DECEMBER 15, 1955
On Monday night I went for the first time this winter to the opera with Mrs. Beatrice Auerbach. We saw "Carmen" and as I always enjoy "Carmen" I had a very pleasant evening. However, as so often happens, I found myself tempted to compare the performance I was enjoying with the very best "Carmen" I had ever seen and the comparison was not always to the advantage of the present performers. Last night "Carmen" was being played by a substitute for Rise Stevens. I am told that in "Aida" this lady is really very good, but I did not think she was a great "Carmen." I enjoyed very much Giuseppe Di Stefano and Lucine Amara in the roles of Don Jose and Micaela.
Some weeks ago I told you about the dinner which was given to introduce the two volumes on medical research brought out by the Edward Bok Foundation. These books are written not only for the medical profession but for the general public and they contain the facts which the general public needs particularly to know about. Dr. Chester Keefer considers, I believe, that no one in the medical profession can be without these books, for he feels that they are an important contribution to the study of medical research.
In the New York Times review written by Mr. Waldemar Kaempffert on November 27th he said "there is nothing in these two volumes that any intelligent person cannot understand." Of course one might add that the intelligent person must be interested in what constitutes good medical care, but it is of great importance that the public generally really knows what actually does constitute good medical care. Volume II discusses the basic research being done on the critical problems of modern medicine.
The diseases covered in this volume are cancer, all virus infections (ranging from fever blisters, warts, shingles to common colds and poliomyelitis all of which are viruses) tuberculosis, infertility, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, all rheumatic conditions, chronic alcoholism, and schizophrenia, number one problem of mental illness. There is hardly anyone in the world who is not interested in the way that we can eliminate these diseases.
Many of the laymen who have worked in the voluntary health organizations to prevent tuberculosis, cancer and polio have long known that we needed to devote more money to basic research. Esmond Long speaking at the introductory dinner said "Therapies are so ephemeral. The real dependence is basic knowledge." There is no question that these volumes will be widely read by those in the field of medicine, but it is also necessary to have this information available to the public because the public is largely responsible for providing the money that goes into medical research, and they should understand what is involved.