Helen Huntington Astor to Cary T. Grayson




Helen Astor recommends Dr. Garrison to Cary T. Grayson for Surgeon General.


Cary T. Grayson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, Staunton, Virginia




Dear Admiral Grayson

Of all the things in the world that I dislike is writing letters for friends. Nevertheless, that is the situation in which I find myself as I write to you.

In June, 1917, due to the fact that Vincent was one of the first to sail for service abroad in the Navy, I was permitted to proceed to France, since the rules forbidding wives to work in the same district as their husbands had not as yet gone into effect. I was given charge in the starting of the YMCA cafeteria in Brest, in conjunction with Ethel Harriman, Mrs. Bordie Harriman’s daughter.

Of all the people both in and out of the military services I think our greatest friend and general aid in every predicament was Lieutenant Commander Garrison, Medical Corps, USN. Not only did he organize effectively and successfully his own medical unit, but he helped Ethel and me to a degree whcich would be impossible adequately to describe. When the war ended I left France with a very sincere friendship and very great admiration for Dr. Garrison. In the intervening years I have not seen him, nor heard from him until a fortnight ago, when he wrote me a letter in which he expressed his hopes of obtaining the appointment of Surgeon General of the US Navy, and of the fact that you above all others would prove the most important determing factor. Obviously I can have no knowledge of his general fitness for so important a position. I am only conscious that throughout the year and a half of the war he demonstrated himself to be possessed of all of those qualities which were most essential in the position which he then held. For me to recommend Dr. Garrison would be presumptious and so I can only express the hope that he and his qualifications be given, as I know they will, careful consideration for the appointment of Surgeon General of the Navy when it is made.

Very sincerely,

Helen Astor
Mrs. Vincent Astor

Original Format





Hull, Helen Huntington, 1893–1976, “Helen Huntington Astor to Cary T. Grayson,” 1937 February 16, WWP16856, Cary T. Grayson Papers, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum, Staunton, Virginia.