22nd Day of February, 2012, Wednesday
Joel Elkes, M.D.
5033 Oxford Drive
Sarasota, Florida 34242
Dear Dr. Elkes:
This is intended as a quick note of introduction at the behest of your daughter, Anna. Anna has been kind enough to show me a book of your writings and I am most impressed with your style and agility with the language. Such agility is rare today; rarer still in a medical man as that art requires the mastery and use of such a disciplined and exacting nomenclature that it very often leaves little for the layman to appreciate. Not so with your work. Good job!!
I was most particularly taken with your affectionate letter to Dr. Salk in 1994 at his 80th birthday and your homage to Mr. Charles E. Smith of 1991. Mr. Smith was a man whom I both knew and greatly admired on many levels. The work I have read that has most intrigued me so far is your 1954 report Effects of Chlorpromazine on the Behaviour of Chronically Overactive Psychotic Patients. Again, from the standpoint of a layman, this work, while necessarily technical and medical specific, is written in such a way that the lay reader can pretty readily understand the tenor of the study which generated this report. To have done such work and made it readily readable is laudable. I commend you roundly.
Writing has today become a large disappointment to me. It was not long ago that every educated man knew certain basic things and had a lucid command of, at a bare minimum, his native language. Now, such fundamental amenities are, lamentably, very unusual. I hope that we can stay in touch. I know that Anna feels that you and I have a great deal in common in terms of the way we view various aspects of life and work. I hope that assessment proves out.
John Daniel Begg