[R] retaining characters in a csv file

Therneau, Terry M., Ph.D. therneau at mayo.edu
Wed Sep 23 00:00:03 CEST 2015

I have a csv file from an automatic process (so this will happen thousands of times), for 
which the first row is a vector of variable names and the second row often starts 
something like this:

5724550,"000202075214",2005.02.17,2005.02.17,"F", .....

Notice the second variable which is
       a character string (note the quotation marks)
       a sequence of numeric digits
       leading zeros are significant

The read.csv function insists on turning this into a numeric.  Is there any simple set of 
options that
will turn this behavior off?  I'm looking for a way to tell it to "obey the bloody quotes" 
-- I still want the first, third, etc columns to become numeric.  There can be more than 
one variable like this, and not always in the second position.

This happens deep inside the httr library; there is an easy way for me to add more options 
to the read.csv call but it is not so easy to replace it with something else.

Terry T

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