booker t. washington portrait

Dr. Washington In Hospital Here

New York Tribune
November 10, 1915

Negro Educator, Ill From Nervous Breakdown, Patient At St. Luke's.

Suffering from a nervous breakdown, Dr. Booker T. Washington, principal of Tuskegee Institute, is confined in a private room in St. Luke's Hospital, at Amsterdam Avenue and 113th street. Only his wife, his secretary and William G. Willcox, a trustee of the institute, have been allowed to see him. Dr. Washington was taken to the hospital last Friday after an examination by Dr. W. A. Bastedo, of 57 West Fifty-Eighth Street, who is now in charge of the case. The examination was made by advice of Seth Low, who is also a trustee. "Dr. Washington has been suffering from severe headaches for more than a month," said Dr. Bastedo last night. "His condition became serious enough to alarm the trustees, who, I understand, have no successor in mind for the position of principal.

"At the request of Mr. Low and Mr. Willcox I made an examination of Dr. Washington a few days ago and found him completely worn out. He had been overworking and was in no condition to resume his work at Tuskegee. Mr. Low insisted that he be removed to St. Luke's for further observation. We have thoroughly overhauled him and find that he is aging rapidly. There is a noticeable hardening of the arteries and he is extremely nervous.

"Racial characteristics are, I think, in part responsible for Dr. Washington's breakdown. He is prone to worry under the strain of work, and while there is nothing to indicate that he is mentally unbalanced, he is in no shape to go back to Tuskegee." At St. Luke's it was said that Dr. Washington had been there in the past for treatment.

Admitted to the hospital, four days ago, Dr. Washington requested that no information be given out to the effect that he was ill. Dr. Bastedo refused to let reporters see the patient yesterday. He said, however, that Dr. Washington had received many gifts of flowers from Mr. Low, Mr. Willcox and other acquaintances in New York.

Asked how soon Dr. Washington would leave the hospital, Dr. Bastedo said: "I don't know. I hope it will not be long. We want him to have a complete rest, however, and he is getting it now."

Mr. Low said last night that the trustees of Tuskegee were not considering the retirement of Dr. Washington. "If he were well he would not be in a hospital," said Mr. Low, "but I hope that he will soon be able to resume his duties as principal. We have not contemplated choosing a successor. I have not called on Dr. Washington yet, but I hope to do so next week."