During these travels, Oswaldo Cruz corresponded heavily with his wife as well as with colleagues at the Federal Serum Therapy Institute and the General Directorate of Public Health, public health officials at the places he visited, and Minister of Internal Affairs J. J. Seabra.
These excerpts, selected from the entirety of this correspondence, reveal Cruz’s impressions of a social and economic reality largely unknown to Brazilians, a reality that Cruz saw as contrasting sharply with the country’s urban centers, where “civilization” was to be found.
The letters he exchanged with his wife while touring northern and northeastern ports come to an end in São Luiz, Maranhão. It is likely that Oswaldo Cruz continued to write her, but the documents are not in his personal archives. The series closes with a telegram sent from Belém, Pará, to Minister of Internal Affairs J. J. Seabra, informing him about the conclusion of the first leg of the expedition, in the port of Manaus, Amazonas. No comments or descriptions have been found of his visits to a number of ports in southern Brazil, such as Itajaí and Florianópolis, in Santa Catarina.
The expedition was divided into two legs. The first, aboard the trawler República, ran from September 28, 1905, through December 6, 1905, and stopped at 22 ports: Vitória, in Espírito Santo; Caravelas, Santa Cruz, Porto Seguro, and Salvador, in Bahia; Aracaju, in Sergipe; Penedo and Maceió, in Alagoas; Tamandaré and Recife, in Pernambuco; Cabedelo and João Pessoa, in Paraíba; Natal, Areia Branca, and Macau, in Rio Grande do Norte; Camocim and Fortaleza, in Ceará; Amarração, in Piauí; São Luiz, in Maranhão; Belém, Óbidos, and Santarém, in Pará; and, last, Manaus, in Amazonas.
The second leg of the trip began on January 17, 1906, and was devoted to southern ports. On board the steamship Santos, Cruz visited Santos, in São Paulo; Paranaguá, in Paraná; São Francisco, in Santa Catarina; and Rio Grande, in Rio Grande do Sul. He extended his journey to the capitals of Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay and then went on to Corumbá, in Mato Grosso do Sul. On February 28, after once again passing through Buenos Aires and Asunción, he returned to Rio de Janeiro.
All of this correspondence is part of the Oswaldo Cruz Fonds, series Correspondence, sub-series:
Personal: (Expedition to Brazilian ocean and river ports by the General Directorate of Public Health)
Political and Administrative: (Correspondence of the General Directorate of Public Health)