Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.
Robert Kennedy, South Africa 1966.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Letter Opener

 This is my letter opener.  It used to belong to my grandfather.  He was the head of the Hog Cholera Research Station which was on East 13th Street here in Ames (picture below).  I used to go there when I was younger and this was on his desk.

                                                                                    I do not know if he and my grandmother went to the Pan American Exposition or not (I doubt it) but my grandmother was an antique collector and later had an antique shop in her home. She probably acquired the letter opener and gave it to him to use.
Over the years it has become somewhat   misshapen but that does not matter to me.

 I love the buffalo head and used to use it to pound on the pipes that ran the length of the Research Station.  When I hit the pipe with the head of the buffalo it made a really nice sound.

Poor thing.

The Pan American Exposition was a World's Fair held in Buffalo, New York.  It was from May 1 - November 2, 1901.  It is notable as the place where President William McKinley was assassinate by anarchist, Leon Czoigosz at the Temple of Music on September 6, 1901, he died 8 days later. 

I was reading the book The Fifth Assassin when I read about the McKinley Assassination. That got me to thinking about the letter opener.  I read until 3 AM and so things are a bit "off" right now.  I imagine I shall nap today.

 My grandfather's office was on the right hand end of the building.  The left side was where they performed autopsies on the dead hogs.  I can still call up memories of him opening up an animal to study it.  The work that was done at the station developed Crystal Violet Vaccine which eradicated the disease in the United States.
Hog Cholera was eradicated in the United States thanks in part to the work done here.  My grandfather - Dr. C. G. Cole is mentioned in this article

Department scientists realized that a control method involving use of the live virus offered no hope for eradicating hog cholera. So they began work toward a protective vaccine made with killed virus. Research of Drs. Dorset and McBryde, and C.G. Cole at Ames culminated in the development of the crystal violet killed vaccine in 1935. An initial problem of contaminants in the vaccine was overcome when F.W. Tilley patented a procedure 10 years later for preparing a consistently sterile crystal violet vaccine.
I remember Dr. Tilly.  These guys put up with me. There was also Clarence Cameron who worked there. He went by Cameron - He and my grandfather both had the same first name and neither of them liked it. My grandfather was called "Doc" or "Dig" - They called each other P. T.   Since my grandfather was the head of the station he got to live in the farm house on the property.  It was a great place to live and play as a kid as it was surrounded by woods.  but I digress.  Have a great day ARTYAL.


Bob Kelly said...

Very interesting bit of history Jay! I love the stories behind the letter opener, as they make it more than just a tool in a drawer, but part of your personal family history, which takes it to a much higher level of importance.

Ur-spo said...

cool !