When Walter moved to US Industrial Chemicals, he stuck closer to home, so the archive is pretty sparse for 1946. In fact, all I have for this year are a couple of letters (the second is coming up tomorrow) and some images of Walter, Ina, and some of their friends. These negatives are in a now-extinct sheet film format that is baffling my scanner, so please excuse any digital artifacts.
Letterhead from the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Navy Department, Washington, D.C.
11 Mar 1946
Dr. W. E. Dove, In Charge
Division of Insects Affecting Man and Animals
Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Washington 25, D.C.
Dear Dr. Dove:
Forced by enemy action to prosecute military campaigns in tropical areas of such high endemicity as to seemingly preclude chances of success, the Navy, by the adoption of new methods and techniques in the control of insect-borne diseases, was able, not only to bring these campaigns to a successful conclusion, but with a degree of freedom from disease formerly thought impossible.
The Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, Navy Department, recognizes the outstanding contribution by the Division of Insects Affecting Man and Animals, Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, U.S. Department of Agriculture, to the successful prosecution of these campaigns. By the immediate recognition of the great military potentialities of DDT, insect repellents, miticides and mite repellents, evolving methods and equipment for their application, and by the coordination and execution of a series of brilliant researches converting these chemicals to maximal efficiency for military use, the personnel attached to the Division of Insects Affecting Man and Animals has rendered a fundamental and outstanding contribution which has changed the entire methodology for the control of insect-borne diseases. In spite of the terrific pressure of research and development, the Orlando group of the Division, with the assistance of its Division administrative heads, conducted a continuing school of instruction for military personnel. By this instruction, key Naval personnel were enabled to keep informed of the latest developments and trends in research and to coordinate research with field application.
In view of this significant contribution to the war effort, I take this opportunity to express my personal gratitude and to commend the Division of Insects Affecting Man and Animals, Bureau of Entomology and Plant Quarantine, and you, In Charge of that Division, for exceptionally meritorious service rendered to Naval forces throughout the world.
Ross T. McIntire
Vice Admiral (MC)
Surgeon General, U.S. Navy
This organizational chart shows Walter’s Division in the USDA, just a short time before he quit. As the war started winding down, the Department shifted its focus back to its usual beat, boosting the yields and sales of US-grown crops. They also began looking for peacetime uses of technologies developed during the war, including the amazing new lousicide Walter’s group had worked on. Walter didn’t document his thinking about this, but various family stories and some of his publications hint that he wasn’t at all pleased with the idea of spraying DDT on crops. In one paper from 1945, he described the compound as “definitely toxic,” and argued that it might have harmful effects in the environment when used in large quantities for extended periods of time.
By mid-1946, he had left the Department and taken a job with US Industrial Chemicals in Baltimore, where he began working on improving pyrethrum-based insecticides.
1024 N. Oregon St.,
El Paso, Texas,
Feb. 22, 1945.
After so long a time I thought I would drop you a line. Probably I am doing the wrong thing in writing a personal letter as there might be some Departmental regulations forbidding a superior writing an inferior or vice versa.
It was with the thought in mind that probably cigars were hard to obtain in Washington and the knowledge that you enjoyed cigars that prompted my sending you some last Fall. At that time I wrote you. Both the cigars and my letter had my return address on same, and, in-as-much as neither were returned and no word from you, I surmised that it might have occurred that I had some ulterior reason for sending the cigars. If such should be the case same was not received in the spirit in which they were sent.
There is a goodly supply of Mexican cigars to be had in Juarez. One brand in particular selling at 8¢ is a very good cigar. Before the war they sold for 6¢.
Very much to my surprise Dr. Laake showed up at the bridge this afternoon. From the New Orleans meeting he went to the Pacific Northwest and has visited practically all of the western states. He leaves tomorrow night for Dallas.
Robert Spencer, formerly in the movies but now in the Air Corps passed through El Paso this past week. He phoned me but we were unable to see him as he had but a 15 minute stopover. He was en route to Hollywood with his newly acquired bride. He is due to return via El Paso next week and plans to stop over for possibly a one day visit. His father is Mrs. Bishopp’s brother. They lived in Dallas some years ago.
Mrs. Pettit went to Dallas from Austin for the wedding which was last Saturday. She wrote that all of the country from Austin to Dallas was covered with water. Everything else considered there should be some good crops in that part of the country this year.
As you probably know, my wife is a registered nurse and has been on active duty for several months. My work hours shift weekly and she is able to get hours of duty to coincide with mine — so we are together as much as when she wasn’t nursing. She does general duty at the Southwestern General Hospital and does not have to enter private homes.
I have now had some 13 years on the Mexican Border and I would welcome a change back New Orleans way. Our work is pretty much the same old hum-drum and it becomes very monotonous. I believe there are more drunks pass our inspection booth than any other one place in the state of Texas.
Kind regards to you and your family from
P.S. Once heard the remark if you live in El Paso for 10 years 95% of everyone you know will pass by. A.K.
Office of Chief Surgeon, ETO
APO 887, c/o Postmaster
New York, N.Y.
Feb. 12, 1945.
Things are rapidly reaching the stage over here where it seems doubtful if it is absolutely necessary for me to remain in the theater. I feel that to continue on over here much longer will be a waste of my time and I hate for this to happen when I could do so much more work in the Bureau or in some other theater in the Army. We have just about passed the critical season for typhus which is the most important entomological problem likely to be encountered on the continent. Major Bunn and Capt. Barrett are both available to take care of any other minor problem that might come up. Supplies of insecticides for the troops over here appear to be well in hand, and the Q.M. has been fully advised as to requirements. I should appreciate your indirectly mentioning these things to Simmons, if you have the opportunity, without saying I had written. I would not particularly relish the idea of going to another theater unless it was absolutely necessary or I could contribute something very definite to its present program.
Now as to my returning to the Bureau at some future date, say after July 1, 1945, it seems to me that the work of the Division has now increased to the point where it would be advantageous for both of us to be in the Washington office dividing the various phases of it, or some similar arrangement satisfactory to both of us. I should like to have any ideas you have along this line. I’m sure we will not have any difficulty in getting together on something when the time comes for me to return.
Deniza told me about all of you having scarlet fever. That was really tough and I hope you and the family are all recovered by now.
About the supply of live D. variabilis – our experiments which appeared promising at first did not prove out so it is likely now that we shall not need the specimens.
As a last thought, I wouldn’t mind staying in the Army in Washington for awhile.
Remember me to Ina and the boys and the folks there in the office.
Major R.A. Roberts
Med Sec, HQ Fifth Army
APO 464 New York, N.Y.
January 20, 1945
Dr Doctor and Mrs. Dove:
How nice of you to remember me with a box of real chocolates for Christmas. I assure you we rarely see anything like this over here and nothing coudl be appreciated more. I think so often of both of you and of the boys. Quarterman writes that he has seen you and that the boys are almost grown up – at least most of them.
I see Dr. Dove’s name often on reports from Washington and you will be interested to know that I adapt my field work to many of the recommendations made. I am having many interesting experiences with DDT and I hope some of my results come to your attention. I am busy all year and no sooner than one program is finished, I am ready to start another. The Orlando Station has done a fine job and I expect to hear good reports from the new station at Savannah.
My best regards to all,
Lt. Col. Emory C. Cushing
Office Chief Surgeon
APO 887 c/o Postmaster
New York N.Y.
Dec. 26, 1944
Many thanks for the box of delicious candy you remembered me with on Xmas. We don’t get much of that kind over here and it will be a big help in keeping up the calories during the cold days.
How is the Division faring these days? It seems like a lot of organizations want to get on the DDT band wagon and I am concerned about what might happen to the Division’s work during the post-war period with so many chiselers at large. What about the entomologist the SGO wants on its insect committee? For heaven’s sake help them to get someone that’s got his feet on the ground and with lots of common sense. They have needed one for a long time. While I may not be able to furnish the above qualifications, I would certainly like to have that job. Could you put in a plug for me?
Give my love to Ina and the boys. I hope you all had a Merry Xmas and that the prospects for the New Year come to full fruition.
Navy V-Mail letter.
Lt. B.V. Travis H-V(S) USNR
NMRU#2 Navy 145
c/o Fleet P.M. San Francisco Calif.
Dear Dr. Dove and staff:
Your letter of May 24 was received June 3 through Comm. Sapeno. Pretty good speed! I was very glad to know of the recommendations as we will have some work under way here in which the altered formulae will fit nicely. I was very glad to see the tests on creams are to be on a large scale. I was however sorry to see the recommended supplement adopted. The material is not too good against the species here and the odor would not be approved in this area at least in forward positions. I’m sorry tests were not available at the time of the conference. A few were made at a location several days’ journey from here shortly after the meetings. A report will be coming through covering these tests and also giving some suggestions for the Orlando group.
Conditions are so much different here than we had them pictured that some of the methods of attack could well be altered at Orlando. This is proving to be a very excellent trip as an educational trip and I hope to be in a position to aid the Bureau. Everyone is well and looking forward to the new work which is just getting under way.
This is a piece of “V-Mail,” which the US military used during WWII. Troops would write their letters on the forms, which were then checked by censors before being copied to film to reduce the weight for air transport. The military would print the film once it arrived in the US, producing miniaturized copies of the original letters.
From Lt. R.C. Bushland
3rd Med Lab
APO 503 San Francisco
May 26, 1944
Dear Doctor Dove:
Thanks a lot for your letter and Dr. Roarke’s publication which just arrived. Was happy to hear from you. Although I wear a soldier suit, it’s a Bureau man that’s inside the uniform and news from you folks is always eagerly received.
Have finished my lab work and have put on one small demonstration. Am impatiently waiting for the chance to go ahead on a bigger scale. I still have “itchy feet.” The repellents arrived but there are no mosquitoes to test them against. That’s another reason for my desire to travel.
Lt. Col. Philips arrived last month but moved around for three weeks after that, and has just now settled down here. He’s a very pleasant man to work with, it seems from the little I’ve been around him.
Best wishes to all and thanks for the materials.
We are getting along fine & having a wonderful time (wish you would stay there longer – you need the vacation). Daddy has broken a record – he went to the show twice in one year (extravagant, isn’t it?)
Yesterday the temperature was 29º (above zero) and today it is exactly 32º (freezing) but it hasn’t showed yet.
Speaking of snow, I’ve called all over town trying to find a store that has some toboggans. The nearest I’ve found to a toboggan are some skis at the Sport Center (I didn’t buy them, I just located them).
Lewis got his report card yesterday. He got O.P. (outstanding progress) on everything but arithmetic & writing in which he got S.P. (satisfactory progress).
We got out of school Thursday & Friday in addition to Sat. & Sun.
Thursday we went to Claudelle’s & ate & ate & ate.
We had chicken, dressing, cranberry sauce, creamed celery, sweet potatoes, & pumpkin pie.
B.M. has a regular arsenal at his house. He has a .410 double barrel shotgun, a 12 gauge automatic shotgun (5 shots), a 17 shot automatic .22, and an old flintlock squirrel gun which I think belonged to his grandfather.
I have memorized the Morse code & hope to pass 2nd class signaling soon. Our patrol is about 60 points ahead of the next highest patrol in the patrol contest. The troop will have a supper for the winning patrol at the end of the contest (about Jan. 1). The patrol with the least amount of points goes on K.P. & the rest of the troop (except the winning patrol) foots the bill. We don’t want to peel potatoes or foot the bill so we have to win.
I am enclosing a letter to Ina Marie.
Your eldest offspring,