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The Joshua Lederberg Papers

Letter from Leonard Herzenberg to Joshua Lederberg pdf (235,331 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Leonard Herzenberg to Joshua Lederberg
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
4 (235,331 Bytes)
1958-11-26 (November 26, 1958)
Herzenberg, Leonard
Lederberg, Joshua
Reproduced with permission of Leonard Herzenberg.
Lederberg Grouping: Correspondence C
Box Number: 11
Folder Number: 19
Unique Identifier:
Accession Number:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Correspondence, 1935-2002
SubSeries: 1953-1960
Folder: Herzenberg, Leonard
November 26, 1958
Professor Joshua Lederberg
Genetics Building
University of Wisconsin
Madison 6, Wisconsin
Dear Josh:
I was extremely flattered and excited by your recent letter offering a position in your new department at Stanford. With the people already there and the plans for the future, it is certain that the hottest and best center of modern biological research will be there. Therefore, I am very anxious to discuss an appointment with you. I received the letter just as I was leaving for a week's vacation in New York, hence my reply from here. Please excuse the informality of the form.
I have already been offered a good hob here at the NIH and have indicated my willingness to accept but I do not feel irrevocably committed at this time. Nothing formal has been consummated and, as you may know, it is necessary that forces beyond the control of the laboratory (e.g the Civil Service Commission) act before a formalization can occur. When a final commitment will be made I do not know but in all fairness, if I wish to withdraw, I must give notice in the next little while. This job, from the immediate point of view, is an exellent one. I am to be head of an
independent (and isolated) unit with more than adequate space, an "unlimited" budget for equipment and supplies, two technical people and a young M.D. research associate. Of course, in the long view it is not what I want. I would prefer a good academic position with students and interesting associates, something the NIH can not offer. Thus my great interest in your invitation.
With respect to an appointment at Stanford, several questions come to mind:
1. Cell culture requires a huge investment, relative to bacterial culture, in space, equipment, and time. If I am to continue in this area, as I intend, these capital expenditures must be possible. Therefore, can you please give me an indication of how much laboratory space and what kind of budget for equipment, supplies and personnel you have planned?
2. I imagine that you will have a central kitchen and prep. room facility. Will this be available for and able to take care of the specialized needs of a tissue culture operation?
3. When you say I would have a maximum of "10 hours a year of obligatory teaching," what do you mean? Is this 10 lectures a year or 10 semester hours per semester or what? The former sounds ideal, the latter impossible.
4. I would, of course, like to teach a graduate course which I could develop. Do I understand correctly that this would not be expected to start until after I have gotten well settled?
5. With respect to salary, I will have a family of four (two children) and a substantial indebtedness, therefore this question assumes more importance than it should. A statement of the immediate and future remunerative probabilities would be appreciated.
6. How long would "our" probationary status last before a tenure appointment could be expected?
With respect to your question of when an appointment could be made effective: I must remain in the P.H.S. until September 30, 1959 to fulfil my selective service obligation.
Is there any possibility that I can meet with you during the next few weeks? Perhaps you intend stopping on the East Coast on your way to Sweden and I could arrange to meet you then. I hope it can be possible to learn what is expected of me and what I can expect at Stanford sooner than the middle of February. If we can not meet, perhaps the mails or telephone will be sufficient.
Thank you very much for the wonderful opportunity you have offered. I am pleased beyond words. If I seem at all hesitant, it is because I am too overwhelmed to believe it all.
Sincerely yours,
Leonard A. Herzenberg
Please reply to me at the NIH.
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