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The Joshua Lederberg Papers

Letter from Clifford Grobstein to Joshua Lederberg pdf (110,892 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Clifford Grobstein to Joshua Lederberg
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (110,892 Bytes)
1957-01-30 (January 30, 1957)
Grobstein, Clifford
National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
Lederberg, Joshua
This item is in the public domain. It may be used without permission.
Lederberg Grouping: No Epoch
Box Number: 73
Folder Number: 2
Unique Identifier:
Accession Number:
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Physical Condition:
Series: Research
SubSeries: Genetics
SubSubSeries: Stanford University
SubSubSubSeries: Department of Genetics
SubSubSubSubSeries: Correspondence and Notes
SubSubSubSubSubSeries: Correspondence
Folder: 1956-1957
January 30, 1957
Dear Josh --
I'm glad to get your still more "bullish" reactions to Stanford because they bolster my increasingly bullish feeling (this is stock exchange "bullish," incidentally). My preliminary negotiations revealed the nest egg from Rockefeller which you refer to, indeed it was one factor in changing my attitude from negative to interested. My concern, like yours, is with staff improvement within the department -- particularly as it relates to rounded training for graduate students in my own area. I have never been an enthusiast myself for the "great man" theory of graduate instruction, except in those rare instances where the individual concerned is truly great. Having no illusions in this respect about myself I would not want to encourage really good students to come unless there was a strong representative in several fields peripheral to embryology -- genetics, cytology, biochemistry, biophysics as examples. This I do not at the moment see at Stanford, and this is why I have indicated to Twitty that the filling of the genetics post is of considerable interest to me. In fact, if I were at Stanford I think I would argue for a "package" of the two positions. I am not sure that I may not anyway if you decide against it, i.e. I am satisfied to join you in the package but, if not you, I will want to know who.
Concerning Manny, I am afraid that I am honor bound not
to be more specific than I have. In general terms, I first heard the story from John Bonner who was severely critical of what he regarded as failure to properly credit Shaffer in the original draft -- which went to him as referee. I believe he told me that he suggested to Science that Shaffer be contacted. I do not recall that he told me any of this in confidence, but perhaps it would be just as well not to discuss his role as referee unless he has no objection.
The situation clearly was nasty and I made a note to discuss it with Manny to get his side at first opportunity. What concerns me now is that the story is being told beyond Bonner-Raper, by people who do not know the situation first hand, and in versions which differ from what I heard from Bonner. In short, it is spreading, getting worse in the process, and being told at times and places which can be damaging. I do not know what can be done, or if anything can be done -- but I thought I would mention it so that you might decide in terms of the local situation.
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