Walter E. Dandy Letters

We are proud to host the transcripts of Walter E. Dandy’s correspondence with his family. These letters illustrate the personal side of this neurosurgical genius, spanning his early college education through senior tenure at Johns Hopkins Medical School.

October 31, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

October 31, 1910

Well My Dear Boy,

The reading of your letter just received gives us much satisfaction to learn how good your prospects are for the future. I feel we ought to be very thankful for our present and future prospects.

Well I am pleased your A.M. is in sight. It will look big to me. I almost think I ought to have it as you probably would not have got it except for me pushing. I tell you my boy can't get any too many degrees to suite me. He ought to be covered with them like the heavens are with stars on a bright cold night.

The mists all seem to be clearing away and can see awer way clear to come and be with awer boy. I think it will even be done if Mama does not use her authority and make me quit. I told Mrs. Bremer that we would move out next month. So you had better look out for us. A house in town for the winter and we can look around for summer.…

Your affectionate Father


November 1, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

c. November, 1910

My Dear Son,

…Our pass runs out the 15th of December and we want to leave here about the first of December or sooner. I think I would rather prefer going on the Limited to St. Louis and stay all night there. Then get a sleeper from Cincinnati to Cumberland which will cost $2. So you will have to hurry and get a house and let us know. I thought I would go in my old clothes and not spoil my nice suit and hat and you take us to some hotel where they would not know us till we get dressed up before going to a place where you are known. What do you say about it.

I sold the hanging lamp for 75 cents and the old lounge for $1 today.

Mrs. B. came down and had supper. She doesn't seem to mind us going away. I think she rather likes it that Pa won't make any more money.

She says Polly's a gem and Foraker is fine.

Your loving Mother


November 1, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

c. November, 1910

My Dear Boy,

…Well I just got letter from Engineers General Chairman. He states we have no case because of haveing waited to long in making protest. However I think we will go further with the case.

Well we have been haveing some good runs except last time on 6 we had to work hard. It was foggy and slippery rail but we managed to make the time.

I felt satisfied you would have got to see D. Cushing at Thanksgiving.

I felt sorry for Dr. Mall. He should not treat you cold because you use your own individuality in determing the course you wish to persue. I think it makes a man small when he thinks others should follow him regardless of their choise to do so.…

Your affectionate Father


November 1, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

c. November, 1910

My Dear Son,

…We will have to buy pretty near all new furniture. We thought of taking our old parlor couch but John wanted to buy it, give $2 for it. Pa thought of taking it to lounge on but it is not very comfortable and we have decided to let him have it.

Don't put yourself to too much trouble about getting a house if you have not time to spare. Don't try to get to fine a house for the present. Just a nice comfortable house is all that is necessary.

We did not buy a trunk. They are very high. I don't like a trunk in a room.… We got a big wooden box that will answer our purpose better. If you have not a house we will have to store them till we get one. I would rather you had a house so we could take them there. Don't try to get the cream (of a house), the milk will be good if it is convenient…but I do draw the line on a basement for a kitchen.

Pa went out last night. He says he will work till his pass comes. I think that won't be long. Miss Florence Minnier came for me to go driving. I did not go, I was busy. I expect I am the only one on this street has had an invitation for some reason or other.

Dear Walter please send me another silver wedding letter as good as last if possible. I want to show it to Mrs. Minnier. No good to show silver without letter. Please send as soon as you get this. I feel sorry to have to ask you, but I must have another. Pa feels as bad as I do over it. Can't find it.

Your loving Mother


November 3, 1910

Baltimore, Md.

November 3, 1910

Dear Mother and Father,

Just received your letter and glad to know you have made, and are making further preparation to come to Baltimore soon. Will be glad when you get here as I am getting pretty tired of boarding house hash.

Well, have been doing some good hard work lately. Dr. Cushing came over last night at 6 P.M. just as I was going to supper and said come on Dandy and help us do an autopsy on a baby who died of hydrocephalus. When we got there he said go get your supper. I came back and worked till 10 o'clock, then got up at 7 A.M. and worked until 6 P.M. with about ½ hour off for dinner. He seemed very enthusiastic about the work.

Last Sunday he called me up and asked me to come over for supper. Had a nice time. Said he wanted to beat me at a game of tennis some time soon. I told him I didn't think he could do it.

The fellow who preceded me is writing up a thing which I discovered and isn't making much progress. I told Dr. Cushing today I didn't think it was right as I had found it and then for him to write it up and get the credit for it. Dr. Cushing said I know you found it and then something else interrupted and never got to finish. I am going to see more about it. Dr. Mall said I shouldn't stand for it at all, so I shall politically object.

Well, Sears, Roebuck & Co. did not buy the Buick machines. That was a mistake.

Took out a dogs hypothalmus yesterday, and in afternoon he was hopping around as if nothing had happened. In two weeks he will be dead.

They are having a big aviation week here this week beginning yesterday. $50,000 in prizes. One of the newspapers gave a $5,000 purse to Latham, the biggest aviator in the world to fly over the whole city Saturday, so if weather is good expect to get first sight of one in action.

See Dr. Mall occasionally. He is very nice and is very much interested in what I am doing. He and Dr. Cushing have diametrically opposite views on the work I am now on and it will be interesting to see which is right. At present Dr. Cushing seems to be right. Dr. Mall says I will have to show him before he will believe it and I guess I will too. Everything looks very encouraging and I am very enthusiastic and could not yet think of a place I would have cared for nearly so well, but I only hope you will be satisfied when you get here and I don't see why you shouldn't.

Well I am glad to know you are so well as I am also at present. Feel so well I can't quit working. Which is a pretty good sign.

Your loving son, Walter



I would bring a lamp if I were you just for an emergency. Wouldn't bring much furniture. The house is heated with coal and cook with gas. Glad you got such a nice suit and hat. Mine looks fine. Got paid twice now $41.35 each time. Almost all of one check went for suit. Now will have to get an overcoat which will cost about $20-$25. Got $5 for an operation the other day, $1 for another but it all goes to the laboratory.

Will look around for a house - rent it from December 1 if possible and if I can get what I want. Not over $25 rent.


November 6, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

November 6, 1910

Well My Dear Boy,

…Just think of me being the father of one of the brightest boys in America, already in possession of A.B., M.D. and A.M. and more coming. Well I think the man that would steal your honnors that you discovered is very contemptable and loathsom, yet it is credable to you and you will eventually reap the reward for his infringement. And he will become loathsom to the men higher up and you will pass him in the senior rank as if he was simply a dead letter.

Well their is not much new in regard to moveing except I am getting anxious to come to Baltimore to live with my boy.… Which train do you think is best for us to come on providing passes are good on all trains? The one we now have from St. Louis to Parkersville is good on any train. Also had we better arrainge to get in Baltimore when you are not working, say on Saturday or Sunday? Or does it make any difference to you? Also would you advise us stopping over at night or take sleeper and come through. We prefer to leave here on the Limited. Then if we come through without stopping would put us in Baltimore at 3:42 A.M. which would not be nicer for you, wouldn't it. Mama wants you to arraing awer train that we come on.

Well I did not get the Limited. In fact I did not sign for it when I went over at night to go on 4. I noticed that Frank Youker had signed for it, and he is older than me so I never let on. Well last week trains have been late due to bad foaming water in Texas, so we are told. However, it is doubtfull if this report is true, as we were on time last trip and I have not heard of rains in Texas to change the condition of water unless they are using something to prevent engines from foaming.…

Well I think I had better close and put away my shoes etc. as I am just getting jacked up for being disorderly, etc. So if the R.R. news is shy you know who to blame. If I don't get them away quick she is not going to let me come to Baltimore but make me keep working. So I had better do as I am told as I want to come to Baltimore. Don't you think I had?…

Mama will tell you about awer banquet at Battersbys and presents from your Aunt.…

Your affectionate Father


November 6, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

November 6, 1910

My Dear Son,

I can't tell you how pleased Pa is over your going to get your A.M. I thought you would not get it till next year, but he insists you have it. He tells people you have 3 degrees now. Miss Lowry came in and he showed her the card where you where going to get your A.M. I don't know whether she understood what it meant or not. She is a nice girl. She has two rooms accross the street from her own home. She goes out for dinner, cooks her breakfast and supper. She was bragging about you. What she thought about you. She said she had a card from you and would write to you soon.

Well Mrs. B. came home last Monday. Polly phoned and asked us to come for supper. They had Gornals and Jakemans and us. You will see in the paper where Mrs. H.O. Foraker entertained for her mother. They did not give the names of their company. That would have spoiled the whole thing. Mrs. B. looked well, gained 15 lbs while away. She talked and talked all the time about England in such a silly way. Pa and I was disgusted, not a bit sensible. She brought me a few little things, pair of gloves, a belt, a doily and a collar. They are very nice. And Pa two ties. I did not expect anything as she said before leaving she would neither take presents or fetch any back. Mrs. Todd sent Papa and you each a muffler and me a bag.

Foraker looked thin, not very well. Polly seems to be happy with him. I went in my new suit. I don't suppose they would like it very well because of not buying it there. Polly never said anything about it. She had ice cream. When Pa had eaten about half, he found a long black hair in it. Here he was a pulling and pulling to get it out. Finally it broke. I couldn't keep from laughing to see how hard he tried to get it out. I nugged him to leave it. I was afraid they would see him. I guess he hated to part with the ice cream. You would have laughed if you had been there to see him trying to pull it out.

Opal Rose came in the other day. She says they have bought a piano. I thought that is just like them. She looked as if she needed something to eat and some clothes more than a piano. $350 I believe she said. I expect it will be some time before it is paid for.

I guess you read about Teddy Atkinson being lost, or at least they don't know what has become of him. He went off to break in a horse and has not returned yet. They are afraid he has met with foul play.

We are having nice weather here, a little cold. We got a dollars worth of wood. I think we will take a good many things with us.… Pa is getting quite ready and willing to go. Let us know what day would be most convenient for you that we come. You said you would tell us how to get a sleeper cheap so you might tell us. 5 room house will be large enough for us.…

Did you notice Pa's excuse for not writing any more this time because I scolded him for not putting his shoes away. You tell him he aught to put them away before he started.

Your loving Mother



Glad Cushing is so nice to you. I hope yor work comes out satisfactorly. When will you know or when will you have it finished.


November 12, 1910

1214 Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

November 12, 1910

My Dear Boy,

…Mama says you are the brightest boy in the world and that your next position is partner with Dr. Cushing. Then she rebukes me for not deciding sooner that I would go to Baltimore saying I aught to be willing to go anyware for you and put implicit confidence in you as protector for our future needs. But wile all this looks good on paper, and sounds nice to hear her say it and to see her face beam when telling me it, it reminds me of our old saying "live horse and though shalt have grass" for I think your little check at the present would look small in supplying all our needs.

Well I am ready and willing and anxious to come to Baltimore and just as soon as you get a house notify us and we will ship awer furniture as it will take about 15 days to get them. And we can stay here a few days after shipping them. As you see awer arrival depends on you getting house or arranging for it so we won't have to pay storage on it after arrival. We have decided to keep a few things after shipping other furniture, some of which we will bring with us to start housekeeping with. The others sell, and buy new ones in Baltimore so we won't have to board so long.…

Connie Doyle has gone back to work. He told me to day that he passed 4 stones a few days ago.

Well the runs are about the same. Had 10 cars south last trip. I had Dr. Yancy come when we was takeing water and asked me if I would let him off at Rockville. He was going to hunt. I told him yes, but just after the Supt. came by and said he was going with us to find out why No. 5 had not been makeing the time. So at Clinton the conductor told me to let Dr. Yancy off at the tank at Schell City if I took water their so I gathered from that Dr. Yancy did not want me to stop for him at Rockville for fear of trouble.

I suppose you saw where negotiations between engineers and the companys have ceased on the wage issue. We are now having strike vote taken. I think the men here will be game, even if they loose, for if they are not game they will loose anyway, as it would not be long before they would claim they had to reduce salary and change working conditions And therefore might as well have it now.

Your affectionate Father


November 16, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

November 16, 1910

My Dear Son,

…Well in regard to the house you speak off, I think that is a pretty big rent and larger than is necessary. 5 rooms would be plenty. Two bedrooms is enough as I would not want to furnish more than two and a kitchen, dining room and parlor. In the paper you sent there were a good many houses for rent. One was on N. Broadway. Some of them modern at $18 I believe. If I can find the paper will send you the list of them.

As regards taking a lease on the house we might not want to stay. We might want to live in the suburbs in spring as we might like to have a garden. Now this is my opinion. When Pa comes in in the morning will have him give you his opinion in the matter. I don't know whether he will work all this month or not.…

Mrs. B. told Stanley there was another feather bed for him when he came. I thought that was what Stanley was figuring on when he told the Mother to not let them live with her as she would not put up with Foraker's attention to Polly. I have an idea F. has not very much money and probably could not afford to go to housekeeping. Mrs. B. said the first morning Foraker was there for breakfast she could hardly bear to see him at the table. She thought it ought to have been Stanley that sat there. So I don't know which will get the place at her table. She said Stanley was only beginning to realize what it was to be married. I suppose he finds a big responsibility on his hands and not much coming in. I think he would have been better to have waited till he was sure of something coming in. Neither can be happy under the circumstances.

They go a great deal to Mrs. Gornals. She is very foolish to tell family affairs to anyone. Mrs. Gornal says you must have forgotten them as she has not heard from you. She said Mrs. Amos gave Polly a cut glass set, 3 pieces. Mrs. B. said good for Mrs. Amos. She has acted so ridiculous I feel disgusted with them.…

Maybe you had better not ask for the book if you don't need it. Kelly might not like you to send for it.

That Dr. Cushing is certainly great. If you don't get on with him you must not be dissappointed. I hope you get what you want. But sometimes it is very hard to get that, but whatever you get, I hope it will be according to God's will and may he lead you every step of the way. Sometimes our ways are not his ways nor our thoughts his thoughts. But he doeth all things well.

I like my neighbor fine. Her only child and son died when he was 23 years old, six years ago. She says it probably was all for the best. She comes in a great deal and I enjoy her company. We exchange quite a good deal of cooking. I can eat anything she cooks.…

Your loving Mother


November 17, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

November 17, 1910

My Dear Boy,

…I think your idea of leasing for 6 months is good to avoid moveing all the time and if property and location is suitable better pay more eaven if we have one room more than we need. We need not furnish it. I think we had better leave you to be judge in the matter as you are better aquainted with conditions but I think if in the mean time you have not found anything better you had better lease what you have got in view of your thought you would move in subberbs in summer. A 6 month lease would hold you till all desirable subberban resedences was occupied probley. However we can't get everything to awer liking so you do just what you think is best and it will be satisfactory to me. Did you consult any rental agencies. They might have something to suite you. What you have got in view looks good to me as it is close to your work.…

Your affectionate Father


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