To Alexander Vogelsang
Rochester, Minnesota, May 4, 1921
Dear Aleck,—I must pass under the knife, that is the verdict. On Friday morning the act takes place. And out will come gall-bladder, adhesions, appendix and all things appertaining thereto, including hereditaments, reversions, lives in posse, and sinecures. So that’s that!
They say that my heart has grown much worse in the last three months, but that I probably have four chances out of five of pulling through, which is more chance than I ever had in politics in California. I believe I am to be operated on while conscious, as they fear to give ether. I trust my curiosity will not interfere with the surgeon’s facility.
Ah well, this old shell is not myself, and I have never felt that the world’s axis was located with reference to my habitat. But this is so interesting an old world that I don’t want to leave it prematurely, because one does run the risk of not coming upon one equally interesting. So I shall think of you and try to see you later, in the new offices in the Mills Building. May clients come thick as dogwood in Rock Creek Park; and trout streams in hidden places be revealed unto you, within an hour’s flight by aero. Affectionately,
P. S. Give my regards to the boys with you and in the office, when you see them—and to Wade Ellis and Ira Bennett and others who may be interested. Love to your dear Lady!
To John Finley New York Times
Rochester, Minnesota, May 4, 
My dear Finley,—I have your postal from London and it cheereth me—Yea, thou hast done a kindly act to one who is sore beset. ...
When you and I can talk together I want to urge a new field upon your great paper. Perhaps you can take it up with Mr. Ochs and perhaps he can see how he can add to his usefulness and to the glory of his paper’s name.
My thought is that there should be somewhere—and why not in New York?—a Place of Exchange for the New Ideas that the world evolves each year, a central spot where all that is new in science, philosophy, practical political machinery, and all else of the world’s mind-products shall be placed on exhibition where those interested may see. Why should not the Times do this?
It would cost very little. All the plant needs would be a building which would contain one or two fine halls for public speaking, and a few properly appointed apartments. No faculty—but a super-university with all the searchers and researchers, inventors, experimenters, thinkers of the world for faculty. No students—but every man the world round interested in the theme under consideration, welcome, as student without pay. The only executive officer a Director, whose business would be to see that the great minds were tapped,—a high class impresario, who would know who had thought thoughts, developed a theory, found a new problem, or a new method of solving an old one, and [would] bring the thinker on the stage and present him to those who knew of what he talked; and could intelligently, quickly, distribute it to the ends of the earth.