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.

April 25, 1909

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

April 25, 1909

My Dear Son,

…I must say that if you are as hard to please in picking wife as your are in suite of cloths I despare in ever being able to pick you one even if I have had practical experience. I picked a good wife the first time I saw her. And it did not take me but a few minutes to decide on my Silvereen suite and I am well satisfied with both of these selections.

I think you must take after Mama in these respects as you know she had many suiters and she could not make up her mind till she saw me. Then she was easey. When she buys a new hat I have to go with her to every store in town. Some of them 2 or 3 times over for final selection. And after all this has been done, not satisfied in the result.

I read the artical in Harpers Monthly on surgery. It was fine. The only thing I saw wrong with it was that you was not the one that done those fine operations. But I feel satisfied that you will yet do greater things than these.…

Your affectionate Father


May 1, 1909

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

c. May 1909

My Dear Son,

…He [Stanley] said they made $600 month before last and $500 last month. He says he went to a poor mans house. He did not want to go. Had only one bed. But he says he made $85 out of going. He took the man's 4 cows and sold them before he got them to the pasture. I told Papa about it. He thought that was an awful thing to do to a poor man. I thought it was strange that Stanley did not go in partners when there was all that money to be made there.

Mrs. Gornal is going to get them a piece of furniture. She said Mrs. B. got John such a beautiful piece that she would have to get him something nice. Stanley looked through this house. He said he would like to steal it. He thought it very nice.

Your loving Mother


May 4, 1909

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

May 4, 1909

My Dear Son,

…Sorry you have so many hard exams ahead of you. We like to hear of you making fine grades, but we don't want you to make them if it is in any way injurious to your health. Make that your first consideration. I want to see you looking fine when you come home.

We can't decide for you now what is best for you to do. We would like to be able to see what is best for you but that is beyond our reach and now we have full confidence in your judgment and that you will be able to see what is best for you to do. When school is out we would want and desire you home all the time. But that would not be for your good. 4 months would not be long enough nor half long enough to have you at home. But you would hardly be satisfied with having nothing to do. And I would not like to see you dissatisfied, so if you desire to stay one or two months longer we will be satisfied for you to stay.

We talked the matter over about you going to New York or staying in Baltimore for a few weeks and we thought that if you could get in and work with Dr. Cushing it would benefit you more than going to New York. And I would think the maternity work would be as good in Baltimore as in New York. And if it is only to see the city you would like to go for you could go some other time for that purpose. If you could get in with Dr. Cushing and it would be a future benefit to you I believe I would prefer you take that. Of course you do what you think is best for you. You understand those things better than we do.…

Stanley B. came in on Sunday. He thanked me for the present. He thought it was fine. I bought him some knives and forks. He said he thought it best to get married as she could be a good help to him. He says Dr. Schwald is going to leave Cole Camp.…

Your loving Mother


May 8, 1909

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

May 8, 1909

My Dear Son,

…Glad to hear you have got two exams over, and done well. That Dr. Cushing is certainly a great man. While reading about him and his wonderful operations I felt myself wishing wouldn't I like to hear of my boy doing those wonderful operations. I believe some one someday will say just such grand things about you as you have said about Dr. Cushing. I would like you could get to work with him a while this Summer, a month or six weeks. I just said to Papa today if I were you I would go to him myself and make your desires known to him, that you would like to work with him. I believe he would be glad to help a young man like you.…

Mrs. B. came the day after she came home. She seems to feel all right about the wedding now. She says she is not nice looking but she is not ugly (the bride). She says she is thirty. She says Stanley had a nerve to take a girl from such a fine home to such a ranch as Cole Camp. Polly and the mother stayed a couple of days in Hannibal. Got a rig and took the town in.

Mrs. B. was dressed in light silk or satin. She bought Stanley a dinning room suite. They have only furnished 3 rooms. Mrs. Gornal bought them a parlor table, and Mrs. Jakeman bought them a rocking chair.

Mrs. B. is thinking of going to England on a visit. Stanley wants her to go and not stay long. He says if she is thinking of staying there, he won't let her go. (Stanley is very particular I know.) The mother says after he got married he left the bride and came and leaned on the back of her chair 4 times. Stanley knows how to please the mother. Looks as if they were spending lots of money now. Strange if it lasts many years.

Polly came in for the mother to fetch her home. She had been at some social, and was hurrying home to change her dress to go to some place with Foraker. Dr. Coontz I think that was the name of the young man that was at the wedding, one of Stanley's chums. Polly says he is a fine looking man and a large man. It is a wonder she did not make a mash on him. Papa wonders why she don't catch some of these Doctors. He says it must be her manner. (I don't believe she is giving any music lessons now.)

They carried a loaf of home made bread from Hannibal for their supper. They would sooner do that than bake a loaf. I would like to see the bride. Gornal saw them at the depot. He says she is not nice looking.

I hope your suit fits this time.… Just got our tomatoes in, hope it don't freeze. As soon as you decide what you are going to do let us know.…

Your loving Mother


June 1, 1909

1323 E. 5th St.

Sedalia, Mo.

c. January 1909

My Dear Son,

…I believe we will stay here till you graduate. Papa said to me the other day do you think you could make yourself satisfied in England without your boy. I believe he was expressing his own feelings. He is just happy when he can be telling about his boy to everybody, and how well he is getting along.…

Mrs. B. said for me to say Hello for her to you. She said Polly said you never answered her letter. She guessed you were taken up to much with the Baltimorians.

Your loving Mother


June 7, 1909

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

June 7, 1909

My Dear Boy,

We got your 2 letters yesterday morning just as I got home from a nice trip. They was just in time or rather a little late as Mama was beginning to increase her digestive troubles by woring if you had got back from Getysburg. Or if some one was holding you up in the slums of New York. But as soon as the letters arrived you was the best boy on earth and all the good things in earth are for you.

She sent me upstairs yesterday to get some jelly. Any kind would do. So I brought what turned out to be crabapple and eating it this A.M. It was so good she thought she would keep it for you as you don't get any of it and it would be nice for you with some home made bread and good butter.

Well I was pleased to hear of your success in being amongst the first 10. Also your success in casting lots for place. But it looks to me as though you was right in the swim when you got the concesion from Dr. Cushing to work for him. And while I don't know what it is you do I hope it will not be long till you are able to demonstrate to him that you know your business and that he made no mistake in letting you work with him. It must have taxed the limit of your nerve to follow him in order to get to work with him.

Say if your new business is what they call aleineast [analyst] or rather a person determines if a man is crazy or not, I want you when you come home to tell me if N.J. Finney is not crazy. I don't think you need be very proficient in order to do it. The last time I went south he was at Nevada on the platform with his watch held up and makeing gestures of satisfaction because we was on time. He comes over to the engine when we stopped. The fireman was buisy cleaning his flues. Of course he had the blower on and I was on the other side and Finney told him to shut of the blower. It was makeing to darnd much noise. The fireman paid no attention to him. So he meets me. as I was coming round and says good morning John quite fussey or pleased. Then he says "John what as the fireman got the blower on for.… I say he will be cleaning of his flues. "Oh excuse me. Give me your hand John. I want to shake hands with you." The conductor can read ordors and was ready to go. Just as we was leaving the auditor was on the steps and he shouts to him charge everybody 3 cents.

Well my little Boss just read the other peice of this letter and she says to tell you she is feeling good as you would not beleive her. I think she is pretty good. But you insist on your instructions being carried out. Expecialy washing and ironing.

Your affectionate Father



P.S. No news of Pass as yet, but think it will be on time. I have to stem berries for short cake when I finish this.


September 1, 1909

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

c. September 1909

My Dear Son,

…He had two nice trips since you went away. The new runs go on Sunday. Miss Lanny came the next evening after you went away to see me. She is so nice. And Mrs. Minnier came and sat on the porch for a while. She said the little boy next door had an operation performed on him. The doctors thought he had ruptured himself but when they opened they found a growth or something like a bladder. They had never seen anything like it and did not know what it was. She said they wanted to tell you about it, so as you could see the operation but they hated to ask you not being very well acquainted.…

Your loving Mother


September 22, 1909

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

September 22, 1909

My Dear Son,

…Glad to hear of your safe arrival at Baltimore. We were very lonely after you went away but are getting over it. I'll soon be looking forward to the time when we shall hear such good news about you that it will make up for everything. Our greatest pleasure is in watching your progress as you very well know.

We sent your trunk this morning. We thought it was better to send it before hearing from you, as your land lady had got back to Baltimore, and you would be able to have it taken to your room.…

Let us know how your lunch tasted and if it was good. Let us know what they said about you, if they thought you had got very fat. Kind regards to your landlady.…

Your loving Mother


September 25, 1909

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

September 25, 1909

My Dear Boy,

We felt lonesome for some time after you left but are again settled down to the regular routine again. Mama had her usual crys after you left and nothing looked good to her except her boy. She determined that when I quit work we had to live near awer boy. She is now feeling all right and as sacey [saucy] as ever. I was trying your scheam and trying to follow your instructions to make her eat peaches etc. But I got told to mind my own business so I shall have to leave her to you. She is now buisy cooking me some good things to eat.

I was at the bank this A.M. talked with Latimore about your scheam of me depositing money here and you drawing it there. He did not think the bankers in Baltimore would do it for you unless it was through your school. And then they would probly charge you for doing it. He said the Sedalia Bank looked like a small speck on the map to them eastern bankers. As far as he was concerned it was satisfactory as he knew that your father and mother was good but them eastern bankers would not know you and would not cash your check until they heard from here or take it for collection. So their the matter stands. I put $100 in bank when you went away and went today to put in more but did not do it after investigating. Let us know how much you want and when you want it and it will come. You might see your banker about the matter.

Well the new "Katy Limited" goes on tomorrow. MacDonald done his usual scheaming to get the layover in Parsons. He is going on the run for the present awaiting the usual 30 days for senior engineers to take it. He tryed to get Newrick to take it with him but Sedalia men won't allow layover to go to Parsons, so Newrick won't take it. So it will be 30 days before anybody is settled.

I got 300 shares of South America Gold Co stock from Wilshire this A.M. He is going to pay in November 6% monthly stock dividends. That will be good if it keeps up will be about 18%.…

Your affectionate Father


September 25, 1909

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

September 25, 1909

My Dear Son,

…Was delighted to hear of so many compliments paid you in regard to getting so fat. I hope you won't loose any of it. I would like to see you gain about 15 lbs next summer. Wouldn't that be fine. I would like to see you in that new hat. I believe you will look well in it. I was sorry you ran short on your lunch. I didn't mind you giving that boy some but I think that woman ought to have had one for herself.

Papa has just gone. I had to laugh at what he wrote to you. He wanted to know if I was eating peaches. I said mind your own business. So he said he would tell you of course I have been eating peaches. Mrs. Dubbs sent me some. The daughter hollered Mrs. Dandy, here is some peaches for you and Mrs. Rose. I opened mine. There was 14 little green things. She picked them off the ground. The boys would shake the trees and pick the good ones up and leave what they didn't want. One morning I saw her pick this little green peach never thinking that she would offer such peaches to any one. Those were what she sent and the trees were full of nice red ones. I would have felt better towards her if she had kept them.

I had Gornal around. He has sprained his back he says. He thinks he will be off for a couple of weeks but he expects the company will pay him. I don't see much the matter with him.

Mrs. B. came down just as we were going to have dinner before Papa went out. So she had dinner and she stayed till after 9 o'clock. She had lunch before she went away. She said she had two good meals.

Stanley is not doing much. She said he got one call at Schwald's office. Schwald said he was not there but he would go himself. I think she is worrying about him.

She said you looked fine. She said she hated to see you (this year) come round to the house. It made her feel that her boy was not coming and the times she used to enjoy was all gone.

She wants us to try and get some of our butter for her. Miss Lunz and her father drove here the other day. She hollered and I went out. The old man kept saying I wouldn't think you were Walter's mother. Miss Lunz said he kept saying that all the time. He said he had a beautiful card from you. He kept it where he could see it all the time.

Our water gave out. I told Mr. Bremmer. He ordered a barrel, cost $1.50. Kate came down yesterday. She had a girl along with her. She said that is Walter's picture, there that good looking fellow I was telling you about.

Well we have got back to our quiet way of living.…

Mrs. Minnier thinks I had a pretty good boy. I said I had. She said Miss Lunz thought so much of you. We sent your trunk. Hope you got it alright.…

Your loving Mother


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