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Memoranda of William T. Golden

November 3, 1950

Memorandum to the File

Conversation with Dr. Cornelius P. Rhoads, Director, Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research, and Director, Memorial Hospital

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I called on Dr. Rhoads at 11:30 am Friday, November 3, by appointment and spent the balance of the day with him at the Institute at 410 East 68th Street, New York City. He read my precept and we discussed various matters related to it, but principally the meeting was of value to me in giving me an idea of the functioning of a privately supported research institution in the medical--biological field, which is also doing some Government supported work.

Dr. Rhoads is about 52 years old, and was originally a practicing physician. Early in his career he had tuberculosis, and while at Saranac decided to concentrate on research. He was associated with the Rockefeller Institute for some years. During World War II, after some work with the National Research Council and in the OSRD, he and members of his OSRD unit went into the chemical warfare service of the Army, in which he remained as a Colonel from 1943 to 1945.

He gave me some pamphlets and other literature which describe in some detail the organization and principal channels of attack of Sloan-Kettering Institute, and I will therefore not attempt to summarize them here. The Institute has a staff of about 300 individuals, including 100 significant research personnel, and 200 other staff members. The Institute connects with Memorial Hospital and the new city-owned Ewing Hospital, each of which has about 800 beds (or perhaps it is 800 beds for both combined?). Technically SKI is a subsidiary of Memorial Hospital. There is also a tie-in in operating arrangements with the nearby Cornell University Medical Center, New York Hospital, etc. Dr. Conant, Compton, Dr. Bronk, as well as Lewis Strauss and Alfred Sloan, are trustees of SKI. Lawrance Rockefeller has recently become President of Memorial Hospital, in which his family has long been interested, and which has a relatively large board, including Lewis Strauss. The family of Lewis Douglas, who is also on the board at Memorial, has been interested in that hospital for several generations, going back to Dr. James Douglas. I think that Archibold Douglas may also be on the Memorial Board at this time.

Sloan-Kettering is operating on an annual budget of $1,600,000. Its only fixed income is $300,000 per year from Alfred Sloan, which has been guaranteed for a continued five-year period. In addition there is a $260,000 annual contract from the AEC, an annual grant of about $300,000 from the American Cancer Society, and lesser sums from a variety of organizations including the Damon Runyon Fund, and individuals. Thus finances, while perhaps being precarious, are a subject of constant concern to Dr. Rhoads.

Memorial Hospital has annual operating costs of about four million dollars against which it receives regular revenues of about $3,400,000, leaving an annual deficit of about $600,000, which is made up, apparently without much difficulty, by income from investments, miscellaneous revenues and bequests of various sorts.

SKI was announced in 1945 and began its activities after completion of its building in about 1947 or 1948. Alfred Sloan, of General Motors, gave two million dollars for the construction, and then as costs proved to be about $3,200,000 made a further bequest of about a million dollars, or some such. In addition, he committed himself in 1945 for two million dollars for operating expenditures payable at the annual rate of $200,000, with the idea that additional funds should be raised from others. As indicated above, he has quarterly increased the annual rate, and contemplates extending the time period.

Dr. Rhoads had a meeting at 3:30, and at that time I was taken on a tour of the building and its laboratories by his assistant, Miss Beverly Alexander, formerly of Randolph Macon and Memphis. Among others, I met Dr. Dobriner. The trip is best summarized by reference to the Matter, but I must note the incidental intelligence she furnished to the effect that it costs 12 1/2 cent per month to provide board and lodging for one mouse. Details of bookkeeping were not furnished. I also learned that Dr. Rhoads lives in a penthouse atop the Institute.

As indicated above, Dr. Rhoads is eager to obtain supporting grants because of the uncertainties of the Institute's sources of income. He pointed out that much of the work that is being directed toward concise research is closely related to chemical warfare and perhaps not so distant from biological warfare matters, and he spoke at some length of his chemical warfare experience and on the fact that some members of his present staff were with him in the Chemical Warfare Service of the Army.

He told me that he has been invited to lunch by Fred Lawton, Director of the Bureau of the Budget on November 10. He said he does not know why he has been so invited, but thinks that Mrs. Lasker may have arranged it.

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