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.

January 1, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

c. January, 1910

My Dear Son,

Received your welcome letter, glad to hear you are well as that is how we are here at present. Thank God for his Goodness to us all. As you say, we have lots to be thankful for.…

Well Mrs. Looney has just been in. She was wanting to know all about you. She says her husband got $300 for a Xmas present from the company. I like her better than the other two.

Well I had the Weir family and my new neighbors Dusenberry for supper. I had goose. It was fine. They certainly all enjoyed their supper. Dorothy thought the potato salad fine. She said it was the kind she liked, and banana cake and peaches they thought fine. When they were going away, Mrs. Weir said they did not deserve such a good supper. Mr. Weir was out. Couldn't come. He met Papa on the road and he hollered about the big feed that he missed, that it made his teeth water.

Mrs. B. came yesterday evening, stayed till nearly 9 oclock. She talked all the time about Foraker and Polly. He was out for a walk yesterday, walked 14 blocks. She said they were all there the other night and Foraker wrapped the old woman up before she went out. Foraker says he never ate from such fine cooks. Mrs. B. told Mrs. Gornal before the wedding Foraker had $2000 worth of stock in Bondi's and Polly told her he had $5000. Mrs. B. told me he had $2000 and I believe her. He says they did not make as much this last year because of him being sick. Lost big sales on suits because of him not being there (he is very important). I guess he won't have $200 per month this year. He wants to get $5000 home.

Stanley had been to a couple of little towns to see about starting, but he decided he had better stay at Cole Camp. He says it isn't like home going to Broadway now. Foraker buys everything for the house and pays $10 for rent. He wanted to pay $15 but Polly wouldn't let him.

We called on Kate and Ervie. They seemed pretty happy. Ervie weighs 124 lbs. He didn't seem to care what he weighed. Kate has lost 8 chickens. That old Ervin woman I expect is getting them. Kate won't speak to her.…

Your loving Mother



Hope you have heard something definite from C.


January 4, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

January 4, 1910

My Dear Boy,

…Glad to see you satisfied and enjoying your work and trust you are successful in getting your desires satisfied by working with and for Dr. Cushing. I think the others will know that they have been in the race if they beat you.

Well we are haveing another cold wave. Had rather nice trip except that Dillon left me 2 hot tank boxes on the 336. We lost about 35 min fooling with them. On No. 5 one was hot when we got to Boonville. We usually run water on them when they get hot but the water pipes was frose. At Sedalia had to thaw them out. Was about 35 min doing it, had no trouble after.…

I told you I think how they had men watching us at R.R. crossings.… Near everybody got letter about not stopping at crossing south of Clinton. They had me down with not stopping twice. But both times I was in Sedalia at the time they stated. I told them I was not guilty. Was in Sedalia at the time. Have not heard anymore about it.…

I have not heard anything more about 9 and 10. The chairman said it would take time to go through it and he would have to take his time about it. It begins to look as though he was takeing his time and my time to before makeing his decision. Longate says they have eather to act or quit and let some one else do it which is about right.

Well I am a little sleepy and mean acct of it but Mama says I must write to you so you can get the R.R. news, but you will excuse me for much when I am sleepy, won't you. I have just had a nice shave with good strap and brush. The best I ever had. Thank you for them. Say couldent you steal away and conceal your identity and have a good coast down that hill. I know you would like it.…

Your affectionate Father


January 11, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

January 11, 1910

My Dear Son,

…Papa went at 4:00 this evening. He is feeling fine. I have had to let his pants out twice. He is wearing your flannel shirt. It is fine and warm for him.

Longate has just phoned to find out if Pa was here, so he told me to tell him he had seen Russel at Franklin, and it would be all right there (about the cases that Pa had sent there) and he said Russel had seen General Chairman Conn and he was in favour also. I feel at sea when speaking of lodge business but you will understand that these parties are in favor of what Papa wants. He believed they would at Franklin. He will be pleased to hear this when he comes home. Papa is fighting all of them on the South end. Longate is very anxious to get these things, but he can't figure much. But willing to do anything he can to beat them. It takes Pa to figure things out.…

Your loving Mother


January 11, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

January 11, 1910

Well My Dear Boy,

We got your letter yesterday just as I arrived home on 3 one hour late due to accident on the Burlington in St. Louis yards.

I have not got any definite decision on my cases with the Brotherhood. John Challacomb sent in his report, but he told the General Chairman nothing, only what had already been done. Think he was afraid to declare himself on the issue, for fear the south end fellows would censure him for deciding in my favor. The communication has gone to Local Chareman at Franklin Junction for his decision. I think I will get good results their, but I don't look for any permanent decision untill at least the first of February. The General Committee of adjustment makes them and I think it will be decided then. John Challacomb went to Finney the other day to see if he would recommend Chas. Greens reinstatement to the Higher Officials as they were going to them about him. He would not do it. Rather small act seeing Green had worked so long.…

Your affectionate Father


January 17, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

January 17, 1910

My Dear Boy,

Got and read your intresting letter this A.M. Dr. Cushing must have nerve like iron to do such feats as that without showing it.…

Well I have just been downtown paying taxes. Mine was small $1.27, yours about $6.00. I was talking to the apraisers about your case. The loan you had was paid off 8/1/08 and now you are assessed for '09 in June. They say you are responsible for it. They say you live here, although you are in Baltimore 9 months of the year.…

The dividend I got from Wilshire was cash. The literature they send out about the mines is promising. The results may be different. I am not takeing any more of his stock at present. I think a sure thing in investment suits me best, at least as sure as can be got. When you get through school and making lots of money you would feel more safer in plunging in investments as you will have no one to depend on you for bread and butter.…

Your affectionate Father


January 29, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

January 29, 1910

My Dear Son,

…Well Papa has just gone on No. 4. There was no freight this evening. He thinks he will get 9 and 10. A good many of the men thinks he will get all he asked for. If he gets another man on the run Littick will have to go back on freight, which would rather please me. When he heard Papa wants 9 and 10, he said let the gentleman wait.

Well we were pleased to hear you had got an offer from Dr. Mall. 26 grade did not have any effect on him. He knew the man's worth. How much money would you get for that position? I believe I would not refuse it till after you come back from Cleveland. Or till you get an offer from Cushing. I think it was very nice of Dr. Mall to give you the first chance.

I have always thought you would make a fine professor and also surgeon. I would have thought you would have liked a wider field than Cushing's work, where there was more room for doing good, and with better results and not so much loss of life, and besides not so much strain on the nerves. Do you think you could stand the terrible strain that Cushing goes through with such calmness? Well I hope you will get what is best for you.

We are looking forward with great pleasure and interest in your future work. Not be long now till we can hear with pride another honor attached to your name. Dr. Dandy, that sounds good to me. It sounds better than engineer.

I am anxious to see that picture of my dear boy. I hope it is a good one of you and hope you are in plain view, not in the background.

Well I have not much gossip this time as I have not seen any of B.'s for a week. I phoned to Mrs. Gornal the other day. She said Mrs. B. had been there a few nights ago and she said Mrs. B. said Foraker was afraid he could not reach Polly, and Jim (Gornal) said what is Polly anyhow, what was she but a poor hard working man's daughter. Nothing to reach except it was her fine clothes, and there was many a hundred like her in this town. Mrs. G. said all her fine clothes came out of a widow's money. They are mad because they did not see Polly get married. They have not given Polly any present yet.

Jim is on the Warsaw run. He saw Stanley and he seemed mad about the folks being with his mother. Jim asked him if he had seen the married folks. He said he had something else to do than run to see them, he had his business to mind.

Your loving Mother



P.S. If you get an internship would you get any money and how much? I believe you will get an offer from Dr. Cushing. I believe we won't want to live in England if you are here. If we can we might as well live where you are.…


January 30, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

January 30, 1910

Well My Dear Boy,

…It made us feel good to think that you was given the opportunity to work for Dr. Mall even if you did not want to.

I was over at the hospital this A.M. to get some phosfate for Mama. Was talking to the drugest. He often asks about you. I told him that you desired brain surgery but Dr. Mall offered you a position in anatomy. He said he had observed many failers of doctors around here by not knowing enough of anatomy. He says the country doctor practice is hard and if a man once starts in country practice although his ambition is to finaly come in town, he never makes a success in town. I don't know enough about your business to advise you. But I think I would play safe with Dr. Mall and not refuse him untill I had tryed Cleeveland and Cushing if it was possible to defer decision untill then at least.

I saw Bill Calkins this morning in the hospatal. He seems a little better. He says that when he is here they keep the sise of his stomic down. But when he gets away it swells up. He says look at that pile of medesine I have to take.…

Well I wish I was able to help you decide your future welfare, but I can't. However their are lots who don't have any trouble in this direction, as they don't have any choice to select from. So that should be some consolation but some are never satisfied unless they get the best of everything. I wonder if you and I are affected this way. Well, that is the way I want to see you anyway. Get the best, then give them good service. Their is nothing would please me better than to see you holding the best position as the head of some large university where everybody, eaven your father admired you, also Dr. Cushing.…

Your affectionate Father


February 1, 1910

1214 Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

c. February, 1910

My Dear Boy,

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

I felt satisfied you would have got to see Dr. Cushing at Thanksgiving. I felt sorry for Dr. Mall. He should not treat you cold because you use your own indiviality in determining 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


February 7, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

February 7, 1910

My Dear Son,

Your much looked for picture at hand today. I think it is fine of you, but I do think if you had looked a little pleasanter it would have looked better. But Pa says no. It is fine, dignified looking. You look broad and fat and well. I have another critism to make. I think your hair was on your forehead to much. Hard to keep it brushed up, I suppose. When you have your other pictures taken, have it brushed off your forehead. Well you are the best looking and best made man in the class. They are all a pretty good looking lot of men.

Well we received both your letters last week, was very pleased at the good news and prospects in sight for you, I believe he intends offering you the place but you would be better satisfied for him to say so. I think he ought to tell you, so as to make arrangement to go to Cleveland if he did not want you. Would there be no money the second year with Cushing. Only board and room, that is the way we understand it. We could hardly wait for the mail man to get around all last week, expecting to hear the good news of having Cushing's place offered to you. I believe you will get it, but would just like to hear it was really so. So as soon as you hear from him, let us know.

Papa has just gone at 3:10. He laid off trip before last. He had a cold in his head. I gave him a good sweat and he was all right next day. Poor man laying off sick and you sent the letter to Dear Mother, no Father at all. It was the one with the good news about Cushing. I just hollered and laughed. Of course it tickled him. He says sick and my boy didn't write to me. He says I will just cut the top of his letter and write Poor Father and send it to him when he was writing to you today. He says Mama, I am in a dilemma about Walter's letters. If I cut the top off, I will have to cut some out of the letter and I want to keep this letter, so decided not to send it. When he was off work, he read your valedictory, and oration and Chinese debate, and everything he could find of yours, and your grade cards and your pictures. He likes the one you sent today and Q.E.B. the best of any. He says I would just like a well bound book. I said what for? He says to put all Walters glories in it.…

Your loving Mother


February 7, 1910

1214 S. Mass. Ave.

Sedalia, Mo.

February 7, 1910

My Dear Boy,

Just received and seen your picture. Looks fine and studious. Intelegent and manly and in a very conspicuous place. So much so that I overlooked it for a few minutes. Mama got it first. I fancy I see under the surfice of it the effects of a determined mind because of the grade you got. A mind that says the "Rubicon must be crossed." It certainly looks an intelegent class. When you come home I shall want lots of explanations in regard to them.

Well I wish your mind was free about the Dr. Cushing position. I feel satisfied it is yours, even though the Dr. has not told you so, for we have made suplications to the Almighty in our humble manner in your behalf and feel satisfied he heard our cry.

Well my boy we have many things to be thankful for. And one of them is to think that you have been permitted, or rather you have through energy and ability ascended from the ranks of the lowly to a position so noble that you can occupy the front ranks of any nation.

Well their is not much new news about railroading as regards 9 and 10.… I might as well tell you that I laid off one trip account of bad cold or grip, but Mama soon got me better, but things looked rather blue to me for a little while on the recept of your last letter. I haveing the grip and in addition you will see from letter head that my own and good boy had your back on me. And in addition Mama laughed about it.

Well their was a bad little wreck in Parsons Yard on the morning of the 5th. A few hours before I got their the train 22 was leaving for K.C. and about opisite Mr. Brehms office. Or where you got off when you went with me. She got off the track at switch and turned on her side. The engineer and fireman got hurt. The fireman broke his ankles. The engineer got a few ribs broken and they thought his lungs was bruised by the broken ribs, as he was spitting blood.…

Well I think for the present I will close as we have been buisy washing and feeling rather unsettled as Mama gave me some of her pleasant looks for not cleaning the line good and soiled her cloths after washing them. But she is feeling too good to say much to me after getting such a good picture of you.…

Your affectionate Father


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