Description

    FDR on doctors, "...there are such vast numbers of quacks..."

    Franklin D. Roosevelt: Typed Letter Signed as New York Governor.
    -July 22, 1929. Albany, New York. One page. 8" x 10.5". State of New York letterhead.
    -To: Victor Watson, Managing Editor of the New York American.
    -Extra original folds, else near fine.

    In this letter referring to the medical profession, FDR writes (in part): "That mighty interesting letter of yours I find on my return from the Governors' Conference and it has taken away my general fear that the newspaper fraternity at New London spoiled all possible usefulness of the conference by egging on a lot of fool Governors to orate on Prohibition. First of all let me tell you that you are dead right about the sinus problem and the need for doing something. I am interested in your friend Poe and he sounds like the type that ought to be encouraged, not only by us laymen, but also by the medical profession. That brings up the question of the great difficulty any new work has in breaking into good standing with the medical profession. One cannot blame them wholly, as there are such vast numbers of quacks, but there are enough of the right sort of Doctors to take it up and push it. I wish much that I could sit down and have a talk with you about the general scope of the State's work for the sick."


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    Wonderful personal and lengthy letter on State of New York, Executive Chamber, Albany stationery, dated July 22, 1929 to Mr. Victor Watson, Managing Editor of the New York American, marked "Private." FDR writes: "My dear Mr. Watson:–/ That mighty interesting letter of yours I find on my return form the Governors' Conference and it has taken away my general fear that the newspaper fraternity at New London spoiled all possible usefulness of the conference by egging on a lot of fool Governors to orate on Prohibition./ First of all let me tell you that you are dead right about the sinus problem and the need for doing something. I am interested in your friend Poe and he sounds like the type that ought to be encouraged, not only by us laymen, but also by the medical profession. That brings up the question of the great difficulty any new work has in breaking into good standing with the medical profession. One cannot blame them wholly, as there are such vast numbers of quacks, but there are enough of the right sort of Doctors to take it up and push it./ I wish much that I could sit down and have a talk with you about the general scope of the State's work for the sick. So far the State has undertaken only the care of the insane, the mental defectives, the juvenile delinquents (who are, after all, medical cases), in one institution the crippled children and in one institution in Buffalo the cancer cases. Query: How far can the State go in establishing clinics for other types of diseases?/ After all, the general run of diseases is taken care of by county and city hospitals and clinics and by smaller private institutions. The great question is–where does one work begin and the other leave off?/ I wish you could see Dr. Nicoll and have a good talk with him about the general problem. Perhaps we can get somewhere and accomplish something./ In any event, I shall hope to see you in New York some day and discuss it further./ Very sincerely yours,/ Franklin D. Roosevelt." A most interesting personal letter touching on a number of issues: Prohibition, where FDR refers to several of his colleagues as "fool Governors," his own persistent sinus problems and possible cures, where FDR refers to the "vast numbers of quacks" in the medical profession, and most importantly the responsibility of the State to provide for the medical welfare of its citizens. Quite a remarkable letter with regard to the range of topics discussed, and the language employed by FDR to make his points and query Mr. Watson.



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    June, 2008
    7th Saturday
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