicans thought that was a very
funny procedure and laughed heartily over it.
Now about things here at the Institute. I have just mailed the last two papers for Doctor Smithburn. He has come over regularly
so that a little of the old atmosphere still prevails. He made a few good changes in the scientific report and as soon as
I finish the Denison report, which I hope to work on this afternoon, I shall recopy the former. It is better to have the
last one in perfect form, I think. Doctor Gasser is still in Europe so I shall have it on his desk long before he returns.
I was glad to get the letter from Doctor Willison which you sent in your last letter and I was surprised to learn that he
has gone into practice. I have placed the reprint you enclosed with my collection. I found a number of other reprints of
Denison students with the mail here and I am getting together a fine batch for the next volume. It has taken me hours to
open all the mail (mostly second class material) which I found on my desk, on Doctor Webster's desk and Doctor Olitsky's
desk. I received a nice letter from Doctor Olitsky on my return and had a brief note from Doctor Webster before I left on
my vacation. Otherwise things are quiet. I am still in the old room with no word as to where I shall rest my head next.
It is going to be frightfully hard to bear up without your guidance and incomparable personality. I dread to think of it.
I have just spoken with the Publication office about your papers. They tell me that all six articles (which includes the
tuberculo-protein - tuberculo-phosphatide with Doctor Smithburn) have been accepted for publication in various numbers of
the J.E.M. starting with the September issue. I cannot possibly tell you how delighted I am over this information. It is
glorious to think that your beautiful work has received its just recognition. I wonder whether you were bothered with corrections
during the summer. I only have the information that they have all been accepted and I can hardly believe that we were "let
off", so to speak, as easily as that. Now the last-minute work in June and July seems, in retrospect, to have been a
lot of fun. I am so glad about it all.
I spoke with Mr. Login over the telephone about a bill dated July 27th. He told me that he had received your check to cover
it and that everything was straight. The last volume of the J.E.M., all nicely bound, is here. He asked me whether you had
any journals or books for sale. He said if you do have any he would be very glad to buy them. He also asked me to tell you
that if you plan to be in New York during the coming year he would like to stop by to greet you. He told me that he and known
and admired you (as we all do) for many years.
With reference to the inquiry from Mr. Evens Clark of the Twentieth Century Fund which you mentioned, I have spoken with his
secretary on the telephone. I learned that a questionnaire is being prepared by the Fund and that a copy of it will be sent
here to the Institute. The Fund, it appears, is preparing a report on various grants and fellowships which are available
in different fields of endeavor. In no case do they mention the names of the students so we don't have to worry about
that. They merely state the amounts available but in the case of the Denison Foundation they inform me that a note would
be added to indicate that the Foundation has been disbanded. I can probably answer the questions but if you think it wiser
to do so, I shall forward the questionnaire to you when it comes, or better still, I shall fill in the information in pencil
and you can pass judgment on it. There doesn't seem to be any particular haste in the matter for I imagine the Fund is
compiling data on many Foundations. In any case, I have informed Mr. Clark's secretary that the questionnaire will receive
attention when it arrives. You need not be troubled over the condition of the Denison report. As soon as I get at it I am
sure I shall have no trouble in putting it into final form. I wanted to have it finished sooner but there have been many
details to put out of the way. I was able to send a copy of the chapter on Normal Bone Marrow to the person requesting one.
Twenty-six tear sheets were sent you, thirteen of which I forwarded to Doctor Miller. I mailed copies to Doctors Doan, Wiseman,
Thomas, Cunningham, Forkner, and White and have given a copy to Doctor Smithburn; also to Doctor Joyner. I wonder whether
Mrs. Sewall received the reprints of Doctor Sewall's paper in the July number of the Review. The few copies you asked
for have arrived so I imagine she has received hers.
The only address I have for Mrs. Fuller is: 1820 South Main Street, Winston-Salem, N.C. I believe she can be reached there.
It seems that our respective families are in a marital mood, only in my case there will be lots of complications. Just as
brother seemed to be firmly entrenched in a position to be of value to the folks in Bronxville, he became ensnared by a Bronxville
damsel and is giving her an engagement ring this week and there are rumors of his plan to be married in January. I can hardly
believe it. We like the girl and can hardly interfere with his plans but it is going to be hard all around.
Your letters are a source of great pleasure for me. I am saving the lovely card showing Black Canyon. Some day, perhaps
even next summer, we hope to make the trip to the West coast, especially now that we have passed through every state East
of the Mississippi and a few West of that muddy stream. It's exciting to see one's own country and I didn't realize
before what a huge one this is. The state of Texas is a whole country in itself!
I wanted to have this letter reach you at San Diego but your last one telling me that you are leaving there on the 25th has
just arrived so of course there is not time to send it there. I hope you find it as soon as you reach Denver. Don't
come back East until you want to but it will be grand to see you. I feel selfish in urging you to come at all but even the
thought of not seeing you for a long time is too much to bear. Call on me for anything at all. You must know how I feel
about being of any service to you.