The LeBlanc Family
Dr. LeBlanc received his bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in 1920, his M.S. from the same university in 1916, and his D.Sc. from Johns Hopkins in 1924. He served with the Rockefeller Foundation as a fellow and then a staff member until 1922. In that year, he became assistant professor of preventive medicine at the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine and became head of the department in 1934.
The Emperor of Japan honored him with a scroll for his service as head of the Institute of Human Biology at Tohoku Imperial University in Sendai, Japan. Earlier, Mexico presented him with a gold medal for his work in yellow fever control. During the epic Ohio River flood in 1937, Dr. LeBlanc with two helpers inoculated over 24,000 people in six days for tetanus, typhoid, and other flood-related illness.
He was a true "Renaissance Man." His short story, Boyhood in the Bush, is included in anthologies of American non-fiction. He wrote for H. L. Mencken's American Mercury. I've framed several notes Mencken sent him urging him to submit more stories. Hanging in my office den where I'm now writing is a "Dear Tom" letter from Sinclair Lewis thanking him for writing "one of the best reviews of the book Arrowsmith either in America or in England." LeBlanc and Lewis were friends. In a letter to another friend, Lewis commented that Tom LeBlanc "was pretty much the model for Dr. Terry Wicket" in Arrowsmith.
Here's my favorite part of Lewis' letter to Tom:
I deny your right to be called a scientist, because I have been reading your stuff in the "American Mercury" and you're too good a writer to be from now on respected as a scientist.He was a gourmet cook whose recipe for a curry dish is included in a best-selling cookbook of the time. That curry was frequently featured when we had dinner guests. As if all that weren't enough, he was an avid boatsman who built a fine sailboat in his land-locked Cincinnati back yard. I also have some lovely etchings he drew.
The Summer of 1948
The correspondence that follows concerns two major events in the LeBlanc family's life from the summer of 1948. Diana graduated from George Washington University that summer; soon after, her father died. He had been hospitalized several times in the spring and was operated on during the summer. Her parents had tried to keep Diana from knowing how life-threatening her father's situation had become. But she wasn't fooled, as you'll see.
August 24, 1948