He purchased a number of cards that day. When we got home I started reading the cards and realized that the messages often continued mid-sentence from one numbered card to the next. It was maddening. I contacted the seller and tried to get the rest of the cards. Alas, there are still some gaps, but with the 80 or so cards and the other records he left, we have good indication of the man he was.
Here is some of what we know:
René Bine was born in June, 1882. His father, Leon Bine, immigrated to San Francisco from France and became a U.S. citizen. I am guessing that the elder Bine was a doctor and that his son followed in his footsteps. Young René was a medical student at University of California, Berkeley, where he is shown here as an intern in a yearbook photo, center right.
By 1904, René was in Europe studying at various European medical schools. The postcards at this point are already numbered over a hundred, so who knows what we are missing.
The cards are all addressed to his sister, Marie, in San Francisco, but seem to be intended for his parents too.
On October 1, 1904, René was studying at the Medical University in Vienna and sent this card (#106) to his family in San Francisco.
The message reads:
Oct. 1 -1904
To-day for the first time since our arrival in Vienna, has the sun shone upon us + after a week of rainy, sloppy weather it is very welcome. Cold persists, but with heavier underwear purchased a block or so further up this street, my overcoat is relegated to the place I've usually accorded it. We expect to see more of Vienna now that we can walk without wading, as till now we have with a few exceptions confined ourselves to our own neighborhood in which the Krankenhaus (hospital) + other buildings are situated and an occasional constitutional further on to the Ring. The Ring is the street...
I don't find card # 107, but here is #108.
The message reads:
...burg, man not as advertised as others we know, but we shall stay with him until we reach one named Schmidt. Jellinek's friend Kovack is out of reach. From 6 to 7 I will be taking a German lesson from Fraulein Voigt, who gave Dr. Moffitt (Herbert Charles Moffitt - See link) daily lessons for three months on his visit here -with my Grammar absent + my vocabulary small, my conversational abilities therefore shaky when I'm up against a genuine Deutsch wordstringer + I cannot stand for that. From 8:15 to 9:45 we have a practice course on surgical anatomy from Prof. Julius Tandler (see link about Julius Tandler) 4 times a week only. I also...
The message continues from the previous card:
am trying to read medicine 3 times a week no less _____ is in great demand, with Dr Kiehopt (Kuhopt?) who also had Dr. Moffitt's company for a period of 9 months. Paul has arranged for a course on Kids Diseases from 2:30 to 4 as he has had no instruction in that line at all + in about 6-8 weeks i shall also enter it as the professor wants but 2 men + then the 2nd man will give me his plan. After October 15th we will have for 6 weeks Prof. Tandler 4 to 5 P.M. 5 times a week + his 8:15 to 9:45 PM course will run for a few days longer. We also are figuring on entering university courses from 8 to 9 A.M. + 12 to 1 PM or 5 to 6:30 so you can see we will have more then we would the latter are...
As you can see, Dr Bine writes detailed accounts of his life there, from underwear purchased to the famous professors he studied with. I have to wonder if he ever had any contact with Sigmund Freud, who would have been teaching at the university at the time. I guess I'll just have to keep reading the tiny handwriting. I have highlighted the names of some of the people he worked with, in case you want to know more about them. There is so much more to Dr. Bines' adventures. Here he is in Vienna in 1904, with a family in San Francisco. I wondered, with all of these years of postcards, what course of action he took when the great earthquake hit San Francisco in 1906. More to come!
Here's what most of the cards look like on the back.