Letter from Sylvia Drew Ivie, Daughter of Rosenwald Fellowship Recipient Dr. Charles R. Drew

Posted on August 28th, 2015 by

Julius Rosenwald awarded a fellowship to my father, Charles R. Drew, M.D., in 1932 when he was on the verge of dropping out of McGill Medical School. His father had been laid off as a carpet layer in Virginia due to the depression. In his letter of thanks for the fellowship my father said “It is my constant hope that I shall be able at some time to add some new thought, discover some new process or create something which will prevent or cure disease, alleviate suffering or give men a chance to live and thereby (I can) in part repay the debt which I am happy to acknowledge.” Spencie Love, One Blood, University of North Carolina Press, 1996, p. 116. Later, based on a thesis titled “Banked Blood” written for a Doctorate at Columbia, he was chosen as Medical Director of Blood for Britain, an emergency project to send liquid plasma to British soldiers on battlefields in France during World War II. . Based on that performance, the Red Cross called upon him to set up their first stored plasma Red Cross Blood Bank, a New York City program that became the model for blood collection all over the country. Spencie Love,16. Julius Rosenwald made prescient philanthropic investments in the education of African Americans to the lasting betterment of our nation, and in my father’s case, saving lives, still, across the world.

-Sylvia Drew Ivie, daughter of Dr. Charles R. Drew

Charles Drew

To hear more about Dr. Charles R. Drew’s story, don’t forget to see Rosenwald, in theaters now. Click here to find a screening near you!