Letterhead from the Food Machinery and Chemical Corporation, Fairfield Chemicals Division.
At this point, Walter was still working for FMC in a consulting capacity, but he’d been out for awhile on sick leave after a cancer diagnosis. Remember those cigars he’s always smoking in photos?
February 27, 1961
Sat. PM 2/21-42
Hurray for Tommy & 96 steps.
My dear Ina & Boys,
I came in early today and parked the car near the hotel so that I can go out to Beltsville tomorrow and check our tests. We certainly hope that we can get plenty of material Monday & the early part of the week so that we can finish the present tests. So far, the chlorpicrin looks pretty good & I hope that it will continue to show promise. The Army would like to use it.
February 21, 1942
Last night I went home with BM and Claudelle. He expects to leave tonight or tomorrow for Gulfport and will spend a week or more down there with R.A. He & Claudelle are OK and are so interested in each other, that I feel it would be better if I were not there. But they don’t seem to mind my presence at all.
The living material I have been sending to Bushland seems to be getting along first rate at Orlando. He seems very enthusiastic about the work. I get an airmail letter from him every few days.
The enclosures were interesting and I have taken care of them. I gave my address as Box 491 Orlando which is the office address.
What would you think of Henry going to Orlando. Can get him raised from 80 to 100 per mo. He has his faults, but is a willing worker & may be of more help where we have a larger station. I have not said anything to anyone about it yet and may wait until I return to D.C.
Stationery from the Fort Gatlin Hotel, Orlando, FL.
Panama City Monday.
My dear Ina & Boys,
Have been rushed, but the dog fly control work is getting under way now. The Public Health horned in for the money and 2 of their men are here to make purchases. It is a PH program but actually we are operating it with Bureau funds for salaries etc. on the basis of an exchange of funds.
September 1, 1941
I went in by air for a conference on Thurs. night of last week & left Washington last Monday night arriving here about noon last Tuesday. Verbal arrangements were made with the PHS while I was at Washington. On Wed. night I met Mr. Padget at DeFiniak [?] & spent the night there. Mr. Dopson & RA were there and all came here. On Thursday night trucks rolled in from Gulfport & Florala so that our yard at the lab was filled with them. Friday we mounted sprayers on 8 barges & opened an office at #11 Page Bldg (upstairs over music store). The phone number there is 10. The control set up there is entirely separate from research, but Dr. Simmons is in close work with us & one man is helping him on research phases. Oil is being bought from the Sunny State & 30000 gals of creosote from Pensacola, delivered here by trucks with 1000 gal. tanks.
Mr. Griggs is in charge at Ft. Walton with 3 barge units which we shipped by tug boat from here at 6AM Sunday. Our first sprayer operated at Tyndall field on Sat. Mr. Landrum, Duck, Culpepper and Miller are in the crew. We will have 2 big barges with supply tanks, one at Ft. Walton & 1 here.
At Wash. I had a good visit with Claudelle & BM. Spent night at their house & they seem like newly weds. Joyce was there part of the time. Dr. Annand seems to be starting out OK as Chief.
Yesterday I had dinner & a good one with Simmons. In PM I took Mr. & Mrs. Landreau, Mr. & Mrs. Duck & son (8 yrs) for a drive to see the barges.
The high school opens next Friday & the date for opening of other schools has not been announced. After the Board meeting this week they will announce the date. Usually it is one week after the high school. Will let you know when. If you could come either next Sunday or one week from Sunday I could meet you in the car at New Orleans. If you could arrive at N.O. on Sunday morning I could be at the station & we could eat breakfast at the station & drive home that day. I’ll bring the ice box in the car. You could wire me Tourate when to meet you.
With love to all of you,
P.S. I am enclosing the Kehoe check with my endorsement. You can endorse & cash at Uvalde. Would suggest you call the station agent a day or two before you leave & reserve a drawing room to New Orleans.
Walter and Ina moved to Panama City, FL in late summer 1940, and he began working in his new USDA position reorganizing the Department’s entomology research and insect control programs in the Southeast. Now he’s traveling around the state to check on various projects.
Stationery from the Fort Gatlin Commercial and Tourist Hotel, Orlando, FL.
My dear Sweetheart,
There was car trouble, but I drove some extra miles between Floral City and Orlando so that I did not arrive until almost 12 o’clock.
September 16, 1940
This morning I met King & Bushland and during the day I have learned much of the work they are doing. Tues. AM Dr. King & I are to be in Cocoa at 9AM & will then drive south for visits in other counties where mosquito control is under way. We will be in Fort Pierce about Wednesday night & in Miami about Friday night. I’ll return to Fort Pierce & spend Saturday & Sunday there. Will be in New Smyrna next Monday & Tuesday & return here about Tuesday night. Will stay here a day with Bushland. King leaves next Tuesday for the conference & for his vacation. At that rate I should be home about Thursday night of next week & Mr. Shields will probably come with me for one of the pickups.
I hope the boys are helping you by putting their toys up & by keeping quiet witn no running in the house. I’ll ask about these when I return.
With love to all 3.
Thurs May 16, 1940.
My dear Ina & Folks,
The sleeper plane was just fine and for the first time I actually undressed & went to bed just as one would in a Pullman. From Cleveland we traveled upstairs most of the way (about 10 to 11 thousand feet). At Cheyenne Mr. Messenger joined me for the rest of the trip. Have spent two past evenings with him as he has been in the field & will leave again Sat or Friday night. R.A. is doing just fine. Dr. Wakeland is away with Mr. Dutton.
May 16, 1940
Two years ago today I had the first big fire built under me by a delegation from ND, then drove to Fargo that night. Was having trouble with one of my Butchers then. Today it is quiet and things are quite different for a grasshopper office. It has a disturbing pulse but no headaches.
The pictures made on our arrival at Great Falls seem fair & the ones of the falls look as though they will print OK, but the others did not show up well enough to try prints. Will mail them as soon as prints are obtained.
I have not written to anyone about not going to Menard and I think you should let Mother Lewis know of it. Could you break the news gently? Believe we should not say much about Panama City yet. I hope the Chief feels well enough to discuss it here Saturday or Sunday, although I do not intend to crowd him for any opinion or reaction. Think he will give it of his own accord & will give an opening for a discussion if he feels anything like normal.
Walter is apparently still helping with the grasshopper program as it gets going under new management, which is why he’s traveling back and forth between Denver and Washington. Meanwhile, it sounds as if he’s considering taking a post at the USDA research facility in Panama City, FL instead of the screw-worm facility in Menard, TX.
Stationery from the Hotel Shirley-Savoy, Denver, CO – “Home of KLZ.”
My dear Ina & Boys,
The meetings are over and most of the folks have gone home. Strong, Gaddis and some of the state men are here yet. Think Strong will leave tonight. My speech was well received and I have had some good compliments on it from state leaders. Strong says he is pleased. The group gave me a rising vote of thanks for the good work of the last two years and this brought a good statement from Strong. I had requested a return to research and that I was one of the very best research men in the Bureau, that he had asked me to consider carefully. My request was being granted but he had an idea that I was going to find the contrast so great that I would now want more action. He said that should I make such a decision the Bureau would have a control job for me because they had many such projects. State leaders have shown a very appreciative spirit toward me and from one source I am told that a committee will record in a rather permanent way this high point in my career. I imagine a published resolution.
January 10, 1940
The meetings have gone as Strong and Gaddis planned them, but there was a very close approach to an explosion from state leaders. The Bureau still spends the money and supervises the work of its agents. It did permit a Committee from State leaders to handle any difficulties arising in any state-Bureau difficulty direct with Strong. This Committee will be authorized to make trips when necessary.
The meeting at Mpls on Monday includes a small group there, and both Gaddis & Wakeland asked me to meet with them before continuing my trip south. They cannot conveniently arrange to attend. Unless something changes it I’ll be home in time to attend that meeting & will then resume my travel toward Texas & the West. If there is a change I’ll wire, otherwise I’ll see you about Saturday.
R.A. is here & he thinks the move to Denver from Salt Lake is OK. Their lease terminates Jan 31st. He has been in Texas on leave and looks fine.
I cannot describe to you the feeling of turning over the throttle of the ‘hopper work. There is no let down feeling but one of duty to my family and my own health. I don’t mind saying that it is not an easy change and that the past two days and night have had me on edge. For the rest of the time here I’ll try to clarify any unfinished items of business, and pass along useful information. I have an appointment with the Chief this afternoon for a little talk on the N.W. situation, and will go over my immediate plans with him.
This is an organizational chart for the “Screw worm educational and control” project Walter is now working on again. You can click to enlarge it. Screw-worm is a type of myiasis caused by C. hominivorax larvae, for those who’ve just joined us. Note that Bishopp is directing the project overall, while Walter is in charge of all of the control activities. At this point, those activities consist mainly of educating farmers about animal husbandry practices to prevent screw-worm infections in livestock. One other name to note: E.F. Knipling, who is now an assistant entomologist in the research branch of this project. In a few years, he’s going to come up with a truly ingenious strategy for controlling this pest. He’ll also be heavily involved in another project that will later shape Walter’s career.
This is a three-page single-spaced letter that I’m not going to transcribe, but I’ve scanned the first page. The gist of it is that Gaddis and the other top brass at the USDA have been very impressed with Walter’s work on grasshopper control, and that they don’t have a lot of research posts available to move him into at the moment. Gaddis concludes by saying they’ll do what they can, but that Walter is doing such a good job in his management position that he may be stuck with it for another season.
August 12, 1939 (From Mr. Gaddis)
707 Thorpe Building,
August 6, 1939.
Mr. B.M. Gaddis, In Charge,
Division of Domestic Quarantines,
Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine,
Dear Mr. Gaddis,
The work of control of grasshoppers is nearing an end for this season and at the present time the beginning of the survey is determining whether or not there is need for a continuation of the work during 1940. The verbal reports received from the infested area together with the lack of any genuine complaints from any portions of the area suggest that the program of this year is again a very successful one if not the best yet carried on for control of grasshoppers. Naturally, the writer is proud of his part in the accomplishments of the past two seasons and he feels sure that the program is contributing materially to a stronger Bureau and Department.
August 6, 1939 (to Mr. Gaddis)
There has been opportunity for different field supervisors to demonstrate their abilities under fire and many of them have shown their fitnesses for greater responsibilities. The healthy stage of development of the work would seem to permit the Bureau to continue or expand its work by using some of the men from the ranks for key positions.
In view of the present status of the grasshopper control work, and on account of various personal reasons, the writer is anxious to return to research work and asks the Bureau to consider his desire for such employment. He would be pleased to continue at Minneapolis long enough to familiarize his successor with details of the work. If his successor could report in the near future he would have the advantage of reviewing the current summaries on control work as well as the compilations of survey data.
Very truly yours,
W.E. Dove, In Charge,
Grasshopper Control Project.
My dear Ina,
We had a half day meeting of supervisors this morning at the West Hotel, and this PM with the Canadians & U of M men at the University. Wakeland Gaddis and I returned to the office and are not planning to go to Dr. Ruggles lawn picnic tonight. Tomorrow we have a whole day on survey with the General Supervisors and surveyors. Then the adult survey should get under way.
July 28, 1939
Gaddis feels fine about the control work of the season and was in an unusually good mood. He said that I was right fundamentally on Govt spreaders on private farms, but that the special conditions at that time warranted it. No explanation or excuse yet on changing my instructions. I am not sure this is the time & place for making an issue of it. It will have to come out later because a program cannot be run that way.
He talks moving the office to Denver before Christmas, but the people here are not to know of it now. Naturally it is confidential but something we want to keep in mind, whether I work on ‘hoppers or not. The more I analyze the situation, the more convinced I become that I should ask for a change in assignment to another division. We have had a successful program this year and I could make the change in good standing, leaving the job of slaving for some one else next season.
You did not say if you received the laundry I sent by parcels post. I presume that you did.
Not enough time to write the boys now but I’ll write them Sunday.