It is 1936. You are living in Tokyo and, unexpectedly,
you become pregnant. You want to go to
the United States to have your baby. What do you do? You
ask your husband, a reporter for the
Tokyo Advertiser, to write to an old friend and ask
him how to make arrangements to have the birth in
Baltimore and how much it would cost.
So the woman's husband, James R. Young, wrote to the
newly appointed secretary of The Johns
Hopkins University, P. Stewart Macaulay, asking for
Opening his letter, which is in the Hamburger Archives
of the Milton S. Eisenhower Library,
Young said, "Here is an assignment to be tossed into your
lap which no doubt is quite different from
those to which you are now accustomed, what with a
dignified position with a university."
Continuing, he asked, "Can you determine for me the
approximate cost which a good doctor in
Baltimore, attached to Johns Hopkins, would make in
handling this case? I have in mind Dr. Harvey B.
Stone. What would hospital rates be, and nursing
He also asked about the availability of furnished
apartments in the city.
Macaulay, a respected reporter for the Baltimore
Sun before returning to his alma mater as
university secretary (later to become provost), responded
promptly, suggesting that Dr. John M.
Bergland "is, without doubt, the Number One obstetrician of
Baltimore." His "normal rate is $150 with
added charges for complications. Hospitalization runs about
$7.50 a day for a private room. Cubicles
or two-patient rooms can be obtained at lower rates,
roughly $4.50 a day."
These rates, Macaulay said, applied in general to four
Baltimore hospitals — Johns Hopkins,
Church Home, Women's and Union Memorial. Dr. Bergland was
on the staffs of all four.
Dr. Bergland told Macaulay that in normal cases
private nurses would not be needed, but if they
were, their usual charges were about $6 to $7 a day for an
So, all totaled, Macaulay told his former colleague,
costs should run about $150 for the doctor,
$125 for the hospital and $25 for nursing.
As for living accommodations, Macaulay reported that
"excellent furnished apartments of one
room and a kitchenette" could be had for $50 to $60 a
month. Many of the larger apartment houses,
he said, "have a dining room in which meals can be had for
around $2 a day."
Macaulay also volunteered that he knew a "very fine
old lady" who had rooms to rent in her
Guilford home. She was, he said, "the mother of a doctor
friend of mine — Lawson Wilkins — who may
come into the picture after your youngster has arrived, as
he is the city's leading pediatrician."
The correspondence seems to stop there. Did Mrs. Young
come to Baltimore? Did Dr. Bergland
deliver her baby at Johns Hopkins? Did she live with Mrs.
Wilkins in Guilford after the baby's birth?
Did Dr. Wilkins care for her baby?
Someone, somewhere knows.