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10   Alexander Fleming  $500 $500 $550 1 You must login to place a bid.

#10 - Alexander Fleming

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“Perhaps something even better than penicillin might be born”
Description                           Estimate: $4,500+          

ALS, one page both sides, 5 x 8, Ministry of Health letterhead, August 27, 1945. Letter in a fundraising effort for St. Mary's. In part: "Mary's goes on. This is our centenary year and we are trying to raise money to rebuild. The hospital wants £2.000.000 to rebuild and the Inoculation Dept. wants £250.000 as an endowment so that we can carry on without Government interference. It seemed to us that it would be a pity to have too much interference with a laboratory which in less than 50 years has originated vaccine therapy, desensitization in hay fever with pollen extracts, and penicillin besides many lesser things. If you have a patient with too much money who wants to give away $1.000.000 to a good cause he might endow us and perhaps something even better than penicillin might be born." In fine condition.

This fascinating letter chronicles the past achievements of St. Mary's Hospital while looking toward a bright future. Fleming had graduated from St. Mary's medical school in 1906 and joined the research department as an assistant bacteriologist to Sir Almroth Wright, who he alludes to here. Wright not only "originated vaccine therapy," but also founded the St. Mary's research department itself. Following in Wright's footsteps, Fleming spent decades working at St. Mary's and in 1928 famously made the 'accidental' discovery of penicillin. Incidentally, penicillin could not be mass produced until the 1940s and became an enormously important breakthrough in treating wounded soldiers during World War II. It was in this year of St. Mary's centenary, 1945, that Fleming received his Nobel Prize.

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