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The Joshua Lederberg Papers

Title:
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to John Wilford Annotation pdf (74,730 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Joshua Lederberg to John Wilford
Description:
Item is handwritten. Item is a photocopy.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (74,730 Bytes)
Date:
1983-10-11 (October 11, 1983)
Creator:
Lederberg, Joshua
Recipient:
Wilford, John
New York Times
Rights:
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Exhibit Category:
Controlling Elements: Cold Spring Harbor, 1942-1967
Relation:
Lederberg Grouping: Correspondence E
Box Number: 35
Folder Number: 26
Unique Identifier:
BBAQOH
Accession Number:
81
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Language:
English
Format:
application/pdf
image/tif
Physical Condition:
Good
Series: Correspondence, 1935-2002
SubSeries: 1978-1984
Folder: McClintock, Barbara
Transcript:
John Noble Wilford -- New York Times
Oct 11 1983
McClintock mythology.
Dear John:
Barbara McClintock has been an inspiration to me for over 40 years; and I would not reduce by one iota the merit of her Nobel prize [sic]. In fact she had already earned it in the 1930's with her historic work on crossing-over in maize.
Your sources are, however, generating a myth -- e.g. "stony silence" in 1951 -- that does not accord with my recollections nor the evidence, some of which I attach.
Add: she was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1944.
Add: from the 50's through to the present R.A. Brink at the Univ. of Wisconsin has systematically followed up on the gene instability in corn that Dr. Mc. reported in 1951.
cc HAZ
[END PAGE ONE]
[BEGIN PAGE TWO]
What is true is an egregious lack of public recognition for her work that makes the present-day acclaim all the more just. We don't have to recast history to that end.
Sincerely,
Joshua.
P.S. -- Barbara McClintock would not have been invited to the 1951 symposium unless the organizers had some glimmer of the importance of her work.
Between "stony silence" and "instant appreciation" is the reality of how to integrate the startling evidence she presented into a coherent scheme. That was hardly possible before, as Watson says, the science [of molecular biology] caught up with her. Perhaps some of the biochemists in the 50's were not well versed in maize genetics and it is their voices you hear
cc: GG 3/84
[written in right margin, Judson cites Monod on McClint. in "pre[ . . . ] hence n[letters cut off in original] PS]
Metadata Last Modified Date:
2007-01-12
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Annotation by Joshua Lederberg:
KW: re Barbara McClintock mythology; Wilford at NY Times;

jl 12/17/99