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The Oswald T. Avery Collection

Title:
Letter from Alvin F. Coburn to Joshua Lederberg pdf (154,563 Bytes) transcript of pdf
Letter from Alvin F. Coburn to Joshua Lederberg
Description:
In this letter to Lederberg, Coburn recollected on some his time spent with Avery and Fred Griffith.
Item is handwritten.
Number of Image Pages:
2 (154,563 Bytes)
Date:
1965-11-09 (November 9, 1965)
Creator:
Coburn, Alvin F.
Recipient:
Lederberg, Joshua
Rights:
Reproduced with permission of the New York Medical College.
Copyright owned by the New York Medical College.
Subject:
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
Transformation, Genetic
Exhibit Categories:
Shifting Focus: Early Work on Bacterial Transformation, 1928-1940
After the Discovery: The Transforming Principle's Reception by the Scientific Community
Relation:
Metadata Record Letter from Alvin F. Coburn to Oswald T. Avery (May 25, 1943) pdf (114,106 Bytes) transcript of pdf
/ps/access/CCBDBG.pdf
Metadata Record [Fred Griffith and "Bobby"] [1936] jpg (45,270 Bytes)
/ps/access/CCAABN_.jpg
Metadata Record Letter from Alvin F. Coburn to Joshua Lederberg (September 28, 1965) pdf (44,226 Bytes) transcript of pdf
/ps/access/CCAAGS.pdf
Metadata Record [Oswald T. Avery] [March 1943] jpg (16,160 Bytes)
/ps/access/CCAAFU_.jpg
Metadata Record [Avery with Alvin Coburn's son, Tim] [March 1943] jpg (121,440 Bytes)
/ps/access/CCAABZ_.jpg
Metadata Record Letter from Alvin F. Coburn to Joshua Lederberg (November 19, 1965) pdf (151,809 Bytes) transcript of pdf
/ps/access/CCAAIW.pdf
Metadata Record Letter from Alvin F. Coburn to Joshua Lederberg (March 21, 1966) pdf (36,787 Bytes) transcript of pdf
/ps/access/CCAAGV.pdf
Metadata Record Letter from Joshua Lederberg to Alvin F. Coburn (April 1, 1966) pdf (53,956 Bytes) transcript of pdf
/ps/access/CCAAGW.pdf
Metadata Record Letter from Alvin F. Coburn to Joshua Lederberg (April 20, 1966) pdf (82,210 Bytes) transcript of pdf
/ps/access/CCAAIX.pdf
Box Number: 4
Folder Number: 6
Unique Identifier:
CCAAGU
Document Type:
Letters (correspondence)
Language:
English
Format:
application/pdf
image/tif
Physical Condition:
Good
Series: Commentary on Avery and His Work, 1944-2005
SubSeries: Chronological
Folder: 1964-1969
Transcript:
P.S.
This letter is written on my knee at 4 a.m. when I like to commune by mail.
Nov 9. 65
Dear Dr Lederberg,
Thank you for your recent letter. I was delighted to learn that Jim is working for you. When last I heard from him he was engaged by "Equipment Digital," and I was concerned that he had abandoned the study of medicine to concentrate on the problems of data processing and it is heartening to know that he is in an academic family and I hope may in due course earn a doctorate in philosophy.
Some day when you or your team may want to hear the details of Avery and Griffith I shall fly out. The story is too long for me to put in a letter. Incidentally, would you care to have a picture of Griffith and Bobby? I had the only one in existence after Fred Griffith was bombed to death, and I sent it to the British at their request. I can send you a rather faded copy. You may be interested to know that while
[END PAGE ONE]
[BEGIN PAGE TWO]
Fred Griffith was alive, I gave Avery a copy of this snapshot. The Fess kept it on his desk at the Rockefeller and later at his home in Nashville throughout all of the "transforming" and "post-transforming" years.
You may not know that whereas Avery was my spiritual "Advisor", Fred Griffith and I actually collaborated in 1931. Griffith did not know the implications of his work because his job demanded pragmatism. Avery, on the other hand, envisioned the whole business of the "transforming factor" and the application to the future of genetics. In fact, he enlightened me on a Sunday morning's walk through the countryside (in ? March 1942) a few hours before we took the snapshot that you have. Fess had described his findings the day before to the Trustees of the Rockefeller Institute. Fess was the only man with pure humility that I was proud to know. In my spells of excitement he would say "Al, it may be safer to apply the brakes than blow the horn"! He was 100 percent free from seeking credit for accomplishments.
Incidentally, you are probably well acquainted with the fantastic tale of the marriage of Beadle and Tatum as told me by the priest! All the best Al Coburn
Metadata Last Modified Date:
2006-12-19
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