United Press Associations,
Please see the attached letter to Governor Sprague.
I would appreciate it if you see fit to drop a few lines to Oberlin College in connection with the consideration now being given to a scholarship for Thomas Doeppner.
The official to address any such communication to at Oberlin College is Miss Helen Mary Forbush.
|Earl J. Johnson|
Thanks in advance for any action you may take in this matter.
VP (Virgil Pinkley)
Miss Helen Mary Forbush,
c/o Oberlin College,
Dear Miss Forbush:
It has come to my attention that Oberlin College is considering a scholarship for Thomas Doeppner.
I understand that the matter has been taken up by the Refugee Section of the American Friends Service Committee of Philadelphia.
Please permit me to state that no better selection for a scholarship could be made than to confer one on Thomas Doeppner.
He is a young man of splendid Christian character. He does not drink or smoke. It is my understanding that he has for a number of years stood at the head of his class in schools attended in Berlin. He speaks, reads and writes German, English, French and Dutch, and has some knowledge of Spanish, Italian and Russian.
It is his ardent desire to become an American citizen.
Thomas has been an active Quaker for the past ten or twelve years.
I have known Thomas' father, August Doeppner, for the past two years. He has been a member of our Berlin and Amsterdam staffs for the past four years. August Doeppner is one of our most valued and loyal employees.
Therefore, I recommend to you and to Oberlin College, as a future American citizen and a young man who deserves every consideration and assistance, Thomas Doeppner.
With all best wishes, I am,
European Business Manager (Virgil Pinkley)
Virgil Pinkley can write a letter of recommendation! So Virgil really must like August and Opa because that was the best letter of recommendation ever. And it was also... not entirely true. I think he over-exaggerated Opa's language abilities. I'm sure Opa had at least a knowledge of some of those languages. Definitely Opa was very qualified scholastically. I wonder if he kind of won Virgil Pinkley over a little bit while working in August's office. I can see that because Opa had a charming personality and a good work ethic. If you put that personality in an 18 year old boy in an office full of journalists and editors, I bet he did pretty well. Not only did Virgil Pinkley write an amazing letter of recommendation, but he also pulled every powerful name he could: the President of United Press and the governor of Oregon, who was an Oberlin alumnus. So theoretically, Oberlin could soon be inundated with letters from a governor, a famous scientist (Einstein), the president of United Press, a respected Quaker (Mr. Martin) and Virgil Pinkley- all recommending Thomas Doeppner. You'd think that Opa was a prince or some child prodigy with all these accolades! It is really cool to see people rally around him and for him and do whatever it takes to get him this opportunity. The question is...will it work?
Oberlin was supposed to decide pretty quickly (remember- Opa had to hurry to get his paperwork in), so Charlotte's letter says, basically in my words, "What's keeping you? Let's hear the answer!"
Side note...what is the story that Virgil is referring to when he says he'll tell Governor Sprague the interesting story about Opa coming to Holland?? Was Virgil the one who drove him into town with August following in the car behind them? I feel like Opa would have mentioned that. The story is lost!! It could have been something really silly or it could have been something really interesting. For the first time, I just realized August must have been a total wreck waiting for Tom to arrive. Wondering if his money was spent wisely on the people who smuggled him out. Ah- people- ask your parents and grandparents now for their stories!